Oxford History: Cholera


Notice issued just before St Giles’ Fair in 1832


Caution and Remonstrance.

To all Drunkards and Revellers, and to the thoughtless and imprudent of both Sexes.

You were told by the Oxford Board of Health on the Fifth of last December, (above Six Months before the Indian Disease had reached this City), that those had been the greatest sufferers from Cholera who had been in the habit of indulging most freely in Spirituous Liquors, and that the habits of life should be regular and temperate. You were told by the Board the same salutary truths on the Twenty-seventh of last July, when the Disease began to scatter Death amongst us. You are now told for the third time, that Death and Drunkenness go hand in hand in these times of Epidemic Sickness. But you should consider the present Warning more weighty and more impressive than either of the other two, because it is given you after Two Months of sad and fearful experience. The Oxford Board of Health for the third time admonishes and intreats you to forbear and to abstain from all acts of intemperance and imprudence. Beware of late and long sittings, dancings, revellings, surfeitings, and such like. Beware of mixed, crowded, and unknown Companies in the distempered atmospheres of Booths, Show Rooms, and Canvas or Boarded Apartments. — Infection lurks a long time in Stone or Brick Buildings; it is impossible to say how long it may continue in the materials of Wooden, Woollen, and Hempen inclosures; and who knows where the Booths of a Fair were last erected, or how many of a sick population may have been crowded within them? But especially beware of Drunkenness, for it has been found to bite as a serpent and to sting as an adder. Many who have raised the cup in merriment to their lips, have in agony lamented their excesses, and at their deaths have left a last legacy of warning to the Drunkard. Let all beware who think no cost too great for the purchase of present pleasure — Death smites with its surest and swiftest arrows the licentious and intemperate — the rash, fool-hardy, and imprudent.

By Order of the Board of Health


September 1, 1832


Report on 1832 outbreak

Outbreaks by street, 1832

© Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 8 July, 2021

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