In early December 1952, a cloud of smog appeared in London. Four days later, it had killed 4,000 people, and over 8,000 more would die as a result of complications in the coming months. The event, known as the Great Smog, is arguably the greatest environmental disaster in modern English history.
The dangers of air pollution, however, are not entirely in the past. Half a century later, air pollution has re-emerged as one of the most serious threats to the city. This project investigates air pollution in London through two angles. First, it examines whether collective remembrance of the Great Smog of 1952 impacts current public opinion on air quality regulation. Given that the smog occurred only a generation ago, does memory of the recent event influence how Londoners think about climate change and air pollution? Secondly, it investigates the effect of air pollution on London's most vulnerable populations, and if the government is doing enough to protect these at-risk communities.