During the Black Death & the Great Plague, doctors who visited plague victims donned a mask which resembled a vulture's beak with glass eye openings & two small nose holes. It served as a type of respirator & contained aromatic items such as dried flowers, spices, herbs, or a vinegar sponge. Historians have attributed the invention of the "beak doctor" costume to Charles de Lorme, who adopted the full head-to-toe protective garment in 1619, modeled after a soldier's armour.
In the summer of 1665, the Great Plague stalked the City of London and halted the prosperity of everything, including the wealthy districts surrounding the Royal Exchange. Measures were taken: great fires were set at the exchange entrances on Throgmorton and Cornhill streets...
Plague Masks. During the period of the Black Death and the Great Plague of London, plague doctors visited victims of the plague to verify whether they have been afflicted or not. The beak was stuffed with spices or herbs to "purify" the air that the doctor breathed. It has been questioned how much this costume was actually worn; the greater part of doctors fled the cities in the early stages of the plague. Source: http://www.facebook.com/ICannotGotoBed
Ring Around The Rosie. This rhyme dates back to the Great Plague of London in 1665. The symptoms of bubonic plague included a rosy red ring-shaped rash, which inspired the first line. It was believed that the disease was carried by bad smells, so people frequently carried pockets full of fresh herbs, or "posies." The "ashes, ashes" line is believed to refer to the cremation of the bodies of those who died from the plague.
The Great Plague (1665–1666) was the last major epidemic of the bubonic plague to occur in the Kingdom of England (part of modern day United Kingdom). It happened within the centuries-long time period of the Second Pandemic, an extended period of intermittent bubonic plague epidemics which began in Europe in 1347, the first year of the "Black Death" and lasted until 1750.
As pretty as a picture (but a lot more deadly): Killer diseases as you've never seen them before