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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Newington.—The medical officer of health reported two houses as suitable to be placed on the
St. Olave.—In 1896, 498 rooms of 238 dwellings were measured.
Bermondsey.—The total number of houses on the register is 307.
Rotherhithe.— Five houses were registered.
Lambeth.—By-laws were made in January, 1896, and confirmed in May, 1897.
Wandsworth.—The medical officers of health state that all the houses let in lodgings have been
visited at least once in every two years and defects remedied. Latterly, however, there has not been
enough of this systematic house to house inspection done in two at all events of the sub-districts, owing to
there not being sufficient inspectors. They add " we think it would be a retrograde step to give this
system up, with which we have every reason to be satisfied, for the sake of picking out particular
houses which happen to be let in lodgings, to the neglect of their fellows in the same street." The
report does not show why the registration and regulation of certain houses should imply or necessitate
neglect to deal with others under the general provisions of the Public Health Act.
The medical officer of health of Clapham reports that the by-laws have been applied to one
street " of a particularly unsatisfactory kind," and states that there has been considerable improvement
from the action of the by-laws in the direction of cleanliness of houses, and that this and the more ready
dealing with overcrowding appear to be practically the only benefits derived from the by-laws. He
thinks that conditions of general dilapidation should also be made subject to the by-laws.
Camberwell.—In this district the number of houses let in lodgings inspected was 246.
Greenwich.— By-laws have been confirmed by the Local Government Board.
Lewisham.—Fifteen houses in Penge are on the register.
Woolwich.—Fifty-nine houses were registered.
Plumstead.—Two houses were registered in 1896, and two ceased to be registered. Four houses
are on the register. Proposals to register other houses " had the effect of turning the tenants out and
reducing the occupation of the house to that of one family."
Common Lodging-houses.
The year 1896 was the third year in which common lodging-houses in the county of London
have been subject to regulation by the Council. The number of houses on the register at the end of the
year was 596, providing accommodation for 29,140 persons. Nine of these houses were registered for
the first time in 1896. In the supervision of these houses the Council's inspectors made 28,331
inspections. In 334 cases preliminary notices were served to compel the keepers to comply with
various requirements, and statutory notices were served in 14 cases. Proceedings before the
magistrate were instituted against 31 keepers, and in 30 cases fines were inflicted amounting in the
aggregate to £108 10s., and £4 6s. costs. In the remaining case, the Council's requirements having
been complied with, the keeper was ordered to pay the cost of the summons.
The number of cases of infectious disease reported in these houses were as follows—erysipelas,
11 ; smallpox, 10 ; diphtheria, 7 ; measles, 6; scarlet fever, 5 ; enteric fever, 2 ; or 71 in all.
The number of deaths from various causes reported in these houses was 65.
The following table shows the number of common lodging-houses, the number of authorised
lodgers in such houses, and the number of houses registered in each sanitary district in 1896—

Common lodging-houses.

Number of common lodging-houses.Authorised number of lodgers.Number of houses registered by the Council in 1896.
St. George, Hanover-square
St. James188
Stoke Newington141
St. Giles321,807
St. Martin-in-the-Fields4170
St. Luke4242
Carried forward35117,7487