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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164 Annual Report of the London County Council, 1912.
separate bungalow for each class. The bungalows are well provided with windows, but it would be better
if all the walls were removable so that if the rain came from one quarter the wall in the other end could
be taken down. Deck chairs are provided for the rest time. I think rest in a more correct position
would be obtained by the use of hammocks on low poles and they should, of course, be slung inside
the bungalow in wet weather."
A certain number of children had poor expansion of the chest, for which they were given breathing
exercises. A smaller number (7) suffered from slight scoliosis, for which some attended the clinic of the
Invalid Children's Aid Society. It would be an advantage if the treatment of slight scoliosis by exercises
were carried out by the nurse under the supervision of the school doctor,
The heights, weights and haemoglobin measurements show satisfactory improvement in the
physical condition of the children in each age group, and demonstrate the fact that the beneficial results
of attending an open-air school are obtained in the colder as well as in the summer period of the year.
The children who in April were anaemic, listless and miserable looking, exhibited great improvement
in their physical condition in the later months of the year by their shouts, their eagerness and their
healthv looks.

The following table compares the weights of children admitted to Shooter's Hill with certain children weighed as standards in London schools in 1906.

Shooter's Hill, 1912.Weights.Kilograms gained in 40 weeks.Average weekly gain in kilograms.
Sex.Age groups.Number in age group.Shooter's Hill.Standard children.Shooter's Hill.Standard children.Shooter's Hill.Standard children.

Playground classes have now been held for four years in connection with the elementary schools
maintained by the Council. In view of the attention now being paid to methods of open-air instruction
it has been thought desirable to deal somewhat fully in this report with the results of the playground classes
during the past year. In the following pages, therefore, will be found a synopsis of the medical report
on each playground class. The various types of classes are as follows:—
Type A.—A class held at a centre and composed of specially delicate children drawn
from neighbouring schools, the same class working in the open-air all the summer.
Type B.—A class in which the children are specially selected from various standards in
one school, the same children being in the class for the whole period.
Type C.—A class in which the pupils are drawn from a particular school only, but are
all in one class, the same class working in the open-air during the whole of the summer.
Type D.—A class in which the pupils are drawn from a particular school only, and various
classes are taken out in turn into the open.
A considerable extension of the number of the classes took place during the summer of 1912,
85 classes in all being carried on, viz., Type A, 4 ; Type B, 1; Type C, 43 ; Type D, 37 ; an increase
of 20 classes. In consequence of this increase, it was found impossible to give Uniform medical supervision,
but arrangements were made for the classes of the " A " type to be under constant medical
supervision, for classes of the " C " type which were in existence in 1911 to be again inspected periodically,
and for new classes of " C " type to be visited by the school doctors when at the schools for the
purpose of conducting statutory medical inspections. In the last-named cases, the head teachers were
asked to arrange for the weighing and measuring of the children by the teachers at intervals of one
month. It was considered unnecessary to pay special attention to classes of Type D.
In many cases, awnings and wind-screens were supplied as protection against sun, wind and rain.
Old desks were obtained from the stores, and, where necessary, tarpaulins for their protection when not
in Use. In a few cases, owing to the danger of upsetting them by the wind, blackboards were fixed to
the wall. Woollen rugs were supplied where desired to protect children against cold, and in view of
the fact that a certain risk of harbouring vermin was experienced, an endeavour Was made, without
success, to discover some substitute; special attention was, therefore, necessary to secure the cleanliness
of the children in certain of the classes. The reports sent in by the school doctors leave no doubt as
to the importance of the question of tuition in the open-air. Careful observations have demonstrated-