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

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Walthamstow 1904

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Walthamstow]

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The deaths registered during the year in the wards and their death-rates were as follows. The population assumed is 108,000 :—

St. James Street.High Street.Hoe Street.Wood Street.Northern.Total.
No. of deaths 1904 .3272462461843271,330
Death-rate do. .13-851210-611-08134512-3
Birth-rate do. .33-3372728-1406338
N o. of deaths 1903 .2852342291892411,178
Death-rate do. .12-0811-710-211-4510-2511-08
Birth-rate do. .31-639129-2427-4538-133-25
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The death-rates for High Street, Hoe Street and Wood Street Wards
are practically the same as in 1903. High Street and Hoe Street Wards
have a slightly higher death-rate, although a lower birth-rate than in the
previous year ; while Wood Street has a lower death-rate with a higher
The St. James Street and the Northern Wards have 2 per 1,000
higher birth-rate, than in 1903. The difference in the death-rates of
1903 and 1904 for St. James Street is not marked, but there is a considerable
variation of those in the Northern Ward.
This, I think, is not due to under-estimation of the population, nor to
any insanitary or other conditions peculiar to the district, and inimical
to health. Looking on page 16, Table VII., and page 26a, Causes of
Death, Schedule A, an explanation is at hand.
The Northern Ward had 988 births, as compared with 787 in St.
James Street, and a birth-rate of 40'6, as compared with one of 27-0 in
Hoe Street, and with a difference of less than 4 per cent, of population.
Consequently the Northern Ward had a very large child population
that suffered severely from diarrhoeal complaints during an abnormally
warm summer; in fact, 66 deaths were registered from diarrhoeal complaints
in the Northern Ward, as compared with 47 in the St. James
Street, 29 in High Street, 18 in Hoe Street, and 23 in Wood Street
Wards. A high birth-rate in a community is a very important factor in
increasing a death-rate, and this must be borne in mind, especially
when weather and other conditions are favourable to diarrhoea.
That this is the explanation I have no doubt, for a large portion of
the Northern Ward still maintains its semi-rural character, and geographically
it is most favourably situated.

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