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

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Battersea 1932

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Battersea Borough]

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Rag Flock Acts, 1911 and 1928.
These Acts were passed to prevent the use of material known
as rag flock, unless such material complies with the standard of
cleanliness laid down in the Act.
No proceedings were taken under these Acts in Battersea
during 1932.
Rats and Mice (Destruction) Act, 1919.
This Act, which became operative on the 1st January, 1920,
imposes on local authorities and occupiers of premises additional
responsibilities in connection with rat repression.
The work carried out during 1932 under the Council's Rat
Repression Scheme is summarised as follows :—
Premises visited 1,561
Poison baits used 23,400
Dead rats found 1,129
Contracts made or
renewed 17
Value of contracts £209 0 0
Cash for poison bait £7 18 6
Total expenditure (financial year 1932-33) £490 8 1
Income (financial year 1932-33) £217 18 1
Drains were tested at 80 premises in connection with this
work, and in 72 cases were found to be defective. Most of these
defective drains were in private houses. The presence of rats
in houses is usually regarded as prima facie evidence of drain
defects. The work of the Rat Officer therefore is carried on in close
co-operation with that of the district Sanitary Inspectors.
As in previous years an intensive effort for the repression of
rats was organised during "Rat Week" (7th to 12th November).
Bait was laid in the sewers, and was supplied to all applicants
during the week free of charge. The co-operation of the public
was invited by posters and advertisements and other forms of
propaganda including the exhibition of the rat film lent by the
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. The results were good,
considerable numbers of rats being found dead.
It is difficult to assess the value of such work by the number
of rats killed, but I am informed that after Rat Week enormous
numbers of dead rats are found at the main sewer outlet.
It is also found that considerable interest is taken by the public
in the Council's successful efforts for the repression of rats in the
Borough and the consequent diminution in the damage (apart from
the risk to health) caused by their depredations.
Fouling of Footways by Dogs.
It was not found necessary during the year to institute
proceedings under the by-law made by the Council in 1927
(and renewed in 1929) with regard to the fouling of footways by
dogs. Only one contravention was reported, and by order of the
Committee a cautionary letter was addressed to the offender.
The application of this by-law to the Borough appears undoubtedly
to have effected a diminution of this objectionable form of
nuisance on the public footways.