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

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City of Westminster 1921

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Westminster, City of]

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Rat Repression.—The campaign against rats was continued throughout
the year ; 31 specific complaints were investigated and steps taken to
destroy the vermin and to remove the source from which they came.
In the majority of instances the invasion of houses was due to defects
in the drains or sewers, in others the rats were brought from the docks
in packages of fruit and vegetables.
In the week commencing 1st November a united attack was again
made throughout the country.
During the week 18,882 baits were laid in 262 of the Council's sewers
and at the four wharves used as dust shoots. All of the baits were taken,
but the actual number of dead rats seen was only 125. Probably the
dead bodies were carried away in the sewers.
Mosquitoes and Flies.—In the late autumn there was an unusual
number of these insects in the neighbourhood of the Grosvenor Canal
and the County Council's Sewage Pumping Station adjoining.
The mosquitoes were breeding in two ponds in the grounds of the
pumping station and afterwards found shelter in the bushes and undergrowth
near by. The ponds were treated with paraffin and the undergrowth
was also sprayed with good effect.
The source of the flies was traced to deposits of refuse and decaying
vegetation in gardens in the vicinity.

Smoke Prevention. The following is a summary of the work done in connection with smoke prevention.

Complaints received3029
Observations taken1,8382,123
Notices issued—
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There was considerable improvement in nuisances from smoke.
Houses let in Lodgings.—At the end of 1920 there were 1,164 houses on
the register, during 1921 this number has been reduced to 1,150. 1,784
visits were paid to such houses and notices were served with reference
to 304 defects. Statutory notices were served in 12 instances. As has
been pointed out previously, many of these houses are partly used as
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