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

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Barnes 1914

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Barnes]

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36 Vital Statistics.
The number of deaths from this disease during 1914 was 9
which is low in spite of a warm and dry summer and autumn.
Unpaved streets and yards should, where necessary, be paved,
and in particular all accumulations of refuse in the neighbourhood
of dwellings should be promptly and efficiently removed.
I would again call the Council's attention to the number of
lanes and back passages left derelict. I notice that in very many
cases where rows of houses have been built there remains at the
rear a piece of waste land which is left derelict and in the rough,
and which soon becomes a tipping ground for refuse of all sorts,
which is allowed to remain there and rot, giving rise to smells and
acting as a breeding ground for flies. There are three chief
contributory factors to such refuse heaps: (a) shopkeepers and
residents whose backyards abut on to the waste ground, (b) tradesmen's
carts who use the track as a way to the backs of houses,
(c) miscellaneous contributors, such as vagrants, hawkers, gardeners,
etc. It is very plain that there is no equitable way of
apportioning the responsibility, and the only remedy I can see is
for the Council to make up or pave these places, and have them
properly scavenged weekly.
This depends on personal cleanliness with efficient scavenging
and watering of streets.
For the benefit of the public, I think instructions might be
published as to the destruction of flies : Mix one teaspoonful of
Formalin with half a pint of sweetened water. Small quantities of
this can be obtained from the local chemists at a small charge and
ready diluted. Pour a little of this into a saucer and place same

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