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

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City of London 1848

Report on the sanitary condition of the City of London for the year 1848-9

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hinder the occupation of houses which breed pestilence
; to destroy such as are irremediably hostile
to health, and to disperse the stifled population of
courts and alleys; to establish public baths and
laundries which may offer to the poor the utmost
facilities and inducement for the maintenance of
personal cleanliness; in the stead of such courts as
we may hope to depopulate and destroy, but in
open streets and with perfect ventilation, to erect
and to place at the disposal of the labouring classes,
houses and lodgings, which not only may offer to
their inhabitants every convenience essential to
health, and decency, and comfort, but may likewise
serve as models of household economy for the
whole district in which they stand;—these, Gentlemen,
are the heads, briefly recapitulated, under
which I have been obliged, as it were casually in
my Report, to touch on many subjects perhaps
foreign to your jurisdiction, but lying at least on
the confines of your province, and which it now
remains with you either to retain or to transfer.
That the subject of sanitary improvement in its
widest scope, and with all that even incidentally
relates to it, is one which, according to the ancient
constitution of the City, rightfully belongs to the
authorities of the Corporation, in some one or other
of their municipal relations—that it belongs to
them equally as their privilege and their duty, cannot
for a moment be questioned. And if your

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