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

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Wimbledon 1925

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Wimbledon]

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In another case where a Certificate had been issued to the
tenant the owner had the necessary work executed and then
applied for a Certificate that the premises were, at that time,
in a reasonable state of repair. After considering the report,
the Local Authority granted the Certificate.
Two cases were still being dealt with at the close of the
I would point out that in all these cases it is most essential
that the inspections and reports are very carefully made and
prepared in order that clear evidence may be given should
the cases be the subject of legal proceedings.
Piggeries.—Early in July a complaint was received from
a number of householders that a serious nuisance existed on
some land adjoining their houses. The complaint was
immediately investigated and found to be due to improper
keeping of pigs, the boiling of pig wash and the extraction
of fat therefrom.
The premises had recently been taken over by a pig
dealer, who did not appear to possess even a primitive idea
of hygiene. The sties were found to be dirty, the floors
defective, and the drainage most inadequate. A rough wood
structure had been constructed in which a vertical boiler had
been erected. In and around this shed were a number of
very large tanks containing foul-smelling pig food (hotel
table refuse), and some bags of offensive bones, the whole
appearing to be the Mecca of swarms of blow flies. Cleanliness
seemed to be an unnecessary evil, whilst neglect was the
dominating factor.
The occupier was warned and the premises kept under
observation for some time, but no material improvement was
effected, notwithstanding the promises made.
I made several surveys of the River Wandle upon which
the piggeries abut, and found the water at this point to be
very foul, due, undoubtedly, to drainage from the sties.
In consequence of the occupier's failure to alter the
prevailing conditions, the matter was reported to the Local
Authority, who instructed me to serve a Notice, which 1 did.
I afterwards had several interviews with the occupier, the
result being that he gave an undertaking to vacate the
premises at the end of the year. As he did not redeem his
promise, instructions were given for legal proceedings to be
instituted, but the premises were cleared and vacated before
the summons could be served.

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