Mexborough Local Board – The Small Pox Epidemic

May 1892

Mexborough & Swinton Times, May 6th 1892

Mexborough Local Board

The Small Pox Epidemic

The Medical Officer reported that there had been sixteen deaths during the month and twenty-one births. The east winds had been very trying. There had been nineteen cases of measles and two of scarlet fever. He called the board’s attention to the small pox epidemic at Denaby Main. At present there were five cases. The people were very ignorant and foolish in regard to the infection, believing that if they did not come into personal contact with a patient they incurred no risk. Persons were freely going in and out of the houses were the small pox was, and then coming to Mexborough and mixing with people in the public houses !

There was no better way of spreading the small-pox than this, and it was a very serious matter. These were times when the necessity of an infectious diseases hospital was felt, and he hoped the board would proceed with all possible expedition in the matter. The best possible vigilance should be maintained in order to keep the township in a proper sanitary condition, so as to cope the better with the disease if it should make its appearance in Mexborough. The ashpits should be regularly emptied and disinfected and the sewers finshed.

Mr. Allison asked if any place had been set apart at Denaby for the purpose of isolating the cases.

The Medical replied in the negative, but be said Mr. Chambers was doing his best in the matter. Denaby Main was in the Rural Sanitary Authority and Dr. Mitchell Wilson bad been to the place. If Dr. Wilson had recommended the removal of the patients, Mr. Chambers should have seen that it was attended to. Mr.

Wilson thought if the patients were kept carefully in the house it would be sufficient. But he (Dr. Twigg) had known of person, going to these houses and then proceeding to Mexborough and entering public houses. He had called the attention of the police to the matter but still the same thing was being done.

Mr. Watson said he was afraid it would spread to Mexborough.

Mr. White: Has Mr. Chambers been communicated with?

The Medical Officer: I have seen him and he has given strict orders to the people. But the people do not believe in infection; they do not believe that by going into the house they can possibly get the complaint. It is time that something was done when we know of them doing it, and then mixing up with the people in Mexborough.

Mr. Watson said this was the time to bring forward the question as to the infectious diseases hospital; it should be proceeded with as expeditiously as possible. But even when they had it, it was a question whether they would like to have cases from Denaby Main or anywhere else, brought through the streets of Mexborough.

The Medical Officer said the probabilities were that if the first case of small pox at Denaby Main had been isolated nothing farther of the outbreak might have been beard. Due attention to the first case was of the utmost Importance. (Hear, bear.)

Mr. Lowe said he thought the sanitary committee should be called together to consider the subject.


The Medical Officer: Yes, it is most important.


Mr. White: The colliery company have plenty of accommodation If they will utilise it. They should certainly keep the case at Denaby.

The Medical Officer: I think they are doing what they can.

The Surveyor said the people from Denaby were freely making use of the wagonettes.

The Chairman: We should not be panic-stricken.

It was decided, on the motion of Mr. Tiptaft, that the sanitary committee be called together to consider the question of an infectious diseases hospital.

Mr. Watson said he hoped due attention would be given to the emptying of ashpits.

Mr. White : I should like Mr. Chambers to be seen by the medical officer.

The Medical Officer : I have seen him.

The matter then dropped.