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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Canal Boats.—Pursuant to Section 249 (3) of the Public Health Act, 1030,
part X, the Metropolitan Borough of Stepney, being the Registration Authority
within the meaning of that Section, has to report as follows with regard to the
steps taken by them during the year 1938 to carry into effect the provisions
and Regulations relating to Canal Boats, namely:—
(1) Canal Boats coming within the District are inspected by a Sanitary
Inspector, who receives a sum of £10 per annum for the performance of this
duty. His inspection is irrespective of the examination of Boats made by
the Examining Officer prior to their registration.
(2) The number of boats inspected was 16.
Eight children were found on the boats.
There were no contraventions of the Act and Regulations.
No boats were registered during the year.
The Factories Act, 1937.—The Factories Act, 1937, came into force
during the year is an important consolidating and amending Act and replaces
the Act of 1901 and various other enactments.
A new factory register has had to be prepared under this Act. The
compilation of this register was carried out during the year and following the
suggestion of the Home Office, the District Inspector of Factories co-operated
with this Department and gave every assistance. A good deal of work was
involved in the preparation of this register and it will be necessary to revise
the register constantly to keep it up to date.
The old distinction between a "Factory" and a "Workshop" is abolished
and the expression "workshop" disappears. The term "Factory" now
covers both workshop and factory. The Council in general deal with factories
where mechanical power is not used.
Broadly speaking, it is the duty of the Borough Council to enforce various
general provisions for protecting the health of persons employed in establishments
where mechanical power is not used, keeping lists of Outworkers, and
taking steps to prevent the carrying-on of homework in unwholesome premises.
The Act of 1901 proceeded by applying the Public Health Acts and
treating defaults as nuisances. Under the new Act, operative provisions are
contained in the Act itself, and when not observed, the firm concerned becomes
liable to a fine without, except in a few cases, the necessity for serving any
In factories both with and without mechanical power, the Council enforce
the provisions with regard to sanitary accommodation, and in non-mechanical
power factories with regard to cleanliness, overcrowding, temperature, ventilation,
lighting and drainage of floors. The L.C.C. regulates the means for
escape in case of fire.
Drinking Water.—The Factory Inspectors must see that a wholesome
supply of drinking water is available to the e mployees, but the Borough
Council must approve the source of supply. This may involve chemical or
bacteriological examination of the water by the Council, before the source
can be approved, and it is necessary to consider as to whether the Council
should bear the cost of these examinations.
Homework.—Lists of Outworkers must be sent as heretofore by the firms
employing them to the Local Authority, but "during February and August"
not " before February and August" as previously.
Basement Bakehouse.—Under the 1901 Act certificates were issued for
Underground Bakehouses. Only those then certified were allowed to continue
as underground bakehouses. Under the new Act it should be noted that no
certificates may be issued, but, if on inspection, a bakehouse is considered
unfit, the old certificate must be revoked. If fit, the old certificate may be