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

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City of Westminster 1927

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

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The following table shows the extent to which smoke has been a cause of complaint to the sanitary authority during the past five years, and also a summary of the measures taken in mitigation:— Table III.

Complaints received1240806279
Observations taken6002,3091,9992,4902,057
Notices issued—
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Nuisance from Pigeons.—The London County Council (General Powers)
Act, 1927, gave powers to metropolitan sanitary authorities to adopt
measures for dealing with this nuisance. The appropriate section
No. 52 (1), is as follows:—
" For the purpose of abating or mitigating any nuisance annoyance or damage
caused by the congregation at any place in the county of house doves or pigeons
having or believed by the local authority to have no owner or of preventing or
minimising any such nuisance annoyance or damage which might in the opinion
of the local authority be so caused the local authority may notwithstanding anything
in the Larceny Act 1861 or in any other Act seize and destroy or sell or otherwise
dispose of or cause to be seized and destroyed or sold or otherwise disposed of
any such house doves or pigeons in excess of such number as the local authority
may consider reasonable and take such other steps as they may deem necessary
for any such purpose. Provided that a local authority shall not in the exercise of
the powers conferred by this section—
(a) enter upon any building or land (other than a public highway) without the
consent of the occupier or the authority body or person having the
exclusive control and management of such building or land; or
(b) cxccute or do any work or thing affecting the structure of such building
or the use of such land without the consent of the authority-body or
person in whom such building or land is vested ; or
(c) knowingly destroy sell or otherwise dispose of or cause to be destroyed
sold or otherwise disposed of any house dove or pigeon belonging to any
A number of complaints have been received from time to time from
ratepayers in various parts of the City relating to the damage to property
and annoyance to persons from deposits of pigeons' excrement. It has
been stated that no less than between 2 and 3 tons were removed from
the roof and belfry of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. Other buildings in the
neighbourhood of a popular feeding ground such as Trafalgar Square are
similarly affected. It was suggested by your Medical Officer that as
pigeons are migratory to a certain extent it would be desirable for the
central boroughs to take common action, and the London County Council,
which had obtained the Parliamentary powers, were requested to convene

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