Pest house

  (Redirected from Fever shed)

A pest house, plague house, pesthouse or fever shed was a type of building used for persons afflicted with communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, smallpox or typhus. Often used for forcible quarantine, many towns and cities had one or more pesthouses accompanied by a cemetery or a waste pond nearby for disposal of the dead.

1865 depiction of the pest house and plague pit in Finsbury Fields

Fever sheds in CanadaEdit

Fever sheds were built in several communities across Eastern Canada in 1847, to quarantine sick and dying Irish immigrants, who contracted typhus during the voyage to the New World during the Great Famine.


In Montreal, between 3,500 and 6,000 Irish immigrants died in fever sheds in a quarantine area known as Windmill Point. Three sheds were initially constructed, 150 feet (46 m) long by 40 to 50 feet (15 m) wide. As thousands more sick immigrants landed, more sheds had to be erected.[1] The number of sheds would grow to 22, with troops cordoning off the area so the sick could not escape.[2]


In Toronto, during the summer of 1847, 863 Irish immigrants died of typhus at fever sheds built by the Toronto Board of Health at the northwest corner of King and John Street. There were at least 12 sheds, 22 metres long by 7.5 metres wide. [3][4]

Saint JohnEdit

Partridge Island, New Brunswick, just outside the main harbour of Saint John, was chosen as the location for a pest house and quarantine station as far back as 1785. In 1847, with a large influx of Irish migrants, the typhus epidemic quickly filled the fever shed with sick and dying. By the 1847 typhus season, 2115 people had died in New Brunswick, with 1196 dying at Partridge Island and in Saint John.[5]

Surviving pest housesEdit

United StatesEdit

The Pest House in Wood County, Ohio.

United KingdomEdit

Pest house in Findon, England

There are seven surviving pest houses, including:

Deddington, Oxfordshire has a Pest House Field.[7]

Richmond, London has a Pesthouse common.

  • Great Chart, Kent

The NetherlandsEdit

There is an extant pest house in Maastricht and in Leiden, the Pesthuis (nl).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Gallagher, The Reverend John A. (1936). "The Irish Emigration of 1847 and Its Canadian Consequences". CCHA Report, University of Manitoba Web Site. Retrieved 2008-03-23. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Bruemmer, Rene (2009-05-30). "Seeking hope, they found death". Montreal Gazette. Canwest. Archived from the original on 2013-10-24. Retrieved 2009-05-30. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Toronto's Historical Plaques". Irish Immigrants and the Fever Sheds 1847. Retrieved 21 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "The UnderTOw: The Fever Sheds". BlogTO. 11 April 2007. Retrieved 21 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "1967.25A-C | Partridge Island". McCord Museum. Montreal. Retrieved 22 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Findon’s Pest House
  7. ^ The Pest House Field

External linksEdit