New walk created to celebrate doctor who helped defeat cholera

A NEW walking route has been created in York to celebrate the life and legacy of a doctor from the city who played a key role in tackling cholera.

The John Snow Walk runs through the Hudson Quarter, a mixed-use development located opposite the railway station and just a short distance from North Street, where Dr John Snow was born and lived until his teens.

Dr Snow was born into a labourer’s family in 1813 and was apprenticed to a surgeon at 14 and moved to London to start his formal medical education.

He famously controlled and eliminated the cholera outbreak in London’s Soho in 1854.

At the time, it was assumed that cholera was airborne but Dr Snow argued that it entered the body through the mouth.

After careful investigation, including plotting cases of cholera on a map of the area, Snow was able to identify a water pump in Broad (now Broadwick) Street as the source of the disease.

He had the handle of the pump removed, and cases of cholera immediately began to diminish. However, Snow’s ‘germ’ theory of disease was not widely accepted until the 1860s.

Snow was also a pioneer in the field of anaesthetics. By testing the effects of controlled doses of ether and chloroform on animals and on humans, he made those drugs safer and more effective.

He was responsible for giving chloroform to Queen Victoria at the birth of two of her children, Leopold and Beatrice.

A sign marking the new route, which links the railway station with the Micklegate area, was unveiled at a ceremony at Hudson Quarter, attended by representatives of developers Palace Capital plc, the NHS Trust, the Lord Mayor of York and the John Snow Society.

Neil Sinclair, chief executive of Palace Capital, said: “We wanted to celebrate the life and achievements of Dr John Snow as he was a pioneer in public health and grew up so close to the Hudson Quarter.

“His legacy is even more relevant, give the current Covid pandemic situation and the efforts health authorities around the world are conducting at the moment.

“As an international pioneering figure in the fields of anaesthesia, epidemiology and public health, this new walking route is a fitting way to raise the profile of Dr John Snow in the City where he was born.”

Jimmy Whitworth, Co-Chair of the John Snow Society, added: “It’s great that the ground-breaking work of Dr John Snow is being commemorated in his home City of York and his achievements fully recognized on this development, very close to where he achievements was born.”

Hudson Quarter, which was completed last April, features 127 apartments and 39,000 sq ft of Grade A office space, set around a new courtyard and landscaped grounds.

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