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.
for the sympathetic consideration of the borough council. In Camberwell some improvements at
the cleansing station were found necessary during the year, but these were put in hand and are now
completed. The cleansing station in Deptford was opened in July, 1912, and the medical officer reports
that it is self-supporting. In Finsbury arrangements were made some years ago with the Holborn
Board of Guardians and a capitation fee of 6s. was paid. Owing to the transfer of the casual wards to
the Metropolitan Asylums Board, this arrangement ceased in March, 1912, and no other provision has
since been made. The closing of this ward, moreover, affected the borough of Holborn, from which
verminous persons were also sent, but the borough council has now made provision for cleansing at
the mortuary, the alterations being completed in May of this year. The borough of Kensington also
had an agreement with the guardians, which was nullified by the closure of the casual ward in Maryplace.
Unfortunately, here the borough council had decided against the provision of a cleansing station
in November, 1911; a rescinding resolution was passed in July, 1912, by 29 votes to 20, but it was not
during 1912 supported by the two-thirds majority necessary to make it effective. Dr. Dudfield, in Paddington,
suggests that the provision of a station in the borough would be of great benefit, as under
present conditions little can be done in the direction of promoting personal cleanliness. St. Marylebone
was the first borough to take effective action under the Cleansing of Persons Act, and still maintains
its position as regards the numbers of persons cleansed. The shelter has been opened fifteen
years and during that time has cleansed 109,611 adults, and since 1905, when they were first received,
25,560 children. Fulham, Hammersmith, Lambeth, Lewisham and Shoreditch have not yet provided
At some of the shelters scabies, or itch, is treated. This is specially mentioned in the reports
relating to Hackney and Southwark. The borough of Stepney undertook disinfection after scabies
by co-operation with the London Hospital and treated the clothing and bedding of 250 patients from
July to December.

The details obtainable from the annual reports concerning the cleansing of rooms are shown in the following table:—

Metropolitan borough.Number of rooms or premises cleansed.Metropolitan borough.Number of rooms or premises cleansed.
City of LondonLambeth1,109 rooms.
BatterseaNot stated.Lewisham39 rooms.
BermondseyNot stated.Paddington217 premises.
Bethnal Green409 rooms.Poplar264 rooms.
Camberwell172 premises.St. Marylebone341 rooms.
Chelsea ..354 rooms.St. Pancras306 rooms.
Deptford109 rooms.Shoreditch910 rooms.
Finsbury38 premises.Southwark*3,354 rooms.
Fulham220 rooms.Stepney1,369 rooms.
Greenwich70 premises.Stoke Newington147 rooms.
Hackney408 premises.Wandsworth574 rooms.
HammersmithNot stated.Westminster232 premises.
Hampstead87 rooms.Woolwich214 rooms.
Holborn75 premises.Total10,212 rooms.
Islington292 premises.
Kensington406 rooms.1,504 premises.

Cleansing of
rooms or
The details obtainable from the annual reports concerning the cleansing of rooms are shown
in the following table:—
Metropolitan borough.
Number of rooms or
premises cleansed.
Metropolitan borough.
Number of rooms or
premises cleansed.
City of London
1,109 rooms.
Not stated.
39 rooms.
Not stated.
217 premises.
Bethnal Green
409 rooms.
264 rooms.
172 premises.
St. Marylebone
341 rooms.
Chelsea ..
354 rooms.
St. Pancras
306 rooms.
109 rooms.
910 rooms.
38 premises.
*3,354 rooms.
220 rooms.
1,369 rooms.
70 premises.
Stoke Newington
147 rooms.
408 premises.
574 rooms.
Not stated.
232 premises.
87 rooms.
214 rooms.
75 premises.
10,212 rooms.
292 premises.
406 rooms.
1,504 premises.
Cleansing of
As mentioned in the annual report for 1910, the principle adopted by the Council with regard to
the cleansing of adults from common lodging-houses was that the sanitary authorities should cleanse,
free of charge, any persons sent for that purpose to the cleansing station by the County Council from
common lodging-houses within their respective districts, and that a fee should be paid for cleansing all
persons sent from common lodging-houses not within the district where the cleansing was performed.
Agreements to this effect have been made with the borough councils of Bermondsey, Camberwell,
Hackney, Poplar, St. Marylebone, St. Pancras, and Woolwich.
From the information supplied by the Council's inspectors it appears that during the year 1912,
1,926 men and 14 women were sent to have their clothing cleansed by reason of their beds having been
found verminous. Of these numbers 1,642 men and 8 women were known to have been cleansed, 277
men and 6 women went away and could not be traced. Only 7 men were expelled by keepers for
refusing to go to the cleansing station, attempts at persuasion having failed.
* 1,707 of these cleansed by owners.