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

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Stepney 1902

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Stepney]

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employment. Thirty admitted that they were prostitutes. A still larger number
said that they were out of work, and in these cases it was more than suspicious
that they lodged in houses known to be brothels.
In one common lodging house fourteen single women were removed, and seven
of these admitted that they were prostitutes. In another, four out of the eight
removed, stated that they were prostitutes.
Another cause that materialy swelled the number was the outbreak at the Mile
End Infirmary, which was responsible for 97 cases, 91 of them being nurses, patients
and school-children, and five persons who worked in the Infirmary, as well as one
discharged patient of the Infirmary.
The number in common lodging houses in Whitechapel was 221
„ „ „ „ St. George's was 25
„ „ „ „ Limehouse was 10
Total 256
The number in Mile End Infirmary was 91
„ „ Whitechapel Infirmary 24
„ „ St. George's Infirmary 7
„ „ Ratcliff House 2
There were in addition 91 cases in houses in Whitechapel which were let out in
furnished rooms. These rooms are let out nightly, often in the same way as
common lodging houses, except that they are let to families and not to single persons.
They are often let in conjunction with common lodging houses, and are owned
frequently by the same owner.
This leaves 774 cases, which were distributed as follows:—
Limehouse District 142
St. George's „ 70
Mile End „ 457
Whitechapel „ 105
On the receipt of a notification of Small-pox, the Asylums Board was communicated
with, and arrangements were at once made for the patient's removal to
the Small-pox Hospital. I immediately visited the premises and endeavoured to find
out from the patient, particulars as to the source of the infection, conditions
as to vaccination, etc.
The names of the children in the house, and the schools where they generally
attended, were obtained. The children were forbidden from going to school, and the
headmasters were communicated with. When the children could again with safety
attend school, certificates were sent direct to the headmasters.