The Great Trouble

The Great Trouble
Written by Deborah Hopkinson

Eel, an orphan, and his best friend Florrie must help Dr. John Snow prove that cholera is spread through water, and not poisonous air, when an epidemic sweeps across their London neighborhood in 1854.

Primary Source Pairing:
The Broad Street Pump is a character in and of itself in this medical mystery about the cholera outbreak in London in 1854. For this primary source pairing, there are two images students can view and analyze. First is the original map created by John Snow to track the outbreaks of the Blue Death, or cholera. Second is an image of the Broad Street Pump. From my experience with this image, a student was surprised to see what the pump actually looked like. He had visualized something totally different. To learn more about John Snow, visit the John Snow Archive and Research Companion website.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What size and shape is the map?
  • What graphical elements do you see?
  • What on the map looks strange or unfamiliar?
  • Describe anything that looks like it does not belong on a map.
  • What place or places does the map show?
  • What words do you see?
  • Who made this map? Why?
  • What does this map tell you about what the people who made it knew and what they didn’t?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
John Snow’s original map: Wikipedia (large sized image available here)
Broad Street Pump: John Snow Archive and Research Companion website