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

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St James's 1875

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

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scavengers, and on the whole are beneficial in a
sanitary point of view.
Most of the works set forth in the list accompanying
this short report are due to the cause just
mentioned, and if space permitted, and it were
within the scope of such a report, a detailed account
of the old sewers of St. James's and the locality
generally would make a most interesting pamphlet.
It is curious to discover that at the time they were
built, from 200 to 150 years since, the quantity of
second hand materials that were used at that time,
and also the manner in which some had been shored
from within—Crown Court, Eupert Street to wit,
reconstructed some few years back, and the sewer
in Sackville Street, Piccadilly, recently practically
reconstructed, the invert or floor of which was
composed simply of small boulders or pebbles about
the size of a cocoanut, of beautiful silica or flint.
Many of the old gully drains and the gullies themselves
are equally interesting, and the peculiar
manner in which some of these brick sewers and
drains intersect each other, and the apparently
unmeaning course they take, coupled with the age
of the materials, and the way in which the bricks
were manufactured, point to a much more distant
period for their original construction than we are
inclined to imagine.
The work in connection with the Sackville Street
sewer has been referred to; suffice it to say this was
not commenced at all too soon, having been a source
of anxiety for many years, and the rats not idle,

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