6. — No person shall lay or cause to be laid in any street any litter or other matter in case of sickness to prevent noise without the permission of the Sanitary Authority, and having obtained such permission, shall lay the same so that it may be evenly distributed over the surface of the part of the street intended to be covered, and shall, when the occasion ceases, within 24 hours, or upon notice from the Sanitary Authority, remove or cause to be removed from such street the litter or other matter so laid in such street.
PUBLIC HEALTH (LONDON) ACT, 1891, SECTION 16. Bye-Laws made by the Parish of St. Mary, Battersea, in the County of London being the Sanitary Authority for the said Parish, For the Prevention of Nuisances.
[. . .]
6. Every person who shall lay or cause to be laid in any street any litter or other matter in case of sickness to prevent noise, shall lay the same so that it may be evenly distributed over the surface of the part of the street intended to be covered, and shall, when the occasion ceases, within forty-eight hours after remove or cause to be removed from such street the litter or other matter so laid in such street.
STRAW OR LITTER IN THE STREETS.
The district of St. Marylebone possesses streets in which a large proportion of the houses are fitted up as nursing establishments. Patients come from a distance, suffering from serious maladies, and are received in these nursing homes, within easy reach of the physician or specialist. In many of them surgical operations are performed. All, so far as the writer is aware, are conducted by skilled nurses, and are well managed establishments. Such places are a great advantage to the wealthier class of suffering humanity, and supply a distinct want. There is one disadvantage, that is, some of the sufferers require the muffling of the street noises as far as possible, hence these nursing streets are almost constantly littered with straw. The Public Health Act expressly exempts from penalty any person putting down straw or litter in cases of illness. There is no definition of the term “illness”; it is open for any malade imaginaire to litter the streets as often as he pleases. Until the litter gets rotten and stinks, the Local Authority cannot compel its removal. The Vestry agree with the writer that it is high time, so far as St. Marylebone is concerned, that there should be power to regulate the deposit of litter in the streets. No one wishes to prevent it altogether, but the Local Authority should certainly possess a veto in cases’ where it is either unnecessary or where other means could be adopted of muffling sounds. The Vestry have therefore suggested to the London County Council the propriety of inserting a clause in one of their Bills, enabling Local Authorities to frame regulations as to the laying down of straw or other litter.
The new Equifex disinfecting machine has proved of great value during the year—the automatic record of disinfections being especially useful as checking the work of the man in charge. In connection with the machine several slight alterations and improvements have been made, including the covering of the boiler-feeder with a galvanised iron cover, fitting of a condenser on to the steam exhaust chimney, and the inserting of two steam traps between the coils and the drain—improvements which have reduced the noise in connection with the working of the machine to a minimum, and economised the steam.
This vehicle has had so much work that it is becoming shaky. The noise and rattling and the vibration are most trying to the patients, especially in Enteric. It is very desirable that improvements that have recently been introduced for these conveyances should be added so as to bring it in accordance with modern ideas.
BOARD’S SCHEDULE OF MEDICAL INSPECTION. No change has been made in the schedule, which was adopted in its entirety. Speaking generally, the use of this schedule has been much the same as in 1908. The duty cast upon Local Authorities by the Education (Administrative Provisions) Act, 1907, is to provide for the medical inspection of children attending schools, and anything like a complete examination has only been made when the history or the general appearance of the child indicated the necessity for so doing.
As mentioned in my last report, only quite a superficial inspection is possible in some of the schools, as there is no spare room in which the necessary privacy and freedom from noise can be secured for a more thorough examination of the children.
Special precautions to be observed when cases of Scarlet Fever, Diphtheria, Typhoid or other infectious diseases are nursed at home.
3.— The patient should be isolated in a well-ventilated room, situated as far from the noises of the house and street as possible, and no one except the person acting as nurse should be allowed to enter the room.
[Regarding TB consulting rooms in Hackney and Bethnal Green]
Each consulting room is provided with two dressing-rooms, and a dark room for throat examinations, and has proved entirely satisfactory for the rather special requirements of a dispensary. The patients are seen in the waiting room outside by the nurse, who weighs them and takes their temperatures, and they come singly into the consulting-room. The patients are therefore encouraged to mention to the tuberculosis officer any private or domestic details, and the tuberculosis officer is not disturbed during his examination by noise made by patients who are waiting to see him.
(1) (a) Tuberculosis Dispensary.— Alexandra House, 135, Bow Road, E. Premises unsuitable, owing to noise, being situated on the main road — which is paved with granite setts and ever which the traffic is heavy. At the back the noise is even more troublesome — owing to the recent extension of a neighbouring engineering works — in such a way as to practically surround the dispensary at close quarters. The Council are negotiating for other premises in Wellington Road. This is a comparatively quiet site, and far better suited for the purposes of a dispensary.
The Infant Welfare Centres are held in halls let to us by different religions organisations. There are two exceptions, viz., the Goldsmiths’ Centre, held in a classroom at the Goldsmiths’ College, London University, Lewisham High Road, and at the Princess Louise Centre, Hales Street. Until 1922, the last-named Centre employed its own medical officer, but during that year the Medical Officer of Health was appointed to carry out the Thursday afternoon consultations. The Borough Council, which also supplies two Health Visitors on Thursday afternoons, gave a grant of £20 to the Deptford Fund to help this Centre. Except for the staff as described, this Centre is the only voluntary one in the Borough. In the six Infant Welfare Centres there are voluntary workers whose admirable work is prized by the Council and officials. There are consulting rooms for the doctor at each Centre (except at Erlam Road, where a portion of the room is curtained off). At this Centre, consultation work is not easy owing to the noise. Further consideration of this point is necessary.
An important change in premises occurred in May, when the former Hostel at 110, Grange Road was transformed into a Welfare Centre [for Expectant Mothers] for the mothers who formerly met in the Shelter, behind the Town Hall. The advantages of more room, and light, were immediately felt, and especially was the garden a joy to mothers and toddlers alike. The absence of noise and smell, which were inevitable accompaniment to any work done in the Shelter, was gratefully noted by mothers and workers alike.
The Tuberculosis Dispensary
The acquisition by the Borough Council of Southlands College has afforded—inter alia—an opportunity of the Council’s providing more suitable accommodation for the Borough Tuberculosis Dispensary. Rooms on the first floor of that portion of the College buildings reserved for Health Services of the Council were fitted up and adapted for use as a Tuberculosis Dispensary, and include waiting-room for patients, and rooms for Doctor, nurses, clerical staff, laboratory, pharmacy, &c. The Dispensary is now housed in commodious premises in a more suitable environment, and free from the noise from the traffic, which was, among others, a disagreeable and disturbing feature of the old premises in Bridge Road.
[Regarding the new maternity hospital in Perivale]
Throughout the Labour Block all floors and dados are finished in light green terrazzo. All doors are solid flush oak, veneered, with chromium plated easy-clean fittings. All windows are of heavy section metal, those in the six-bedded wards and in the single-bedded wards on the first floor being of the sliding-folding type. In the Ward and Labour Blocks a silent signal (light) system has been installed by means of which patients can call a nurse without the noise of bells.