Punch,  57 (1869), 208.

The St. Pancras Odour of Sanctity





Crime, Death, Utilitarianism, Class, Disease, Pollution, Sanitation, Medical Practitioners, Expertise, Hospitals

    Discusses a recent inquest held by Edwin Lankester into the death of a pauper who died at the infirmary of the notorious St Pancras Poor Law Union Workhouse. Presents an extract from the evidence given by the St Thomas's Hospital surgeon Samuel Solly who considered the workhouse to be one of the foulest places he had ever inspected and that the foul stench pervading the building was due to poor ventilation. Surprised to learn that a coroner's jury 'believed this disposition' and declared that the pauper had died from consumption accelerated by poor ventilation. Suggests that this verdict owed much to the supporting testimony of Robert B Carter, but points out that if the jurors had 'yielded to the impulse of their parochial feelings' they would have discarded the evidence of two distinguished medical men. Adds that this verdict will 'persuade the public' that the St Pancras guardians are wrong to complain of Lankester's relentless inquests into their paupers.

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