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

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London County Council 1894

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for London County Council]

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it is customary to hail the dust cart, either once in each week, or as often as the householder requires
the dust removed. In 54 instances accumulations of refuse were observed, which the occupiers of the
houses stated were due to non-removal for periods of from four to eight weeks.
In Plumstead the pail system is very generally in vogue, and the pails are emptied once in each
week. The inspector visited 391 houses, and in nearly all these houses it was found to be the custom
to place out the dust pail for collection once a week. In a few instances the inspector was informed
that at the request of the householder the dust was removed fortnightly. No accumulations of refuse
were observed.

With respect to the other districts inquiry was made of the officers of the several sanitary authorities. The following tabular statement has been based upon the information which has been obtained—

A Authorities who make a house-to-house call at least once a week.B Authorities who only collect at houses with card bearing letter " D " in window.C Districts where collection depends upon householders hearing dustmen in street.D Authorities who collect by pail system.E Authorities who arrange for call to be made on specified day.
Kensington. Hammersmith. Fulham. Chelsea. W estminster (St. Margaret and St. John). St. Pancras. St. Giles. St. Martin. Shoreditch. Limehouse. St. Saviour, South-wark. St. Olave. Rotherhithe. Woolwich. Lee and Kidbrooke (sub-districts of the district under the Lee District Board). St. George - the -Martyr. Iu the following a house-to-house call is partly made— St. George, Hanover-square. Marylebone. Mile-end Old Town. Greenwich. St. Luke. The district of the Wandsworth Board of Works.Islington. Stoke Newington. Clerkenwell. Newington. Partly— Hackney. Paddington. St. George, Hanover- square. Holborn. St. George-in-the- East, Mile-end Old-town. Lambeth. Greenwich. Lewisham. Charlton (sub- district). St. Luke. Hampstead. Camberwell. The district of the Wandsworth Board of Works.St. James (partly). Marylebone (partly). Paddington (partly). Hackney (partly). Holborn (partly). St. George-in-the-East (partly). Lambeth (partly). Lewisham (partly). Charlton(sub-district, partly). St. Luke (partly). Hampstead (partly). Camberwell (partly). The district of the Wandsworth Board of Works (partly).Strand. Bethnal-green. Whitechapel. Poplar. Bermondsey. Plumstead. Lambeth (partly). Greenwich (partly). Holborn (partly).St. James (partly). Marylebone (partly). Paddington (partly). C'harlton(sub-district, partly). Eltham.

With regard to the methods of disposal of house refuse—Of the 25 districts in which the
authorities themselves collect the refuse, in only six cases is it subsequently manipulated in dust-yards in
London, in all other cases it is either destroyed by fire or removed by barge or rail beyond the limits
of the county. Of the 14 districts in which the removal is wholly effected by contractors, the refuse is,
in the case of ten, subsequently manipulated in whole or in part at dust yards within the county ; in
the case of the remaining four it is tipped within or without the county on vacant land.
Dr. Young's inspections of the several dust yards, wharves, and railway sidings, to which house
refuse was removed, showed that the wharves in which refuse was not sorted were in a satisfactory
condition. Of the 12 others in which this process was carried on, he regarded five as being in a
satisfactory condition, three were being or were about to be improved, one was inadequately paved, and
three were in a dirty condition. The water-closet accommodation generally was sufficient. In one
wharf, however, where some 24 to 82 men, women and boys were employed, a water-closet had been
provided for the women, but there was no special accommodation in the yard for the men. Lavatory
accommodation and rooms for meals had only exceptionally been provided.
Shirley F. Murphy,
Medical Officer of Health.
Summary of Dr. Young's Reports.
Enquiry has recently been made throughout the county into the methods in force in each sanitary
district for the collection and disposal of house refuse. The information contained in this report has
been obtained with the aid of the local medical officers of health and surveyors, and by inspection of the
various wharves and dust depots.