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Amphitheatre of Death

artist Paul Quigley gets out and about with his sketchpad...

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by Paul Quigley, for outsideleft.com
Amphitheatre of Death

At a time when public health... and the idea that the health of one person is dependent on the health of everyone... is debated and contested, here's a sketch of the catacombs in Warstone Lane. Close to Birmingham's city centre but hidden from passers by, the catacombs date from the 1840s, a decade when cholera ripped through the population and, under social pressure for change, the very first English law on public health was enacted.

Sometimes described as an 'amphitheatre of death', they were built to try to cope with overflows from other local cemeteries and they take their shape from the fact that the site had previously been a quarry for sand.

Catacombs, Warstone Lane - Paul Quigley

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