It’s those crazy health & safety rules again

If you should ever, in your spare moments, happen to invent a time machine and travel back to Victorian England, you might want to think twice about eating the bread.

This report to the Government from 1862 recommended bringing bakehouses under a regulatory regime, as slaughterhouses already were at the time.

…in many cases [the bakehouses had an] almost total covering of cobwebs, weighed down with the flour dust that had accumulated upon them, and hanging in strips just above your head.

A heavy tread or a blow upon the floor above, brought down large fragments of them, as I witnessed on more than one occasion; and as the rafters immediately over the troughs in which the dough is made are as thickly hung with them as any other part of the bakehouse, masses of cobwebs must be frequently falling into the dough.

Animals in considerable numbers crawled in and out of and upon the troughs where bread was made, and upon the adjoining walls. The dust had accumulated upon the broken and uneven floors. The smells from the drains, etc. were very offensive, the draft of the oven continually drawing effluvia through the bakehouse.

There cannot be a doubt that the public has a right to insist that their bread shall not be made in such filthy places as these, and that means shall be taken to put a stop to the injury that must be inflicted by then upon the health of the journeymen.

It is, as it appears to me, fairly argued by those who desire to see bakehouses placed under a system of inspection, that if slaughterhouses are inspected and subjected to regulations on sanitary grounds, but for the satisfaction of the public, in such an important matter as that of making of their daily bread, that bakehouses should be dealt with on a similar principle…

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