1892
in The English System
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Chapter Three focuses on the cholera epidemic of 1892. Generally overlooked in histories of cholera or sanitation, this was the first epidemic to test the new ‘English System’ and the confidence displayed by antiquarantinists both internationally and at ‘home’ in the prophylactic capacities of the sanitary zone. Yet as the disease approached, even its most stalwart proponents began to lose their nerve. Their diminished faith in the surety of sanitary surveillance was linked directly to the widespread perception that Eastern European, primarily Jewish, immigrants and transmigrant (en route to America), were the prime conduits of the disease. Temporary measures were aimed directly at the migrants and appeared to contradict the long-standing assertions of antiquarantinists. The chapter explores whether the migrants came to represent a different subset within the categorisation of port diseases, and how they came to represent another notion of ‘space’ or ‘locality’ within the sanitary zone.

The English System

Quarantine, immigration and the making of a Port Sanitary zone

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