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SANITARY INSTITUTE OF GREAT BRITAIN.

Abstract of Cash Receipts and Payments for the Year ending December 31st, 1886.

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Balance, December 31st

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£1223 3 11

Audited and confirmed,

May 21st, 1887.

MAGNUS OHREN,

EDWARD C. ROBINS, Auditors.

£1223 3 11

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ADDRESS

BY CAPTAIN DOUGLAS GALTON, R.E., C.B., D.C.L., LL.D.,

F.R.S.

CHAIRMAN OF COUNCIL.

Read at the Annual Meeting, May 26th, 1887.

In accordance with the usual custom, it now falls to me to give you a short address. I would in the first place congratulate you on the present position of the Institute.

We had undoubtedly a most successful meeting at York. I say successful, because the papers or contributions were all of a high level, and the interest excited by the meeting extended far beyond the limits of the city and county in which it was held; and I feel sure that although Bolton is not so attractive a city, yet that, under the Presidency of Mr. Sclater-Booth, we shall have a not less important meeting this year. It is not however only in the case of our meetings that our efforts have met with success. Our examinations in Sanitary Science have attained a considerable development. Our certificates are beginning to be recognised as giving their holders a certain claim to candidature in appointments under sanitary authorities. The result has been that the number of candidates has steadily increased.

At the examination in June, 1886, sixty candidates presented themselves: ten for certificates as Local Surveyors, and fifty for certificates as Inspectors of Nuisances. At the examination in November, sixty-four candidates presented themselves nine for Local Surveyors, and fifty-five for Inspectors of Nuisances. At the examination to be held next week, there are eighty-one candidates, of whom ten are for the Surveyor's Certificate, and seventy-one for Sanitary Inspector's. The fact of this progress in the number of our candidates is an index of the appreciation in which our examinations are held, as well as an evidence that these examinations supply a definite want; and so long as we conduct them with care, and preserve the safeguards by which they are now surrounded, we shall maintain their high character.

It will be in your recollection that we made last year an effort to supplement the examinations by inducing the Parkes Museum to organise preliminary lectures on the subjects included in our syllabus. Those lectures were well attended, and a further course was organised in advance of the examinations now about to be held.

I look upon it as a most important adjunct to the educational movement in sanitary knowledge, of which both the Sanitary Institute and the Parkes Museum are the expression, that these opportunities for instruction as a preliminary to our examinations should be afforded; and the proposed, I trust approaching, union of the Parkes Museum with the Sanitary Institute will place in a very prominent light the almost wholly educational character of our Institute.

When we look at the results which we have achieved with our Examinations, our Congresses, and our Exhibitions, with their organised system of awards, we may well feel satisfied that the efforts which we have been making during the ten years of our existence, have tended to promote sanitary education and to raise the standard of sanitary knowledge throughout the country. Whilst however we have been endeavouring to stimulate sanitary knowledge in this country, we have not been unmindful of the desirability of keeping alive the recollection of the work done by the earlier pioneers of that science.

The basis of modern sanitary science rests on the development of vital statistics, and we owe the present state of vital statistics in this country to Dr. Farr.

Professor Gairdner said of him, in his address at Glasgow, that he had done for the vital statistics of England almost what Harvey did for physiology, or Lavoisier for chemistry. He found the facts of this science in a state of almost hopeless and aimless confusion. He has not only added immensely to the number and value of these facts but has brought into them light, harmony, order, and for the first time in the history of the science has introduced a determinate method and an approach to scientific exactness. It has been the great and enduring merit of Dr. Farr (originally a modest country practitioner of the Company of the Apothecaries) to build up a body of doctrine on vital statistics, not only unequalled, but unapproached in any other country.'

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Dr. Farr may thus be said to have laid the foundation upon which true sanitary science must be built up; because it is with the aid of, and the light thrown by, statistics, that the sanitarian is enabled to guide himself with accuracy through the maze of facts which every sanitary problem offers.

We induced Mr. Noel A. Humphreys to edit the vital

statistics of Dr. Farr, and the volume which he has produced possesses a very high value as a work of reference. I cannot but think that ere long we shall have cause to regret that we did not publish a larger edition.

The collection of vital statistics by the Government was coincident with the commencement of the Queen's reign. Before that time Dr. Southwood Smith as physician of the Fever Hospital at King's Cross had gathered facts from the patients who came to the Hospital, which proved that there were large classes of disease which he described as preventible diseases, the recurrence of which, by the adoption of sanitary means, would be brought under control.

But one of the early fruits of the system of vital statistics commenced under the supervision of Dr. Farr was the report of the Poor Law Commission on the condition of the working classes in 1842, which was drawn up by Mr. Edwin Chadwick, C.B. It is a remarkable tribute to the foresight of Mr. Chadwick that during the last half century almost all the sanitary principles laid down in that report have been recognised by the Legislature as necessary to the welfare of the community, and have become matters of ordinary practice. It is understood that Dr. Richardson is editing Mr. Chadwick's principal reports and papers.

Another of the principal workers in the sanitary field was Mr. John Simon, whose series of valuable reports forms a text book of sanitary science.

The Sanitary Institute has followed up the attempt to make generally accessible the knowledge of that branch of sanitary science represented by Dr. Farr's works, by arranging to have many of the more important reports of Mr. John Simon edited under his own general supervision; and this task has been committed to Dr. Seaton, who is at present engaged upon it.

Mr. Simon's reports commence with the period which followed the passing of what may be termed the first general Sanitary Act in 1848.

Amongst those who have been instrumental in spreading sanitary knowledge Mr. Simon stands out preeminent. His position at the Privy Council Office afforded him vast opportunities; and in addition to the fact of the reports being full of matter which is of high value to the scientist, Mr. Simon's originality of thought, his power of reasoning, his clearness of expression, and his elegance of language, all contributed to make them sought after by a large circle of readers.

If I now call your attention to some portions of Mr. Simon's reports, it is that you may measure in some degree the progress which the Nation has made in its methods of living since those

days when every one was allowed, in respect of his surroundings, to do much as he liked; and thus that you may be able to gauge the great influence which the combined efforts of Farr, Chadwick, Southwood Smith, Rawlinson, Simon, Sutherland, and some others have exercised on the Nation.

Mr. Simon's City of London reports were commenced in 1849. In his first report he says:

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"From such information as I possess, I may venture to speak of imperfect house-drainage as having been a general evil in all the poorer districts of the City. So far as I can calculate, some thousands of houses within the City still have cesspools connected with them. It requires little medical knowledge to understand that animals will scarcely thrive in an atmosphere of their own decomposing excrements; yet such, strictly and literally speaking, is the air which a very large proportion of the inhabitants of the City are condemned to breathe. In a very large number of cases the cesspool lies actually withing the four walls of the inhabited house; the latter reared over it, as a bell glass over the beak of a retort, receiving and sucking up incessantly the unspeakable abomination of its volatile contents. In some such instances, where the basement story of the house is tenanted, the cesspool lies-perhaps merely boarded over-close beneath the feet of a family of human beings, whom it surrounds uninterruptedly, whether they wake or sleep, with its fœtid pollution and poison. Now here is a removable cause of death."

"The cesspool nuisance has been the slow growth of other less enlightened ages, not in the City merely, but in the whole metropolis, and in all other towns in England. The extreme injury which it inflicts on the health of the population, and the vital necessity of abating that injury, are points which only began to claim attention in this country about ten years ago, and which have since but very slowly been forcing their way (chiefly through the indomitable zeal and perseverance of Mr. Chadwick,) into that share of notice which they deserve. House-drainage with effective water-supply are the remedies which can alone avail; and it is only during the present year that authority to enforce these measures has been vested by the Legislature in any public bodies whatsoever."

These paragraphs only exhibit one of the evil conditions which his reports show were so largely prevalent at that time, and which furnished the graphic name of filth diseases as applicable to that class of diseases to which the conditions gave It was a condition of things from which we are now happily, comparatively speaking, free in England, but which undoubtedly still prevails largely in many parts of the continent, and certainly in large portions of India.

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