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

View report page

Bermondsey 1915

Report on the sanitary condition of the Borough of Bermondsey for the year 1915

This page requires JavaScript

evenly over the whole country. These two adjustments raised the
original estimates by about 1 per cent.
“The question of the population to be used for the calculation
of birth rates has also required consideration. The births registered
are not only those of the children of civilians, and the estimates of
civil population, therefore, form an unsuitable basis for the calculation
of birth-rates. It is impossible to frame any estimate that
would give reliable birth-rates, and it is suggested, therefore, that
the birth-rates for 1915 be based upon the existing estimates of
total population for 1914. These will sometimes be seriously in
error owing to extensive migration having occurred. Although
in such cases the Registrar-General does not possess the local
information necessary for applying any correction, it is not suggested
that this fact need preclude Medical Officers of Health from making
use of their opportunities in this direction.
“Difficulties, which will probably prove insoluble, remain as to
estimation of populations in sex and age groups and the standardising
factors dependent upon them. Moreover, the present method of
estimation will obviously not apply to 1916 or subsequent years
unless the National Register is effectively kept up to date or further
enumeration made. Nothing can at present be decided as to these
As pointed out in this memorandum, fresh factors will have to
be taken into consideration for estimating the population for 1916,
and it will hardly be possible to return to the ordinary method of
calculation until the war is over, and even then I do not think that
anything short of a fresh census enumeration will give us anything
like reliable statistics; for the war has produced not only a reduction
of the population among certain classes, but a considerable
shifting of the population from one district to the other in connection
with munitions and other work. One of the causes which in other
years we cited as reducing the population in Bermondsey, namely, the
doing away of slum property and the erection of factories and warehouses
in its place has ceased for the moment to be operative.
Now, while this new estimate of population is the proper
one to reckon the deaths on, it is not altogether correct as regards