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

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London County Council 1934

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

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With regard to bacteriological work, in 1910 about 1,000 throat swabs were examined
for diphtheria, and some 3,000 hair specimens were examined for ringworm. It
was not, however, until 1912 that a laboratory equipped for the pathological examination
of material in connection with the school medical service was provided. On the
transfer of this laboratory to the County Hall in 1922, adequate accommodation and
additional equipment were provided not only to cope with the growth of the school
medical service, but also to deal with the bacteriological examination of milk, water,
etc., in collaboration with the chemical laboratory.
The numbers of examinations completed in the laboratory in 1934. were: swabs
for diphtheria, 5,883; other pathological material, 65; hair specimens for ringworm,
634; samples of water and milk, 448.
The work carried out in the laboratories provided at the hospitals is described
in Vol. IV, Part I, of this report.
Vital Statistics.
The population enumerated in London by the census on the night of 26th April,
1931, was 4,397,003, including 10,500 non-civilians. In this census the place of usual
residence was also recorded, so that two population figures are available, the enumerated
population already stated, and the normal resident population, which was
The Registrar-General estimates the resident population of the county in the
middle of 1934 to have been 4,230,200. The corresponding estimates for metropolitan
boroughs are shown in the table on page 29, and the rates given in this
annual report are calculated upon these figures.
The marriages registered in London during 1934 numbered approximately
43,267 or 20.5 per thousand of the population, the corrected rate for the preceding
vear being 19.0.
The births in London during 1934 numbered 56,853, compared with 56,743 in
the preceding year. The birth-rate was 13.4 per thousand as against 13.2 in 1933.
The deaths in the total population of London during 1934 numbered 51,717,
giving a death-rate of 12.2 per thousand, compared with 12.5 in 1933.

The distribution of deaths by ages in 1934 and recent preceding periods is shown in the following table:—

Period.0-1 -2 _5-10-15-20-25-35-45-55-65+All ages.
1919-22Annual average.7,8362,1311,9191,3768531,1751,3183,1034,2386,4148,26519,82858,456

The absence of any pronounced prevalence of influenza during 1934 was the
chief cause of the decrease in deaths upon the number in the previous year.
A slight decrease occurred in the deaths from street accidents, which numbered
752, compared with 763 in 1933.
Decrease in
mortality in
The changes in the death-rate from all causes since 1910 are broadly shown in the
following figures relating to the years 1911-1913 and 1930-1932. These years are
taken as a basis of comparison on account of their proximity to the census years 1911
and 1931, as errors arising from change in the age and sex constitution of the population
are thus reduced to a minimum. The age groups selected represent, broadly,
the periods of infancy, school age, the principal working ages and old age.