Home Industry and Commerce Town Council Health of Bolton – Doctor Burman’s Annual Report – Need for Health Visitor – Babies Who Sup Beer – Goldthorpe’s Morals

Health of Bolton – Doctor Burman’s Annual Report – Need for Health Visitor – Babies Who Sup Beer – Goldthorpe’s Morals

May 1911

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 20 May 1911

Health Of Bolton
Doctor Burman’s Annual Report
The Need for a Health Visitor
Babies Who Sup Beer – Goldthorpe’s Morals

The 12th annual report of the medical Officer of Bolton on Dearne (Doctor F.J.Burman) was presented to the Council at the meeting on Tuesday evening. Doctor Burman, as usual, as a lot of valuable information to impart to his readers.

At the outset, he gives us the following interesting particulars:

Area of Urban District, 2323 acres, population, 1901-  3,828, 1910 – 7,507; height above sea level 70 to 175 feet.

Vital Statistics – Birth Rate 40 per 1000; Death rate 16 per 1000; Phthisis 1.3 per 1000, Respiratory 3.3 per 1000; Zimotic 3.2 per 1000, infantile mortality 162 per 1000 births; nuisances abated in 1910 67; Rainfall during year 25.49 inches; Mean annual temperature 42.6°; New houses in 1910 241

Review of Years Work

He describes the year 1910 as “a very busy year, in which a large amount of work, sanitary and otherwise, was got through; which should in the near future go far towards improving the health of your people, and especially the infant population yet unborn. Perhaps the most important works undertaken was your endeavour to improve the Housing of your Working Classes by the powers given you under the new Housing and Town Planning Act; the opening of the new Recreation Ground at Goldthorpe; the passing of a resolution at your December meeting to have nearly all the backyards paved with an impervious surface.

I estimated the population of your district in July 1, 1910 at 7,507, though this is now at the end of the year probably far below the actual number, as owing to the scarcity of houses; there is a large amount of overcrowding at Goldthorpe, and also during the latter part off of 1910 this number of inhabitants houses increased very rapidly so that I should not be at all surprised by the census of 1911 gives your population is not far short of 9,000.

I divided the population as follows: Bolton 2944, Goldthorpe 4563, All district 7,507. During the 12 months from July 1909 to July 1910, 93 new houses were passed as fit for habitation, which gives a natural increasing population of 526 person; the effects of this overcrowding which has been very bad during the year are shown very forcibly in the mortality returns, especially death rate from consumption.

The Morals of Goldthorpe

The births of 301 children were registered during the year, showing as nearly every other district in the County are shown, a decrease on former years viz: 148 males and 133 female; distributed as follows, 94 in Bolton and 207 in Goldthorpe, which gives birth rate of 40 per 1000. If we divide the rate separately we get Bolton rate as 31 and Goldthorpe’s has 45. Of these births 15 were illegitimate – nine males and six females, which works out at one in 20 or twice the rate of last year. Two of these births are in Bolton and 13 in Goldthorpe, which tells badly for the morals of Goldthorpe. The birth rate for England and Wales was 24.8, so your birth rate is still nearly double that of the country generally. Into the cause of this I do not intend to go. Early marriages have no doubt a good deal to answer for.

The number of deaths registered in your district was 119 or 11 more than last year, and four more than in 1908. Of these, 42 were in Bolton and 77 Goldthorpe, and the corrected death rate is 16 per 1000, which is slightly under our average. The death rate for England and Wales was 30.4, the lowest ever recorded. The coroner held only one inquest.

Health Visitor Wanted

Our infantile mortality this year is slightly under the average of the last 10 years, but above that of 1909, viz: 162 per 1000 or 1 in every six, this is very high; the average for England and Wales last year being 106 per 1000 births or one in nine. As in previous years the number of deaths from Premature Birth has been largely in excess of the average and this year and has been 2 ½  times the average, the reason for this excess is very difficult to trace, and must be due to some factor quite outside the sphere of influence of the Medical Officer of Health.

At your August meeting I strongly advocated the appointment of a Health Visitor, especially as a suitable lady had taken her residence at Mexborough, but after consideration you came to the conclusion that the financial condition of the Council will not allow this to be done. But gentlemen, if your Infantile Mortality is to be reduced that is in my opinion is the only effectual way to do it.

But I think no one could read the report of Mrs Lamont when she visited your district in 1909 and told you that she found babies of three months old receiving any odd bits on the table from “pobs” and “sops” to a sup o’ th’ maisters beer and another child having cold sausage at five months, without feeling the one great necessity at Goldthorpe was a health visitor who could go from house to house giving instructions in the feeding and management of infants.

Far be it from me to belittle the efforts which have been put forward during the year to lessen this infantile mortality, such as a resolution passed at your December meeting to have a large number of the backyards asphalted, but after all the greatest want is a Health Visitor.

During the year I received 116 Notifications of Infectious Disease, this large number was owing in great measure to the epidemic of Scarlet Fever in the beginning of the year; they include a 1 to 2 cases of Scarlet Fever, 17 of enteric fever, 12 of diphtheria, 16 of erysipelas and one of croup. The death from Zymotic diseases including a case of Scarlet Fever and one of Enteric Fever which died in the Wath hospital were 24 or more than last year which gives us a zymotic  death rate of 3.2 per 1000, exactly the same as last year, which is higher than it ought to be. In 1909 we came third in the running for the highest Symantec death rate in the West Riding, and I feel we shall do the same in 1910.

No case of smallpox occurred during 1910, but I would again offer my annual warning that the Small but hospital at Hoober is too small to supply the needs of the district, and the urgent need for an enlargement becomes more urgent every year, owing to the greatly increasing numbers of exemptions from vaccination.

Scarlet Fever

The gradual rise in the number of notification of this disease is very curious. In 1907 I received 29 notifications; in 1908 10, in 1909 98 and the 1910 122. The great majority of these cases were of an extremely mild type, so that towards the end of the year I ceased to remove any except those in positions of danger to the public or those whose parents specially desired it.

Enteric Fever

We were this year visited by what threatened to be a very severe epidemic of Enteric Fever. It included 17 cases, 10 of which originated in the workings at Houghton Main Colliery. The second batch comprised 2 cases living in the same house with a very insanitary yard among filthy people. The third batch, an isolated case occurring in an isolated cottage and probable caught from a ‘carrier’. The fourth batch comprised 4 cases all living in the same house, the disease being no doubt brought by a lodger who worked at the Thurnscoe Sewage Outfall Works. This case was not notified till the second week of the illness. Two of the houses were in an indescribably filthy condition and were cleansed after Notice under Section 46 of the Public Health Act 1875.

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