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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On 30th October, 1934, the Council approved a new "standard planning" for
elementary schools, in which great improvements are made in regard to hygiene.
This standard will be used not only for new schools to be built but also in connection
with the reconstruction and remodelling of those which are out of date.
In addition to ten remodellings of schools included in the developments for
1934-35, the new programme includes, during 1935-38, the rebuilding or modernisation
of 30 additional schools, 22 of which were built before 1880. Further, a new
feature has been included in the programme, viz., for the reconditioning of premises
and for pushing forward the provision of the conveniences and amenities included in
the new standard planning by a systematic overhaul of schools in which rebuilding
or remodelling is not necessary. It is the aim to make some approach in all schools to
the level of the schools built on the new standard planning by providing medical
inspection rooms, hot water systems for lavatories, provision for drying clothes in
cloakrooms, indoor sanitary conveniences for babies, improved natural lighting, etc.
The Council's scheme for the reduction of accommodation of classrooms to a
maximum of 40 for older pupils and 48 for infants is almost complete, 99.6 per cent,
of classrooms in provided schools and 94.5 per cent, of those in non-provided schools
being now on this basis. While many of the advances in the standard planning are
designed to improve educational facilities, some of these have important hygienic
bearings and other advances are purely for hygienic reasons. The increased floor space
to be provided in every type of department will give much healthier conditions and
will diminish the risk of spread of contagious and infectious diseases. Under the new
planning the floor space per child of classrooms in all departments will be increased by 8
or 9 per cent. Floor space in rooms for " under fives " will be increased by 25 per cent.
A separate waiting room will be provided in connection with all medical inspection
rooms ; some wash-basins will be provided near the water closets, thus giving
opportunity for hygienic habits.
In suitable cases a physical training room will be provided of 1,800 square
feet floor space, and this will be provided with separate changing rooms and shower
baths for girls and boys ; improvements will be made in the layout of playgrounds,
increased area of playgrounds will be provided for infants (20 square feet per
child instead of 16), and a separate playground of 800 square feet or more near
the babies' room.
Drinking water points will be provided on each floor.
Increased space will be given in cloak rooms, giving 10 inch spacing of pegs in
two rows, while a much needed improvement is introduced in the provision of drying
The programme provides also for advances in equipment. It is proposed to
supply a large number of tables and chairs in lieu of fixed dual desks.
The table tops at present supplied measure 3 feet 5 inches by 1 foot 4 inches but
it is hoped that, with the introduction of the new standard planning, it will be possible
to supply larger tables.

The heights ot tables and chairs at present authorised tor children aged 5years and upwards are in5ranges as follows :—

T able 1.

Size No.Height of top of table from floor.Height of chair seat from floor.Suitable for children aged (approximately).
129 inches17 ½ inches12 years and upwards
227½ „16 „10-12 years
324½ „14 „8-10 „
3a22 „13 „7-8 „
420 „12 „5-7 „
There are in addition smaller tables and chairs provided for babies' classes.