Health of Rural Districts – Smallpox at Denaby – Water at Conisborough

February 1886

Mexborough and Swinton Times February 26, 1886

The Health of the Doncaster Rural Sanitary District

Dr J Mitchell Wilson, the medical officer of the valves for the Rural Centrica District, as submitted to his committee report upon the health and sanitary condition of the district during the year 1885, part of which we append.

Gentlemen, in compliance with the instructions of the Local Government Board, I have now to present the following annual report upon the health and sanitary condition of the district during 1885.

I have estimated the population as being 25,348, i.e.not making any allowance for the usual annual increase on account of the large number of families absent from Denaby township during six months of last year. A similar correction as we made also of the population in the sub registration district of Tickhill and the parishes of Conisborough and Denaby.

During the year there were 820 births registered, 414 males and for 406 females, and the birth rate was 32.4 per 1000. It was again highest, 38.7 in the Tickhill districts, and only 25.4 in the Campsall.

The death registered were males 144, females 203, total 347, adding 10 of persons belonging to the rural District who died at the workhouse; the corrected number, 407, is equal to a death rate recorded the last 10 years.

From the zymotic class of diseases there were 29 deaths, the largest number of these, nine were caused by whooping cough, five from diphtheria, five from enteric and continued fevers, far from scarlet fever, two weeks from measles, diarrhoea, and smallpox; the death rate from these was 1.1 per thousand. Respiratory diseases caused 91 deaths; 27 of these were from phtisis or consumption equal to one per thousand, and 64 from bronchitis etc. equal to 2.5 per thousand.

Deaths amongst infants under one year were equal to 120 per thousand of the births registered.

Smallpox at Denaby

For the first time for many years several cases of smallpox occurred. A canal boat, on which there had occurred a case of smallpox in the early part of December 1884, was at Denaby on 29th of that month. On 30 January 1885, a miner, who had only been away from that village for a night three days before, and therefore, too short a time for the disease, if contracted there, to develop was taken ill. In the house were four adults and six children. Two adults and the children were removed to an empty house, but not before one adult become infected, the eruption appearing nine days later. A second removal of the children was allowed by a third case appearing in the house where they were lodged.

When the new cases occurred it seemed absolutely necessary that some means for isolating them should be provided. The colliery proprietors very generously and promptly agreed to my suggestion that they should give a house and have it sufficiently fitted up and prepared for the reception of the sick. The temporary hospital was ready on 14 February, when a nurse and patient were admitted, a second ended on the 16th, another of the 24th, 27th and one on ninth March. The first case was never able to be removed, and one of the case was treated at home. The last was severe from the very first and died the 14th day. All the other case recovered. I think they can be no reasonable doubt that during the month the cases were being treated at home, the infection will been rapidly spread to others, and the patients could not obtain the necessary help for nursing etc.

Water at Conisborough

That the public value pure water and are grateful when it can be had at a convenient distance, the work carried out in a previous year at Conisborough amply proves. Among the more important questions considered during last year the laying of another water main from Holywell spring at Conisborough for the use of about 100 families now depending upon wells has been decided upon. The condition of the broke was very offensive and complained of during the summer and autumn stop already something as been done to lessen the discharge of trade refuge into the upper portion, but in a dry season a small part of that liquid with what sewage enters from the how is near to will always be more or less offensive as it is spread over a white surface and the floor is very much impeded by the solid matters and refuse thrown in will stop

There is a room for a considerably lessening of the death rate at Conisborough; until last year the water add to be carried in very long distance, many private nuisances remain long attended to, while for its high elevation it ought to rank amongst the healthiest townships in the district.