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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In Putney and Roehampton all were inspected, and found in a satisfactory condition with the
exception of-two, concerning which notices were served.
In Streatham in 21 factories and workshops defects were found and the necessary notices
In Wandsworth (parish) there are 16 factories and 72 workshops on the register, of which 9 are
steam laundries, and 52 laundries coming under the Act, in respect of 25 of these laundries notices
were served, 6 notices were received from H.M.'s inspector and the necessary steps taken.
Camberwell.—There were 220 inspections of workshops during the year.
Greenwich (Deptford).—The number of inspections of factories, workshops and laundries was 73,
overcrowding was abated and sanitary conveniences were provided.
In Greenwich 59 factories and workshops were inspected.
Plumstead.—The principal workshops are occupied as laundries or by dressmakers and a few by
tailors. The medical officer of health visited several with a view to preventing overcrowding. Other
insanitary conditions, such as insufficient water-closet accommodation, have been remedied.
The inspection of bakehouses.

in their districts have been duly inspected during the year. From some of the reports the number 01 bakehouses in occupation, and the number of these which are underground, can be ascertained, thus—

Number in occupation.Number underground.
Kensington138Not stated
St. George, Hanover-square46Not stated
St. James, Westminster27''
St. Pancras200170
St. Giles2721
Holborn22Not stated
Beth nal-green91''
St. George-in-the-East2717
Mile-end Old-town7622
St. George, Southwark58Not stated
St. Olave75
Wandsworth (Clapham)46Not stated
„ (Wandsworth)40
Lee (Charlton)9''
„ (Eltham)8''

The medical officer of health of St. Pancras shows in diagrammatic form the extent to which the
bake-houses are below the ground level, and he states that nearly three-fourths of the 200 have the
floor six feet or more below the level of the ground.
The medical officer of health of Kensington states, in reference to the provision that a place underground
shall not be used as a bakehouse unless it is so used at the commencement of the Act that this
has been held by magistrates not to prohibit the subsequent re-occupation of an underground bakehouse
which existed, but was not in use at the commencement of the Act. On the other hand the medical
officer of health of Woolwich states that during the year three applications have been refused for the
re-opening of underground bakehouses.
The Battersea Vestry instituted proceedings in the South Western police-court, the offence
being the use of an underground bakehouse after the commencement of the Act which had been in
occupation before, but not at the time of, the commencement of the Act. The magistrate's decision was
that the Factory and Workshops Act had been contravened, and the continued use of the bakehouse
was prohibited by him pending an appeal to a higher court.
The medical officer of health of Clerkenwell includes in his annual report a special report on the
condition of bakehouses in that district, which he presented to the vestry in October, 1896. He found
dirty conditions of walls, ceilings and passages, requiring notice to be served in 20 instances, and
defective floors in 17 ; and he says that on the whole in too many cases the standard of cleanliness is
much too low. Experience showed that biennial inspection of bakehouses was insufficient.
Unsound Food.
In a number of districts seizures were made of food considered unsound and unfit for human
consumption. The food seized generally consisted of meat, tish, fruit, vegetables, eggs, rabbits and