Conisbrough UDC – Health Reports

Health Reports in the 1920’s


County Medical Officers report

Dr John Macarthur chief medical officer

The urban district council of Conisborough came into being on the 1 st April 1921 and was created out of the rural district council of Doncaster and comprises portions of the parishes of Cadeby, Conisborough and Denaby.

The district is hilly in character, the elevation from 25 feet to 275 feet above sea level and covers an area of 1588 acres.

The principal industries are coal mining, glass bottle working and brickworks. Since the termination of the strike in June trade in the coal industry in the area has been exceptionally good but in the glass trade the conditions have been rather poor.

During the coal strike in April, May and June organised efforts were made by all classes for the feeding of children who on the whole were well looked after and suffered no privation.

Population in the 1921 census15,859

Inhabited houses 3084

Rateable value£53,633

The following figures cover the period from 1 st April until 31 st December.


legitimate 414

illegitimate 19

The birth rate of the district is very high compared with that for England and Wales.

Deaths 196

Deaths from:

Diptheria 14

Influenza 12

Pneumonia 29

Diarrhoea 35

There were 51 deaths in children under one year of age.

Infant mortality:

Legitimate births per 1000 = 105.5

illegitimate per 1000 = 368.4

Average 116.9

Infant mortality rate for England and Wales per 1000 is 83.

Out of a total of 51 deaths 25 were due to diarrhoea and enteritis with 12 to congenital debility etc.

Many of the cases of infantile mortality are due to overcrowding, overfeeding, polluted atmosphere and maternal ignorance before and after childbirth.

Children under one year should not be allowed into places of amusement for besides losing their natural sleep which lowers their vitality they run the risk of a chill on being taken from the polluted and warm atmosphere. Owing to the high price of milk in this district many children were unable to get sufficient for their requirements.

There is a private nursing association in the old Conisbrough portion of the district.

There is a maternity and child welfare centre as well as school nurses at denaby main.

The board also have a small detached smallpox hospital.


In 1923 scarlet fever was very prevelant during the whole year and in the hope that the outbreak would be checked all schools were disinfected. I am afraid, however, that some cases of scarlet fever escaped observation owing to the fact that some of them were very mild and in others the fear of being removed to the isolation hospital acted as a deterrent to seeking medical advice.


During the year 121 privy middens have been converted into water closets for old property and 39 water closets provided for new houses.

There are now in the district of Conisbrough & Denaby Main:

1 pail closet

1671 privy middens

727 pedestal water closets

566 waste water closets

183 trough water closets


There have been 104 cases of TB this year.

Overcrowding in the district is not so marked owing to the number of houses which have been built and this will undoubtedly alleviate some of the conditions which are the determining factors of this disease when the whole housing scheme is completed.

I am of the opinion that an open air school would be a step in the right direction in the treatment of the children of school age suffering from tuberculosis. It is a recognised fact that in all coal mining areas the number of cases of pulmonary tuberculosis is very high as the inhalation of coal dust is a contributing factor in the cause of this disease.

Public health staff for 1928

Dr John Macarthur medical officer

Mr H Thirlwall surveyor/sanitory officer

Mr A W R Taylor assistant to mr thirlwall

Mr C Urch junior assistant surveyor/sanitory officer

Mr W W Norwood meat inspector (local vet)

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