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Killer Smog Envelops Britain

Dec. 6, 1962 - The death toll in Britain’s worst smog in a decade has reached 67 in London, where conditions today were the most serious in 3 days. In the eerie capital, policemen masked against the irritating smog tried throughout the day to direct vehicles and people. Bus service virtually stopped at 8 p.m. Rail conditions were chaotic, and the roads were almost deserted. Hospitals operating under emergency conditions admitted hundreds of Londoners with chest conditions worsened by the trapped layer of polluted air. Officials warned those at home to stay there and keep their windows closed. Yesterday, the hospital count was 394, compared with the peak of 492 during the “killer” smog of 1952, when 4,000 died. In London, where a 1956 ban on coal fires is being enforced in 25% of the city’s “black areas,” a spokesman for the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research said that without the regulation “conditions would be much worse than in 1952.” The thick smog, which is especially dangerous to the elderly, failed to deter Sir Winston Churchill tonight. The 88-year-old wartime leader was driven from his London home to the Savoy Hotel to attend a dinner of The Other Club, an exclusive group he founded in 1911.


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