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Mile End 1890

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Hamlet of Mile End Old Town]

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In one ward in our district viz. the West Ward, we have been
aware for some time past, that the underground rooms in many
of the houses are used as sleeping apartments, there can be
but little doubt that owing to these rooms being 8 to 10 feet
below the level of the street with no through ventilation, the
air gets vitiated to a marked degree, and so is very detrimental
to the health of the occupants. Notices have from time to
time been served on the owners and occupiers of such underground
rooms, to discontinue their being used as dwellings, but
with little permanent effect, the difficulty we have felt, is that
owing to our visiting them in the day time, there has been little
trace of many of them being used as such, although we were
fairly certain of their being so occupied. This state of things
was fully considered by the Sanitary Committee in August last,
and it was determined to make a midnight visit, and so get reliable
evidence to ground proceedings. On August 22nd, 10.30 p.m.
several members of the Sanitary Committee, your Sanitary
Inspector, and myself, visited a large number of these houses,
and in 26 of them visited, beds were found in the underground
rooms, and in many cases children were asleep, four or five in
one bed, as well as adults; having got this information, notices
were at once served on the owners and occupiers, and after
some three weeks, another visit was paid to the same houses as
before at 11 p.m. when it was found in 19 cases the occupants
had discontinued using them as sleeping rooms, whilst in seven
cases they were occupied as on our first visit. The Sanitary
Committee at their next meeting recommended the Vestry to
take legal proceedings in the seven instances; this was done
under the sec. 103 Metropolis Management Act of which
the following is a summary.
" Any room of a house, the surface of the floor of which rootn is more than
three feet below the surface of the roadway of the adjoining street . . . when
such room . ' . . is or has been occupied separately as a dwelling, at or before
the time of the passing of tho Act (14th August, 1855), may continue to be so let or
occupied if it possess " certain " requisites, " viz., (1) An area of specified dimensions,
etc. (2) An open fire-place with proper flue, and (3) a window of specified
size made to open. The section further enacts that 'no such room . . . not so
let or occupied as aforesaid, at or before the time of the passing of the Act, shall be
bo let or occupied unless it possess" certain " requisites," viz. (1) Unless the room
be at least seven feet in height; (2) Unless the ceiling be at least one foot above
the surface of the footway of the nearest adjoining street; (3) Unless there be an
open area; 4) Unless the area be effectually drained; (5) Unless there be appurtenant
to the room the use of a water closet and an ash-pit; (6) Unless there be
a fire-place with proper chimney or flue; and (7) Unless there be an opening
window of certain specified dimensions. There is a proviso that there may be steps,
necessary for access io the room; and stops over or across the area for access to any
building above the room, if the said steps bo so placed as not to be over or across
the window. The penalty to which anyone letting or occupying an underground
room contrary to the Act is liable, is a sum not exceeding 20s. per diem. Every
room in which any person passes the night is deemed to be occupied as a dwelling
•within the meaning of the Act.

Cases of Infectious Disease notified to the several Metropolitan Medical Officers of Health, under the provisions of the Infectious Disease (Notification) Act, 1889, in the 53 Weeks ended Saturday, Jan. 3rd, 1891.

Name of District.Small-pox.Scarlet Fever.Diphtheria.Enteric Fever.Typhus Fever.Other Continued Fevers.Puerperal Fever.Erysipelas. 1Croup.Cholera.Total.Population in 1881.
Mile End.38713812722210211771105,573
Bethnal Green1487390146...87l86381263126,961
Camberwell ...931250*531513253231629186,593
Clerkenwell ...2369814415285759669,076
St. George-in-the-East.218688441259338547,157
St.George, Hanover Sqr.16779455...393133989,573
St. George-the-Martyr.22572530145311138458,652
St. Giles, Bloomsbury144513311665230345,382
St. James, Westminster511461828229,941
St. Luke, Middlesex28933292168342546,849
St. Martin-in-the-Fields1216664017,508
St. Marylebone224993741131829623154,910
St. Olave, Southwark7981321111311,957
St. Pancras565740915515124182221686236,258
St. Saviour, Southwark.109301412415118428,662
Strand ...588931039132,587
W hitechapel3256125572• •5551251570,435
1 Woolwich991216162315736,665
City of London1293219328211
Port of London1435316
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