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6. A PERMISSIVE AGE

Charles II returned, determined to enjoy the good life - wine, women, song - and women.

Times were permissive. Risque plays were staged. Women enjoyed new freedom in manners of dress.

Critics looked back at times past as an age of innocence and modesty.

7. LONDON OF THE 1660s

Despite all the government regulations London remained a crowded maze of wooden buildings. It was probably the most congested, outdated city in Europe.

London was also the foggiest town in the world. Coal was being increasingly used. New factories were belching out their fumes.

John Evelyn wrote a bitter protest - "Fumifigum" -about London's fog. "Something should be done", he said. It was - some 300 years later.

8. OVERCROWDING

London's population had grown to 460,000. Most people lived in conditions of unimaginable filth and squalor.

30/40 people would cram into a 3-roomed house. Sanitation was non-existent and piles of refuse were heaped outside the houses.

When anyone could be found to cart away the filth, it was stacked in stinking mountains around the city.

9. THE PLAGUE RETURNS

And then in 1665 the Plague struck London with terrifying force.

The Plague was carried by infected fleas on the black rat. The rat liked man and his dirt and the London hovels swarmed with them.

When the disease erupted, it swept through the overcrowded slums.

10. A REMINDER

A grim reminder of the Plague times is the children's game -

"Ring a-ring, a-roses
A pocketful of posies,
Tishoo, Tishoo,
All fall down."

Infected victims had a rose coloured rash; often they complained of a sweet smell. They often sneezed before falling down - to die.

Their death was usually agonising.

11. DEATH CARTS

The death carts trundled around the streets at night to take away the spotted and bloated dead.

Piled high, the carts would carry their load to the death pits.

At one time there was a shortage of men to cart away the dead. The bodies had then to be stacked by the houses to await collection.

12. DEATH TOLL

It is estimated that London lost a quarter of its population - 100,000 people. Just imagine 1 out of every 4 people dying in a year.

In the small parish of Islington 593 people died from the Plague - 94 in the worst week of death.

 

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