Process Paper

For National History Day, we chose to construct a website on the engineer, Joseph Bazalgette, who improved the London sewers to stop treacherous cholera epidemics during the 19th century. Our decision was heavily influenced by a television documentary about Joseph Bazalgette. The video intrigued us because it portrayed the cholera epidemic as one of the worst events in history and we sensed that it would be interesting to delve deeper into the discovery of a solution to the cholera epidemic.

We began our research by reviewing websites on the Internet. We utilized the online archive of the New York Times, acquiring primary sources in order to gather background information about how cholera affected the people. We spent time at both the Upland Public Library and the Paul A. Biane Library where we found two books. The authors of both books included primary documents in their work, which helped us create a bridge between Joseph Bazalgette and John Snow, who was another important figure during the time of cholera outbreaks. We concluded that the local libraries did not contain sufficient resources. We purchased books providing more insight into Bazalgette's actions and legacy. Two movies were also acquired during the research process. We arranged interviews with history professors. We realized that it was important to talk to people who could explain Bazalgette's world-wide legacy so we spoke with specialized companies such as the Thames Water Company in England.

Our most useful resource was access to the University of California, Berkeley's online database. The database provided us with access to thousands of articles written in Bazalgette's time. We read articles from the Times newspaper in London, which helped us to learn about Bazalgette's actions and legacy that were found in the archive. The newspaper also contained a "letters to the editor" section. These letters were fruitful resources, illustrating what the average person was thinking during the time period.

After all the research was pulled together, the creation of the website began. We selected the Content Management System, WordPress to run the website. We tried to find the best template to express Bazalgette's actions and legacies, creating a basic sketch of what was to be on the website and how it would be divided. Once all the written components were assembled on each page, the final step was to put in all the multimedia devices into the website.

Our topic relates to this year's theme because Joseph Bazalgette has a great legacy through his actions as an engineer. He was able to improve the London sewer systems great, thus increasing the sanitary conditions in London. Adding to this, his legacy extends to almost every country in the world where they use sewers to carry out the drainage. Without Bazalgette, cholera would be an imminent threat in most countries. With Bazalgette's engineering expertise and visions, he was able to create a lasting sewer system that purged London of disease and established an example of modern sewage for ages to follow.