London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Islington 1896

Forty-first annual report on the health and sanitary condition of the Parish of St. Mary, Islington

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At the end of 1895 there were 384 houses on the register, to
which 74 were added during 1896, making a total of 458 now
Inspector Jordan, whose labours have been greatly appreciated by
the Medical Officer of Health, has had charge of these premises, and
during the year has performed very good and most encouraging work—
encouraging because it has greatly improved the conditions under which
the occupiers live, and also because it will, without doubt, induce the
Vestry to be more willing to place tenemented houses, occupied by a
careless class of the population, on the register. There are some residences,
e.g., Elliott's Place, which, owing to the dirty habits of the
tenants, it is almost impossible to keep in a cleanly state; hut even
here matters are not nearly so bad as they were formerly.
During the twelve months the Inspector made 4,592 inspections,
1,593 calls, and had 1,309 improvements effected. His visits have been
for the most part gladly received by the tenants, who as a rule, have
assisted him in his efforts, especially when they came to understand
that his object was to improve their surroundings.
Among the chief improvements effected were those relating to the
provision of extra water closet accommodation when the premises were
occupied by more than twelve persons, to choked drains, and to overcrowding.
Many premises were also limewashed and cleansed.
In the current years the by-law respecting the cleansing of the
premises will be tightened, and the owners will be required to carry out
its most salutary obligations. It is confidently believed that this will
make an enormous improvement in these houses, which, for want of a
special Inspector, have hitherto been sadly neglected. There is nothing
which causes the befouling of the atmosphere of occupied dwellings so
much as dirty passages, stairs, ceilings and walls, nor anything that
tends to promote its purity as limewashing ceilings and walls and
washing paint work with soap and water.