Gasworks and coal-fired power stations contributed greatly to the pollution of the capital. A Londoner invented the word 'smog' in 1905 to describe the city's treacherous combination of natural fog and coal smoke.
By then, the dirty, smelly, smoke-filled 'pea-soupers' were familiar to everyone in London. Sometimes, the entire Beckton area was enveloped in its own private fog from the local works. This 1920s photograph demonstrates just how thick the smog could get.
The attached video file describes how a member of the deaf community experienced a thick smog during the 1950s. A mixture of pollution from power stations, factories and homes resulted in a 'pea-souper' along the banks of the River Thames.