|The Rushden Echo, 10th March 1911, transcribed by Jim Hollis
The Health Bill for Rushden
Medical Officer’s Report Presented to the Urban Council
Low Death Rate
At the meeting of the Rushden Urban Council on Wednesday the Medical Officer (Dr. Morris) presented his annual report as follows:-
I have the honour of submitting to you my Annual Report upon the health of the Urban District of Rushden.
The estimated population is 16,442 and the number of inhabited houses 2844.
The majority of the inhabitants are engaged in the manufacture of boots and shoes and processes incidental thereto.
The town, which lies on the Eastern extremity of Northamptonshire, has grown very rapidly during the past twenty years, and consequently the greater portion is new. The older portions have received a considerable amount of attention during the past few years, and will receive more in the future owing to work under the Housing and Town Planning Act, 1909.
There were registered during the year 278 births, or the rate of 16.91 per 1,000, as compared with 284, or at the rate of 18.018 per 1,000 last year.
The deaths from all causes numbered 126, or at the rate of 7.66 per 1,000 of the population, as compared with 129, or at the rate of 8.15 per 1,000 last year.
It is satisfactory to note that the death-rate remains low, being very little more than half of the average death-rate for England and Wales.
I am pleased to be able to state that the Infantile Mortality Rate is considerably less than it has been for some considerable time. Of the infants under one year of age there were 20 deaths, or at a rate of 71.9 per 1,000 registered births, five of which were premature, as compared with 31 deaths, at the rate of 109.5 per 1,000.
Only two Midwives are on the register.
The total number of cases of infectious disease notified during the year is 62, as compared with 132 during the previous twelve months. The quarterly return was as follows:-
Arrangements have been made with the Clinical Research Association for specimens to be forwarded for examination in suspected cases of Diphtheria, Typhoid Fever, and Phthisis, and the Medical Practitioners of the town have been supplied with the necessary outfits for this purpose. A supply of Diphtheria Anti-toxin is kept at the Council Chambers for the use of Medical men in needy cases.
I recommend the purchase of a Disinfectant Sprayer for the use of the Department, and also that the Elementary Schools should be sprayed monthly. This suggestion was not acted upon, but a “Mackenzie” spraying machine was loaned by the County Education Authorities and all the public Elementary Schools in the town were sprayed twice during the year in the Easter Holidays and in the Summer Holidays.
No case of smallpox was notified.
The outbreak of Diphtheria continued in a more or less desultory manner until the end of September. There were 43 cases notified, many of which were of a mild type. The deaths numbered ten, of which several died previous to notification.
The number per month notified was as follows:-
It has not been possible to assign any cause to the outbreak. In a very few cases has there been more than one case in a family and the cases have not been limited to any area but spread all over the town. The drainage has been tested in every case, and in twelve instances defects were found and remedied. In two cases it was the second attack for the same person in a very short time.
I am pleased to be able to state there have only been ten cases of Scarlet Fever notified this year, as against 63 in the preceding twelve months. All the cases have been of a very mild character, with no deaths.
Two cases of puerperal fever were notified.
Seven cases of erysipelas were notified, with no deaths.
Nine cases of whooping cough were notified.
Three deaths took place from diarrhoea and enteritis, none of which were under one year of age.
Four deaths have been recorded for measles.
Twenty-three deaths from bronchitis and pneumonia have occurred, seven under one year and sixteen over.
Fourteen deaths from phthisis have been recorded; one under fifteen and the rest between fifteen and sixty-five.
The crusade against Consumption has engaged public attention for the last few years and sanatoria have been established all over the country for its prevention, but without any permanent result. It is true some patients have derived considerable benefit from treatment; that, however, is very different from prevention, which can only be carried out by a different style of living, viz., open-air employment, such as small holdings, thus getting workers back to the land instead of overcrowding in factories.
Other Tubercular Diseases. Two deaths have been recorded, both over fifteen years of age.
Influenza. No deaths have occurred.
Heart Disease. Four deaths have occurred, two between twenty-five and sixty-five, and two over sixty-five years of age.
Cancer and Malignant Disease. Fifteen deaths have occurred (including one who died in Northampton Infirmary), eight between twenty-five and sixty-five, and seven over sixty-five years. The deaths from cancer have been one more than from phthisis.
Accidents have been the cause of three deaths.
Premature Births. Five deaths have occurred.
There seems to be a want of houses for the artisan class in the district, but of this matter it will be easier to speak when the survey of the housing accommodation of the town, which is being undertaken by the Sanitary Inspector, is completed.
All the new buildings are supervised by the Surveyor, and must be certified prior to occupation. No houses are certified unless provided with water-closet accommodation and a galvanized dustbin for house refuse.
I have made inspection of various properties and reported them as unfit for habitation in their present state.
Sewerage and Grainage
The town is well sewered, and the house drainage is under constant supervision. A number of the house drains have been taken up and relaid during the year. All the houses in the urban portion of the district are provided with water-closets. There are about fifty houses on the outskirts of the district provided with privies with movable receptacles.
The present method of sewage disposal is unsatisfactory, owing to the great pressure brought to bear upon the farm by the additional water-closets, and a Committee has been formed to make enquiries and report on a new sewage purification scheme.
Removal of House Refuse
The greater number of houses in the town are supplied with galvanized iron dust-bins for storing the House Refuse. These are emptied weekly by the public scavenger and carted to a tip on the outskirts of the district.
The water supply of the district is quite satisfactory both from the point of view of quality and quantity. The majority of the houses in the town are supplied by the Higham Ferrers and Rushden Water Board, the water being brought from Sywell, an upland district about nine miles off.
There are still a few houses in the town obtaining their water from surface wells but these are gradually becoming fewer.
The slaughter-houses, dairies, cowsheds and milkshops, bakehouses, factories and workshops, and offensive trades are all kept under the supervision of this department, and a detailed account of the work done will be found in the Sanitary Inspector’s Report attached. The milch cows at the farms in the district are inspected quarterly by the Veterinary Surgeon, and a summary of his reports will be found attached.
The public elementary schools in the town, with the exception of the National and Alfred-street Schools named both require a considerable amount doing to them before they can be made satisfactory.
I must again refer to the exceedingly able manner in which your Inspector (Mr. W. G. F. Kingston) has carried out the various duties of his office and regret that I shall not have his able assistance during the coming year. I wish him all success in his new office.
Sanitary State Of Rushden
At the meeting of the Rushden Urban Council on Wednesday, the following report was received from Mr. W. G. F. Kingston:
I have the honour of submitting for your consideration my third annual report of the sanitary condition of the Urban District of Rushden, and of the work executed under the provisions of the Public Health Acts, 1875 to 1907, and other Acts, for the year ending 31st December, 1910.
The year 1910 as far as sanitary legislation is concerned was barren, no measure of first class sanitary importance having been brought before Parliament during that term.
Work under the housing sections of the Housing and Town Planning Act, 1909, is being proceeded with. House to house inspection has been made in the Windmill Estate District, and a permanent record of the condition and sanitary appliances of the houses has been commenced.
The attention of the Medical Officer of Health has been drawn to the condition of three houses in High Street North, ten houses in Albion Place, and three houses in Little Street, and he has visited same with me and reported thereon, with the result that work is now being undertaken for the improvement of the houses mentioned.
331 Preliminary Notices were served and 173 letters were written to owners or agents re nuisances. In the great majority of cases the complaints were rectified, but in 13 cases it was found necessary to issue Statutory Notices.
House drainage has received careful attention. All the houses in the urban part of the district are now supplied with water closets. There are a few houses in the out-lying parts of the district not connected with the sewerage system, including eight cottages in the Bedford-road, several farms and the bungalows and villas on the Court Estate. These are all supplied with Privies with movable receptacles.
During the year under review the smoke test has been applied to old drains in 57 cases, with the result that the drainage and plumbing work of 69 houses were found to be defective, and have been taken up and re-laid under the supervision of this department. Water closets have been substituted for privies in four houses all of the villa type. Six additional water closets have been provided in factories. Eight additional inspection chambers have been provided to existing drains.
The Water Supply in the town is excellent in quality and abundant in quantity. There still remain a few houses supplied by water from surface wells, a circumstance greatly to be regretted owing to the risk of pollution. Two samples of water taken from surface wells were analysed and found to be unfit for drinking purposes. These have been closed and the town water laid on to the houses.
I am indebted to the Surveyor to the Water Board for the following particulars:- The average daily consumption of water was 9.88 gallons per head of the population. Twenty-two new supplies from the water mains to houses, etc., and forty-nine extensions of services to supply w.c.’s in houses, factories, etc., have been completed during the year.
The rainfall for the year in Rushden has been 21.98 inches.
2,268 loads of house refuse have been removed during the year, giving an average of about 44 loads per week, as compared with 1761 loads, at an average of about 34 loads per week, last year.
The work of providing the houses with suitable receptacles is progressing in a satisfactory manner. All the new houses as they are completed are supplied with galvanized dustbins prior to occupation. During the year under review 575 have been supplied with suitable receptacles in the place of the miscellaneous assortment of articles in use previously.
I am pleased to be able to state that the heap of refuse which the contractor had accumulated near the small-pox hospital and in close proximity to the Bedford Road has now been carted away and a tip has been found some distance from any road. It is to be hoped that the contractor will not allow this heap to accumulate to the same extent as the previous one.
Some progress has been made with regard to the making up of the passages at the rear of the houses. 48 yards and approaches have been paved or repaired during the year.
A total of 62 cases of Infectious Disease have been reported during the year. These have all been kept under observation and disinfectants supplied to infected houses. 56 houses and rooms have been fumigated after convalescence. Twice during the year, in the Easter holidays, and also during the summer holidays, all the schools in the district have been sprayed with Cyllin, under the supervision of this Department.
Eight voluntary notifications of consumption have been received from Medical Practitioners, and two under the Public Health (Tuberculosis) Regulations, 1908. Twelve houses and rooms have been fumigated from which patients have been removed.
There are eight slaughterhouses on the Register, of which three only are subject to annual licence. Visits are made while slaughtering is in progress, and the meat is carefully inspected. I am pleased to be able to bear testimony to the excellent quality of the meat sold in this district, but, at the same time, I should like to draw attention to the reprehensible habit of allowing the joints to lay on slabs outside the shops and consequently becoming fouled with dust and other impurities from the road. 440 visits have been made to slaughterhouses and 487 to butchers’ shops, fishmongers, fruiters, &c.
Factory And Workshops Acts
During the year the premises coming under these Acts have been periodically inspected.
One notice was received from H.M. Inspector of Factories calling attention to the walls of a bake house which required whitewashing. This matter received attention. There are 18 bake houses on the Register and these are regularly inspected. It has been necessary on several occasions to draw attention to the necessity for whitewashing, and this has received prompt attention.
Sixty-nine lists of out-workers have been received, relating to 905 out-workers. These figures include two lists relating to two out-workers received from other Local Authorities.
Forty-eight lists relating to 147 outworkers have been forwarded to other Authorities. The work at which the outworkers were engaged was principally connected with boot and shoe making and processes incidental thereto.
Dairies, Cowsheds and Milkshops
There are 44 names on the register carrying on the trade of cow keepers, dairymen, or purveyors of milk, 30 being cow keepers and dairymen and 14 purveyors of milk, 7 of the latter residing out of the district.
The condition of the cattle is in the main good, but there are still some cow keepers in the district who seem to think that it is not necessary either to have clean cows or clean sheds in order to obtain clean milk. It is not possible to emphasis too strongly the importance of scrupulous cleanliness in all things appertaining to the milk supply.
Veterinary Inspector’s Report
The cows in the district are examined quarterly by Mr. J. Bainbridge, M.R.C.V.S. A marked improvement has taken place in the state of the health of the milch cows in the district.
One knacker’s business is carried on in the district under an Annual Licence. The situation of these premises is excellent, being right on the outskirts of the district.
One offensive trade is carried on in the district that of blood and bone boiler, in conjunction with the Knacker’s Yard.
Seven licences have been issued for the sale of petroleum and nine for carbide of calcium. The stores are kept in conformity with the Regulations in force in the District and are periodically inspected.
Sale of Food and Drugs Acts
I am indebted to the courtesy of the Clerk of the Northants County Council for the following account of the samples taken under the Sale of Food and Drugs Act in this district:-
In conclusion I should like to express my thanks for the continued support I have received from my Committee and the Council, and also for the kindness and courtesy I have received from my brother officers.