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.

and the other for children between the ages of 8 and 16. The revised dietary is set out in Appendix V. These diets on the average are estimated to yield approximately the following food stuff values:—

Diet.Daily quantity in grams.
Under 8 ...55-6045-50270
Over 8 ...75-8050-55350

In the places of detention it is possible that accommodation might have to be provided for
infants and very young children whose needs could not be met by the dietary prescribed for the younger
children. To overcome this difficulty the superintendents of these institutions have been instructed
that for children under the age of nine months the diet should consist entirely of modified milk, prepared
subject to the concurrence of the visiting medical officer, in accordance with the table set out in notes
on infant care used in the evening school classes. Between the ages of 9 and 12 months milk should be
given and also a little bread and milk, or milk pudding, and a little thin bread and butter. Towards
the end of this period a lightly boiled egg should be introduced. For children from 12 to 18 months
of age milk should still be the chief article of diet, but milk pudding, a lightly boiled egg, porridge and
milk, and a little bread crumb or mashed potato and gravy may be included ; five meals a day should be
given. After 18 months a little finely chopped mince or plain boiled fish and potato may be given in
the middle of the day, and at breakfast and teatime a little cocoa may be added to the milk. The
amounts of meat and fish should be increased gradually and the food should become of firmer consistence
so that the children may use their teeth for mastication. After the age of 3 years the dietary for
children under 8 years should be applied.
Places of
The Children Act, 1908, which established the children s courts made it compulsory upon the
Council to arrange for all children taken into custody within the metropolitan area to be accommodated
in remand homes, a duty which had previously been invested in the Metropolitan Asylums Board. The
homes in the possession of that authority Were transferred to the Council in April, 1911, when the term
" place of detention " was substituted for " remand home." Originally children were admitted to
the homes only from the sitting of the magistrates' court and frequently after arrest the children had
to be kept at police stations till their appearance before the courts, but now the place of detention must
be prepared to admit the children at any hour of the day or night. During the year under review there
were four places of detention in London—Camberwell-green (Camberwell), Harrow-road (Paddington),
Pentonville-road (Islington), and Ponton-road (Battersea) ; the last-named was open for a short time
only and was used for the accommodation of children who would ordinarily have been sent to Camberwellgreen,
which was closed in so far as admissions and withdrawals were concerned owing to an outbreak
of infectious disease. In the course of the year 2,932 children were admitted to the institutions as
follows : Camberwell-green, 323 ; Harrow-road, 1,230; Pentonville-road, 1,302 ; Ponton-road, 77.
Camberwell-green is now closed and a new place of detention was opened at Ponton-road in February,
1913, when the accommodation of the institutions was re-classified as under
Harrow-road 45 boys, 12 to 16 years of age.
Pentonville-road 51 boys, 7 to 12 years of age ; 33 girls, 7 to 12 years of age.
Ponton-road 40 infants Under 7 years of age ; 30 girls 12 to 16 years
of age.
To each institution is allocated a medical officer who briefly is required : (1) to attend the institution
at least once every week and at such other times as may be necessary, and to enter the visits and
the names of the patients attended by him in a book kept for the purpose ; (2) to examine the children
on admission ; (3) to attend any cases of illness occurring amongst the children and to make
a note on the cards kept for the purpose of all serious cases of illness, their course, duration
and treatment prescribed ; (4) to furnish reports to the school medical officer on the health of the
inmates ; (5) to furnish any other reports or certificates that may be required to the school medical
officer; (6) to give immediate notice to the coroner of the district of cases of sudden or violent death
or cases where he does not feel justified in giving a death certificate of any inmates and to report the
circumstances of the case to the school medical officer; (7) to furnish certificates in respect of fitness
for admission to industrial schools for children who have previously resided in places of detention in those
cases where the cost of such certificates is payable by the Council.
The salaries of the medical officers are according to the following scale:—£30 per annum in respect
of places of detention, where the total number of the accommodation and staff is 30 or under. For
each unit of accommodation and staff beyond 30 an extra payment of 8s. a head per annum. An
additional payment at the rate of £40 in respect of every 1,000 children passing through the institution.
These sums to include the provision of certificates in the cases of children committed to industrial schools
where the cost of such certificates is payable by the Council.
During the year, as already incidentally mentioned, the question of accommodation for isolation
has been dealt with. It is not merely a question of providing one or two large sick rooms, since, save
in the event of an outbreak of infectious character, it is seldom that any considerable number of the