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MUNICIPAL MILK DEPOTS. Finsbury's Trial Declared a Failure. How to reduce the terrible death-rate among infants has been the great problem of our leading medical men for the past twenty years, and our Public Health bodies all over the country have attempted to grapple with the question, by various methods that have been suggested as suit- able to the respective localities. Many of our scientific experts have declared that want oE proper feeding and nourishment has been the chief cause of the vast slaughter among the children in the poorer districts, and in order to improve the conditions under which the infants of the most destitute class are reared, some of our local authorities have arranged to establish milk depots within their area, in which prepared or modified cows' milk can be secured at a nominal price by necessitous parents. In London, four Boroughs have estab- lished such depots on a somewhat large scale, and the question has now been pertinently asked at the Council of the Borough of Finsbury, whether milk depots do, in reality, fulfil what their upholders and advisers claimed for them. The four places where milk depots exist, in London, are Finsbury, Battersea, Lambeth and Woolwich, and in all the four the rate- payers have had a considerable charge placed upon them in order to maintain these municipal attempts at playing the charitable hosts. The Finsbury Borough Council is a strong body of business men, and it was only to be expected that any department that showed such a great loss as the milk depot should come under the consideration of its members. A long enquiry has been held by the Public Health Committee of the district, and facts have been gathered from all the Boroughs in London, and so general was the feeling of wastage in connection with the whole matter, that the committee recommended, upon the information thus received, that the milk depots be abolished and a system of Health Visitation be formed in its place. When the matter came up for public discussion at the Council on Thursday, 4th inst., a huge crowd was present to watch the proceedings. From the report issued, as well as from the speeches that were delivered at the Council on Thursday, it is sad to confess that the poorer classes have made but very little use of the depot, In December last (the last month covered by the report) its average was but 49 cases per week. Taking into consideration that there were 2916 births registered during the year, it was felt that the depot had failed in the object for which it was established, and that the number of cases were so few as not to have any material effect on the percentage of the infantile mortality, which in Finsbury was shown to be higher for 1908 than for the preceding year. Small wonder then that Alderman Tripp (Chairman of Public Health Committee) should at the last meeting, propose the recommendation of his Committee, that the Municipal Milk Depot be discontinued at the end of March next, when the contracts expire. The worthy Alderman, in a lengthy speech, showed very marked ability, and great care in the tedious duty of compiling such a multiplicity of figures. He was able to to convince the majority on the Council of the wisdom of the Committee's conclusions, and thereby carrying the recommendation by a large majority. t It was shown that the depot had cost the ratepayers about £1,500 for the three years, and a similar loss was shown in the Battersea returns, made a year or two ago, where it showed that every quart of milk sold at 4d. per qt. had cost the ratepayers lOd. per qt.—in other words a loss of 6d. on every quart sold. It will be interesting to watch the actions of the other Boroughs after this, and medical men will have to discover other methods before the infantile death-rate can be effect- ively reduced. Finsbury's step has indeed been a bold one, and looks like an effort to curtail all attempts at the municipalization of any trade or supply.

To London Welsh Liberals.


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