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

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Islington 1861

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Islington, Parish of St Mary]

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1. I have the honour to submit to you my Sixth Annual Report. The census
of the population taken on the 8th of April, last year, enables me to do so -under
/ circumstances unusually favourable to accuracy. The population of Islington (revised)
has been announced to be 155,341. It represents an addition of 60,012
persons in the course of ten years. The increase, supposing it to have been uniform
during that period, has been at the rate of about five per cent, each year upon the
population of the preceding year. With the announcement of this fact, we acquire a
new standing place on which we may estimate, with as close an approximation to
truth as is possible, our rate of mortality for the year, from which we may review
that of past years, and from which we have to start afresh in- our calculations in
future. The whole of the facts are not, however, yet in our possession; awaiting
them, I propose to make the best use of those we have. Shortly after the census
was taken, the Registrar-General, whose courteous assistance has ever been most
readily rendered to the Health Officers of the Metropolis, furnished to me, as well as
to others who desired it, a copy of the names of the streets, &c., assigned to each of
the 129 enumerators employed in the Parish, with a statement of the number
of persons (distinguishing the sexes) and families, together with the number
of inhabited houses, and of houses in course of construction, returned by each of
them. This information, although not all that I hope to be able to obtain, has been
of great service to me. By grouping together those little districts, taking my local
knowledge as a guide, I have been able to map out our Parish into 35 larger districts,
not always exactly bounded as I could have wished, but still sufficiently
characterised by certain conditions, which constitute them into distinctive localities.
In respect of each I have been able to state the population, number of families, and
number of inhabited houses it contains, to estimate the crowding of persons within
it, by calculating the number of families and of persons occupying each house
on an average, and to represent it by writing these results into the different sized
spaces which the several districts exhibit upon a map reduced on the scale of six
inches to a mile from the ordnance map. But as "crowding," in respect of houses
is a relative term, I have endeavoured to represent roughly the size of the houses in
each district, and also to point out those districts in which space for building was

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