Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Great Stink

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The Great Stink

by Clare Clark

The Great Stink
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2005, 368 pages
    Oct 2006, 372 pages

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The Crimean War (1854-1856) was fought between Russia and an alliance of countries including Britain. It is considered to be the first "modern" war, and was marked by an extraordinary level of incompetence, at least from the British point of view. The low point of the war was probably the notorious Charge of the Light Brigade, immortalized by Alfred Tennyson. One good thing did result from the Charge of the Light Brigade - it put an end to the sale of military commissions: The officer who ordered the charge was Lord Cardigan (the eponymous wearer of that useful button down garment that carries his name) who had paid £40,000 to rise from the rank of an incoming officer to Lieutenant-Colonel in just 6 years. Another good thing to come out of the Crimean war was the birth of modern nursing methods, led by Florence Nightingale.

*If you had a choice between being a tosher, mudlark, rag-and-bone man, scavenger or riverman in Victorian London, which would you ...

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