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

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Bethnal Green 1925

[Report on the health of the Borough of Bethnal Green during the year 1925]

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on other customers. All brushes, etc., should be
disinfected by formalin immediately after use.
Public Swimming Baths.—The existing baths
and wash-house are, of course, well patronised, but they
quite fail to deal with the population of this Borough,
and this has resulted in the projected scheme of public
swimming baths and wash-houses, which are urgently
required.
A neighbouring Borough Council have just given
up their system for another one, so I do earnestly
advise the Council to be sure they are obtaining the
best type of installation.
A report on the subject of the purification of
swimming-bath water has been prepared (1st May,
1926) by me after a very careful and complete investi-HOUSING OF THE WORKING CLASSES
IN BETHNAL GREEN.
In regard to this subject, it may in the first instance
be unequivocally asserted that the Pneumococcus
(Pneumonia) and the Tubercle Bacillus (Tuberculosis),
two of the most deadly enemies of mankind, exert their
evil influence in inverse ratio to the decency with which
the people are housed.
Overcrowding due to shortage of houses, is indeed
most distressing and serious, and the difficulty is
enhanced by the large number of dilapidated, sunless
and damp houses. Devitalized air, absence of sunlight
and cleanliness, dampness, deficiency in sleeping and
sanitary accommodation, are constantly met with in
these houses and result in impaired health, rampant
disease and not infrequently immorality. Slum properties
are common and situated in narrow streets,
courts and alleys. In the East ward, the density of
population per acre was about 198 (excluding park


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