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

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Hammersmith 1971

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

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The following table summarises the work of the Rodent Control Staff during 1971.

Type of Property
1. Number of properties in district65,836
2. (a) Total number of properties (including nearby premises) inspected following notification2,982
(b) Number infested by(i) Rats716
(ii) Mice2,157
3. (a) Total number of properties inspected for Rats and/or Mice for reasons other than notifications.360
(b) Number infested by(i) Rats4
(ii) Mice19
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Complaints in respect of pigeons continue to be received. The nuisance
they cause includes fouling of washing, buildings and personal clothing;
disturbance in the early hours by noise etc. A much more serious hazard
has been the discovery of dead birds and their droppings in water cisterns
where the pigeons have gained access to lofts. Not all drinking water is
direct from the mains and most people clean their teeth in the bathroom
where the water supply is via the storage tank. This potential hazard to
health in the case of a normal household is multiplied fifty or one hundred
times in the case of multi-storied buildings. It is surprising therefore
that in an age where personal hygiene and food hygiene are so greatly
publicised and so steadily improving that so many people should continue
to feed these pests and encourage their breading.
This misplaced zeal in the love of pigeons on occasions transcends normal
civilized behaviour and results in violence being offered to the contractor
employed by the Council to get rid of the birds. Recently, in the course
of his duties, which he performs as unobtrusively as possible in order
to avoid the abuse and threats which are more or less normal to his work,
he was physically attacked by a lady and his shirt and pullover torn in
the ensuing struggle. The lady in question accompanied him to a nearby
Police Station where she apologised for her actions. The apology was
accepted and the matter closed.
This attitude on the part of this small section of the population negates
the efforts of the Council to rid the Borough of these pests. Following
complaints, pockets of infestation are cleared, but complete clearance
will never be completed without the co-operation of all concerned in
terminating indiscriminate feeding of the birds.

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