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

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Finsbury 1910

Annual report on the public health of Finsbury for the year 1910

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In one household two such bottles were given to the mother,
but on each visit she was found to be using a long-tubed bottle,
which was very foul and dirty. She explained that her husband
insisted on her discarding the improved bottles and using the
In one case the baby itself resisted all efforts to make it take
to the tubeless bottle, and wasted until the long-tubed bottle
was restored to it.
Clothing.—In the poorer homes the babies are nearly always
found to be improperly and insufficiently clothed in flannelette.
The mothers appear to be glad to be taught and welcome the
flannel vests which are sold to them by the lady Health Visitors
at cost price, and given gratis to those too poor to pay.
In many of the schools in the district the school children have,
through the courtesy and kindness of the head-teachers, been
allowed to knit vests for the babies. The wool for these is
provided by the Health Department. In special cases where the
parents were very poor, layettes, consisting of 2 blankets,
2 night gowns, 2 petticoats, 6 diapers, 2 flannel binders, and
2 vests, were procured for each infant. The cost of these was
defrayed from a private source.
Cases illustrating the conditions found are appended :—
1. The mother, aged 22, had been deserted by her husband
shortly after marriage, and had never been supported by him.
The baby was born healthy, and at the first visit was found
scantily clothed in flannelette, with the neck and shoulders much
exposed and suffering from bronchitis.
2. A baby, extremely dirty and filthy, so much so that the
dirt seemed to be continuous with, and almost part of the skin,
was discovered in bed with nothing on.
3. A baby was found on the bare floor, under the table clad
only in a vest.