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

View report page

Whitechapel 1869

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Whitechapel]

This page requires JavaScript

now so enclosed the cistern as to render it air tight, whereby the escape of
the volatile part of the creosote into the neighbourhood is prevented.
Notwithstanding, however, the several alterations which have been made,
the nuisance is not removed, for complaints still continue to be made by
the inhabitants; and Mr. Schwartz has been informed by the Board that,
unless the cause of complaint be removed, proceedings will be adopted
to compel him to do so. Since the presentation of this Report to the
Board, proceedings have been commenced.
Dr. Letheby, in his report of the inspection of Mr. Schwartz's premises
(a copy of which wras sent to the Board), states, that the material
used as fuel is the least volatile portion of coal tar. It has a specific
gravity of 1050, and it contains a good deal of crystallizable neutral substance
called paranapthaline and a small quantity of carbolic acid, to which lastnamed
substance its peculiar odour is chiefly due. Dr. Letheby further
says that, he has frequently seen the dead oil used as fuel in London and
elsewhere, and he is satisfied that it is a safe and economical method of
consuming the oil. It is also, he says, so entirely under the control of the
stoker, that the combustion of the oil can be secured so as not to produce
smoke or offensive vapour, and that it is the most manageable fuel for
I have no reason to doubt the correctness of Dr. Letheby's statement
as regards the use of creosote in furnaces when a uniform heat is
required, but when an increased volume of steam is suddenly required at
irregular intervals, it is not so manageable. At all events, as the nuisance
still continues in Mr. Schwartz's premises, it is obvious that proper care
is not given by that gentleman to the burning of the material in his
Complaints have also been made of the re-burning of animal charcoal
upon the premises of Mr. Bringes, in Back Church Lane, and upon those
of Mr. Gadsden, in Chamber Street.
The Danish church, which was situated in a large open space, in
Wellclose Square, and which was built in the year 1694, is now entirely
demolished, and the site is about to be used for the erection of schools, in
connexion with St. Paul's Church, Bock Street. These schools are intended
for the accommodation of 600 children, and they will be under the
superintendance of the Rev. Daniel Greatorex, the Incumbent of St
Paul's Church.