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

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Wandsworth 1882

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Wandsworth District, The Board of Works (Clapham, Putney, Streatham, Tooting & Wandsworth)]

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67
opened, when near to the house was found an offensive
cesspool overflowing with night soil, with which also
the drains were partially blocked up, and several cart
loads of night soil were removed. Here was a sufficient
means of poisoning not only a family but a district with
fever. The second case examined was a large house, the
basement was found dilapidated, the drains and flooring
burrowed and infested by rats, admitting sewer gas freely.
A fatal case occurred in this house, evidently caused by
sewer gas. In all houses where fever has occured the
sinks, drains, and sewers, should be opened, cleansed, and
flushed, and the ventilation of the house, drains, &c.,
made perfect, especially when, as in this Sub-District,
houses stand on a much higher level than the main
sewer.
Ages of deceased persons.—The mortality as it
occurs at the two extremes of life furnishes a very
reliable test of the health and sanitary state of the subdistrict.
The diminution of our infantile mortality and
the increase in the senile mortality represented by the
following figures may be accepted as a sure indication of
increased prolongation of life in the sub-district. Of
infants under one year 127 died, from one to five years
92, and from five to ten years 21, making a total of 240
deaths under ten years of age, which gives a percentage
of 44.1 of our total deaths during the year. At the
other extremity of life, I find that as many as 133 persons,
or upwards of 24 per cent. of all deaths, whose
ages range from 60 to 90 years and upwards, died during
the year. The greatest age attained at death was 96
years.
Social position of the deceased.—The proportional
percentage of the deceased persons classified according to
their social position may be seen in the following table:—
Nobility and Gentry 31 5.69 per cent.
Professional Class 41 7.53 „
Middle and Trading Class 156 28.67 „
Industrial and Labouring Class 316 58.08 „
Total number of deaths 544 99.97 „


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