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

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London County Council 1896

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

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Sanitary Administration of Districts.
Bethnal-green.—In 1895 the Public Health Committee had under consideration a report by
Dr. Young on the sanitary condition and administration of Bethnal-green. This report showed the
need for an additional sanitary inspector and further clerical aid. The Committee communicated with
the vestry of Betinal-green on this subject, and in January, 1896, reported that the vestry had decided
to appoint one of its present sanitary inspectors to be chief sanitary inspector, and to engage an
additional sanitary inspector and an additional clerk in the sanitary office. The Committee further
reported that, for the reasons given in the medical officer's report, they were of opinion that a staff of
six inspectors and two clerks is the smallest that would suffice for the needs of the parish, if all the
inspectors were exclusively occupied in the work of inspection, and inasmuch as the time of the chief
inspector would not be entirely devoted to such work in the district, the Committee expressed the
hope that the vestry would at a later date, after a trial had been given to the present staff, consider the
question of further strengthening it. A further need in the district, pointed out by Dr. Young, was a
shelter for persons during the disinfection of their rooms; the vestry considered that it was not
expedient or necessary to establish a permanent shelter. In May, the Committee reported that the
whole work of the sanitary department had been re-organised, an additional sanitary inspector having
been appointed and a systematic house-to-house inspection of the district had been instituted.
Eltham.—Question having arisen as to the efficiency of sanitary inspection in Eltham, Dr. Young
was instructed to report upon the condition and administration of the parish. The sanitary inspector
employed in this parish was also employed as road foreman, and on hearing of the Committee's
intention to institute inquiry, the Lee District Board intimated their decision to relieve the sanitary
inspector of his duties as road foreman. The result of Dr. Young's inquiry was to show that the better
arrangement would have been to have appointed a separate sanitary inspector, and further that the
work of the sanitary inspector should be to a greater extent superintended and controlled by the
medical officer of health ; the question of the sufficiency of the office accommodation was also discussed
in his report (see Appendix VI.). In July, the Committee reported that the Lee District Board was
unwilling to make further change, and they had therefore decided after a year's interval to have further
inquiry made.
Holborn.—In 1896 Dr. Young was instructed to report on the sanitary condition and administration
of Holborn, and in October of that year I presented his report to the Public Health Committee.
This report showed that the number of sanitary inspectors employed in the district was insufficient;
that the arrangements for the removal of house refuse failed to effect such removal once a week; that
the district board had not provided a permanent shelter for the accommodation of poor persons during
the disinfection of their rooms; and that, with respect to certain areas, little short of demolition of
houses and re-arrangement would be productive of satisfactory results (see Appendix VII.). After
correspondence with the Holborn District Board, the Council in July, 1897, made representation to the
Local Government Board that the Holborn District Board had made default in not appointing sufficient
sanitary inspectors for the district.
Medical Officers of Health and Sanitary Inspectors.
The Public Health (London) Act, 1891, requires that the Council shall pay a moiety of the
salary of every medical officer of health and sanitary inspector appointed or re-appointed after
the passing of the Act. Up to the end of the year 1896, 42 medical officers of health and 182 sanitary
inspectors had been thus appointed or re-appointed.
* Appointment or re-appointment sanctioned by the Local Government Board. A moiety of the salary
appertaining to these appointments is payable by the London County Council.

The following table indicates those London districts in which the medical officer of health has been elected in accordance with the above requirement of the Public Health (London) Act, up to the end of 1896—

*Battersea*Holborn*Poplar Bow)*St. Pancras
Bermondsey*Islington* ,, (Bromley and Poplar)*St. Saviour, Southwrrk
*Camberwell*LambethSt. George, Hanover-square*Stoke Newington
*ChelseaLee (Charlton)*Strand
*City* „ (Eltham)*St. George-in-the-EastWandsworth (Clapham)
*Clerkenwell„ (Lee)St. George-the-Martyr„ (Putney )
*FulhamLewisham*St. Giles„ (Streatham)
Greenwich (Deptford)*Limehouse*St. James, Westminster„ (Tooting)
„ (Greenwich)*Mile-end Old-town*St. Luke„ ( Wandsworth )
*Hackney*Newington*St. Martin-in-the-Fieids*Westminster
*Hammersmith*PaddingtonSt. MaryleboneWhitechapel
HampsteadPlumstead*St. Olave*Woolwich
Sanitary districts mentioned in Schedule C. of the Metropolis Local Managemnt Act, 1855.
*St. Peter, Westminster (close of the Collegiate Church)*Gray's-inn*Inner Temple*Furnival's-inn, Staple-inn, and Liberty-of-the Chai-terhouse
*Lincoln's-inn*Middle Temple