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Water Carrier


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Elizabethans knew of the need for personal cleanliness, but water supplies, mainly wells and streams, could become contaminated as there was no system to remove human and animal waste. Livestock markets were held in the streets where the cattle were also slaughtered.

The Corporation set up 'muck hills' shown in the lower left illustration, and fines were imposed on those who did not use them. Shakespeare's father was fined in 1552 for making a muckheap near his house in Henley Street instead of using the authorised place.

Butchers were ordered to throw away 'garbages' out of the town and pigs left to roam the streets were impounded.

Outbreaks of disease were common with serious results for children. In the 1560's when Shakespeare was born, only one in three children survived into adulthood.

17th Jun 2005

English, History

Key Stages:
Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

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