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

View report page

City of London 1924

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Port of London]

This page requires JavaScript

Two private shellfish grounds, one to the east of Southend and another in the
large "public laying" at Shoeburyness, exist on the north; both of these come
under orders issued by the Port of London Sanitary Authority dated 16th November,
1916, and shellfish are not collected from them for direct sale, though oyster
spat and oysters are collected for culture. Similar collection takes place from
Southend flat. The whole district from the Chapman Lighthouse to Shoeburyness
and further towards the Maplin Sands is under two prohibition orders or private
Cockles are collected from the whole of the said area and sterilized before
distribution for sale, mostly at Leigh. Relaying grounds in use for the Southend
and Shoebury district lie in the Rivers Roach and Crouch.
The following communication of interest was received from Dr. Pugh, Medical
Officer of Health for Southend:—
Public Health Offices,
Clarence Street,
10th April, 1924.
Dear Dr. Willoughby,
A girl, aged 15¾, of Bournes Green in this Borough was notified to me on the 5th instant to
be suffering from Typhoid Fever and on enquiry I learn that she became ill on the 26th ultimo,
developed spots on the 3rd instant, and gave a positive Widal reaction 1 in 200.
She and other members of the family had partaken of periwinkles purchased from a street
vendor on Sunday, 16th ultimo.
The street vendor, I understand, obtains his periwinkles from Mr. W. Bygrave, 12,
Rompart Street, Shoeburyness, who is said to collect them from the Thames foreshore off
Wakering Stairs.
A similar instance of Typhoid Fever, following the consumption of periwinkles, purchased
from the same street vendor, came under notice in March, 1921. He was then warned as to the
requirements of the Order made by your Authority, as to steaming under pressure for six
minutes in an approved apparatus or cooking in water maintained at the boiling point for
15 minutes. The apparatus he then used for boiling the winkles consisted of a dilapidated
copper in the yard with a defective furnace. The Inspector states that he is now informed
the copper is not in use but that the winkles are boiled in a saucepan over the kitchen fire.
I have sent the street vendor a warning letter but I think you will be interested to hear
of the case.
Yours faithfully,
Medical Officer of Health.
I asked for an explanation of the seller, warning him that prosecution might
follow. I further impressed upon him the necessity of following out the Regulations
accurately. It is of interest that the matter of Enteric Fever in this district
has again cropped up with the lesser shellfish—winkles. It will be remembered
that at the time of the Shellfish enquiry an element of doubt was expressed as to
whether winkles were a source of Enteric Fever and that considerable evidence was
given in the account of a winkle epidemic which occurred in Northfleet and was
reported to me by Dr. H. T. Sells, Medical Officer of Health for Northfleet.
The Regulations were again published in two newspapers in the Southend
district in order that Shellfish vendors may not plead ignorance of their responsibilities
in the matter.


Date.Name of vessel.Offence.Police Court.Result.
1924 Nov. 18 ss."Hadrian" (master)Failure to comply with the terms of a Statutory Notice served requiring the abatement of a smoke nuisance and the prevention of a recurrence of the same.GreenwichSummons dismissed.
Dec. 17 ss."Fred Everard " (master)Ditto.Tower BridgeFined 3 guineas. Costs 3 guineas.