More people died of ‘flu between 1918 and 1920 than had been killed in World War One, yet this episode in history lies largely untold. There appear to be few local studies of the health crisis which led to many deaths, the overwhelming of the emergency and health services, the closing of schools and restrictions on the movement of people.
The main outbreaks coincide with the end of World War One, which perhaps partly explains why the ‘flu crisis is often overlooked. Yet at its height over 300 Sheffielders were dying a week. Not only were hospitals unable to cope, but with a shortage of both labour and coffins, mortuaries and undertakers were overwhelmed.