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Annual Report OF THE Medical Officer 0f Health and Sanitary Inspector for the Year 1935

Council Offices, Brook Street,


MAY, 1936.



20th May, 1936.

To the Members of the Rishton Urban District Council.


I have the honour to submit for your consideration my Annual Report on the Health, Sanitary Condition and Sanitary Circumstances of the Urban District of Rishton for the year ending 31st December, 1935.

General Statistics.

Area in acres, 2,878.4.

Population (Census 1931), 6,631.

Population (estimated 1935), 6,301.

Number of Inhabited Houses (Census 1931), 1,909.

End of 1935, according to Rate Book (Census 1934), 1,781.

Rateable Value, 39,685.

Sum represented by a penny rate, 154.

Six new houses were completed during the year.

Social Conditions and Chief Occupations of Inhabitants.

The inhabitants are of good working class, the staple trades being cotton weaving, paper manufacturing and mining. The houses are in good general repair, the fabric being mainly of stone. About half of the occupiers own their own houses.

The town is chiefly built of stone and lighted with gas supplied by the Accrington Gas and Water Board, and electricity supplied by the Blackburn Corporation.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal passes through from east to west.

There is also a good service of motor buses supplied by the Ribble Motors, Ltd.

Vital Statistics.

Birth Rate.

82 births were registered during the year 1935 (44 males and 38 females), which includes 2 illegitimate births (1 male and 1 female).

The birth-rate is 13.2 per 1,000 of the population, compared with 11.4 per 1,000 for the year 1934—an increase of 1.8 per 1,000.

The birth-rate for England and Wales per 1,000 of the population is 14.7. Ours, therefore, shows a decrease on this figure of 1.5 per 1,000.

Death Rate.

85 deaths were registered during 1935 (37 males and 48 females), giving a death-rate of 13.7 per 1,000 of the population.

The death-rate for 1934 was 13.9 per 1,000 of the population. Therefore the rate for 1935 shows a decrease of 1.2 per 1,000.

The death-rate for England and Wales per 1,000 of the population from all causes for the year 1934 is 11.7 per 1,000, our rate showing an increase of 2.0 per 1,000.

Death Rate from Pulmonary Tuberculosis.

3 deaths occurred from this disease (2 males and 1 female), giving a rate from this cause of .32 per 1,000, as compared with.33 per 1,000 in 1933; thus showing a decrease of .47 per 1,000 for 1935. There was 1 death from Non-Pulmonary Tuberculosis.

Infantile Mortality.

During the year 5 children died before reaching the age of one year— 1 boy and 4 girls.

The Infantile Mortality Rate for this year is .60 per 1,000 registered births, showing an increase of .5 per 1,000 on 1934.

Deaths under age 1 M F   M F   M F
Total 1 4 Legitimate 0 4   0 0
Live Births 44 38 Legitimate 43 37 Illegitimate 1 1
Stillbirths 0 1 Legitimate 1 1 Illegitimate 0 0

Vital Statistics – Summary.

Causes of Death.

All Causes 37 males, 48 females.

  M F   M F
Typhoid fever, etc     Other respiratory 1  
Measles     Peptic ulcer 1  
Scarlet fever     Diarrhoea etc. (under 2 years)    
Whooping Cough     Appendicitis    
Diphtheria     Cirrhosis of liver   1
Influenza   1 Other liver diseases   1
Encephalitis lethargica     Other digestive   2
Cerebro-spinal fever     Nephritis 1 25
Respiratory tuberculosis   2 Puerperal sepsis    
other tuberculosis 1   Other Puerperal    
Syphilis     Congenital causes, etc   3
General paralysis of insane, etc     Senility 3 2
Cancer 7 7 Suicide    
Diabetes     Other violence 1 1
Cerebral haemorrhage 5   Other defined causes 3 5
Heart disease 9 15 Ill defined causes   1
Aneurysm     Special Causes (included in No. 35)    
Other circulatory 1 1 Small Pox    
Bronchitis 1 1 Poliomyelitis    
Pneumonia 3 3 Polio encephalitis    
  Per 1,000 of Estimated Population. Maternal Mortality Rate.  
  Live Birth Rate Crude Death Rate Death rate from Tuberculosis of Respiratory System Death Rate From Cancer Per 1000 Live Births Total per 1000 (Live & Births Still) Rate of Deaths under 1 year per 1000 Live Births
Population: 6,194              
Mean of 5 years, 1930-1934 11.2 12.7 0.81 1.45 5.25 4.85 0.7
Year -              
1934 11.4 13.9 0.79 1.26 nil nil 0.55
1935 13.2 13.7* 0.32 2.26 nil nil 0.6
Increase or decrease in 1935 on 5 years average, 1930-1934 + 2.0 + 1.0 - 0.49 + 0.81 - 5.25 - 4.85 - 10
Previous year + 1.8 + 0.2 + 0.47 + 1.00 Nil Nil + 0.5

* 1935 adjusted Death-rate (comparability factor 1.06) = 14.5 per 1,000.

General Provision of Health Services.

Hospital Accommodation.

We have no hospital accommodation in the district. Hospitals subsidised by the Local Authority are :—

1. Tuberculosis. Provided by the County Council.

2. Maternity and Children. None.

3 Fever. Cases are sent to Blackburn Fever Hospital when difficulty in isolating at home arises.

4. Smallpox. Elm Tree Hospital, Oswaldtwistle, owned by the Oswaldtwistle U. D. C.

5. Other Hospitals are: — Blackburn Royal Infirmary.

Queen’s Park Hospital, Blackburn.

Manchester Royal Infirmary.

Manchester Eye Hospital.

Blackburn Municipal Maternity Home.

Accrington Municipal Maternity Home.

The Hospitals in Sec. 5 are outside the district. The Council subscribe to the Manchester Hospitals and the Blackburn Royal Infirmary.

The Public Assistance Institution is situated in the County Borough of Blackburn.

No special institutional provision for unmarried mothers, illegitimate infants and homeless children

The Public Assistance Institution is situated in the County Borough of Blackburn.

Public Health Officers of the Local Authority.

Medical Officer of Health: J. Ferguson, L. R. C. P. & S., etc. (part time).

C. Woodcock, A. R., San. I., M. S. I. A., Sanitary Inspector and Meat Inspector.

Child Welfare.

This work is under the able supervision of the County Council, which is giving very satisfactory results. Open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2-0 to 4-0 p.m.

Sessions are held for mothers, and the Clink is open for the treatment of dental, ophthalmic and orthopaedic cases.

Ambulance Facilities.

All infectious disease cases are removed, in motor ambulances by special arrangement with the Isolation Hospital authorities concerned.

Accidents and other non-infectious cases are now removed by our own Ambulance, which was first used on April 5th, 1934, being called out on 151 occasions by the end of the year.

Professional Nursing in the Home.

One nurse is employed by the Rishton District Nursing Association.

There is no Nurse for infectious disease.


Number of midwives on the County Council Register 31st December, 1935:— Number on Register, 1. Number actually practising, 1.

Sanitary Administration.

The town’s .water supply is obtained from the Accrington District Gas and Water Board.

It is constant, good, and possesses no plumbo solvent action.

The number of premises supplied are approximately 2,000.

Great care is exercised to prevent the contamination of water supplied at Tottleworth Hamlet, and the various farms in the district.

Sewerage Disposal.

Our Bacteriological system of sewage treatment is satisfactory, the effluent being exceptionally clean, showing the efficiency of this method.

The drainage system is of the usual type; storm water and sewage being conveyed in a common sewer.


I am obliged to Mr. Renshaw, the Surveyor, for the following figures showing the rainfall for each month during the year :—

January 1.96 inches.

February 4.66

March 0.93

April 2.47

May 1.33

June 2.49

July 0.43

August 1.15

September 6.07

October 6.83

November 3.27

December 2.72

Total 34.31 inches.

Excrement Disposal.

There are no privy middens in the district. All pail closets are emptied weekly, the contents being tipped in a special man hole at the sewerage works.

Waste Water Closets are still a source of trouble, becoming choked through defective tipplers, and the shafts becoming foul through want of cleaning.

House Refuse Removal.

This work is done by the Sanitary Department. Ashbins are emptied weekly, and ashpits monthly, by a horse vehicle occupied whole time. There is no destructor in the district; all refuse being disposed of by controlled tipping.

Shop refuse is buried beneath ordinary refuse, which gives no cause for complaint.

The tip is free from rats.

Factories and Workshops.

Frequent visits are made to these premises, which are generally found to be in a clean and sanitary condition.

84 visits were made to these premises, and two warnings were issued for want of cleanliness, which had the desired effect.

Offensive Trades.

There are 19 premises where trades of the above nature are carried on in the district, 1 bone collector, 1 Gut Scraper, 3 Marine Store Dealers, and 14 Fish Fryers. The premises are clean and no nuisance has arisen.


There are 19 Bakehouses in the district. 40 visits have been made to these premises, which were found to be satisfactory.

Housing Accommodation.

The Housing accommodation in the district is fairly good.

I am of the opinion that there is a shortage of houses at low rents, having three bedrooms.

Six new houses have been erected by private individuals.


The 5 Schools have been inspected from time to time, and on the whole are in fairly good condition and the water supplies good and adequate.


Every endeavour has been made to improve the sanitary condition of the Township as regards overcrowding, unsanitary property, and general housing conditions, and pressure brought to bear on tenants to destroy as much refuse as possible by burning and to refrain from misuse of household fittings such as sinks and water closets.

Housing Statistics for the Year 1934.

Number of New Houses erected during the year:—

(a) Total (including numbers given separately under (b) 6.

(1) By the Local Authority 0

(2) By other Local Authorities 0

(3) By other bodies or persons 6

(b) With State assistance under the Housing Acts:

(1) By the Local Authority 0

(2) By other bodies or persons 0

1.—Inspection of Dwelling-houses during the year.

1. (a) Total number of dwelling-houses inspected for housing defects (under Public Health or Housing Acts) 450

(b) Number of inspections made for the purpose 800

2. (a) Number of dwelling-houses (included under sub-head (1) above) which were inspected and recorded under the Housing Consolidated Regulations, 1925. ... 200

3. Number of dwelling-houses found to be in a to dangerous or injurious to health as to be unfit for human habitation 0

4. Number of dwelling-houses (exclusive of those referred to under the preceding sub-head) found not to be in all respects reasonably fit for human habitation 200

2.—Remedy of Defects without Service of Formal Notice.

Number of defective dwelling-houses rendered fit in consequence of informal action by the Local Authority or their officers - 23

3.—Action under Statutory Powers.

A—Proceedings under sections 17, 18 and 23 of the Housing Act, 1930:

1. Number of dwelling-houses in respect of which notices were served requiring repairs 75

2. Number of dwelling-houses which were rendered fit after service of formal notices:—

(a) By owners - 0

(b) By Local Authority in default of owners - 0

B—Proceedings under Public Health Acts:

1. Number of dwelling-houses in respect of which notices were served requiring defects to be remedied. - 0

2. Number of dwelling-houses in which defects were remedied after service of formal notices

(a) By owners 0

(b) By Local Authority in default of owners 0

C—Proceedings under sections 19 and 21 of the Housing Act, 1930:

1. Number of dwelling-houses in respect of which Demolition Order’s were made - 0

2. Number of dwelling-houses demolished in pursuance of Demolition Orders - 0

D.—Proceedings under section 20 of the Housing Act, 1930:

1. Number of separate tenements or underground rooms in respect of which Closing Orders were made - 0

2. Number of separate tenements or underground rooms in respect of which Closing Orders were determined, the tenement or room having been rendered fit - 0

The table below gives the number of houses erected each year since 1921:—

1922 2

t923 5

1924 14

1925 . 7

1926 . 13

1927 13

1928 12

1929 14

1930 12

1931 6

1932 3

1933 . . 10

1934 19

1935 6

Sanitary inspections during 1935.

Number of premises visited 1,500

Defects or Nuisances, number discovered 223

Defects or Nuisances, number abated 218

Number of notices served, Informal 75

Number of notices served, Statutory 40

Inspection and Supervision of Food.


An adequate supply of good milk is produced within the district and certain supplies are brought into the district.


No. of Dealers’ Licenses issued, during 1932, in respect of:—

Certified milk - None

Grade A (Tuberculin rested) milk - None

Grade A milk - None

No. of Licenses issued in respect of "Pasteurised" milk :—

Retail distributors 6

The amount of air space required for each cow in a cowshed is 600 cubic feet when habitually grazed, and 800 cubic feet when not habitually grazed.

The amount of floor space ... 60 sq. ft. per cow.

,, window space .3 sq ft. per cow.

Total No. of Cowkeepers - 28

No. on the Register - 28

No. of inspection during year - 200

The veterinary inspection of dairy cows is carried out by the County Council.

During 1935, 22 samples of milk were taken by the County Police. All were found: to be genuine.


The farmers in the district appear to be taking a great interest in the production of clean milk. Visits were made to these premises which were found to be in a cleanly condition.

The limewashing of cowsheds and dairies is carried out where necessary and is done at least twice yearly. Strict supervision is kept to see that the water supplies are free from contamination.

Steady progress is being made in bringing farm premises up to date.

Sale of Food and Drugs Acts.

The under-mentioned samples were purchased in Rishton during the year, and were analysed by the Public Analyst. All were found to be genuine:—

Milk - 22

Margarine - 1

Coffee - 3

Cheese - 2

Pepper - 2

Ground Rice - 1

Tapioca - 1

Boiled Sweets - 1

Sugar - 1

Lard - 1

Raspberry Jam -1

Cocoa - 1

Ground Ginger - 1

I am indebted to the Superintendent of Police, Church, for the above information.


We have two slaughter-houses in the district, 1 licensed and 1 registered. They are kept clean and the limewashing is done when necessary. All carcases and their offal are inspected on day of slaughter.

Amount of food condemned and surrendered during 1935 as unfit for human consumption: —

Tuberculosis carcases and parts—

3 pigs, 15 heads, 15 lungs, livers, etc. 600 lbs.

Other diseased meat—

2 beast livers, 20 sheep livers (distomatosis), 60 lbs.

Unwholesome foods—

2 tins of corned beef 12 lbs.

1. small pig 50 lbs.

10 crates of cauliflowers.

12 crates of lettuce.

Infectious Disease.

No cases of Diphtheria were notified during the year. During 1933-34 we had a mild epidemic of Scarlet Fever, also a widespread epidemic of Diphtheria of a mild type. The source of infection was by contact at school in the first instance, later spreading by contact outside.

Since April, 1934, no cases of diphtheria have been notified. The cases were mostly faucal, with a few laryngeal.

A supply of Diphtheria Antitoxin is kept at the Health Office and Police Station, which is available for medical practitioners at any time.

Bacteriological specimens are examined by the Clinical Research Association, and the following specimens were examined: — Throat Swabs, 2. Water, 1.

Sputum is examined at the Tuberculosis Dispensary, Accrington. I am most grateful to Dr. MacPhee and his Staff for help and advice given in T. B. cases.


25 houses have been disinfected during 1934. The method used was formaldehyde spray. and formaldehyde gas.

When necessary bedding, clothing, etc., is disinfected by steam at the Accrington Disinfecting Station.

Infectious Diseases Notified during 1930 -1935.

  1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935
Chicken Pox 42 0 0 0 10 14
Small Pox 0 0 0 0 0 0
Diphtheria 0 2 5 47 21 0
Enteric Fever 0 1 0 12 0 0
Encephalitis Lethargica 0 0 0 0 0 0
Erysipelas 2 2 2 1 1 2
Opthalmia Neonatorum 0 0 0 0 0 0
Pueperal Pyrexia 0 1 0 1 1 0
Pneumonia (all forms) 14 15 3 10 2 10
Scarlet Fever 5 5 1 0 11 2
Tuberculosis, Pulmonary 4 6 5 0 6 5
Tuberculosis, other forms 3 1 1 0 1 8
  70 33 17 71 53 35

A table giving the number of infectious deceases notified during the year, also the ages, at which cases occurred, is given below:-

Total Cases Notified




Notifible diseases

Total Cases at all ages Under 1 1, 2 2, 3 3, 4 4, 5 5, 10 10, 15 15, 20 20, 35 35, 45 45, 65 65 and over Deaths Re-moved to Hosp. Deaths in Hosp.
Small Pox                                
Scarlet Fever 2           1 1                
Acute Prim. Pneumonia Acute Infl. Pneumonia 10 1 1 1     2     2 1 1 1      
Puerperal Fever                                
Opthalmia Neonatorum                                
Erysipelas 2                     2        
Chicken Pox 14         3 11                  
Enteric Fever                                
Totals                             None None

Tuberculosis. New Cases and Mortality during 1935.

New Case Deaths
Age Periods Respiratory Non-Respiratory Respiratory Non-Respiratory
Years M F M F M F M F
0 – 1                
1 – 5                
5 – 10                
10 – 14                
15 – 20 1     1        
20 – 25 1              
25 – 35   1            
35 – 45 1     1        
45 – 55 1              
55 – 65                
65 And up                
TOTALS 4 1   2        
  5 2        

Birth Rates, Death Rates and Analysis of Mortality in England and Wales for the year 1935.

  Rate per 1000 Total Population ANNUAL DEATH RATE PER 1000 POPULATION Rate per 1000 Live Births
Live Births Still Births All Causes Typhoid & Para-typhoid Fevers Small Pox Measles Scarlet Fever Whooping Cough Diphtheria Influenza Violence Diarrhoea and Enteritis under age 2 Total deaths under age 1
England and Wales 14.7 0.62 11.7 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.01 0.04 0.8 0.18 0.52 5.7 57


Improvements on farms and milk supplies are the most noticeable.

Steady progress has been made in the conversion of ashpits to the movable dustbin system.

I am indebted to Mr. Chas. Woodcock, the sanitary inspector, for his willing and kind co-operation in the work during my period of office. He has been most energetic and enthusiastic in the working of the Housing Acts and the health work generally, and deserves the highest appreciation.

I must also thank the Chairman and Members of the Council, the Clerk, and other Officials for many kindnesses during the year; their assistance on many occasions has been most helpful in the detail work of the Public Health Department.

I am, Gentlemen,

Your obedient servant,

J. FERGUSON, L. R. C. P. & S., etc.,

Medical Officer of Health.

December 31st, 1935.