Article in the
Abergavenny Mail,
Saturday 13th June 1914, Page 8 columns 3,4,5

HEALTH REPORT
OF THE LEDBURY RURAL DISTRICT.

This is relevant to Bosbury in that a number of Bosbury farms are mentioned and the general comments apply to Bosbury as well as the rest of Ledbury Rural District. They give a picture of farm life in 1914 and in particular the arrangements for employing hop-pickers. The Abergavenny Mail was being published in Ledbury at this time.

From the annual report of Dr H E Jones, Medical Officer of Health for the Ledbury Rural District, we extract the following particulars:—

POPULATION.

The population of the Ledbury Rural District at the census of 1911 was 9,059, a decrease of nine from that recorded in 1901. The estimated population at the middle of 1913, and upon which the figures in this report are based, is 9,057.

BIRTHS.

There were 197 births registered in the Ledbury Rural District during 1913. The births of three boys and two girls were transferred to the district by the Registrar-General. With this adjustment the total number of births was 202 (94 boys and 108 girls) giving a birth-rate of 22.3 per 1,000. This rate is 0.9 per 1.000 above that of 1912. The birth-rate in Rural England during 1913 was 22.2 per 1,000.

ILLEGITIMATE BIRTHS.

During 1913 there were registered in the Ledbury Rural District 9 illegitimate births, and the Registrar-General transferred 4 illegitimate births to the district. At the census of 1901 in the Ledbury Rural District the proportion of illegitimate births per 1,000 of unmarried women and widows between the ages of 15 and 45 years was 11.3, compared with 11.6 per 1,000 in the six combined Rural Districts.

DEATHS.

The number of deaths registered in the Ledbury Rural District during 1913 was 107. Sixteen Ledbury residents died outside the district and one non-resident died in the district. After making the necessary adjustments, the number of deaths among residents in the Ledbury Rural District was 122 (61 males and 61 females), equal to a death-rate per 1,000 of 13.4. This rate is 1.2 per 1,000 above that of 1912. The death-rate standardized for sex and age was 11.4 per 1,000. The standardized death-rate in Rural England in 1913 was 12.1 per 1,000. In the parishes of Castle Frome, Coddington, Donnington and Little Marcle with an aggregate population of 532, no deaths occurred in 1913.

INFANT MORTALITY.

The amount of infant mortality is measured by stating the number of children who have died under one year old within a certain period in proportion to 1,000 births during the same period.
In the Ledbury Rural District during 1913 there were 202 births and 19 children died under 12 months old. The infant mortality rate was thus equal to 94 per 1,000 births.
Illegitimate Deaths.—There were 3 deaths in the Ledbury Rural District during 1913 among illegitimate children under 12 months old, giving an infant mortality rate of 230 per 1,000 illegitimate births compared with 84 per 1,000 in the case of legitimate births and deaths.

INFECTIOUS DISEASES.

Scarlet Fever.—Of the 38 cases 15 were removed to hospital, 12 to Hereford and 3 to Malvern. They all recovered. In no parish were more than three households affected.
Diphtheria.—The 24 cases occurred in five parishes. Two terminated fatally. Seven cases were removed to the Isolation Yard of the Ledbury Workhouse.
Typhoid Fever.—No cases were reported.
Measles was prevalent in Little Marcle and Wellington Heath. There were no deaths.
German Measles was prevalent in Eastnor in May and June.
There is no isolation hospital in the Ledbury Rural District. Twelve cases of scarlet fever were sent to the Hereford Rural Hospital and three to the Malvern Urban Hospital. The cost to the district of the cases sent to Hereford was £166, Seven cases of diphtheria were removed to the Ledbury Workhouse.
The question of arranging with the Hereford Rural District Council to take cases of infectious disease from the Ledbury districts into the Hereford Rural Hospital has been discussed between the Ledbury Urban and Rural Councils and the Hereford Rural Council. No definite arrangement has yet been arrived at. The five deaths from phthiisis—3 males and 2 females—were among residents from the parishes of Ashperton (2), Colwall, Eastnor, and Eggleton. The ages at death ranged from 21 to 54 years. Twenty-eight cases were notified under the Tuberculosis Regulations. The 11 deaths from cancer—one male and 10 female—occurred among residents in the parishes of Bosbury, Colwall (2), Eggleton, Ledbury Rural, Mathon, Much Marcle (2), Pixley, Wellington Heath and Yarkhill. The ages at death ranged from 22 to 82 years.

HOUSING.

There is no overcrowding of houses on area and very little overcrowding of persons in houses. In the census report for 1911 it was recorded that there were 55 houses in the Ledbury Rural District with more than two occupants per room, a number equal to 2.6 per cent of the inhabited houses of in the district. In the same report it is stated that there were 27 houses with only one room, 119 with two, 294 with three and 599 with four rooms. From the inspections made under the Housing Regulations it has transpired that 11 per cent of the houses inspected have only one bedroom, 42 per cent two, 31 per cent three and 16 per cent four. A fair proportion of the houses have been built some years and, in consequence, require to be frequently repaired if they are to be kept in a habitable condition. Thatched roofs are giving place to those of tiles or slates and brick walls are superseding those of half-timber. There are a good many cottages in every way suitable for the needs of the working classes, and many others which can be made suitable at a very small expenditure.
From a return furnished by the Parish Councils in 1912 there is said to be a want of houses in the following parishes: Bosbury, Colwall, Pixley, Tarrington, Woolhope, Yarkhill.
The Colwall Parochial Committee proposed a scheme for the erection of eight semi-detached cottages, and purchased land for the purpose. The Local Government Board, after a local inquiry had been held by Mr Leonard, one of the Board’s Housing Inspectors, sanctioned a loan for £1,200. I consider it is very desirable that more cottages should be provided in other parts of the district.
During 1913 there have been erected 17 now houses. During the years 1901 to 1913 inclusive, 186 new houses have been erected. At the census of 1901 there were 2,001 inhabited houses, and at the census of 1911, there were 2,081. At the latter date there were 2,121 families or separate occupiers.
Building by-laws are in force in the parish of Colwall, but not elsewhere in the Rural District.

SEWERAGE AND DRAINAGE.

There is combined drainage in the parishes of Colwall, Eastnor and Bosbury, and to a limited extent in Tarrington. Elsewhere, the drainage from residential houses discharges on to adjoining land or into watercourses. In a few instances filtration (contact) beds have been formed. Slop drains from cottages drain into roadside ditches, a practice which should be discontinued. Farm houses and cottages are provided as a rule with privy middens, though earth closets are being increasingly adopted. Very few pail closets are in use.

HOP-PICKERS.

The question of adopting by-laws for securing the decent lodging and accommodation of hop-pickers, &c., has been considered on various occasions by the Council.
The following report on the accommodation provided for hop-pickers was presented in September, 1913:—
On August 21st, 22nd and 23rd, and Sept 1st, accompanied by the Inspector of Nuisances, I visited 60 hop-farms, on which we found it was expected there would be housed 967 roadsters and 3,034 hired pickers.
There is an adequate supply of water near the pickers’ quarters at all the farms.
The privy accommodation on a few farms is very good, but at others little attention has been paid to it, and at the time of my visit no provision at all had been made at ten farms, though those occupiers I was able to see assured me they would make better provision. My suggestion that a screened-off latrine should be provided on those farms where men are employed has been acted upon by a few hop growers, but was received with disfavour by others.
At each farm there was some covered place, usually an open cart-shed or cattle feeding shed, available for cooking, and at 37 farms there was in these sheds one or more fixed fireplaces with chimneys. Elsewhere moveable iron devils were provided.
At several farms a free supply of coke for cooking, &c., is provided, and at all the farms there is available for the pickers fuel in some form, usually wood.
Straw or other bedding is supplied at each farm.
By-law No. 2 (VIII) of the model series of the Local Government Board requires the occupier to remove from time to time all accumulations or deposits of filth or any noxious matters from the sleeping places and from the land immediately surrounding the sleeping places or adjoining them. If this by-law had been in force in the Ledbury Rural District it would have been complied with at the following 39 farms:— Showle Court, Yarkhill; Whitwick Manor, Yarkhill; The Grove. Yarkhill; Garford farm, Yarkhill; White House, Canon Froome; Birchend, Castle Froome; Hill farm, Castle Froome; Moorend farm, Castle Froome; Frogend, Castle Froome; Millend, Castle Froome; Suffield, Castle Froome; Upper Court, Munsley; Mainstone, Munsley; Moorend, Munsley; Pawnceford Court; The Grange, Bosbury; The Slatch, Bosbury; Hill House, Bosbury; Temple Court, Bosbury; The Farm, Bosbury; The Nashend, Bosbury; Upleadon Court, Bosbury; Juggs Green, Wellington Heath; The Rea, Wellington Heath; Moor Court, Eggleton; Upper Eggleton Court; Pridewood, Ashperton; Leys farm, Tarrington; Eastwood, Tarrington; Little Tarrington; Townsend, Stretton Grandison; Stretton Court, Stretton Grandison; Lower Town farm, Ashperton; The Court, Pixley; Priors Court, Aylton; Aylton Court, Aylton; Lillands, Little Marcle; Brook farm, Little Marcle.
At the remaining 21 farms most, though not all, of the occupiers I was able to see undertook to remove the accumulations of manure, &c., before the arrival of the hop-pickers.
The same by-law requires the walls of every sleeping place to be lime washed at least once in every year. If this by-law had been in force in the Ledbury Rural District it would have been complied with at the following 27 farms:—Whitwick Manor, Yarkhill; The Grove, Yarkhill; Garford farm, Yarkhill; The Castle, Yarkhill; The Court, Yarkhill; Birchend, Castle Froome; Frogend, Castle Froome; Millend, Castle Froome; Suffield, Castle Froome; Town farm, Castle Froome; Upper Court, Munsley; Mainstone, Munsley; Moorend, Munsley; The Grange, Bosbury; Temple Court, Bosbury; Priors Court, Wellington Heath; Moor Court, Eggleton; Pride wood, Ashperton; The Court, Pixley; Poolend, Pixley; Priors Court, Aylton; Aylton Court, Aylton; Brook House, Little Marcle; Juggs Green, Wellington Heath; Monksbury Court, Yarkhill; Washington Court, Ashperton; Tuston, Ashperton.
At the remaining 35, farms where I was able to see the occupiers many of them undertook to have the lime washing done. A few either refused or were disinclined to do it.
The lighting of the sleeping places was good at 42 farms, fair at 12 and bad at six.
The ventilation of the sleeping places was good at 35 farms, fair at 13 and bad at 12. The last include two farms at which pigstyes are used for sleeping places.
As far as I was able to ascertain without seeing the sleeping places occupied, provision was to be made for separating the sexes at all the farms and there was everywhere an allowance in the sleeping places of at least 16 square feet for each adult occupant. (This is the amount required by the model by-laws).
There are special buildings exclusively used as sleeping places at Showle Court, Yarkhill; Upper Eggleton Court, Eggleton; Eastwood, Tarrington; The Court, Aylton; Nashend, Bosbury; The Farm, Bosbury; Marley Hill, Ledbury Rural; Townsend, Stretton Grandison; The Leys, Tarrington.
Special buildings in addition to farm buildings are in use at White House, Canon Froome; Redcastle, Canon Froome; The Court, Stretton Grandson; Whitwick, Yarkhill; Garford, Tarrington; Alders End, Little Tarrington; Moorend, Munsley; The Park, Pixley; Court-y-Park, Pixley; Hill House, Bosbury; Cold Green, Bosbury; Suffield, Castle Froome; Upper Court, Munsley.
Elsewhere there are used as sleeping places stables, cowsheds, barns, granaries and pigstyes.
The conclusions I have drawn from the inspections are that the majority of the hop-growers are acting in accordance with the provisions of by-laws if there were any in force in the district and that it will not be possible to ensure the accommodation in the farms occupied by the minority being brought up to the same standard unless by-laws are made and enforced.
I strongly advise the Council to proceed with the adoption of by-laws.

SANITARY INSPECTORS’ REPORT.

The report of the Sanitary Inspector was as follows:—

HOUSING REGULATIONS.

During the year I have inspected 415 houses, the total number of inspections and re-inspections being 1,425. In many cases it has been necessary to make from six to eight re-inspections owing to the work specified being carried out at different periods. Seventeen new houses have been erected during the year.

WORKSHOPS, BAKEHOUSES AND SLAUGHTERHOUSES.

I have visited the workshops, bakehouses and slaughterhouses periodically during the year, and when necessary called on the occupiers to cleanse and whitelime their premises.

DAIRIES AND COWSHEDS.

There is only one dairy within the Ledbury Rural District and that one is situated at the Winnings Farm in the parish of Colwall. It is a Model Dairy Farm, kept in a sanitary and clean condition, every utensil being cleansed by steam. The water supply is of the purest, samples of which I take periodically. The cowsheds and dairy are kept up-to-date on this farm.
During the year, by appointment, I have met owners of the property (whose tenants are purveyors of milk) on the premises and suggested that good cement concrete floors to cowsheds, a footway outside the cowsheds laid with the same material, at least six feet wide, would greatly improve and add to the cleanliness of the cowsheds. The owners readily complied with my suggestions. Five owners of farms, the tenants of which are purveyors of milk, have improved their cowsheds in this manner. Dairymen and cowkeepers within the district seem to be anxious to comply with the regulations under the Dairies, Cowsheds and Milkshops Order.

FRUIT AND HOP-PICKERS’ QUARTERS.

During the season I have, with the Medical Officer of Health, inspected these places, full particulars of which will appear in the report of the Medical Officers of Health.

WATER SUPPLY.

During the year, 26 additional houses situated in the parish of Colwall, have been connected with the Malvern U.D. Council’s Water Supply.

INFECTIOUS DISEASE.

Sixty-five cases were notified during the year. I investigated and reported upon them, and also upon suspicious cases to the Medical Officer of Health. In many of these cases the M.O.H. accompanied me in my investigations.
Twenty-two patients were removed to isolation hospitals during the year. To Hereford Rural Isolation Hospital 12 cases, to Ledbury Workhouse Isolation Ward 7 cases, and to Malvern U.D. Council's Isolation Hospital 3, making a total of 22. I personally attended to the removal of these patients and immediately after removal disinfected the houses.
Disinfection has been carried out at 71 houses, seven schools and two shelters.

PIGS’ COTS.

The majority of pigs’ cots within the district are very badly constructed and therefore in an insanitary condition. Complaints I receive under this heading, I must admit not without cause, make me think some alteration is needed as regards keeping swine. Who knows but what the insanitary state of pigs’ cots are the cause of swine fever ? I made a report on pigs’ cots in 1903 and then suggested they should be constructed on sanitary principles. Floors and runs should be laid with good cement concrete with gutter at lowest end of run made out of the same concrete, all laid to a fall of 1½ inches in 6 feet. Walls should be constructed of the same material or else of good brick the roof could be made of concrete. A catchpit or old furnace fixed at outlet of gutter if constructed as above, they could be quickly and easily cleansed. Some people think that any old cot will do for a pig. Such is not the case, if it has to be kept so as not to be a nuisance. Another point to bear in mind is that the door of the pigs’ cot should be facing south or south-east. A good system for the parish of Colwall would be to erect pigs’ cots in groups six or twelve together with store room for feeding stuff and boiler and furnace attached and worked on the co-operative principle. These could be erected on allotments within the parish. It is impossible to carry out my duties if proper pigs’ cots are not provided. I would suggest that no one should be allowed to keep swine unless a sanitary cot was provided for keeping such without causing a nuisance.

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Courtesy of Welsh Newspapers Online, The National Library of Wales at http://newspapers.library.wales, 2016

The term ‘pig’s cot’ is curious. It appears to mean a pigsty with an enclosed hardstanding area and walled shelter. However a group of up to twelve of these together with a storeroom, boiler and furnace would be a large permanent building to put up on what would presumably be a rented allotment? BSS

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