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

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Marylebone 1951

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for St. Marylebone, Metropolitan Borough]

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Rodent Control.—The smaller number of ship rat infestations discovered indicates a trend towards a
greater measure of control of the rodent menace within the Borough. This improvement was offset
to some extent by increases in the numbers of common rat and mouse infestations. As the presence
of the common rat is usually associated with drainage defects, the rodent operatives were trained to
include a superficial inspection of drains in their routine treatments. The increase in the number of
complaints of mice may be attributed to the publicity given to the free treatment available to the
occupiers of dwelling accommodation. A minimum charge of 10s. for dealing with each infestation
at business premises continued to be made. It is gratifying to be able to report that owners, occupiers
and commercial rat-catching firms co-operated closely with the Council's staff.
Two additional rodent operatives were appointed in April and thereafter the scheme of "block
treatment" was intensified, as shown in Table 5.
It was not necessary to take formal action under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act, 1949,
but 193 informal notices were served. Twenty-five notices were served under the London County
Council bye-laws in respect of drainage defects.
Sewer baiting was carried out in January at 158 baiting points and again in June when the
number of baiting points was increased to 234.

TABLE 5.—Work of the Rodent Control Service.

YearComplaintsBlocks TreatedInfestations DiscoveredPremises Treated by Council's Staff
NumberPremises involvedNumberPremises involvedShip ratCommon ratMiceTotal
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Dog Nuisance.—Contraventions of the bye-law relating to the fouling of footways by dogs reported
by the streets nuisance inspector resulted in summonses in 30 cases. In 27 of these convictions were
secured and penalties imposed, costs being awarded to the Council in two cases. The remaining
three cases were dismissed, one on the payment of costs. The total number of prosecutions taken by
the Council since the bye-law came into operation in 1928 is 486.
Pigeons.—Nuisance from these birds was reported in four instances, relating mainly to residential
properties, and in three cases the complaints were referred to an approved pigeon catcher. In the
remaining case, the nuisance, which was caused by the feeding of pigeons, was abated after informal
Noise.—Complaints of 33 noise nuisances were received. They were concerned with such diverse
matters as radio, musical instruments, dogs, fowls, machinery, building operations, refrigerator in
a shop, chimney cowl, dustbin trolley, social gatherings of various kinds, and a coach park. The
majority of these nuisances were abated after action by the sanitary inspector and streets nuisance
inspector. In other cases, where upon investigation it appeared that the Department had no power
to take direct action, the complaints were referred to the Town and Country Planning Authority
and to the Police. In no case was legal action necessary by the Council.
Atmospheric Pollution.—Observations continued to be made regularly throughout the year, and 8
complaints were received in respect of smoke nuisances arising from 7 premises, relating to a commercial
undertaking, a block of flats, private houses, and to the two electricity generating stations. With
the exception of those arising from the last named, the nuisances, although recurrent in some instances,
were abated after informal action.
Apparatus to record the amount of atmospheric pollution, more especially from grit emissions,
in the vicinity of the electricity generating stations in Aberdeen Place and Lodge Road was installed
on the roof of Welfare Centre No. 2, Lisson Grove, close to the generating stations, and on the roof
of the Town Hall to act as a "control," i.e., to record the amount of deposit which occurs in a locality
which may be taken to represent average conditions in the Borough. Welfare Centre No. 2 is
approximately E.N.E. of the Aberdeen Place generating station and would thus tend to be "down
wind" from this station. It may therefore reasonably be supposed to be affected more by this station
than by the Lodge Road Generating Station which is N.N.E. of the Welfare Centre, i.e., "up wind."
These sites were chosen upon the advice of the Atmospheric Pollution Branch of the Department of
Scientific and Industrial Research. The apparatus came into operation on the 1st April, 1950, and
the monthly readings for the year ended 31st March, 1951, are shown in Table 6.

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