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

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Holborn 1927

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

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The Common Lodging House accommodation in Ilolborn is equal to 21 beds
per 1,000 of the population. The death-rate amongst common lodging house residents
is very high ; in this Borough it was 56.9 per 1,000 in 1927.
At the L.C.C. Licensing Session in June, 1927, a licence was issued for the
premises No. 35, Devonshire Street, providing accommodation for 45 women and
2 children and increasing the total accommodation in the Borough for women from
78 to 125. This common lodging house for women, know as "Cecil House," in
addition to the ordinary sanitary arrangements is provided with baths, lavatory
basins, and sinks for washing clothes; there is also a common room on the ground
floor. The charge made is Is. per night which includes use of bath and a cup of
tea and biscuits before the residents leave in the morning. The accommodation
at the house is not available during the day time. As the use of this type of
common lodging house develops the promoters may find it worth while to
consider whether, as in some other places of a similar kind, a common sitting room
should not be available for use throughout the day.
During (he year 855 houses occupied by the working classes were inspected;
this number consisted of 557 registered lodging houses and 298 non-registered
houses occupied by working classes. The total number of buildings in the Borough
occupied for dwelling purposes is given bv the Census, 1921, as 3,473. The
number of tenements occupied by working classes as returned to the London
County Council is 8,571. This figure represents the total tenements in the
Borough consisting of one, two, three or four rooms.
Housing Scheme, Betterton Street.
In the Annual Report for 1926 reference was made to a small housing scheme
undertaken by the Council in Betterton Street. Three houses were acquired and
the vacant site of a fourth house already demolished. The houses were not
suitable for reconstruction as the walls were not in the required positions nor of
the required thickness or condition. The Council therefore decided to demolish
the three houses and construct on the site a block of self-contained flats. The
building was completed in the first half of the year and was formally opened by
H.H.H. Princess Arthur of Connaught on the 7th July, 1927. The new block
of tenements is of five storeys constructed of red bricks with fire-proof floors and a
tiled roof. There is also a basement let for storage purposes.
The block comprises 15 flats, 3 on each floor giving accommodation for
approximately 75 persons in lieu of about 50 who were displaced from the old
houses. With one exception each flat has a living room, 2 bedrooms, a scullery.
W.C. and bathroom, and a coal bin. Entrance from Betterton Street is through
an archway leading to a court yard at the rear of the block and to a fire-proof
staircase. The entrance doors of the three flats on the ground floor open to the