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

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St James's 1860

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for St James's, Westminster]

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most conveniently situated for the erection of such
buildings ; and although the capital invested in them
may not pay so large a dividend as that employed
for the erection of houses of business, it should be
recollected that the sum saved to the Parish in the
diminution of disease and mortality, and the less
pressing demand for charitable contributions, would
more than make up for any loss thus incurred.
The subject of disturbing the residences of the
working classes, and the breaking up the homes of
the poor by various metropolitan improvements, has
been recently brought before the Imperial Legislature
; and I would suggest that as it is impossible
to arrest these improvements, that one of the
most efficient means by which the inconvenience
and distress thus produced can be met, is by the
erection of large and convenient blocks of houses,
which, whilst they occupy no more space than the
present wretched dwellings, would offer to the poor
residences which would secure to them the means
of living themselves, and rearing their families in
comfort and decency, and free from the liability
to unnecessary disease and death.
During the past year several questions of practical
interest, relating to the health of the Parish, have
been discussed in the Sanitary Committee. One of
these questions has arisen out of the trapping of
the gullies, and the complaints of stench from the
ventilating shafts in the sewers. If sewers and
drains were properly constructed, there ought to
be no disagreeable stench arising from them at all,