In Accordance With By Laws
James Wilson Mitchell, consultative medical officer for the West Riding of Yorkshire, and previously M.O.to the Doncaster RDC, in his examination in chief, said he visited Denaby during the present month, and had examined the whole of the houses on the North side of the Mexborough – Doncaster road. He had been in various houses and various streets.
They were very substantially built, he thought, had been built in accordance with the bylaws, sanctioned by the local government board. This scullery’s were fair sized rooms with sink and water tap, which drained from the sink to the outside. Some of the kitchens were exceedingly clean and looked very comfortable. Some were not very clean, and this he thought was a fault of the mistresses of the houses. The rooms were well ventilated with windows back and front. So there was a through draft.
Mr Waugh: Is there any improvement in the style and class of the houses on those formally erected?
Witness:The cottages which have recently been built are the same style because they have all been built on the same code of bylaws, there has been an improvement.
By his Lordship: They are brick built
Mr Waugh: You don’t approve of privvy middens? – No
Mr Waugh: If there is not sufficient water do you prefer privvy middens to the pails?
Witness: I have considerable knowledge of the pail system and find the privvy middens better.
His Lordship: do you think the closets are worse than the privvy middens? – I do
Cross-examined by Mr Mortimer, witness said the conditions in Denaby main had improved since he left the West Riding. Most of the streets were well paved and very clean. He found some of the backyards which were rather uneven.
Mr Mortimer: Do you think the state of Denaby Main might fairly disturb the peace of mind of a lady?
Witness: It would depend on whether the lady had ever seen any other colliery village.
Mr Mortimer: Would it disturb your peace of mind?
Witness: No, I don’t think so.
Mr Mortimer:: do you think it is thoroughly satisfactory?
Witness: I think so.
Re-examined by Mr Waugh, witness was asked what were the number of inhabitants of the West Riding, and was further asked if it was fair to make a comparison between the East Riding and a parish like, Denaby. He replied in the negative; they could not be compared.
Mr Waugh: With regard to infant mortality, what, in your opinion are the chief causes of it?
Witness: The mothers don’t feed their children as they ought to be fed.
Mr Waugh: Is the birthrate high in Denaby?
Witness: It always has been, sometimes as high as 40 per thousand
Mr Waugh: What is your experience of a high birth rate?
Witness: It is unfortunately associated with a high death rate.
Mr Waugh: So that infant mortality may be very high, although the sanitary conditions are everything that can be desired? – Yes
His Lordship: do the mothers go out to work in this place?
Witness: No they stay at home