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

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Stepney 1937

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Stepney]

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Record of Rat Destruction carried out by the Council's Ratcatchers from
lst January to 31st December.
No. of premises visited 1,136
„ „ visits 17,890
„ „ dead rats found poisoned 56
„ „ rats caught in our traps 1,869*
„ „ premises cleared of rats as reported by the
Occupiers 409
„ „ new rat complaints during this period 592
*1,513 of these were actually brought into the Depot and destroyed.
The poisons used were as follows:—
Rodine 37,498 cubes.
Barium carbonate 34,422 „
Phosphor paste 39,911 „
Extract of Squills 15,604 portions (2 oz.)
In addition to the National Rat Week in November, three extra Rat
Weeks were held in February, May and August, in collaboration with the
adjoining Boroughs of Bethnal Green, Shoreditch and Poplar, when poisoned
bait was laid in the manholes and side entrances of the sewers in and adjoining
the boundary roads of the respective Boroughs.

The following is a record of the work done in Stepney during these extra Rat Weeks in 1937:—

Extra Rat Weeks.Dates (inc.)Poisoned baits laid inBaits laid
First1st to 7th February174171,32868
Second3rd to 8th May18817913137
Third26th July to 31st July215271,649124

National Rat Week—1st to 6th November.
The Council adopted a similar procedure as in previous years.
Notices, drawing the attention of the public to the matter, were inserted
in four local newspapers.
Communications were sent to 13 local cinemas, requesting that notices
be displayed on the screen, drawing attention to National Rat Week.
72 chemists and oilmen within the Borough were supplied with copies
of the Ministry of Agriculture's form No. 618/T.R., bulletin No. 30 the official
pictorial bills and bills "Rat Poison Sold Here," and were requested to display
the same in their shop windows.
Rat poison, consisting of extract of squills, barium carbonate, phosphor
paste and rodine, were placed in the sewer manholes and side entrances at
250 different positions throughout the Borough. A total of 1,592 portions of
bait were laid, of which number 1,484 were eaten.
The Council employ three men as ratcatchers, who give their whole time
to rat destruction.