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

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City of London 1903

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for London, City of ]

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At the latter end of the year, in consequence of numerous complaints from
property owners of the nuisance caused by pigeons depositing dung on
buildings, an attempt was made to determine the number of these birds, when
it was ascertained that there were probably not less than 4,000 of them
within the City limits.
In addition to the local nuisance thus created, owners are put to frequent
and not inconsiderable expense in keeping premises frequented by pigeons
free from accumulated filth, which must inevitably and especially in hot
weather—contribute materially to the general pollution of the atmosphere.
Of course, on sentimental grounds, no one would venture to suggest the
banishment of these birds from the City, but the time has arrived when it is
necessary that their numbers should be lessened, the evil having been
aggravated in later years in consequence of the demolition of City churches,
and there is now hardly a building of any importance where pigeons do not
The matter was fully considered by the Sanitary Committee in November
last, but it was found impossible to take any active measures for abating the
evil, as the birds have no actual owners.
In consequence of the publication of this fact, the number of pigeons
has since been considerably reduced, doubtless owing to housekeepers and
others having captured them without fear of prosecution. This has effected
a desirable thinning out, which, however, might be still further extended
to the public advantage.
During the year the undermentioned Bills were introduced into Parliament
in which the Public Health Department was more or less interested. As
these will be fully explained by Mr. Remembrancer in his Annual Report,
there is no occasion to refer to them here in detail: —
London County Council—General Powers Bill.
British and Irish Meat Protection.
Housing of the Working Classes.
Public Health.
Sale of Adulterated Butter.

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