It was the first week of October 1918. The Great War was drawing to a victorious end for the Allies, yet the town of Watford was seeing its first case of a mysterious new illness. Over the next few weeks there would be many more cases in the town of the disease which swiftly became known as Spanish flu, claiming 228,000 lives in the United Kingdom and 50 million lives worldwide.
This presentation gives a case study of Spanish flu in Watford, in 1918 an industrial town of 45,000 residents: when it arrived, how many people were affected, what measures were undertaken in a world before antibiotics and a National Health Service, and what the aftermath was. The presentation also attempts to draw parallels with our own current experience: what are the differences and what are the similarities.