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

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Acton 1904

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Acton]

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The frequent removal of all refuse, especially
vegetable matter, which we recommend to be burnt.
We lay stress on the importance of keeping the
roads frequently watered, so as to lay the dust. (Microorganisms
adhere to moist surfaces.)
And we want no better evidence of the value of
this measure than the Infant Mortality of 1903, which,
owing to the heavy rainfall, was the lowest on record.
The personal inspection and supervision of all
dairies and milkshops, and insisting on the milk standing
in the open shop being covered over with damp cloth
or metal cover.
Every mother is given a leaflet showing the best
food for her infant, and how that food should be prepared
in the event of her not being able to nurse the child
There is no doubt that the establishment of a creche
would remove one of the most important predisposing
causes, and it is very unfortunate that the measure for
providing the same which came before Parliament in the
Acton Improvement Act was lost. Much good can be
done by education, and there is some slight evidence
by the diminished Infant Mortality in the last four years,
that the labours of the Health Department are not in
During the year Miss Bulkeley Williams, the health
visitor, paid 1,292 visits relating to the feeding of infants,
and also had 120 dirty premises cleaned.
In the following table the death-rate and Zymotic
death-rate are so arranged that comparison can be made
for the preceding 10 years :—