about writing and life and God

Full marks

on May 4, 2018

Wick to Aberdeen 2018 020.JPG

Yesterday, late afternoon, I popped in to Aberdeen’s Central Library and told the Reference staff what I was looking for in the way of research for the next book. I returned this morning – to find a stack of papers and books and newspaper cuttings waiting for me.

Brilliant! Everything they had found was relevant and I spent  a happy morning poring over the materials and taking copious notes.

The material documented the typhoid outbreak in Aberdeen in 1964 – so it’s no surprise, I’m not illustrating the blog today with subject-specific photographs!

The story is one of brilliant PR by the medical officer in charge, and brilliant detective work that identified the source and the cause: one 6lb can of corned beef from an Argentinian  canning factory whose chlorination plant had failed for eighteen months, allowing sewage-polluted water to be used to cool the cans of processed meat – which was later, when opened, placed on an unheated window in sunlight during the day in one grocery shop in Aberdeen. The preponderance of female victims was put down to diet-conscious women eating more cold meat and salad than their male counterparts.

So the moral of the story is… perhaps not!



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