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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Week ending.Weight of air. Barometer corrected. Mean inches.Temperature of Air. Thermometer.Prevailing winds.Rainy days.Amount of rain in inches.
Highest.Lowest.Mean of daily readings.
Nov. 1.30.16556 731 444 7N.E.&calm.10.34
8.30.23657 729 043 4N. E.30.23
15.29.64949 829 038 3N.40.12
22.30.02552 623 842 3N. W.10.15

Sydenham, November 27th, 1856.
The returns of mortality for the month, from 23rd of November to 20th of December,
are of a very favourable character as regards the number of deaths in Blackheath,
Penge, and Sydenham; but in the Lewisham Ward the mortality is a little in excess of
the monthly average; the principal number of deaths have occurred amongst the aged
and infants, 2 deaths having been recorded in persons above 60 years of age, 3 in those
above 70, and 4 in those above 80 years of age; 6 deaths have occurred in children
under 2 years of age.

A death has occurred from a bad form of scarlatina in Camden Cottages, Blackheath with this exception, there has been no mortality from zymotic disease.

Union Workhouse31

Appended, are meteorological tables for the month; also an alphabetical summary of
the nuisances, &c., injurious to the health of the population of the District, contained
in the monthly reports for the last six months.
I have also appended a table of the mortality of each Ward for the year, comprising
a monthly statement of the causes of death (more especially from zymotic disease,) sex,
and age, at which death takes place, which I think must prove useful as a matter of
The average number of births which take place per month in the District amounts
to 52; which gives 624 births per annum; but from the great number of houses built
and occupied within the last four years, it is almost impossible with any degree of
accuracy, to form a conclusion as to the increase of population upon the last census.
During the entire year I have kept an accurate register of each street or block of
houses in which a death has occurred, in order to ascertain with precision as to how
far the proximity of nuisance, damp, or the want of elevation and drainage of a locality
favours the spread of disease. This will, I hope, also prove a useful guide to the
sanitary requirements of the District.
I have the honor to be, Gentlemen,
Your obedient servant,