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How Norwich Fought Against the Plague: Lessons from the Past

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Frank Meeres looks at the outbreak of bubonic plague in the city from the first wave in 1348-1349 to its last in 1666-67.  This book shows how decisions made at the time affected the city of Norwich in many ways.

Description

The global pandemic of 2020-21 has upset the lives of millions throughout the world bringing into stark reality the fragility of our way of life or even human existence. It has highlighted how well we react in a crisis and how the decisions taken by civic authorities can ensure the safety or otherwise of the population.

In this book Norwich historian Frank Meeres, through a close examination of surviving records from different periods, looks at the outbreak of bubonic plague in the city from the first wave in 1348-1349 to its last in 1666-67. The reader will find that they used familiar ways of combating the disease: isolation, lockdown, shielding, movement restrictions, closure of schools and places of entertainment and social distancing. There was also a recognition that certain ‘key workers’ were needed to ensure society continued to function as normally as possible. While some made fortunes, the devastating effect on the economy, with the poorest in society being the worst hit, is perhaps the least well documented.

Some historians argue that plague heralded in seismic changes as a ‘new normal’ led to rapid social change: this book shows how decisions made at the time affected the city of Norwich in many ways.

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