|The Rushden Echo, 30th September 1898, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Typhoid Fever in Rushden
Thirteen Cases - Wells To Be Closed
Several fresh cases of typhoid, we regret to state, have occurred in Rushden since our last issue, and there are now eleven patients suffering from the fever. Dr. Paget, the County Medical Officer for Health, visited Rushden on Monday and, in company with Dr. Owen, made a thorough inspection of the whole of the premises where the disease exists.
At a meeting of the Rushden Urban Council on Wednesday night the following report was presented by Dr. Owen, the medical officer of health:-
Gentlemen, since the two cases of typhoid fever reported at the last meeting eleven fresh cases have occurred. On September 6th I was called to see William and Charles Willmott, two boys living in West-street, and found them suffering from typhoid fever, and at the same time I was casually asked to look at Horace Willmott, who had just come into the house with his mother. I found that
He Had Typhoid Fever
and typical spots on his abdomen, so that he must have been ill for some time. He lived in Queen-street, but often came down to play with his cousins. On September 7th I was called in to see Kate Richardson, West-street. She also had the fever. Archibald Knight was reported to me on September 8th and on the 11th Ida Hudson, The Orchard, came under my care. She used to stay at the Richardsons during the daytime, and four fresh cases at Joseph Green’s have been reported to me this week. It will be seen that all these cases with the exception of three are situated near each other, but of the three, one Ida Hudson almost lived at the Richardsons’, and the others. Willmott and Green were constantly playing in Green’s yard. It is known that eight of the thirteen cases which have occurred had their
from a surface well, the pumps of which were situated against the back premises of the house occupied by Joseph Green, pork butcher. There is very little doubt that the children, Horace Willmott, Horace Green, and Ida Hudson, and probably Archibald Knight, respectively, while playing with the Willmotts in Green’s yard and the slaughterhouse, drank some of this well water. In the case of Hooper, the first case of typhoid, who lived next door to Green’s, it is possible, as stated in the last report, it might be attributed to the effluvia from the ventilating pipe in Green’s yard, which was connected with the sewer in West-street, for
This Sewer Was Infected
with typhoid excreta at the commencement of the year. On investigating the premises I found that within a few feet of the well there was a large gulley. This was full of fat and other meat debris. There were some pieces of meat, fat and bone on the bricks near the well. This I consider one source of the possible contamination of the well. There is also here three places where pigs are kept for slaughter. The slaughter-house is also near the well, and this was in a dirty and unsanitary condition. The walls were covered with blood, and the floor was made of porous bricks, which were very much worn, and must allow a great deal of leakage in the soil beneath. Lime washing and proper flushing had not been carried out. The gulley trap outside the slaughter-house was full of fat and debris. I ordered a notice to be placed upon the pump that
The Water Was Not To Be Used
for drinking purposes. The slaughter-house ought to have paving of York flagstones set in cement upon good concrete, instead of the present porous bricks. The walls should be cemented and frequently whitewashed. All these should be thoroughly cleaned by flushing after the slaughtering, and the drains kept well flushed. It is also necessary to provide for the more efficient ventilation of the West-street sewer. There is one case of scarlet fever to report in the Newton-road. There were previous cases near, whence probably the infection came. Measles is still prevalent, but on the decrease.”
Replying to the Chairman, Dr. Owen said that Dr. Paget agreed with him that the water was
The Primary Cause
of the outbreak.
Mr. Miller understood Mr. Green now had town water laid on.
Mr. Wilkins: Is it sufficient simply to put a notice on the well? Would it not be more satisfactory if the wells were closed permanently?
The Chairman: Yes, but we cannot do that without an order.
Mr. Mason: We can get the order if we satisfy the justices the water is absolutely bad.
Plans were produced by Mr. Madin showing the drainage pipes on the property of Mr. Hooper, Mr. Green, and Mr. Willmott, and he explained they were opening up the ground to
Trace The Pipes
but the work had not get been completed.
Mr. Miller asked what Mr. Hooper did with his stale fish.
The Chairman: I can’t say. There is a cesspit at the back of his premises which contains matter it ought not to have.
Mr. J. B. Martin’s report as inspector of nuisances contained a complaint about Mr. Hooper washing his fish and throwing the water down in the street.
The Chairman said that they
about it on Saturday.
Mr. Wilkins said that they must not overlook the fact the doctor reflected seriously on the condition of the slaughter-house.
The Chairman said that anyone who visited the house would be of the same opinion as the doctor. If it was to be kept as a slaughter-house it wanted a little money spending on it and if this was not done, they ought to do away with it.
Replying to Mr. Wilkins, the Clerk said that if they obtained a conviction the magistrates would not impose the fine if the owners would put the place into order.
Dr. Owen: The first thing you ought to do is with regard to the water. I think
The Well Should Be Closed
altogether. The gullies were in a very bad state, with all this fatty matter. The slaughter-house ought to be cleaned within three hours of slaughter every day. Another defect is keeping pigs.
Mr. Wilkins thought they had no power to get the slaughter-house closed. The magistrates would require certain alterations done, and as long as they carried out their requirements nothing would be done. It was clearly their duty to require Mr. Green to put the slaughter-house in a proper condition.
Mr. Fountain: I believe
Mr. Green is Prepared
to do anything of that sort.
Mr. Cave thought Mr. Green would carry out the wishes of the Council.
The Chairman: It is Mrs. Willmott’s property.
The Chairman said the wells were undoubtedly the primary cause of the outbreak.
The Council’s Decision
It was decided that the clerk take the necessary steps to close the three wells Mr. Samuel Knight’s, Mr. Green’s, and Mr. Compton’s. The Surveyor was instructed to report as to the necessary steps to have the slaughter-house put into sanitary condition. Mr. Hooper was to be notified to abate the nuisance regarding the fish water.