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

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Bethnal Green 1860

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Bethnal Green, Parish of St. Matthew ]

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and 20 years; 138 at 20—40, 72 at 40—60, and 4 beyond
the 3rd vicenniad.
Out of every 10,000 living, our loss was 25; in England
it is annually about 26, and "in eight counties of Scotland
17." The colder the place the less it prevails; it is, in fact,
"rare in Siberia, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Orkneys,"
and "in the Arctic Regions it is all but unknown." In hot
climates, however, there happens just the reverse: for "13
in the 1000 is the proportion of soldiers attacked by Consumption
in Jamaica, whilst it is only 6 per 1000 in England."
The one condition to prevent it, is to breathe plenty of fresh
air.* The mortuary returns of the gentry give a loss therefrom
of 1 in every 7; those of the tradesmen of 1 in 8.5;
those of the artizans of 1 in 8.4.
Of "the maladies of that wonderful system of organs which
especially distinguish man from the inferior animals—some
at the various stages of life paralyzing him, some deranging
his powers of motion, and others assailing his passions or
his intellect," there died 202. 38 of these perished by
Apoplexy, 33 by Paralysis, 4 by Tetanus, and 1, the widow
of a solicitor, forfeited her life to Delirium Tremens.
Among the 66 cut off by Heart Disease, I allude with
much regret to the late Mr. John Shenton, an old and faithful
servant of Bethnal Green, who as he was passing, while on
duty, along the road, fell against his son and was suddenly
summoned hence. "When called to him, and the event
occurred only five doors from my own, he was no more.
To Pulmonary Affections 487 deaths are referred, which,
owing to the untoward weather, were much in excess. Their
*On the evils of want of air, it has been facetiously said:—
"Who gets the wind but through a hole,
May make his will and mind his soul."

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