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Dirt: The filthy reality of everyday life - in pictures

If you’re a germaphobe, it’s probably best to look away now. A major exhibition at the London-based Wellcome Collection examines the uncleanliness of human life.

From Roman sewage to 19th Century ‘disinfectors’ and modern day landfill sites, the exhibition explores the various ways civilisation has dealt with its own grime.

It encompasses the medical, the scientific, the sociological and the artistic manifestations of dirt. A welcome relief from the heavily sanitised view of life we normally see.

The collection has been gathered together for the Wellcome Trust’s ‘dirt’ season, in order to survey our “often misunderstood” and “complex” relationship with it.

Highlights include a ‘cholera preventive costume’ (for which the wearer is asked to don the best part of a tree); ‘Monster soup’, otherwise known as the contents of Thames Water as drawn by William Heath; and a pastoral view of the ‘great dust heap’ beside London’s King’s Cross circa 1840.

Click here or on the image to view the exhibition in pictures

‘Dirt: The filthy reality of everyday life’ is at the Wellcome Collection until 31 August 2011.