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.
The "Redriff" (Rotherhithe).— There were present 24 children (11 girls and 13 boys), of whom
16 improved in general physical condition, three greatly improved, in two there was no change and one
became worse. Nine were mouth-breathers, eight of whom showed definite improvement, and one case
diagnosed as pulmonary tuberculosis gained in weight 2 5 kilograms. In this last case no physical
signs were found on examination, and there is no history of recent symptoms. Generally speaking,
those children mentioned as " pale " in earlier reports showed less anaemia and were more alert at the
end of the period.
The "Wandle" (Wandsworth).—Two mixed classes of children. The number suffering from colds
is reported to have been very small. A "rotatory" class also occupied the playground at intervals,
and physical measurements for this class were made for comparison.
Class A consisted of boys whose ages varied from 7 1/12—8 4/12 (average 7 7/12), and girls whose
ages varied from 7 2/12—7 11/12 (average 7 6/12).
Class B consisted of boys whose ages varied from 7 1/12—7 7/12 (average and girls whose
ages varied from 7 2/12—7 5/12 (average 7 4/12).
The rotatory class consisted of boys whose ages varied from 7 3/12 to 8 1/12 (average 7 8/12), and girls
whose ages varied from 6 9/12to 7 11/12 (average 7 6/12).
The average gains in height and weight for a period of five months were as follows, the figures in
brackets indicating the number of children concerned:—


Class ABoys (15)2.2Normal1.1
Girls (13)2.22.6
Class BBoy3 (10)2.31.1
Girls (14)2.52.6
Rotatory ClassBoys (13)2.61.1
Girls (10)2.32.6
Class ABoys (15).6Normal1.0
Girls (13).3.85
Class BBoys (10).51.0
Girls (14).8.85
Rotatory ClassBoys (13).41.0
Girls (10).4.85

St. Paul's-road Mile End).—A very satisfactory class of 48 girls in Standard V. was held in a
sunny sheltered corner of the playground and was excellently supervised. The children showed a
marked improvement in general health, and also in powers of mental observation, and this in spite of
being taken from a very poor section of the population and being in many cases ill-nourished and ill-clad.
Delicate children were added to this class from other standards, and these showed good physical
improvement. The average increases in weight and height were 2.1 kilograms and two centimetres
respectively. The general results of this class were better than those of the "Ben Jonson" school
(see p. 47) showing that the selection of a suitable site is of great importance.
St. Paul's (C.E.) Burdett-road (Mile End).—This class was composed of 55 girls in Standard III.,
four were born in the year 1900, six in 1901, 15 in 1902, 15 in 1903 and 15 in 1904. Between April
and October four of the children gained four kilograms in weight, the average gain for the class being
about two kilograms. From April to June there was very slight increase in weight, not one child
gaining more than 0.5 kilograms, whilst more than half the class lost slightly. From June to September
there was a marked increase in weight in almost all of the children, but from September to October
the increase was slight. All increased in height (average about two centimetres). The class was held
in a warm bright part of the playground covered over with tarpaulin for roof, and a raised wooden floor
was provided. The children were very comfortable, were well protected from rain, had a good supply
of rugs, and all showed a marked improvement.
Sandford-row (Walworth).— The open-air class, consisting of girls between ages of seven and
ten, all picked delicate children from various classes, was conducted in the covered-in portion of the
roof-playground from April to October (middle), and was only discontinued for a few days during the
summer when there was a heavy rainfall. A quarter of a pint of milk was given daily to each child after
May. The school nurse weighed and measured each child every month and recorded the results on
charts. Twenty-two children only out of the 30 attended during the whole time, the remaining eight only
attended for short periods, and their records are of no value for report. The average gain in weight was
1.7 kilograms (eleven below average and nine above). The average increase in height was 2.3 centimetres
14 below and eight above average).
The attendance of the children showed a satisfactory improvement. A few of the children had
colds during the rainy periods in the summer, but not of sufficient severity to interfere with their
attendance at school. One of the children notified as having early phthisis lost her cough and generally
improved, though the physical signs in her chest have not entirely disappeared. The general physical condition
showed a decided improvement in all but two cases, where the children still remained anaemic
and generally debilitated. Mental fatigue and listlessness were much less, particularly in the afternoon,
the children remaining bright, active and attentive up to the end of the afternoon, in marked contrast