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

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Stoke Newington 1901

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Stoke Newington, The Metropolitan Borough]

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without having the necessary structural alterations made. Whole
streets of houses in Stoke Newington, formerly occupied by single
families. are now occupied as separate dwellings on separate floors,
and house as many as three or four families. It is impossible for the
occupants to live in a decent and sanitary condition when several
families have to use a common water-closet, scullery, wash-house and
The more one sees of Public Health Work the more one is
impressed with the fact that the problem of sanitation is essentially
the problem of poverty, and that the two are very largely interchangeable
terms. It is the poorest who are the worst offenders
against sanitation and this is not to be wondered at having regard to
their conditions and surroundings. Moral precepts and sanitary
principles which appeal as mere platitudes to those nursed in the lap
of plenty, necessarily lose their significance in the crowded hovels
occupied by the poorest section of the community. If the problem
of how to render the poor less poor can be satisfactorily solved, then
along with it will be solved half the sanitary problems of the day.
Doubtless it must be to education that we must look chiefly for
improvement, but it must be education of the right sort. It must be
education which enlarges mind, strengthens judgment and elevates
character and aim. Whenever such a stage of education is reached
sanitation is easy.
The Factory and Workshop Act, 1901
This Act, which came into force on January 1st, 1902, consolidates
all the previous statute law relating to factories and workshops,
and introduces certain important amendments. As there is
nothing in the Act as published to show what parts are new and
what are old, it may be useful to point out which of its provisions are
new, paying special attention to those which are of interest to the
Sanitary Authority.

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