Flushing engine cleansing infected houses, Bombay, 1897
Photograph by Captain C Moss, 1897.
Disinfecting properties was a major part of the effort to combat the spread of Bubonic Plague in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1896-1897. Flushing engines were used pump large quantities of disinfectants into houses suspected of harbouring the disease. One public health official described how 'We treated houses practically as if they were on fire, discharging into them from steam engines and flushing pumps quantities of water charged with disinfectants'. Unfortunately, the role of fleas and rats in transmitting the disease was not understood at this time, so this method was largely ineffective.
From an album of 135 photographs entitled 'Plague Visitation Bombay 1896-97'. The majority of the photographs were taken by Captain C Moss, The Gloucestershire Regiment, and the album was compiled by Mr F B Stewart for the Bombay Plague Committee, chaired by Brig Gen William Forbes Gatacre.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, Out of Copyright
National Army Museum, Study collection