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

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City of London 1966

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

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The overall result was 8.1% complete "takes" and the comparable result of the five previous
years was 17.6%, 11.6%, 8.9%, 6.7% and 7.5% respectively. Taking into account the varying
weather conditions at the time of these tests and the thirteen week interval from the 3rd poison
control, the test result was again satisfactory.
The combination of the "Direct" poison method and '1080' or '1081', applied for the first
time in this country in the City sewers in 1951, has been standard practice for several years and
this technique has since been adopted by an increasing number of Authorities throughout the
country and commercial Pest Control firms offering their services.
To summarize, the diminished status of rat infestation in the City achieved in recent years
has been maintained particularly with regard to Ship (black) rat which until a few years past was
the dominant infestation.
In accordance with Part 3, Section 121, Public Health Act, 1936 and Section 10 (1) D Protection
of Birds Act, 1954, action was taken from time to time during the year in an endeavour to
keep the pigeon population of the City within reasonable limits and a firm of specialists in this
work, licenced by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food under the latter Act to use
narcotics, is employed under contract by the Corporation to carry this out at sites after prior
inspection and official written approval.
During the year 2,940 pigeons were removed from various sites as compared with 4,300 in
Several complaints were received during the year of excessive congregations centred mainly
around the older properties such as churches, and also of damage to plants in the increasing
number of open spaces and gardens provided for the public use and pleasure by the Corporation.
It is the general opinion that the number of pigeons throughout London is increasing but
observation of this problem in the City tends to show that whereas, before redevelopment, roosting
facilities were available over the entire area, these are no longer available on the modern
structures, thus creating concentrations of excessive numbers on and around the old types of
Extermination measures alone, however, will not solve this problem. On the contrary, reduction
of congregations tends to assist the residual breeding potential by solving overcrowded
roosting facilities and making available the food supply which previously catered for larger
numbers, thus eliminating competition.
Of the dual problem of housing and feeding, the latter is by far the most important, as the
survival and multiplication of large congregations is relative to the food supply. It is a common
sight to see well intentioned members of the public feeding large quantities of scraps to the
birds particularly in laid out gardens despite the notices displayed requesting them to refrain
from doing so. This is also prevelant among office staffs attracting and feeding pigeons on
window ledges, and in both cases polite remonstrance has on occasions been met with mild
It is the policy of the City Corporation to endeavour to control the numbers of pigeons to
such proportions as will ensure that the pleasure they afford to some members of the public is
not outweighed by the nuisance and damage they cause generally.
It will be realised, therefore, that the pigeon problem cannot be really satisfactorily dealt
with without the intelligent co-operation of the general public.
In short the answer to the problem is in the hands of the public and Parliament.


Bodies received207
Post Mortem Examinations made207
Inquests on bodies39
Inquests held at Holloway PrisonNIL
Inquests on firesNIL
Inquests on Treasure Trove1
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