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Medical Officer of
FOR THE YEAR 1894.
Printed by Thos. Robinson & Co., “ Express” Office, Ormonde St.
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R E P O R T
JVIedical Officer of health,
FOR THE YEAR 1894.
Printed by Thos. Robinson & Co., “ Express” Office, Ormonde St,
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2018 with funding from
Willington Quay Urban District Council,
I beg to submit my Report for the year ended December 31st,
General Mortality. During the whole of the year 92 deaths (48
males, 44 females) were registered.
Estimating the population at the end of the second quarter at 6,784,
this gives a death-rate of 13*6 per j,ooo. The subjoined table gives
the death-rate for the last ten years, also the average of the large
English town districts.
I — 4
Large English Town
The death-rate for 1894 is low, being 2 '4 below the average of the
large English town districts.
At the end of this Report will be found a Tabulated Form, in which
the deaths are classified according to ages and diseases.
Mortality among Children. Thirty-eight deaths occurred in
children under 5 years, this being equal to a percentage of 41-3 ; last
year the number was 40 or a percentage of 51'3. It will thus be seen
that nearly half of the deaths occurred in young children.
Infant Mortality, measured by the proportion of deaths under one
year to births registered, was equal to 112 per 100, as against 132 for
last year, and 143 for the 67 large English town districts. Taking the
average for the last 10 years we get a rate of 130; this means that,
on an average, of every 100 children born in this District, 13 die
before they are one year old.
Mortality above 65 Years. Fifteen deaths occurred above 65
years, being 16-3 per cent, of the whole number.
Mortality from Seven Principal Zymotic Diseases. These
diseases which include : Small-pox, Measles, Scarlet Fever, Diphtheria,
Whooping Cough, Fevers, and Diarrhoea, have caused 7 deaths, or 76
per cent., the number last year being 4, percentage 5*1.
The Zymotic Death-rate for this year, therefore, is 103, as against
o-6o for last year, and 2-29 for 1892, the average for the 67 large
English town districts being r68. Typhoid Fever and Whooping
Cough each caused two deaths; Measles, Scarlet Fever, and Diarrhoea
each one death.
The Zymotic Rate, as will be seen, is less than that of the 67 large
English town districts. This is partly accounted for by the absence of
any epidemic during the course of the year.
Mortality from other Causes. Diseases of the Respiratory
Organs, including Bronchitis, Pneumonia and Pleurisy, caused 10
deaths; Phthisis, 7; Heart Disease, 10 •; Rheumatic Fever 2;
Summary of Mortality Percentages.
Under 1 year
1 & under 5 years
5 „ 15 „
*5 „ 25 „
2 5 » 6 5 „
Above 65 ,,
All other Diseases
Mortality Classified according to Localities.
George St. 6
Gladstone St. i
Norman Terr. i
Bewicke St. 6
Church St. 2
Stephenson St. 15
Tyne St. 3
Palmer’s Terr. 7
Hill st.; 4
Carlyle St. 2
Boundary St. 1
Potter St. 11
White Cottage 2
N elson St. 9
Philipson St. 1
Rosehill Rd. 1
The births for the year number 213 (119 males, 94 females), equal
to a birth-rate of 31*4 per 1,000, against 35^4 for last year and 30*3 for
the 67 large English town districts. The gain to the population (i.e. the
excess of births over deaths) of this District is, therefore, 121.
NEW CASES OF SICKNESS.
Smallpox. I am glad to say that since June, 1883, no cases of
this disease have occurred.
Measles. Two cases occurred in November in Potter Street, one
of which terminated fatally.
The infection was brought from Sunderland.
Scarlet Fever. This disease has been slightly prevalent during
the greater part of the year, but at no time could it be said to have
assumed the proportions of an epidemic.
In February 2 cases occurred, one in George Street, the other in
Tyne street, the latter case, a police-constable, was removed to the
Hospital for Infectious Diseases. In March there were 4 cases, in
Norman Terrace and Stephenson Street; April, 4 cases, one at the
Police Station (fatal), the other in Palmer’s Terrace. In September
the largest number, namely, 7 cases, was reported. They occurred
in Western Road, Headlam Street, Nelson Street, and Boundary
Street; four of these were removed to the Hospital. October, 5 cases.
November, 4 cases, in Headlam Street and Nelson Street; one
removed to the Hospital. December, 4 cases, in Headlam Street and
Rosehill Road; one removed to the Hospital. It will, therefore, be
seen that altogether 30 cases occurred, principally in Nelson Street and
Headlam Street. One death was recorded, but the 7 cases which were
sent to the Hospital all made good recoveries.
It is to be regretted that more cases could not be induced to go to
the Hospital, as it is very difficult to secure efficient isolation when
patients are treated at their own homes.
Not only are great ignorance and carelessness displayed by most
people in the treatment of infectious diseases, but the instructions of
the medical attendants, with regard to isolation, are often wilfully
disregarded. The proper ventilation of the sick room, too, is very
seldom thought of; few persons seem to be aware of the fact that a
free supply of fresh air is not only necessary for the well-being of the
patient, but is also a most important means of lessening the infective
power of the disease.
Disinfectants, although of great value in Typhoid Fever and Cholera,
are of very little use in diseases which spread through the atmosphere,
such as Scarlet Fever and Measles; plenty of good air, frequently
renewed (with isolation of course), is far more effectual, and the success
which has attended the treatment of infectious diseases in properly
constructed hospitals is in a great measure due to the large amount of
air-space allotted to each patient. But ventilation, so necessary in the
treatment of the sick, is none the less important as a preventive of
disease. I have often been surprised, in walking along the streets
in the morning, to see so few windows open even in warm weather.
The great majority of people, evidently, fail to grasp the fact that
thorough ventilation of all dwelling-rooms (and especially of bed-rooms),
whether there is sickness or not, should be a matter of daily routine.
Typhoid Fever. In January 3 cases of Typhoid fever, in
Pochin’s Buildings, were reported.
The Inspector and I examined the premises and found one of the
A notice was sent to the owner, who promptly put in a new drain.
In June a case occurred in Keelman’s Row, and in November another
case in the same house, the latter ending fatally. The house, like all
the other houses in Keelman’s Row was found to be in a damp and
In October a case of continued fever, in Boundary Street, was
notified, but I could not find any sanitary defect, to which to attribute
Whooping Cough. In May a good many cases came to my
knowledge, but after that the disease was much less prevalent, the
number of deaths due to it being smaller than in previous years.
Diphtheria. Two cases, in Stephenson Street were reported in
March. On inspecting the premises I discovered an old disused sink
waste-pipe, which communicated with the drain. This was removed
by the owner.
Diarrhoea. This disease has not been very prevalent owing to the
coolness of the season, the mortality from it being low.
Influenza. A few cases came under my notice at the commence¬
ment and towards the end of the year.
Precautions against Cholera. Bills, similar to those used the
year before, giving instructions as to precautions to be taken against
infectious diseases, were distributed throughout the district.
In September Dr. W. W. E. Fletcher, of the Local Government
Board, held a Cholera Enquiry at the Local Board Offices. After this
Enquiry the Doctor made an inspection of the district with the
Sanitary Inspector and myself. As the result of this inspection a
memorandum of recommendations was sent by the Local Government
Board to the Sanitary Authority, the following being the main points
contained in this communication :
1. The Local Government Board recommended that the Willington
Gut nuisance be dealt with without delay.
2. That nuisances arising from ill-constructed ashpits be abated;
in advocating small ash-closets care to be taken that receptacles do not
permit any overflow of liquid contents.
3. That through ventilation be secured in all houses ; dilapidated
houses be repaired; overcrowding be promptly dealt with and the
proper cleansing of houses and lime-washing of yards be enforced.
4. That a code of regulations with respect to Dairies, Cowsheds
and Milkshops be drawn up and enforced.
5. That the Bye-Laws be revised.
Then follow certain recommendations in the event of cholera actually
breaking out in the district.
Scavenging. The cleansing of ashpits and ashclosets has been done
in a fairly satisfactory manner. I am of opinion, however, that in
emptying the ashpits and closets in the back streets the scavengers and
cartmen should arrange the work in such a manner as to leave no
night-soil lying on the street for any length of time. I have, on
several occasions, received complaints with regard to nuisances of
this nature, and it would be well for the health and comfort of the
inhabitants if this could be avoided in the future, especially when
scavenging is done in the fore-noon. It would of course be advisable
to have most of this work done in the early morning, before 6 o’clock,
when practicable, and during the Summer months there ought to be no
difficulty in the matter.
Inspections and Nuisances. The Sanitary Inspector and I
have made several house-to-house inspections during the course of the
year. Numerous notices have been sent to owners of property to abate
nuisances and to repair defective dwellings. I am glad to say that
steady progress is being made in the conversion of large middens into
small ash-closets, but still a large number of the former remain. I
think it would be a good plan, as I have mentioned several times
before, in the case of small owners, who cannot afford an immediate
outlay, if the Council would carry out the necessary improvements in
this respect and allow the cost to be repaid by instalments, extending
over a number of years.
The greatest nuisance this year was again caused by the Willington
Gut, as, owing to the collapse of the joint sewerage scheme, nothing
has been done to remedy or even to mitigate the evil. In August the
County Medical Officer and I made an inspection of the stream and
after careful consideration made the following suggestions : that, i, as
far as possible the deposit of black sludge be removed ; 2, that a
channel be made in mid stream, to be kept at a sufficient depth by
periodical cleaning out ; 3, that a dam be constructed on the North
side of the Church Bank bridge in order to collect sufficient water to
flush the stream at low tide. We intimated to the Board also that
these measures, of course, were intended to be of a temporary nature
only, as we were both of opinion that nothing short of a comprehensive
sewerage scheme would solve the difficulty in a satisfactory manner.
A month later, as part of the Cholera Survey, I inspected the Gut again
with Dr. Fletcher, of the Local Government Board. This gentleman
in his memorandum to the Sanitary Authority, (see Precautions against
Cholera,) advised that “ efficient sewerage should at once be provided
for that part of the district, which contributes so extensively to the serious
pollution of Willington Gut.” Towards the end of the year a new
proposal was brought forward, namely, the construction of a sewer for
this district only, instead of the joint scheme, which was abandoned.
This I think would be an important step in the right direction, provided
the work be pushed forward with as little delay as possible, so that we
may soon be in a position to be able to compel the other authorities to
do their share in the removal of this nuisance. For I am not
exaggerating in the least when I say that the stream in its present
condition is not only an eye-sore to the whole surrounding district,
unsightly and evil-smelling, but a positive danger to the inhabitants.
I regret to say that there is still a considerable number of houses
in the district, which are in a more or less insanitary condition.
In Keelman’s Row a few repairs have been done in the shape of
patching up some of the roofs and plastering a few of the walls and
ceilings, but, practically speaking, the whole of the houses are in the
same state as when I reported on them last year; all the back-rooms
are damp and unwholesome, and many of the ceilings and floors
dilapidated. The old cottages at the top of Ravensworth Street are
even in a worse condition, as the rooms are smaller. I would urge
upon the Council the necessity of dealing with both of these blocks of
houses without delay.
In Hodgson Street, on the East side, there is great need of ash-
closets, as the yards of a number of the houses are considerably below
the level of the back street and the ash-pits, consequently very difficult
to clean out; small ash-closets with movable receptacles would be a
great improvement here.
Nelson Street has shown a certain amount of improvement this year,
a good many yards have been cemented and a number of large
ashpits converted into ash : closets, but still a few of the former remain
and one or two yards are still in a bad state.
The same remarks may be applied to Potter Street. The old White
House in this street was found, on inspection, to be in a very defective
condition, especially with regard to drainage ; the owner, on being
served with a notice, closed the dwelling and it has recently been pulled
In Palmer’s Terrace, in addition to several large ashpits, which would
be better converted into small ash-closets, there still remains the old
nuisance caused by the small size of the yards in the row of houses on
the South side between the Alma steps and the Ballast Hill; there is
always a good deal of sickness in these houses, and the tenants
complain of the bad smells from the ash-closets, which, as a matter of
fact, are only a few yards from the doors of the dwelling rooms. The
remedy for this state of things will, in my opinion, only be found in
the adoption of water-closets.
Stephenson Street is one of the worst streets in the District, and it
will be a very difficult matter to improve the condition of the houses
on the north side owing to the fact that they are built close to the hill,
and that consequently the yards are small, confined, and badly
arranged. The houses between Cookson’s Arch and the Stephenson
School suffer, in addition, from the inconvenience caused by the
continual falling down of ballast from the hill, and I certainly think
that the Newcastle Corporation should be approached with a view to
the erection of a retaining wall in this part of the street. The Alma
property (including the.public-house and the two adjoining cottages),
has been in. a defective state for a considerable time. The yards
should be cemented and the large middens abolished ; notices sent to
the owner have been without result, but the property has recently
changed hands, and the new owner, I believe, is willing to make the
necessary improvements. The Ship Launch Inn is still in a very
unsatisfactory condition, and further proceedings will probably be
necessary, as floors, ceilings, and roofs s are all dilapidated. The Lord
Byron Inn, at the other end of the street, has been repaired, and the
dwelling behind, which was found to be in an insanitary state, has
been closed. Cookson’s houses, on the opposite side, have insufficient
yard space ; if the yards cannot be enlarged, water-closets should be
adopted. Pochin’s Buildings have been improved by the addition of
several closets, and new drains have been laid so that the property
is now in a much better condition.
The houses in Tyne Street, which I mentioned in last year’s report
have, after a considerable delay, been provided with ash-closets and
cemented yards; the Government Inspector, however, strongly objected
to some of the rooms owing to their want of through ventilation.
In the newer streets, Bewicke Street, George Street, Norman
Terrace, etc., a considerable number of minor defects were found, and
notices were served upon the owners with a satisfactory result.
The Cowsheds, Dairies, Milkshops, and Slaughter-houses have all
been inspected regularly, and with few exceptions were found in a
fairly good condition. All the Slaughter-houses, however, would be
improved by having an impervious coating up to a certain height, on
the walls, so that they could be thoroughly washed.
Your Obedient Servant,
C. T. U. BABST.
l - j
- 4 -=
Number of such cases Removed from their Home* in the
several Localities tor Treatment in Isolation Hospital.
•penupuoo r ~
ao oi.to^ujj 40
•nnpi 3 [.i'eo£
New Cases of Sickness in each Locality, coming to the
knowledge of the Medical Officer of Health,
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M pH '
"BUp«[ai 30 g ^ | rH 2
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squig pajoisigoR ^
all ai? es.
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„ ajppira oi pei'cmpsjf
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0 tS 9
Names of Locali¬
ties adopted for
the purpose of
thes p Statistics;
shown as separ¬
State here whether “ Notification ot Infsctious Disease is compulsory in the District—Yes. Since when . . 1890. Besides
the above-mentioned Diseases, insert in the columns with blank headings the names of any that are notifiable in the District,
and fill the columns accordingly. State here the name of the Isolation Hospital used by the sick of the District. Mark (H)
the Locality in which such Hospital is situated ; and if not within the District,, state where it is situated : Wilhngton yuay and
Wallsend Joint Hospital, situate at Wallsend.