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

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Lewisham 1856

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Lewisham District]

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without contract, by labourers in their employ acting under the
Surveyor of the Board, in
Dartmouth Road, west side, 318 feet 12 inch Pipe

Thus the total length of sewers constructed during the year is as follows:—

Brick Sewers39by265618
Pipe Sewers12 inch2142
9 inch785
— 2927
Total length13,200 feet.

Before leaving the subject of sewerage it will be well to explain
the cause and result of the litigation in which the Board have
unfortunately been involved with the representatives of the late Mr.
Stainton, of Springfield House, Lewisham, in consequence of the
construction of the sewers in Rushey Green.
The sewers were commenced in March, and completed in the
following month, and in June the solicitors of the late Mr.
Stainton intimated to the Board that the water was withdrawn
from their clients' ponds and watercourses, as they were informed
in consequence of the defective construction of the sewers, and
that if the sewers were made water-tight the water would return;
they were therefore advised to take proceedings against the
Board to compel them to make the sewers water-tight, unless they
were willing to effect that object without such proceedings. The
Board, however, declined to alter the construction of the sewers,
foreseeing the enormous expense involved in complying with the
request made, and that water-tight sewers would not answer the
purpose desired unless the Board, on their part, compelled every
owner (at least at a treble cost) to lay down water-tight drains to
communicate with such sewers; and that such water-tight sewers
and drains (if practicable) would simply drain the houses with
which they were connected, and not the soil itself, which was of
so wet a nature as to be very prejudicial to health.
A suit was at once instituted against the Board, which was heard
in December; the hearing of the case occupied the greater part of
four days, and was argued by the Attorney General, Mr. Roundell
Palmer, Mr. Lloyd, and Mr. Selwyn (Queen's Counsel), and several
junior counsel. It is unnecessary here to enlarge on the facts or
arguments adduced, as they are fully given in the judgment of the
Master of the Rolls, of which an abstract is appended to this report.
The result fully justified the course adopted by the Board, the
bill being dismissed, although without costs.