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

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West Ham 1934

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for West Ham]

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affecting twelve houses. The appeals were dismissed, with costs,
and the works have been carried out by the Council in default.
An appeal against a Demolition Order was made on grounds
of reasonable cost and of procedure. The Demolition Order was
quashed, the Court having held an expenditure of £311 in the case
of a house producing a rent of 13s. weekly to be a reasonable cost.
In the case referred to in my Annual Report for 1933, the
application for an injunction to restrain the Corporation from
entering under Section 18 to execute works, failed. An action
was then commenced in the High Court and was heard by Mr.
Justice Maughan. ("Cohen v. West Ham.") This case has been
reported in several law as well as medical papers.
By the year's end, 2,219 Notices under Section 17 had been
fully complied with, and as the works involved an expenditure of
about £88,000, it will be seen that a gradual comb out is being
made of the specially selected worst properties.
In securing repairs to insanitary houses, the bugbear of
reasonable cost assumes increasing importance, coupled with the
fact that little land remains for re-housing if cases are dealt with
under Section 19. In the absence of any practicable definition of
the term "reasonable cost," an attempt is being made to confine
action under Section 17 to houses which could be repaired,
if done by the Corporation's contractors, at a cost not exceeding
four years' nett rent
It should be noted that in the Ordnance Ward of West Ham
a density of 177 persons per acre is reached, whilst some other
Wards show densities of 100 per acre: Tidal Basin, 125.3; Beckton
Road, 134.9; West Ham, 109. Only 39.6 per cent. of the families
in West Ham are in undivided occupation of separate dwellings.
The 1931 Census provides interesting comparisons of the
relative density of population in West Ham. This shows how

This shows how impracticable it is to propound a satistactory solution to the prob-lem of overcrowding so far as this Borough is concerned, having regard to the fact that practically all available land is already earmarked.

Population in families.Separate dwellings.Excess of families over dwellings
England and Wales1023300091230001110000
County of London1190030730628459402
West Ham729944928023714
East Ham37775292648511