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

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St Mary (Battersea) 1890

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Battersea]

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for the remedying of defects found in their sanitary arrangements.
In most of these cases the notices were complied with,
but in 162 it was necessary to serve second notices, which, in
all but 16, were complied with; in the latter, it was necessary to
apply to the Magistrate for compulsory powers, which, in each
case, was granted and enforced, so that it may be said that the
4,035 defects were eventually remedied. As those defects refer
principally to the houses in which we live, and on which
depends so much the health of the individual, too much importance
cannot be attached to their abolition, and any work given
to that object, or any expense incurred in its being carried out,
is well spent. This is conclusively proved by the improvement
of the health of the inhabitants, as shown by the mortality table
during the past 10 years, fully set forth in the vital statistics
accompanying this report.
The total number of houses and premises inspected during
the year was 12,998, or within two of 13,000; this total shows
an increase on the previous year of 656, and resulted in the
discovery and remedying of 4,035 defects; 132 houses were
disinfected and cleansed after infectious disease; 524 were
supplied with disinfectants, and no less than in 1,389 cases the
sink and waste pipes were altered to discharge over gullies, or
syphon traps fixed, thus cutting off any escape of Sewer Gas
into the house, and freeing the inhabitants from a serious source
of evil.
It has but recently been admitted that the Sanitary
Authority has the power to compel water to be laid on to closets;
of course it goes without saying that this is an absolute
necessity, alike for comfort and health, the enforcement of this
power has resulted in water being laid on to 1,113 closets; this
number is 698 more than those of the previous year.
OverThere were twenty-two cases of overcrowding, the
most prominent of which areas follows, and will show
under what conditions some persons will live.
Case "A." In a basement containing about 1,200 cubic feet
a family consisting of the mother and seven children, the two