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

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City of London 1928

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

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Defective Connections to Sewer.—During the year, 24 reports were received from the City
Engineer respecting the condition of connections between the drains of certain City houses
and the public sewer.
Investigations showed that it was necessary to reconstruct all of the connections referred
to. Of these, 20 have been completed and the remainder are, at the time of writing this
Report, in process of reconstruction. As a result of the inspection of the internal drainage
system of these premises, reconstruction or alteration was found necessary in eleven instances.
In the majority of cases these external drains were brick-barrel drains, in which rats
had their breeding-places, and were, undoubtedly, a source of much annoyance to the
occupiers of the houses to which they were connected.
In the Annual Report for the year 1927, reference was'made to the steps which were
being taken to reduce the number of pigeons infesting the City of London. Powers authorising
action in this matter were conferred by the London County Council (General Powers)
Act, 1927.
During 1928, of 2,004 birds captured, 2,000 were killed under the supervision of my
officers (by dislocation of the vertebrae), and four "ringed" birds were forwarded to the
Homing Union in accordance with an arrangement entered into with that Union, who were
naturally desirous that private and perhaps valuable homing pigeons would not be destroyed
in the general round-up.
The birds were caught mainly by hand, the rather more elaborate trapping methods at
first attempted not proving as successful as was hoped. They were captured in the vicinity
of St. Paul's Cathedral, Guildhall, Mansion House, the Royal Exchange and certain other
centres of congregation.
It will, of course, be necessary to embark again upon the trapping from time to time,
but care will always be exercised to ensure that the birds are not entirely cleared from the
City, as the sentimental and aesthetic association with such historic structures as St. Paul's
Cathedral and the Guildhall justify their retention in, at any rate, small numbers.
The attention which it has been customary to give to the possibility of the spread of
infection by flies during the summer months has been continued. Leaflets were distributed
throughout the City calling attention to the nuisance which is created by the fly and indicating
certain precautionary measures which should be taken in order to minimise the danger and
nuisance so far as practicable. Your officers, where opportunity offered, made a special point
of directing attention of residents and others to the necessity for the strict observance of
cleanliness, frequent removal of dust and other refuse, and particularly of waste foodstuffs.
Special attention was given to the conditions existing at the several stables situated in
the City, where it was found that the necessity of maintaining these in such a condition as
to obviate nuisance, was generally appreciated.
The services of the several Ward Beadles were utilised in directing attention to the
subject by the exhibition of posters in their wards, and I wish to acknowledge the assistance
they have rendered which, by reason of their intimate knowledge of their districts, was of
considerable value.
During excavations for building on the site of St. Olave's Church Burial Ground, situate
at the corner of Seething Lane and Crutched Friars, a quantity of human remains were
discovered during the year.
The site was vested in the Port of London Authority by the Port of London Act, 1912,
but was originally a churchyard, consecrated, so I am informed, in 1680 as an additional
burial ground for the Parish of St. Olave, and burials are reported to have taken place
there until it was closed in 1780.
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