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

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London County Council 1912

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

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Annual Report of the London County Council, 1912.
Section 5 of the London County Council (General Powers) Act, 1908, gives power to local sanitary
authorities to remove from the register or to refuse to register the name of any person carrying on or
proposing to carry on the trade of a dairyman or purveyor of milk upon premises which are in the
opinion of the sanitary authority unsuitable for the purpose. These powers have been much used, with
the result that the sale of milk in general shops has materially decreased in recent years. For
instance, Dr. Lennane mentions that in Battersea the number of general shops where milk is sold has
declined from 131 in 1908 to 60 in 1912. In Woolwich the number of such shops was reduced from
196 in 1905 to 117 in 1912. Associated with the reduction in numbers a considerable improvement has
been effected in the conditions under which milk is sold as a subsidiary part of the business, and generally
registration is refused in respect of premises retailing mineral oils, coal, or fish unless special
precautions are adopted to prevent contamination, such as, to mention specific requirements, ventilated
and lighted safes, or glass cases with swinging doors. Several of the reports of medical officers of health
make mention of refusal of registration on the ground of unsuitability of the premises. Thus, in Kensington,
one application was refused but afterwards granted on the applicant giving an undertaking
that milk, cream, and other foods would not be stored in the basement as was at first proposed. In
Lambeth 4 applications were refused; in Paddington, 1; in Stepney, 14; in Westminster and Woolwich,
one each. Dr. Porter in the report relating to St. Marylebone states that 15 names were removed from
the register on the ground of the unsuitability of the premises, and Dr. Thomas, the medical officer of
health of Stepney, refers to the removal of 65 names for this cause.
In the annual report for 1911 reference was made to the decision of the Court of Appeal in the
case of Green v. Spiers and Pond. It will be remembered that the Lord Chief Justice decided that
the defendants were not "carrying on the trade of purveyors of milk" within the meaning of the
Order, and therefore they did not require to be registered. There is some discussion in several
of the reports of medical officers of health of the importance of this judgment, which exempts from
registration the small retailer who sells milk as a subsidiary part of his business. Dr. Collingridge
mentions that already in the City of London advantage had been taken of this ruling. The Corporation
of the City of London has therefore approached the Local Government Board with a view to an amendment
of the Order in such a way as to make it applicable to all persons selling milk within the City,
or, if it be considered necessary to except any class, clearly to define such exception.
of milkshop

The following table shows the number of milkshop premises at the end of 1911 and 1912 in the metropolitan boroughs of London, the number of inspections and the proceedings taken. The table has mainly been compiled from information contained in the annual reports:—

Metropolitan borough.Number of premises, (a)Number of inspections, 19112.Number of notices, 1912.Number of prosecutions, 1912.
On register at end of 1911.Added in 1912.Removed in 1912.On register at end of 1912.
City of London6393334638Not stated.
Bethnal Green2561225243607513
St. Marylebone200451523061515
St. Pancras4134131,050
Stoke Newington535567
(a) Figures in italics refer to persons registered. † The milkshop premises are being re registered under new regulations.