Coloured cartoon from the Northern Looking Glass 17 September 1825 entitled "Consumption of Smoke: Present". It refers to a letter written by Glasgow's Superintendent of Public Works, James Cleland, published as Letter to the Hon Mungo Nutter Campbell, of St. Catherine's, Lord Provost of Glasgow ... respecting the consumption of smoke, in the furnaces of steam engines, about the need to address the growing problem of atmospheric pollution in the city.
The cartoon presents an exaggerated view of the problem, showing birds falling dead from the sky, and people in the streets below left coughing, wheezing and groping their way through the toxic fumes. The ironic memorial plaque on the chimney on the left reads "Mem. Pos. Jac. Watt" - an ironic reference to James Watt, the pioneer of the steam engine who was ultimately responsible for the smoke nuisance.
Reference: Sp Coll Bh14-x.8
Glasgow University Library, Special Collections
atmospheric pollution, birds, factory chimneys
, Glasgow Looking Glass, lithographs, Northern Looking Glass, smoke, Superintendent of Public Works, women