|Wellingborough & Kettering News 07/02/1890, transcribed by Peter Brown
THE SANITARY CONDITION OF RAUNDS.
In consequence of the outbreak of typhoid fever in this parish last summer and autumn, the question of the sanitary condition of Raunds has again come to the front. An inspection of the village, made by the Medical Officer of Health in the Thrapston Rural Sanitary Authority in November last, disclosed sanitary defects both inside and outside of many of the houses. Cess pits dangerously near wells, and in some case; even drains and urinals in close proximity to wellswhich were contaminated thereby, beside other unsatisfactory drainage arrangements. Typhoid fever was also reported as then existing. The attention of the Local Government Board having been called to this state of things by the returns made to the Registrar-General, the Thrapston Rural Sanitary Authority were communicated with and were asked to furnish a report upon the sanitary state of the locality. In consequence of this a committee of the Thrapston Rural Sanitary Authority paid a visit to Raunds last week, and held a meeting at the Coffee Tavern, under the presidency of Mr. J. E. Wilkinson, which was attended by the parish officers and a number of property owners. In opening the proceedings, the Chairman stated the object of the meeting and read a letter from the Local Government Board. The Rural Sanitary Authority had instructed the Medical Officer of Health to prepare a report, of which the following is a copy:
Oundle, Dec. 20. 1889. MY LORDS AND GENTLEMEN.
In compliance with your request I beg to forward you a copy of my report upon the recent outbreak of typhoid fever in the parish of Raunds. I find there have been twenty cases, resulting in four deaths. Several of the cases l visited personally: disinfectants were supplied and instructions given. The disease is not confined to any particular area; but is spread over various parts of the parish. Four wells have been closed, a few cesspits have been filled in; but there remain sanitary defects which may fully account for the spread of the disease. A fertile source of mischief must be laid to an open ditch running through the village, which receives all the drainage from the houses and from some cesspits. The filth frequently becomes stagnant in dry weather and the effluvia given off is simply intolerable. The water supply of the village is by shallow wells, which are often in close proximity to this filthy stream, and no doubt are often fed thereby. The scavenger has a difficult task to perform, as there is no system for him to work uponcesspits still abounding, and huge ashpits that would need a morning's work to empty. Raunds is rarely free from typhoid fever, and never will be until proper steps are taken to improve the sanitation of the parish. For a population of nearly 4,000, and increasing, a suitable water supply should be furnished and the shallow wells abolished, and the cesspits converted into earth closets and scavenged. The ditch requires cleansing, and a system of sewerage instituted. Typhoid fever, of all zymotic diseases, I believe to be most amenable to sanitation, and with the number of outbreaks that have occurred year after year in this village it is high time that means were taken to prevent any further epidemics. I am. my Lords and Gentlemen.
Your obedient servant, LEWIS B. CALCOTT,
Medical Officer of Health to the
Thrapston Rural Sanitary Authority.
After reading the letters the Chairman remarked that the time had arrived when something would have to be done with regard to the purity of the water supply, the drainage, and the proper disposal of excrement, or the Local Government Board would come and do it themselves. The question was whether the ditch or brook should be turned into a sewer, or whether all solid matter should be cut off from flowing into it. The map of Raunds, with the plan of drainage in 1881, were then examined, and subsequently the Sanitary Committee, in company with the parish officers and others, made a tour of inspection around the village, visiting all the worst places noted for defective sanitary arrangements, examining the open portions of the brook running through the village, and noting the position of several wells. After the inspection the Sanitary Committee withdrew and the meeting terminated.