Page images
PDF
EPUB

towns like London, Glasgow, and Manchester, and which are caused mainly by the vast quantities of smoke allowed to escape into the atmosphere. They differ entirely from the mists of nature, which may and do arise in marshy districts, and which are moist and white. No one who has once experienced a bad fog in town is likely to forget the dense, heavy, oppressive feeling of the air, and the unnatural darkness at midday that can almost be felt.

Housewives see the effect of these fogs in the thick and clammy deposit of "smuts" which is to be found, while they prevail, even in the innermost recesses of the dwelling.

Statistics inform us of the sudden deaths, among cabmen and others long exposed to the pernicious influence, which invariably occur during a real "London fog;" and medical papers have told how the respiratory organs of persons so dying have been found, on examination, to be blackened and choked by the amount of actual soot they have been forced to inhale.

Besides being unhealthy, these fogs are costly in the extreme. Setting aside the enormous waste of fuel existing wherever smoke is not properly consumed, it is a painfully evident fact that houses, statues, monuments, and the finest historic and public buildings decay and corrode rapidly in an atmosphere so highly charged with carbon and sulphur; and someone, curious in these matters, has calculated that the sum spent on gas by London, during one day of bad fog, over and above the usual daily expenditure, would be more than sufficient to pay for the alterations necessary to make every fireplace in the metropolis smokeless. The saving that would be effected in a thousand ways, should this happy consummation ever be reached, is beyond calculation. Houses, furniture, and decorations, clothing would all last longer, and the beauty, as well as durability, of our surroundings be materially increased. A smoky atmosphere is almost universally deleterious; upon inanimate objects, upon vegetation, upon human life and well being, its baneful effects may be seen everywhere and at any time.

London fogs may benefit the shareholders of gas companies, but they are good for no one else. The increase of mortality in a week of fog has equalled that in a week of a cholera season, running up the rate by an extra forty per thousand. The climate of London and other large towns becomes, especially in winter, less endurable; a state of things which cries aloud for remedial measures of a wholesale and sweeping description.

From force of circumstances to which it is unnecessary to allude, this paper has been prepared in a somewhat hasty manner, but by indicating the subdivisions of the subject, it is

hoped that special papers may hereafter be prepared; and it is further hoped that gentlemen present, familiar with one or other of the subjects named, will take the opportunity (if time permits) of expressing their opinions and practical experience.

SUPPLEMENT No. 1.

Communications from the Medical Officer of Health, Bolton, Edward Sergeant, Esq., L.R.C.P.Lond., M.R.C.S.

We have not been very successful in the proceedings which we have taken before the magistrates in cases against owners or manufacturers, they being very loth at giving decisions against the manufacturers, especially if the latter have made the least pretence at doing something, either in constructing the furnace, or providing apparatus necessary for consuming the black smoke which may arise from the combustible burned; the magistrates holding that if the furnace is constructed in such manner as to consume," as far as practicable," the smoke arising from such furnace, then the manufacturer has done all that is required of him. However, by taking frequent observations and continually watching the stokers, and letting them know that they are being watched, and giving them a copy of the results of observations, we are enabled to exercise a salutary check upon gross carelessness on the part of the major portion of firemen in the borough.

Notes on Smoke Abatement, by the Inspector for the Southern District, Borough of Bolton.

There are several appliances at work for the prevention of smoke, namely, Bennis' Patent Feeders; Proctor's, Hodgkinson's &c., appliances for self-feeding. I find in these cases, if left to themselves, that the smoke is somewhat regulated and successful in that respect; but the coal that has to be used, or is used, being small as a rule, does not get sufficiently burnt out, and comes from the chimney or shaft in coal dust or grit, and hence, though somewhat abating the smoke, creates a nuisance in the immediate neighbourhood.

There are other appliances, such as revolving bars, and either through the inferior coal used or mismanagement, the general complaint is that they are a great expense through getting burnt away so soon, and not supplying a sufficient quantity of steam.

The complaint from the large manufactories in the centre of the town is the want of boiler space, which they allege they cannot get in old established works; but I find great laxity on the part of firemen.

In some few places a small jet of steam is inserted under and over the fire at the front of the boiler and fireplace, to assist, and I consider with good effect, if there is careful firing.

Notes on Smoke Abatement, by the Inspector for the Northern District, Borough of Bolton.

Many of the large firms have provided various means of reducing the amount of dense smoke by mechanical stokers, hoppers, louvre doors, steam jets, and movable bars; these are often neglected by carelessness on the part of stokers or persons having charge of the boiler, by breaking up the fires with rakes and throwing on coal by hand, and not using the appliances provided by their employers. Any carelessness in this respect can be met by the Bolton Corporation Act, 1872, Section 97. Hand firing, if carefully managed by the fireman-“if not sufficient boiler room," is equal to many of the appliances supplied to boilers; the abatement of dense smoke is to a large extent in the hands of the fireman. Vertical boilers used by small tradesmen cause a great nuisance.

BOLTON CORPORATION ACT, 1872.

Consumption of Smoke by Engines, &c.

97. If any engine-worker, stoker, or other person having the care or management of any steam-engine, not being a locomotive engine used on the railway of any company incorporated by Act of Parliament, or of any furnace used for the purpose of any trade, business or operation other than those to which the provisions of the Nuisances Removal Act of England, 1855, are declared not to extend, at any time uses or manages any such steam-engine or furnace so that the smoke arising therefrom is not effectually consumed or burnt; so far as, having regard to the nature of the trade, business or operation carried on, may be practicable he shall, for every such offence be liable. to a penalty not exceeding five shillings: provided that if it is proved before the Justices on the hearing of any information against any such engine-worker, stoker, or other person having the care or management of any such steam-engine or furnace, that he has carefully attended to the same and caused the smoke arising therefrom to be consumed or burnt so far as the construction of the steam-engine or furnace will allow, or as, having regard to the nature of such trade, business or operation may be practicable; or in case the defendant on the hearing of any information under this section proves to the Justices that the act complained of was committed within ten minutes from the time when the fire was first lighted in the furnace on the

day in question, then and in every such case the Justices may dismiss the information without proceeding to a conviction. Provided also, that one penalty shall be recoverable for any number of offences by the same person on the same day.

SUPPLEMENT No. 2.

Communication from the Mayor of Manchester, F. J. Harwood, Esq.

In this city all proceedings are taken under the Public Health Act. A local Act, subsequently obtained, enables the Justices in their discretion to increase the penalty to £10 per day.

Three officers are engaged specially in connection with Smoke nuisances, and the number of chimneys under observation is about 1760.

Proceedings are taken against offenders where the black smoke emitted amounts to two minutes or over in a thirty minutes' observation.

Where black smoke is emitted for one minute and under two, the inspector makes a report of the case, and an intimation to this effect is forwarded by the superintendent to the offending firm.

During the year ending April 30th, 1887, the proceedings taken under the powers conferred upon the Corporation will be seen from the accompanying Tables:

Statement of the Proceedings taken under the direction of the Smoke Nuisance Sub-Committee for securing the Abatement of Nuisances arising from Smoke.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Showing the Number of Cases in which Magistrates' Summonses were taken out, and the disposal of the same.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Communication from the Mayor of Liverpool, Sir James Poole. In Liverpool smoke nuisances are for the most part dealt with under a local Act, and the same is in many instances preferable to the general statute, because fewer preliminaries are requisite before taking action. The following extract from the Report of the Medical Officer of Health for the years 1885 and 1886 shows the proceedings which are taken in this city for the prevention of the excessive emission of smoke.

Proceedings for Excessive Smoke-Year 1885.

Number of informations against Manufactories 486

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

acquitted or withdrawn

...

...

Amount of Fines and Costs, £562 19s. Od.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

125

Number of informations against Manufactories 352

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

...

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

...

545 7

acquitted or withdrawn

Amount of Fines and Costs, £543 10s. 6d.

Liverpool Sanitary Amendment Act, 1854.

And whereas it is expedient to make further provision for the prevention of nuisances arising from the emission of smoke, be it enacted that the section of the said "Act ninth and tenth

X

« PreviousContinue »