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.
Phthisis in common lodging houses.
Enquiry has been made with regard to 252 persona notified under the Orders and giving addresses
at common lodging houses licensed by the Council, viz., 239 male3 and 13 females. The age distribution
of these cases was as follows:—
15— 20— 25— 35— 45— 55— 65—
2 3 40 61 91 42 13
The place of birth in 33 per cent. of the above cases was stated to be outside London, and in
54 instances a previous history of consumption in the patient's family was obtained.
Information was also obtained in respect of 246 of the patients as to whether their illness began
before or after they had resorted to this mode of living.
Of the total (246) the onset of illness was stated in 79 cases to date from a time prior to that
when resort was made to common lodging houses, while in 29 cases it was practically coincident with
As regards cases developing after commencement of this mode of life, in 37 cases the illness was
first manifested before the expiration of three years; in 17 cases in from three to five years, in 31 cases
in from five to ten years, in 41 cases between ten and twenty years and in 12 cases the illness developed
after more than twenty years of common lodging house life.
Seamen's lodging houses.
In July, 1901, the London County Council made by-laws under Section 214 of the Merchant
Shipping Act, 1894, for the inspection, sanitary condition and well ordering of seamen's lodging houses.
In 1909, after experience of their application, the by-laws were amended, a new series was issued and
came into force on 1st January, 1910.
By an Order in Council dated 19th February, 1910, powers were conferred on the County Council
for the licensing of seamen's lodging houses. The first licensing meeting was held in May of that year
and since that date all such premises are annually licensed.

At the end of the year 1912, the number of seamen s lodging houses under supervision was 41. situated in the following metropolitan boroughs:—

Metropolitan borough.Houses.Lodgers.

In the following table will be seen the number of houses, the authorised number of lodgers, the number of convictions, with the penalties inflicted, and other particulars, during each year since the supervision of seamen's lodging-houses was undertaken by the Council:—

Year.No. of houses on register.Authorised number of lodgers.No. of day visits by inspectors.No. of night visits.No. of prosecutions.No. of convictions.Penalties and costs.No. of cases of
£s.d.infectious disease.

Proceedings before the magistrate were instituted in 18 cases, resulting in 13 convictions ; of the
five remaining, three were dismissed, one withdrawn and the other adjourned sine die, the defendant
being reported to have gone down with the "Titanic." In only three of the 18 cases were the proceed?ngs
in respect of licensed houses, the offence being in these instances, overcrowding; in all other
cases the summonses were for keeping unlicensed premises.
No cases of infectious disease were reported among inmates of seamen's lodging houses during
the year.