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

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Port of London 1912

Report for the year ended 31st December 1912 of the Medical Officer of Health for the Port of London

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The facts were again reported to the Board of Trade, who communicated with me
as follows:—
"2nd August, 1912.
"With reference to your letter of the 3rd ultimo, respecting the ventilator
of the crew's quarters on board the s.s.-, official number —, I am now
advised by the Board of Trade that there are two ventilators of 6-inch diameter
fitted to the after end of the forecastle in addition to the two mentioned in
your letter.
"Also the stove pipes, which are only 34-inch diameter, are so fitted as to
leave annular ventilating spaces which are good upcasts in the winter time when
the stoves are in use.
"I may mention, however, that the cowls require repairing, but the
surveyor at North Shields has taken the necessary steps to have this done.
The Board, after considering the full circumstances of the case, do not consider
additional ventilation necessary."
This example illustrates the difficulty of dealing with these cases. At the time of
sailing, the vessel was fitted with the necessary ventilation.
Beyond the fact that one was fitted over a bunk, no objection can be raised ; but
when the vessel is at sea in bad weather, the ventilator will be securely stopped, the
other ventilator will be used in winter for the passage of the funnel, so that there will
be no ventilation otherwise than that provided by the stove and the small annular space
between the stove funnel and the ventilator.
The following short notes of instances of defective ventilation refer to vessels met
with during the past year.
Built 1912. The only provision for the ventilation of the officer's
cabins was by a butterfly inlet over a door which opened into an alleyway. It was
argued that the port hole was an efficient means of ventilation, but having regard to the
expressions of the Board of Trade, respecting scuttles and skylights, it is obvious that
the porthole should not be accepted as an efficient ventilator available under all
conditions of weather.
Built 1908. The crew's quarters of this vessel were in the
forecastle. One ventilator was found fixed in a position forward of a bulkhead with an
opening on one side only. There was no ventilator at all in the actual crew space.
Built 1912. There was no ventilation of the crew's quarters
through the deck. Side ports and openings in the bulkhead only.
Built 1911. No overhead ventilation of officer's quarters—
apertures in door side only.
Sailing vessel.- Built 1873. Forecastle not ventilated. A flange
fitted for stove funnel and this was stopped up.
Built 1912. Crew's quarters in the forecastle divided by a fore
and aft bulkhead— one ventilator on one side only of the divisional bulkhead. This
was a lower forecastle. The solitary ventilator, of the "cowl" variety, was fixed right
in the nose of the vessel. The result in bad weather may be imagined.