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

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Holborn 1933

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

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Boswell Court Housing Scheme.
During the year the third block comprised in this scheme became ready for
ocupation thus completing the scheme for the provision of 62 tenements for
working-class families. (A description of the flats was given in the Annual Report
for 1932, page 27.)
When the list of applications for tenancies was closed, four months before the
date of opening, more than 400 applications had been received for the flats.
Applicants were selected from Holborn residents living in unsatisfactory conditions,
in a number of cases there being large families in single room tenements. Many
of the tenants are employed in market work, in hotels and restaurants, or other
occupations where the hours of labour necessitate residence near to the places
of work.
Accommodation on L.C.C. Estates.
During the year 52 applications for accommodation on L.C.C. estates were
submitted through the Council's Public Health Department. During the same
period information was received of 43 Holborn families for whom accommodation
was provided by the London County Council. This arrangement with the L.C.C.
is primarily to secure reduction in overcrowding, that is, to provide housing
accommodation for families residing more than two per room, but other cases of
hardship are also eligible for consideration.
With a view to preventing vermin infestation in the Council's dwellings, the
homes of applicants are inspected before the tenants are accepted and, in addition,
incoming tenants arc furnished with a memorandum of advice drawn up by me,
which is explained to them where necessary by the Public Health Staff. A careful
watch is kept by the Sanitary Inspectors and Health Visitors for the appearance of
bugs in these dwellings and the tenants are instructed as may be necessary.
Holborn Housing Trust Ltd.
Tn connection with the provision of suitable housing accommodation for
Holborn workers it is a pleasure to record the formation, under the Presidency of
Mr. Stuart Bevan, K.C., M.P., and the Chairmanship of Alderman Percy Hill,
L.C.C., of the Holborn Housing Trust Ltd., with the object of erecting workingclass
dwellings in Holborn at the lowest economic rent. In a communication
received during the preparation of this report, the Honorary Secretary of the Trust
(Mrs. P. J. S. Bevan) writes: " At present the Trust has secured a small site,
Xos. 36 and 37, Devonshire Street, and plans have been prepared for the building
of ton flats with a roof playground."
Arising out of the growing practice of converting residences into one-room
flatlets, a number of which have in Holborn been so converted, after careful
inspections of these premises had been made by the Public Health Staff and a
report issued, the Council supported a suggestion that legislation should be
introduced to enable appropriate local authorities to make and enforce by-laws to
control premises thus converted, somewhat on the lines of the by-laws relating to
houses let-in-lodgings. In such flatlets questions arise respecting refuse bins,