Smog was a deadly mixture of natural airborne moisture in the form of fog combining with domestic and industrial smoke pollution.
Peter Ackroyd describes smog as “perhaps the worst of all London fogs”.
Commenting on the nature of fog he cites Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. (1886) “ in which the fable of changing identities and secret lives takes place within the medium of the cities ‘shifting insubstantial mists’. In many respects the city itself is the changeling, it’s appearance altering when ‘the fog would be quite broken up, and a haggard shaft of daylight would glance in between the swirling wreaths’. Where good and evil live side by side, and thrive together, the strange destiny of Dr Jekyll does not seem quite so incongruous”.
The three short films that make up Smog reflect the ambiguous nature of London, glorious and dismal, natural and cultural, ancient and new.