Annual tidal overflow of the Thames River flooded less prosperous areas of London, leaving behind “a trail of misery . . . and a damp, noxious, fever-breeding atmosphere.”
Smith and Thomson decided to photograph the once-prosperous Rowletts in front of the rag shop that they owned and lived in to show that the floods caused long-term financial losses and health problems that drove even the middle class into poverty. The woman with the baby lived in the house next door; her entire family suffered constant colds and rheumatism from the persistent dampness.
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