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

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Willesden 1960

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Willesden]

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The Metropolitan Water Board and the Colne Valley Water Company supply Willesden with water.
These supplies are not subject to plumbo-solvent action and have been satisfactory both in quantity and
quality. All dwelling houses and flats have a piped supply direct from the mains and there were no complaints
of any contamination during the year. Frequent bacteriological and chemical examinations of the
water are carried out by the Metropolitan Water Board and the Colne Valley Water Company.
Sewage and drainage
Most of the sewage of the borough is discharged into the London County Council main sewers, but a
small amount from the Park Royal area is discharged into the West Middlesex Main Drainage system.
Refuse disposal
The Borough Engineer's Department deals with the provision of dustbins.
Refuse is disposed of by controlled tipping at Yiewsley; house refuse is collected weekly and trade
refuse as often as required at an agreed charge.
Household arrangements
The decennial census was taken on the 24th April, 1961, and when the results are published much
useful information on Willesden's housing problems will be available to the Council. The census report for
the County of Middlesex published in 1951 and the housing report for England and Wales clearly showed
Willesden's problem as compared with the rest of the County (see report for 1956).
(a) Shared dwellings and overcrowding
About six out of ten households in Willesden share a dwelling. This is higher than the average for
the county and for Greater London (about three out of ten) and much higher than England and Wales (less
than two out of ten).
The number of persons per room is higher than that of Greater London, England and Wales, and
any district in the county, and the percentage of population and of households at densities over 1 and 2
persons per room is the highest in the county, in some instances the percentage is more than double.
(b) Bathrooms
The proportion of households either sharing or without a fixed bath (six out of ten) is almost double
that of the average of the county, and is much higher than that of Greater London and England and Wales
(about four out of ten).
The proportion sharing or without a water closet, cooking stove or a kitchen sink is higher than
the average for the County of Middlesex.
Willesden is poorly equipped with public open spaces; 242 acres compared with an estimated need
of 1,313 acres; yet one in four families have no garden at all, and a large number have to share a garden.
Swimming baths
The Borough Engineer has kindly supplied the following information in respect of the three swimming
baths in the borough.
The water for filling the baths is obtained from the mains supply. It is regularly chlorinated and
plant of sufficient capacity to insure breakdown conditions is installed at each bath. The capacity of each
bath and the time taken for the whole of the water to pass through the filters and treatment plant is as
Time taken for water to pass
Capacity through filters, etc.
(gallons) (hours)
Granville Road Baths 145,000 3½
Gladstone Park Swimming Pool 500,000 11
King Edward's Recreation Ground Swimming Pool 350,000

435 samples were taken, 22 of which were unsatisfactory (see Public Health Laboratory Service,

page 6).

Swimming bathSamples takenSatisfactoryUnsatisfactory
Granville Road2692636
Gladstone Park80791
King Edward's Park8686-
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