From the UK Telegraph on 5 April 2011: Medieval London: 10 disgusting facts. Ahead of BBC Two's new history series, Filthy Cities, we list some revolting facts about how dirty medieval London was.
1. The inhabitants of medieval London (human and animal) produced 50 tons of excrement a day.
2. In medieval London, there were no pavements - people had to walk on the bare earth. Except, unfortunately, it wasn't bare earth - the ground was covered with the excrement of both people and animals, as well as animal entrails and rotting food.
3. Eventually, many streets became impassable, so muck-rakers were hired to clean them as best they could. Though the job was abhorrent, the muck-rakers were paid much better than the average working man.
4. In the 14th century, Sherborne Lane in East London was so disgusting that it was officially known as Shiteburn Lane.
5. It was illegal in medieval London to empty chamber pots out of windows. Not that this always stopped people doing it, of course.
6. In 1369, King Edward III demanded that butchers be banned from slaughtering animals within the City of London because of the stench from blood and offal. Rotting meat was commonly dumped in the Thames.
7. In 1345, a law was passed stating that anyone dumping refuse in the street would be fined two shillings - at the time, a considerable sum.
8. Pigs owned by the Hospitallers of St Antony, a charitable order, were allowed to roam the streets of medieval London freely.
9. Between 1348 and 1665, there were 16 outbreaks of the plague in London. During the Black Death of 1348-49, a third of London's inhabitants died or fled.
10. Other causes of terrible smells in medieval London were the tanneries, where leather would be boiled. People rarely washed or changed their clothes.
Filthy Cities - Medieval London -©BBC