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Annual Report OF THE Medical Officer of Health for the Year 1925

Council Offices, Brook Street, Rishton, May, 1926.


To the Members of the Rishton ‘Urban District Council’


I have the honour to submit for your consideration my 44th Annual Report upon the Health and Sanitary conditions of the District.

As intimated by the Ministry of Health the Report for 1925 is a Survey Report and deals with the measures of progress made in this district during the preceding five years in the improvement of the public health and also all conditions appertaining to Sanitary administration.

Natural and Social Conditions.

Area 2986 Statute Acres.

Population (Census 1921) 7170, Estimated 1925, 7059.

Physical Features and General Character.

The District is hilly with a ridge of stone Quarries situate in the northerly part of the district, the Urban area is compact. Rural farms are scattered the land being mostly pasture and part unsuitable for agricultural purposes.

Number of inhabited houses (Census 1921) 1752.

Number of separate occupiers (Census 1921) 1771

Rateable value 49,334.

Sum represented by a penny rate 194.

Social Conditions and chief occupation.

The District is clean and healthy; the people are well housed, houses being mostly good middle class. Cotton Manufacturing is the staple trade, there is also an important Paper Mill and a Colliery.

Vital Statistics.


During 1925 98 Births were registered (40 males and 58 females) including 1 illegitimate male, the birth-rate therefore equals 13.8 per 1000 of the population thus equalling the return for the year 1924.

The mean birth rate for the 10 years 1915 - 1924 was 15.1 so that our Birth Rate shows a decrease of 1.3.

The Birth Rate for England and Wales per 1000 total population was 183 for the year 1925, ours showing a decrease also upon this figure, of 45.

Death Rate

During 1925 109 deaths were registered namely (58 Males and 51 Females giving a Death Rate of 15.4 per 1000 this being an increase over the birth rate of 1.6. During 1924 the death rate equalled 14.5 per thousand, showing an increase therefore upon the previous year of 0.9 per 1000.

The death rate for England and Wales per 1000 from all causes for 1925 was 12.2 ours showing an increase upon this average of 32 per 1000

Death Rate from Pulmonary Tuberculosis

There were 5 deaths from this disease (2 males and 3 females) giving a death rate return of 0.70 per 1000. During the previous year the rate was 0.55 showing an increase of 0.15 for this year. The mean rate for the 10 years 1915 - 24 was 0.59. Therefore also an increase upon the average for the year of 0.11

There were no deaths returned as being from Tuberculosis other than pulmonary.

Infantile Mortality

During the year 14 children died before reaching the age of 1 year (11 boys and 3 girls). It is well to mention that 6 or 42% of these deaths were as a result of malformation or premature birth.

The Infantile Mortality rate therefore was 142 per 1000 registered Births. During 1924 the rate was 60 therefore this years’ returns show an increase of 82 per 1000 a very large increase indeed.

The average for the 10 years 1915 - 24 was 69 the increase for this year being 73 per 1000 upon this average.

There were no deaths returned as a consequence of child-birth or sepsis against 1 in 1924.

Causes of Death

  Male Female Totals
All Causes 58 51 109
Measles 2   2
Scarlet Fever 1   1
Influenza 1   1
Tuberculosis of Respiratory System 2 3 5
Cancer Malignant Disease 6 6 12
Rheumatic Disease 1 2 3
Diabetes 2 2 4
Cerebral Haemorrhage 1 4 5
Heart Disease 4 9 13
Arterio Sclerosis 4 1 5
Bronchitis 1 7 8
Pneumonia (all forms) 6 4 10
Other Respiratory Diseases 1 1 2
Ulcer of Stomach or Duodenum 2   2
Diarrhoea, etc., under 2   1 1
Acute and Chronic Nephritis 2   2
Congenital Debility and Malformation premature Births 6   6
Suicide 1 1 2
Other Deaths from Violence 1 1 2
Other defined diseases 13 9 22
Causes Unknown 1   1
Deaths of Infants Under 1 11 3 14

Vital Statistics – Summary.

Total Male Female
Births in 1925 98 40 58
Deaths in 1925 109 58 51

Rates per 1000 of population –

  Birth Rate Death Rate Death Rate from TB of Respiratory System Rate of Deaths Under 1 yr to 1000 births.
Mean of 10 years 1915 - 1924 15.1 12.15 0.59 69
1924 13.8 14.5 0.55 60
1925 13.8 15.4 0.70 142
England and Wales 18.3 12.2   75
Increase or Decrease in 1925 on
Ten Year Average -1.3 3.25 0.11 73
Previous Year nil 0.9 0.15 82
England and Wales -4.5 3.2   67

General Provision of Health Services.

Hospital Accommodation.

We do not possess an Infectious Disease Hospital of our own but we have an arrangement by which the Blackburn Corporation Hospital take in our most serious cases when necessary at a cost of ( 3S. od. per week per case, 1 case was admitted during 1925.

We also have an arrangement with the Oswaldtwistle Urban District Council to take in any cases of Small Pox that may occur a retaining fee of 24 yearly being paid for this privilege. No Cases were admitted during 1925.

There is no hospital accommodation in this district for Tuberculosis, Maternity, Children nor any other public institution.

Child Welfare.

The County Council are responsible for the effective carrying out of this work, prenatal and anti-natal visits are paid also children are examined in School by a competent Medical Officer and School Nurse.

Ambulance Facilities.

We possess a Horse Ambulance for non-infectious and accident cases. We also have an arrangement with the Blackburn Corporation to provide a Motor Ambulance upon request at a cost of 1/- per mile.

Professional Nursing In the Home.

There is one permanent Nurse employed by the Rishton District Nursing Association engaged upon this work;

We have no Nurse to visit cases of Infectious Diseases treated at Home.


There are 3 midwives upon the County Council register but none of them receives any subsidy.

Sanitary Administration.

The town’s water supply is obtained from the Accrington District Gas and Water Board Co., the supply is good and constant being supplied directly to the houses where in use. The character of the water is medium being neither hard nor soft with no liability to plumbo solvent action.

There is no supply of town’s water to the farms situate in the Northerly part of the district those farms being mostly dependent upon surface water for their supply. The farms concerned are mostly scattered over the rural areas and cost of laying mains and service piping is the prohibitive factor, but it is absolutely essential that so long as these farms are concerned in the production of the milk supply that the character of the water used should be above suspicion of contamination.

The water supply to each farm is being dealt with individually as regards piping and filtering and the best local source of available supply utilized as far as possible.

Sewage Disposal.

Our method of treatment of Sewage is Bacteriological. The drainage of the district by drains and Sewers is upon the whole good.

The Bungalows erected in the Norden District are drained by means of a cesspool the outlet of which is far from satisfactory and is a possible source of nuisance.

Tottleworth Hamlet comprising 15 houses and one Farm is without an adequate Drainage system, this area also, is without a Town’s water supply, being dependent upon Spring Water for domestic use, and until a water system is installed in the houses in this area there can be no question of efficient drainage upon the water carriage system being carried out.

Excrement Disposal.

The majority of the houses are upon the water carriage system i.e. — Fresh and waste water closets.

Fresh Water Closets 429. Waste Water Closets 1552. Privies 1. Pail Closets 26. Dry covered Ashpits 243. Movable Ashbins 1336.

During 1925 two Privies were converted to pails, also, 10 waste water closets converted to fresh water closets, 37 waste water closets having been converted during the last five years.

There is no definite policy in hand at the present time for conversion to the fresh water system each case being dealt with individually upon its merits, as it arises.


Domestic refuse is collected by Motor Lorry weekly where portable ashbins are in use and monthly where covered ashpits are used.

Trade waste is collected bi-weekly from shops at a charge of 2d. per bin, such waste being conveyed to the Blackburn Destructor Works and there burnt at a cost to the Council of 3/6 per ton, the Council loses heavily upon this work, a duty which they are not compelled to do, but I am of the opinion that a saving could be affected if the Council would take into consideration the incineration of their own trade refuse and devise some means whereby this work could be carried out.

Factories and Workshops Act.

We have within the District 28 Mills and Factories also 53 Workshops and Workplaces, frequent visits are paid to these with a view to their being kept in conformity with the Regulations.


The Sanitary Accommodation at 3 Factories was found unsuitable or defective 2 of which were remedied the remaining one being referred to H. M. Inspector of Factories to deal with.

Workshops and Workplaces.

393 visits were paid to the above, 25 notices being served to remedy nuisances or defects.


We have 19 retail Bakehouses comprising

4 Bakehouses, 14 Workshop Bakehouses, 1 Underground Workshop Bakehouse. 57 visits were paid to these premises the character of the work engaged in demands that these premises be kept in very good order.

Registered Workshops.

Workshops on the Register (s. 131) at the end of the year.


Bakehouses                             19

Boot and Clog Makers                 6

Dressmakers and Milliners             5

Motor Engineers                         4

Tailors                                     4

Plumbers                                 3

Joiners                                     3

Firelight Manufacturers                2

Wheelwright                             1

Other Workshops                     6

Total Number of Workshops on Register 53



Cotton Mills                                             10

Paper Mill                                                 1

Colliery                                                     1

Brickworks                                                 2

Iron Foundry                                             1

Mineral Water Manufacturer                         1

Printers                                                     2

Other factories                                         10

Total Number of factories on Register         28

Sanitary Administration.

The following adoptive acts of Parliament are adopted in this District :

The Infectious Disease Prevention Act 1890, Adopted December 17th, 1890.

The Public Health (Amendment) Act 1890, Adopted November 21st, 1890.

The Public Health Acts (Amended) Acts 1907, Adopted November 25th, 1912.

Dairies, Cowsheds and Milkshops Regulations, Adopted August 19th, 1896.

The following Bye-laws are in force in the district :—

Relating to New Streets and Buildings, Adopted April 29th 1884.

With respect to Cleansing of Footways Nuisances, Common Lodging Houses & Slaughterhouses, Adopted June 13th 1884.

The Rishton Urban (Offensive Trades) Confirmation Order 1925, Adopted April 13th 1925

New Bye-laws for the district are pending, the following series have been accepted by the Ministry of Health and await confirmation.

Nuisances Houses let in Lodgings. Means of Escape in case of Fire. Tents, Vans, Sheds. Removal of household Refuse. Dairies, Cowsheds and Milkshops. Offensive Trades. Drainage of Existing Buildings.

Housing Accommodation.

Housing accommodation and conditions are good; we have no houses actually unfit for human habitation. The houses at Tottleworth are old and about the worst within the district, some of lacking through communication.

Should the Council carry out their building scheme the same necessity for inhabiting these houses at Tottleworth will not be apparent.

Isolated cases of overcrowding only have been met with, each case being dealt with upon its merits.

Defects and nuisances found upon house to house inspection have been referred to owners and occupiers, in most instances informal action and notices have seemed to meet requirements in the remainder statutory notices have brought about the desired end, in no case had the Council to carry out work in default of the owner or occupier.

Seven New houses were erected during the year.

The main feature during the past two to three years has been the converting of the large open insanitary ashpit to that of the portable ashbin system and a weekly collection and also the demolition of the disused ashpits themselves.

Tottleworth Hamlet has been converted to the pail system and a weekly collection of household refuse, the Council themselves being responsible for this undertaking.

The destruction of household refuse by burning is advised this would e1iminate the unsightliness which is at present very apparent to all who pass within the vicinity of the present tip at Norden Wood, from a hygienic and health standpoint the accrued benefits to be gained would be considerable.

Housing Statistics for the year 1925.

Number of New Houses erected during the year 7

With State assistance under the Housing Act

(1) By the Local Authority . . 0

(2) By other bodies or persons 7

Unfit Dwelling houses Inspection.

Total number of dwellings inspected under the Public Health or Housing Acts . ... 1344

Number of Dwelling houses inspected under Housing (Inspection of District) Regulations 1910 or the Consolidated Housing Regulations 1925 59

Number of Dwelling houses found to be in a state so dangerous or injurious to health as to be unfit for Human occupation. 0

Number of dwelling houses found not to be in all respects reasonably fit for human habitation . . . .. ... 755

Action under Statutory Powers.

Proceedings under section 3 of the Housing Act 1925.

Number of dwelling houses in respect of which notices were served requiring repairs ..... ............ 5

Number rendered fit by Owners 5. By Local Authority 0 5

Number of closing orders . ... .... . 0

Number demolished 1. Voluntarily by Owner .... .... ...1

Proceedings under Public Health Acts.

Number of Dwelling houses in respect of which notices were served requiring defects to be remedied . 88

Number of Dwelling houses in which defects were remedied after service of formal notice 87

By Owners 87, By Local Authority 0 .. 87

Proceedings under Sections 11, 14 and 15 of the Housing Act, 1925 ,,‘...... 0

Sanitary Inspections during 1925.

Number of premises visited 1344

Defects or Nuisances, No. discovered 755

Abated 755

No. of Notices served, Informal 482

Statutory 24 re 93 premises.

Legal Proceedings nil, result nil .

Inspection and Supervision of Food.

Milk Supply.

Upon the whole the milk supply is good and adequate it being in most cases above the minimum standard required by Legislation as regards genuineness and wholesomeness.

The Co-operative Society have a large trade, their pasteurized milk judging from frequent samples taken is well above the minimum in wholesomeness and cleanliness.

11 Farmers also producing milk within the district retail their own products to the inhabitants.


Improvements are in progress at certain farms within the district affecting Lighting Ventilation and Drainage. It is rather a handicap that the 31 Farms should come under the one ownership as progress must of necessity be slow.

It is impossible for farmers to produce pure raw milk in ill lighted and ill ventilated shippons, and if the wholesomeness and cleanliness of their product is their aim then some arrangement could surely be come to whereby they could eliminate pressing defects themselves and receive recompense from the owner concerned.

Co-operation must be affected between all concerned in the production, storing, handling and distribution of milk to ensure to the customers what they are entitled to expect, that is a pure raw milk produced under the best available conditions.

I regret that no Farmers within this district have applied to sell Grade "A" milk. Surely the seal of cleanliness and efficiency is well worth aiming for and would bring its own reward.

There are 31 Registered Cowkeepers within the district and also 19 Retail Purveyors of Milk upon the Register.

There were four samples of milk submitted during 1925 for Bacteriological examination, the result in each case being Tubercle Bacilli not found.

Meat Inspection.

We have 3 licensed Slaughterhouses, 2 of which are in daily use, visits to these when possible are made daily and carcases, plucks and offal inspected.

Carcases, mostly pigs destined for outside areas are stamped with the approved official stamp advised by the Ministry of Health after inspection has been carried out.

One vehicle only retails meat belonging to the Co-op Society and this complies with the Meat Regulations in force.

During 1925 the following were condemned or surrendered and destroyed as being unfit for human consumption:—

Tuberculous Carcase & parts: 1 Carcase & parts. ..857 lbs.

Diseased, unsound or unwholesome meat: 5 Carcases and parts 668 lbs

Total 1525 lbs.

Other Foodstuffs, 22 tins 22 lbs

There was no necessity for legal proceedings, nor were there any cases of Food Poisoning.

Sale of Food and Drugs Act.

Four Samples were submitted for Analysis:—

1 Butter and 1 Coffee proving genuine.

2 Milk proving to be adulterated.

Nine samples of milk were examined in the department for gross dirt, etc.

Milk and Cream Regulations, .1912 to 1917.

One Sample of Cream was submitted for analysis which proved to contain preservative

Frequent visits were paid to shops where food is prepared for sale or sold, with a view to food being prepared or stored under the best available conditions.

Infectious Diseases.

There has been a very decided gradual decrease in the number of cases of zymotic infectious diseases notified during the period 1920 to 1925; the number reported this year is practically down to the minimum which in itself is a very noteworthy feature.

Number of cases notified during 1925:—

Small Pox 0, Scarlet Fever 3, Diphtheria 2, Enteric Fever 0, Puerperal Fever 0, Erysipelas 4, Total 9.

A supply of Diphtheria Anti-toxin is stored at the office of the Medical Officer of Health.

We have an arrangement with the Blackburn Corporation to supply Swabs and to examine Bacteriological Specimens submitted at a cost of 2/6 per specimen.

The following specimens were examined:—

Blood 3, Sputum 12, Throat Swabs 2, Total 17.

A mild epidemic of Measles and Chicken Pox occurred during March and April 1925 being manifest mostly in children under the official school age yet attending school, these two diseases as a consequence were made permanently Notifible locally.


During 1925 Twenty four houses comprising 91 rooms were fumigated or sprayed with Formaldehyde also 5 beds and 6 sets of bedding and clothing disinfected by steam following cases of infectious diseases.

Infectious Diseases Notified During 1921.25

  1921 1922 1923 1924 1925
Chicken Pox         33
Measles         113
Continued Fever 3        
Diphtheria 11 9 7 6 2
Enteric Fever 2        
Encephalitis Lethargica       1  
Erysipelas 11 11 7 7 4
Opthalmia Neonatorum 2 1     1
Paratyphoid   1      
Pneumonia (All forms) 10 52 33 33 26
Scarlet Fever 11 30 13 4 3
Tuberculosis Pulmonary 3 2 4 7 4
Tuberculosis Other forms 2 1 3 6 2
  55 107 67 64 42

A Table giving the number of infectious diseases notified during the year, also the ages at which cases occurred is given below :—

Total Cases Notified