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

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Walthamstow 1902

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Walthamstow]

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Walthamstow is divided into five wards for administrative purposes,
and has been described as a town which " stands upon a hill of gravel,
which rises gently from the marsh level of the Valley of the Lea to a
height of 133 feet above ordnance datum." It lies between the River
and Epping Forest from the west to east, extending from Leyton on
its south to Chingford on the north. The sub-soil is mainly gravel,
the London clay showing itself in various parts on the surface, notably
at Church Hill and portions of the Hoe Street and Northern Wards
adjoining. St. James Street Ward is the lowest portion of the district
and the Northern (semi-rural in character) is the highest. High Street
and portions of Wood Street (lying between the Old Church and
Prospect Hill on the west and the Forest on the east) come next in
point of elevation to St. James Street, while Hoe Street is intermediate
between these and the Northern Wards.
St. James Street Ward contains the largest population, 23,000, with a
density of 92 persons per acre; Hoe Street contains 22,000, with a
density of 63'5 per acre; High Street, 20,000, with 86 per acre; Northern,
20,000, with 8'3 per acre; and Wood Street, 16,000, with 32 persons per
The whole district has a duplicate system of sewers, and practically
every house has water-closet accommodation and water supplied by
the East London Waterworks Company.
St. James Street Ward varies from 18 to 54 feet above sea level;
High Street, 21 to 60 feet; Hoe Street, 50 to 140 feet; Wood Street, 50
to 170 feet; and the Northern Ward, 25 to 220 feet.
The Sewage Farm, about 240 acres in extent, the precipitating tanks
and sewage works are situate in St. James Street Ward, and the reservoirs
of the East London Waterworks Company, about 330 acres in
extent, are in the High Street Ward.
In 1901 at the last Census the enumerated population was 95,125
in 1891 it was 46,346; and 10 years previously it was 21,697.

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