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'Royal Address of Cadwallader ap-Tudor ap-Edwards ap-Vaughan, Water-King of Southwark', print, London, England, 1832

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The satirical poem ‘Royal Address of Cadwallader ap-Tudor ap-Edwards ap-Vaughan, Water-King of Southwark’, published in 1832, is a comment on the pollution of the River Thames, the main water supply for London. The crowd chants “Give us clean water” and “We shall get the cholera” – 1832 being the year that a major cholera epidemic hit London. The writer of the poem and the people in the illustration appear to believe that cholera is spread by vapours from rotting waste – the miasma theory of disease. But John Snow (1813-1858) discovered that cholera is a water-borne disease. Despite this many physicians still accepted the miasma theory. The illustration was drawn by the artist and caricaturist George Cruikshank (1792-1878).

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Glossary: print

Pictorial works produced by transferring images by means of a matrix such as a plate, block, or screen, using any of various printing processes. When emphasizing the individual printed image, use "impressions." Avoid the controversial expression "original prints," except in reference to discussions of the expression's use. If prints are neither "reproductive prints" nor "popular prints," use just "prints."

Glossary: epidemic

A sudden widespread occurance of an infection with high numbers of people affected.

Glossary: cholera

A severe infection of the small intestine commonly contracted through eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea, leading to dehydration, which can be fatal.

Glossary: satire

An artistic form where human actions and errors are mocked.