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Stepney 1900

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Whitechapel]

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Presented to the General Purposes Committee on the 14th January, 1901.
Offices of the Metropolitan Borough of Stepney,
Whitechapel Area (including Wapping).
Public Health Department:
No. 15, Great Alie Street,
London, E.
January 11h, 19091.
To the Mayor, Aldermen, and Councillors
of the Metropolitan Borough of Stepney,
Gentlemen,
The Metropolitan Borough of Stepney was inaugurated last November.
To-day I have received from your Acting Clerk a printed circular which contains
the names of certain officers belonging to the late Boards and Vestries
now forming the Borough of Stepney, whose offices are to be abolished at a date
not later than March 25th, 1901. I am included in that list. Notwithstanding
this fact, I am preparing a Report upon the Sanitary Condition of the
area which, until recently, was known as The Whitechapel District. One
reason for the compilation of this Report is, that I am under a statutory
responsibility to do so, but were this not the case I should still feel it to be
my duty, because by no other means could all the information herein contained
be forthcoming: a break in the continuity of recorded work would thus take
place which might cause my successors some annoyance and trouble.
I cannot leave the work which, for a period of eighteen years, I have
carried on, without a few remarks concerning the changes which I have seen
within the District during that time.
Probably no other part of London has exchanged so many old and wornout
houses for new buildings during that period than Whitechapel; certainly
very few parts can have surpassed us in the number of large drainage improvements
which have been devised and carried out by my staff. This work I
look back to as having been, perhaps, our most important addition to the
various improvements which have taken place.
Then, again, for the past ten years there has been a systematic attempt
to get details of every house upon a Register, and at the present time 4,250
such houses are entered in the 16 volumes comprising the Registers.
When I mention that every house when inspected had its drains tested,
and where faulty had improved or new drains substituted; that all defective
traps were replaced by traps of a modern pattern; and that the houses themselves
were, if necessary, cleansed and repaired, you will readily perceive that
some reasons are adduced to logically account for the huge reduction irl
death rate which has taken place during the time I have had the pleasure of
being Sanitary Adviser to the late Board of Works for the Whitechapel District.
At the end of this brief valedictory preface I append a copy of the first page
of the first Register.
When I took charge there were two Inspectors only employed by the Board,
and I have often wondered at the marvellous energy they displayed in their
continuous uphill work. Then were the years of small-pox and typhus fever,


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