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13. THE POOR IN THEIR HOUSES

The rich in Italy lived in their towers; the wealthy English had their mansions. But the poor existed in wretched conditions.

They inhabited 1-room houses, packed tight together in narrow winding streets.

The poor rarely changed their filthy clothes; their streets were not often cleaned.

14. CITY LAWS

Efforts were made to get householders to empty their slops into the gutters.

Paviours were employed to repair roads, rakyers to rake out the worst refuse from the drains.

Like every other medieval town, London was defeated by the problem of street cleaning and sanitation.

A terrible price was to be paid for this failure.

15. RATS! RATS!

The dirty, crowded houses of rotting wood were rat infested.

It has been said that medieval houses might have been built to specifications approved by a rodent council as eminently suitable for a rat's enjoyment of a happy and carefree life.


16. CARRIER OF DEATH

The Black Rat carried death. It brought death in the 14th century on a scale never experienced before or since by man.

The rat carried the flea infected with bubonic plague. This deadly disease almost always killed - and usually within a week of infection.

17. THE BLACK DEATH

The Black Death hit England in 1347/48. There were to be 6 further outbreaks, with the last in 1407.

Society was defenceless against the plague - there was no answer, nothing could be done.

Whole families died, entire communities disappeared and cities were deserted.

18. DEATH OVER EUROPE

It is estimated that one third of Europe's population died from the plague.

Nowhere did the Black Death rage with more ferocity than in England and London. It is thought that nearly half of England's people succumbed to the disease.

19. TURN OF THE WHEEL

Our history began with expansion. But by 1300 society had over-extended itself.

The climate had grown colder and there had been seven dreadful famine years in England.

When the Black Death struck, it hit a people weakened by hunger and demoralised by fear.

20. AND - WAR TOO

As the times grew harder, men began fighting more.

The century saw the beginning of the 100 years war between England and France. Incredibly the armoured knights still went charging into battle as the pestilence raged.

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