(Roughly) Daily

Her Majesty’s Rat-Catcher…


Biblical Egypt had its plague of locusts, modern New York City is terrorized by bedbugs, and Victorian London had a serious rat problem. Rats scurried around the city chewing up food, clogging up drains, passing around diseases, and frightening ladies. The task of reining in the rodents fell to village farmers (desperate to save the gnawed legs of their livestock) and rat vigilantes who killed for commission or provided rats for popular dog and rat matches.

And then there was the rat’s most notorious enemy: Jack Black, Rat-Catcher to Her Majesty The Queen…

Read the extraordinary story of this scourge of rodentkind at Lapham’s Quarterly.


As we shriek “eek!”, we might spare a thought for Kitasato Shibasaburo; he died on this date in 1931.  A physician and bacteriologist, Shibasaburo discovered (essentially simultaneously with Alexandre Yersin) the bacterium Pasteurella pestis (now called Yersinia pestis), the infectious agent of bubonic plague.  Shibasaburo was also the first to grow a pure culture of the tetanus bacillus.




Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 13, 2013 at 1:01 am

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