HUBBUB – Emily Cockayne
A fabulous book. It does what is said on the tin. It explains the filth, noise and stench in England from the new modern period onwards, mainly (17th and 18th Century). People were ugly. Beauty products were available, but not ideal, many were lethal, such as rubbing powder on your face containing mercury. People didn’t wash, they crapped everywhere, sanitation wasn’t understood. Dunghills and rotten material, often butchers offal, humans excrement, decaying vegetables and dead cats and dogs lay in the streets of major towns and cities.
To get an insight into the conditions of urban environments in particular several hundred years ago, then this book is for you. The calling, shouting arguing, rumble of carts, banging of hammers on anvils, repairs, building and so on that perpetuated the air of mixed domestic and industrial areas to the pain and disturbance of life is remarkable.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and wallowing in the filth and stench, feeling that life in the 21st century is so much better, even when the dustbin men are on strike. I am at least not sleeping with rats and vermin crawling all over me.