Date with history: The Great Smog chokes London

Thousands died in the British capital when air pollution and unusual weather combined on December 5 1952 – and emissions still kill many today, says Jane Burston.

The World Today
Published 2 December 2022 Updated 1 December 2022 2 minute READ

Jane Burston

Executive Director, Clean Air Fund

A cold snap at the start of December 1952 had Londoners stoking their coal fires to fend off the chill. By December 5, the smoke from their chimneys had helped to engulf the capital in a yellow-black sulphurous smog that would hang around for five days and prove quite deadly.

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