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

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Stepney 1938

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Stepney]

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National Rat Week—1th to 12th 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 11 local cinemas, requesting that notices
be displayed on the screen, drawing attention to National Rat Week.
69 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 barium carbonate, phosphor paste and
rodine, were placed in the sewer manholes and side entrances at 276
different positions throughout the Borough. A total of 1,695 portions of
bait were laid, of which number 1,537 were eaten.
The Council employ three men as ratcatchers, who give their whole time
to rat destruction.
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 1938:—

Extra Rat WeeksDates (inc.)Poison baits laid in Manholes and Side-entrancesBaits EatenBaits Uneaten
First31st Jan. to 5th Feb173 positions90143
Second2nd to 7th May175 ,,909103
Third25th to 30th July191 „1,310287

Houses Let in Lodgings.—There are 3,472 houses let in lodgings. 3,467
inspections were carried out during the year, and it became necessary to serve
1,473 "intimations" for contravention of the byelaws. Legal proceedings
were taken in 4 instances.
Rent and Mortgage Interest Restrictions Acts.—180 certificates were issued
to tenants as to houses not being in a reasonable state of repair, and 12 applications
for such certificates were refused. 18 certificates to landlords were
issued as to houses being in a reasonable state of repair and 8 such applications
were refused.
Water Certificates.—Certificates were granted under the provisions of the
Public Health (London) Acts as to dwelling houses having a proper and
sufficient supply of water with respect to 7 houses and 248 flats.