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

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Shoreditch 1882

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Shoreditch, Parish of St. Leonard]

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condition. On ft subsequent inspection a, large quantity of foul
black slimy matter that had been removed from the cisterns in
process of cleansing was seen deposited on the flat roofs.
The works required to be done, to secure the abatement of
of these nuisances were considerably delayed by opposition on
the part of the New River Company to the order directing water
to be laid on from the main to each suite of apartments, this
opposition being finally withdrawn each suite of apartments has
now been fitted with water direct from the main, and with a
good flushing supply of water to the water closets.
Nos. 2 to 12, BOOKHAM STREET (11 houses).—These premises
wero all found to be more or less infested with rats and
consequently with sewer gas. It may be mentioned that one
person complained that whilst sleeping in her bed she was
attacked by rats.
These conditions led to a thorough examination and
rectification of the drains within the premises, and it was believed
for a time that the nuisance was fully abated, until complaint
was again made by one of the tenants that large numbers of rats
were frequently seen in his front area, and that they were
destroying the woodwork of the doorway in attempts to enter
the house. An inspection of the premises led to the conclusion
that they proceeded from some defect external to the house, this
being represented to the Vestry's Surveyor an opening was
made in the roadway, when it was found that the G" pipe drain
coming from the house was connected into a 9" pipe drain going
into the sewer; if the space between the sizes of the two pipes
(3 inches) had ever been stopped with any material, it had been
effectually removed by rats, who on leaving the drain had
excavated for themselves a large commodious breeding place,
from which runs extended to tho houses.