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

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Surbiton 1895

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Surbiton]

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24
improperly kept, and the offensive accumulations arising
therefrom, the more rapid collection and removal of house
refuse, the making up and paving of many dirty, unsanitary
and neglected streets and the general maintenance
and cleansing of the roads in the district. At the time of
accepting the office, the performance of my duties was
checked with much prejudice, ignorance and opposition,
and I was unsupported by the healthy, popular, and
sensible opinion of good sanitation so largely entertained
at the present time. The suggestion for good sanitation
was generally received with disfavour and modern ideas
thereon at that time was regarded as those of a faddist.
The closing of a well containing contaminated water was
looked upon as a most arbitrary act, and the abolition of a
cesspool as a retrograde movement in drainage. Time has
fortunately made immense changes in these directions, and
if I were to give full details of the work done and the
steady progress made in all matters affecting the sanitary
welfare of the district during this long period it would
disclose particulars of considerable magnitude affecting
the removal of nuisances so great as to be almost incredible
to the present Council.
I have again to record the exceedingly satisfactory
sanitary condition of the district for the past twelve
months. The personal complaints of the residents as to
nuisances arising from their own or adjacent premises
amount only to 5 for the year, which is highly satisfactory;
and the circumstance that no legal proceedings have been
necessary for enforcing the abatement of the nuisances
which have come under my notice, affords practical proof
of the growing desire for better sanitation and that the
advice and assistance offered by the Sanitary Inspector are
very largely welcomed.


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