London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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London County Council 1921

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for London County Council]

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increased during the past few years in Great Britain. No case has, however, been reported in London
since 1901.
To ensure that the requirements of the Animals (Transit and General) Urder, 1912, and the Horses
(Importation and Transit) Order, 1913, are being observed, and that the animals are free from signs of
disease, the Council's inspectors pay numerous visits to railway wharves, depots, etc., where animals
in transit are collected. The visits during 1921 numbered 2,306, the animals examined being—horses
11,440, cattle 25,889, sheep 37,327, swine 6,176, making a total of 80,832. There were 28 infringements,
25 written cautions, and 3 convictions, with penalties and costs amounting to £48 lis.
Animals in
The Diseases of Animals Act, 1910, as amended by the Exportation of Horses Act, 1914, prohibits
the shipment of any horse, ass or mule to the Continent unless the animal, immediately before shipment,
is certified by a veterinary inspector appointed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to be capable
of being conveyed and disembarked without cruelty and of being worked without suffering on arrival
at its destination. The Ministry has provided for the veterinary inspection of horses shipped at London,
Harwich, Hull, Goole, Folkestone, Southampton, Leith, Grimsby and Newhaven. During the year
statements appeared in the press to the effect that illicit traffic was taking place in worn-out horses,
and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries accordingly asked all local authorities to renew their
activities under the above named Acts.
and conveyance
The existing machinery should render it impossible for horses to be shipped from any London
dock without the veterinary examination required by law. With regard to horses conveyed by rail, the
•Council's inspectors examine all horses which come to their notice, to ensure that they are fit to undergo
the journey. A notice is served by an inspector on the railway company in respect of any horse which,
in his opinion, cannot be sent without causing it unnecessary suffering. The railway companies cooperate
with the inspectors and refuse to load any horse with regard to which any doubt is likely to
arise. Most of the companies will not entrain horses in London until they have been examined by the
•Council's officers.
area and
The district drained by the Council's main drainage system has an area of nearly 149 square miles
with a population (in 1921) of 5,333,387. This includes an area of nearly 32 square miles, with a population
of 850,138, outside the countv.
Ihe following statement shows the quantities of sewage, etc., dealt with during 1921
Sewage treated— Million gallons.
Northern outfall 51,5316
„ „ (daily average) 141 2
Southern outfall 30,810-0
„ „ (daily average) 84-4
Sludge sent to sea— Tons.
Northern outfall 1,270,000
., „ (daily average) 3,479
Southern outfall 773,050
„ „ (daily average) 2,118
The sludge vessels made 2,044 trips, and travelled altogether 225,446 miles.
The Council s by-laws prescribe the methods for the drainage of premises, and, subject to these,
the metropolitan borough councils are charged with the control of house drainage. Disputants have a
right of appeal to the Appeal Committee of the Council (see p. 67). The metropolitan borough councils
provide local sewers for house drainage and surface water, the plans of these sewers being subject to the
approval of the Council. From the point at which local sewers discharge into main sewers the Council
becomes entirely responsible. The main sewers, many of which are on the lines of streams formerly
discharging into the Thames, now connect with intercepting sewers which run roughly parallel to the
Thames. In turn the intercepting sewers connect with the outfall sewers which convey the sewage to
the outfalls, where after the extraction of solid matters, the effluent is run off into the river and the
solids are sent to sea in specially designed sludge vessels. For the disposal of rain-water, storm-relief
sewers have been constructed which discharge into the Thames by the shortest practicable route. Many
main sewers also have storm water outlets to the river. Sewage and storm water flow principally by
gravitation, but pumping stations are necessarv at certain places.
The year 1921 was marked by a prolonged drought, and the flow of water over Teddington weir
was abnormally low; only during January was the flow comparable with that of the average of the
last 38 years. The worst month was July, when the average daily flow fell to 40 million gallons, or
about 8 per cent, of the average for that month. The average flow for the whole year was about 43 per
cent, of the general average.
he flow of upland water has a most important bearing upon the purity of the tidal portion of the
During the summer the downward displacement due to the flow of fresh water from the upper
was reduced to a minimum and the lower river showed signs of pollution, the effluent from the

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