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

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Holborn 1937

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

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National Rat Week.
In response to the request of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, "Rat
Week "was observed in the Borough in the week commencing 1st November,
The following is a summary of the action taken:—
(i) Prior to the week the District Sanitary Inspectors visited premises
known or suspected to be rat infested, and advised that intensive action
for dealing with the nuisance should be taken during rat week. In a
number of cases definite arrangements for such action were made.
(ii) The preparatory visits were followed by revisits during or after rat week
when the Inspectors reported that the agreed action had been taken.
(iii) Letters weie sent to all chemists and hardware dealers in the Borough
asking them to stock and display, during rat week, suitable poisons
and traps.
(iv) The Ministry of Agriculture Poster was exhibited throughout the
(v) The rat baits laid in the Council's sewers were increased in rat week to
4,000, uid during the last week in December this increased number
was repeated by placing 4,000 baits in the same sewers.
In connection with this the Borough Engineer and Surveyor writes:—
"Rat repression is so successful in the sewers of the Borough that
difficulty is experienced in getting all the baits taken owing to the continuous
cleansing of the sewers and systematic laying of baits. In fact, in
many sewers it is quite unusual to find any rats or traces of them.
"The Sewer Foreman and the Sewer Gangers all speak highly of the
efficiency of the baits used."
Drainage Works.
Every house in the Borough is connected with the water carriage system for
the disposal of sewage. Work connected with new drainage, reconstruction of
dd systems and alterations to existing drainage, is supervised by the Sanitary
During the year 112 applications were received for the Council's approval to
proposed drainage and sanitary works. All the applications received were
approved, subject in some instances to amendments being made which were
necessary in order to secure compliance with the London County Council Drainage
Smoke Abatement.
The smoke shafts in the Borough were kept under frequent inspection, 215
observations being recorded. A number of these were made in the early morning,
when smoke pollution is more prevalent; and frequently the observations extended
for periods of not less than one hour, Nine complaints were received of nuisances

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