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Brecon and district
Cholera at Brecon
  Disease hits the town in 1854  

In the Victorian period towns across the whole of Britain grew rapidly as people moved into them from the countryside to work in new industries.
Brecon was not one of the great industrial towns but it did expand in the Victorian period as it was a thriving market and centre for the area and a stopping off place for travellers.

  Although Brecon had some fine new buildings in the early Victorian period, the houses for the poorer working people were on the whole cramped, damp and badly ventilated.
A report of 1845 said Bailey Glas, Kensington, the head of the Struet, and Heol Hwnt in Llanfaes were the worse affected. These conditions were bad enough in themselves but even worse they were perfect for the spread of disease.
Another problem was the lack of clean drinking water. The town got its water from an open reservoir below the Priory churchyard.

The water was pumped into it from the river and then fed around the town through pipes. Because it was open, dirt and leaves blew into it and the river water itself was often muddy and full of debris.
A further problem was that of sewerage. Many houses in Brecon shared toilets which emptied into the river or canal. Some drained into open pits which were emptied for manure every now and again. These conditions too would help to spread disease.

Cholera was a disease which first came to Britain just before Victoria came to the throne. In the years which followed there were deadly outbreaks in many cities and minor outbreaks in Brecon.
In 1854 a much more serious outbreak hit the town...


More about cholera in Brecon...


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