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

View report page

Lewisham 1856

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

This page requires JavaScript

The returns of mortality of the entire District exhibit an increase over those of last
month, which may be in some measure accounted for by the considerable changes of
temperature which have taken place, and which have affected the mortality, as regards
aged people and infants.

The maximum temperature in the shade, occurred on the 31st of August, when the thermometer was read 74 degrees; since which time it has been as low as 30 degrees.

Ditto Workhouse12
St. George's Infant Poorhouse1

3 deaths from diarrhoea have occurred in the Lewisham "Ward, viz. :—
1 in Home's Dale; 1 in Loampit Hill; 1 in Lewisham Village; and 1 (dysentery) in
Lewisham Terrace.
2 deaths from diarrhoea in Blackheath "Ward:—
1 in Garden Row; 1 in Granville Terrace.
1 death from diarrhoea in Raglan Street, Sydenham.
1 hooping cough.
2 deaths from diarrhoea in Penge, viz :—
1 in Anerley Vale; 1 in Oakfield Road.
These cases occur almost invariably in localities which I have before called your
attention to as being in an unhealthy condition, and the disease is still prevalent.
Hooping cough of a severe character is prevalent at Penge.
Three cases of poisoning have occurred in Sydenham, from the dangerous practice of
mixing pernicious ingredients with sweetmeat ornaments; the admixture in these
instances consisting of a preparation of arsenic and copper, remarkable for its beautiful
green colour and poisonous nature. The substance was not, however, purchased in this
District, or I should have thought it right to have taken steps to prevent its future sale.
Penge.—I have to request your attention to the offensive and unwholesome state of
some of the houses at Penge, from insufficient drainage.
A drain from the " Crooked Billet" Inn, and houses adjacent, has become blocked up,
and both this and the ditch into which it empties, at the back of some of the shops, are
in a most filthy condition, together with the water course into which the greater part
of the sewage of Penge ultimately collccts as it runs towards the Ravensbourne.
Some cases of hooping cough in one of the houses above-mentioned are very bad,
and I have no doubt are rendered so by the imperfect drainage and offensive condition
of the house in which they reside.
A very offensive nuisance and prejudicial to health has occurred near the Waterman's
Asylum, Penge, from the contents of some privies having been emptied upon the surface
of the ground, in close contiguity with the inhabited houses.
Would it not be of great importance that a scavenger should be appointed, and
employed to remove all such offensive matter away from the neighbourhood of dwelling
houses ?
A nuisance has also occurred at the Anerley Industrial School, from the bursting of a
drain pipe in the Infirmary. This has however been remedied.
Sydenham.—A very disgusting effluvium is complained of when the offensive liquor
from a cesspool in the cellar of the " Rock and Fountain" public house, is pumped
out into the street.
A sewer has existed in this locality for some years, into which not more than six