Societies had kept records of their mortality since early times, the 1800s however saw significant advancements in the field of medical statistics such as the creation of the General Register Office, a Government Office devised to chronicle information on births and deaths. Access to more sophisticated levels of information, coupled with developments in technologies of printing and map-making allowed Snow and his contemporaries to move away from the presentation of uniform tables and figures.
From this context emerged Snow's Broad Street Map. Legend has it that this map led to the removal of the handle on the Broad Street pump-well, thus preventing the further spread of the 1854 Soho cholera epidemic – a much celebrated, landmark event in the history of public health. Although the map proved Snow's theory that cholera was caused by contaminated water, it did not stop the epidemic. The map was produced after the outbreak as an illustration to accompany Snow's greatly expanded second edition of 'On the Mode of Communication of Cholera'.
Working in response to the two maps contained in this publication, Pam Skelton's In the Event of Snow merges elements of the Broad Street map with archival photographs to form an assemblage of the social, historical and architectural cityscape of Soho. Meanwhile, Amy Sharrocks takes on ideas of mapping London's water supply in her live artwork Water Bar and Museum of Water, creating an alternative cartography of personal narratives, experiences and memories connected to water.