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HER MAJESTY'S PRINCIPAL SECRETARY OF STATE
FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT,
POOR LAW COMMISSIONERS,
ON AN INQUIRY INTO THE
LABOURING POPULATION OF GREAT BRITAIN;
Presented to both Houses of Parliament, by Command of Her Majesty,
FOR HER MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE.
RIGHT HON. SIR JAMES GRAHAM, BART.
HER MAJESTY'S PRINCIPAL SECRETARY OF STATE
FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT.
Pour Law Commission Office, Somerset House,
9th July, 1842.
On the 14th May, 1838, the Poor Law Commissioners presented to Lord John Russell a report “ relative to certain charges which have been disallowed by the auditors of unions in England and Wales ;” together with two supplementary reports; one a “ Report on the prevalence of certain Physical Causes of Fever in the Metropolis, which might be removed by proper sanitary measures, by Neil Arnott, M.D., and James Phillips Kay, M.D.;” the other a “Report on some of the Physical Causes of Sickness and Mortality to which the Poor are peculiarly exposed, and which are capable of removal by Sanitary Regulations exemplified in the present condition of the Bethnal Green and Whitechapel Districts, as ascertained on a personal inspection by Southwood Smith, M.D., Physician to the London Fever Hospital.” (See Fourth Annual Report, App. A, No. 1.)
On the 29th April, 1839, the Commissioners received from Dr. Southwood Smith a “ Report on the prevalence of Fever in Twenty Metropolitan Unions or Parishes during the year ended the 20th March, 1838,” which they appended to their Fifth Annual Report. (App. C, No. 2.)
In August, 1839, Lord John Russell addressed the following letter to the Commissioners :“ GENTLEMEN,
“ Whitehall, August 21, 1839. “The Queen having been pleased to comply with the prayer of an humble address presented to her Majesty, in pursuance of an order of the House of Lords, dated 19th August, 1839, that · Her Majesty will be pleased to cause inquiry to be made as to the extent to which the causes of disease stated in the Appendix A, No. 1, of the Poor Law Commissioners' Fourth Annual Report, and Appendix C, No. 2, of their Fifth Annual Report, to prevail amongst the labouring classes in the metropolis, prevail also amongst the labouring classes in other parts of England and Wales, and that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to cause the results of such inquiry to be communicated to the House,'— I have to desire that you will cause inquiry to be made accordingly, and that you will prepare a report upon the result of such inquiry, and transmit the same to me, in order that it may be laid before the House of Lords. “ I am, Gentlemen, your obedient servant.
“J. Russell.” With the view of making the inquiry directed by Lord John Russell's letter, we addressed, in the month of November following, an instruction to our Assistant Commissioners to report upon such parts of the subject as were likely to come under their observation. We likewise addressed letters to the several Boards of Guardians of Unions in England and Wales, and their respective medical officers, requesting them to furnish us with information in answer to certain queries. (App. Nos. 1, 2, and 3.)
The steps which we thus took for conducting the inquiry which we were instructed to make have produced a large body of information, from which we have selected for our present Report that portion which seemed to us most important to the public, and most worthy of consideration by Her Majesty's Government.
From the reports transmitted to us by our Assistant Commissioners we subjoin a report from Mr. Gilbert on the sanitary condition of the labouring population in Devon and Cornwall: the extended Sanitary Inquiry.
the reports from Mr. Mott and Mr. Power with relation to the sanitary condition of the population of Manchester and the adjacent manufacturing districts, which will be found to be corroborative of the reports of Dr. Baron Howard and Dr. Duncan : one from Mr. Twisleton with relation to the sanitary condition of the population of Norfolk and Suffolk : one from Mr. Tufnell with relation to the sanitary condition of the labouring population of Kent and Sussex: a report from Mr. Parker on the sanitary state of the labouring population in the counties of Berks, Bucks, and Oxford: one from Mr. Weale on cottage accommodation in the counties of Bedford, Northampton, and Stafford,-a report from Mr. Senior on the sanitary condition of the labouring population in the counties of Leicester, Lincoln, Nottingham, and . Rutland : one from Sir Edmund Head on the dwellings of the labouring classes, and on the means of procuring better cottage accommodation in the counties of Gloucester, Hereford, Monmouth, Salop, Worcester, Brecknock, and Radnor; three reports from Sir John Walsham on the condition of the dwellings of the labouring population in Durham, Northumberland, Westmoreland, and Cumberland; and a communication from Mr. Day on the cost of erection, repairs, and rents of labourers' cottages in Salop, Cheshire, and North Wales.
We have likewise received several valuable reports upon towns and districts in England from medical men resident upon the spot.
We have obtained a report from Mr. Hodgson and a committee of medical gentlemen of Birmingham on the sanitary condition of the labouring population in that town.
We also append a report on the sanitary condition of the dwellings of the labouring classes, &c., in Manchester, which we have obtained from Dr. Baron Howard, physician to the Ardwick and Ancoats Dispensary of that town:
Also, one on the condition of the labouring population in
Liverpool, from Dr. Duncan:
from Dr. Baker: