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tester 100 Years ÇIgo. ♦

Unocal OÚtrnmtut jottings


Unocal OÚtrnmtut jottings [By MENTOR.] The Aberystwith Board of Guardians are not taking very kindly to a suggestion by the Local Government Board calling attention to a report of the Lunacy Commissioners, in which it is advised that amusements should be pro- vided for the imbecile inmates during the winter evenings. At a recent meeting, when the subject was brought forward, the sugges- tion was received with such remarks as the following :-The Chairman: Supposing we pro- vide them with a box of draughts or dominoes- Captain James Or a musical box. (Laughter.) Mr. Miller: Or a big drum. (More laughter.) A he Chairman: We had better provide some- blng for them just to satisfy the Local Govern- tnent Board. They send this man around, and must say something. It was agreed to leave J16 matter in the hands of the master, but the °ard ordered that the inmates should be taken Out for a walk twice a week. A meeting of the owners and ratepayers of Holyhead was recently held in the Town Hall of that town, for the purpose of discussing a reso- lution consenting to the promotion, by the Holyhead Urban District Council, of a Bill in Parliament in the session of 1898 for the pur- pose of obtaining power to purchase com- pulsorily the undertaking of the Holyhead Waterworks Company, and that all steps be taken to carry out that object. During the discussion 'great complaint was made respecting what is alleged to be the present inadequate supply, and in the end the resolution was carried by a majority of four only, and .a poll of the town was demanded. The Manchester Corporation, and, indeed, the ratepayers, and the Press generally, are jubilant over the reclamation of their Carrington Moss Estate. Ten years ago, the estate, so called, was a mere bog, which became the repository of the town refuse, but, by judicious trenching, draining and levelling, has been brought to such a pitch of cultivation as to now present a smiling land of plenty. The Corporation pur- chased the property, some 1,100 acres, in 1886, from the trustees of Lord Stamford, for S,38,000, but at the present time it is valued by the Manchester City Surveyor as worth £ 118,000. At a recent visitation by the Cleansing Committee of the Council, it was stated that the Moss absorbs annually some 50,000 tons of that which otherwise might have to be disposed of by means of destructors erected in various parts of the city. As illus- trating what is being done, it is stated that in one twelve-month the Corporation them- selves grew 300 tons of straw, 330 tons of clover and clover hay, 413 tons of carrots, 6,021 bushels of oats, 4,767 loads of potatoes, and 13! tons of swedes. The land not farmed by the committee is let to neighbouring farmers. So 14neh success has attended the efforts of \the Corporation on this estate that the committee have latterly extended their operations, and the still larger estate of Chat Moss is now in process of reclamation. The Corporation of Manchester surely is to be envied the posses- sion of these facilities for disposing of its town refuse; and the description sets one thinking of what might have been done by our own authorities at Chester with respect to the 'white sands' of the Dee, if they had only possessed the foresight. In last week's Local Government Jottings, I referred to the case of Thomas Fyfe, an inmate of Betbnal Green Workhouse, who at 70 years of age was alleged to have died of over-feeding. From subsequent notes and comments on the case in the Press, it appears that 30 years ago Fyfe was a prosperous Liverpool man, drawing a really good income from the shipowners of that port. He eventually became notorious by acting as the agent of Mr. Plimsoll, M.P., in his crusade against Liverpool shipowners, thereby not unnaturally courting the enmity of his patrons, who placed their orders else- where. Coming to London, after a desperate quarrel with his patron Plimsoll, Fyfe haunted the Law Courts, and, failing to move the Public Prosecutor, went for that official for all he was worth-actually endeavouring to get the Government of the day to prosecute the Public Prosecutor for certain alleged sins of omission and commission. He afterwards commenced an attack on Mr. Chamberlain. Having tired out all his friends and quarrelled with his relations, he gravitated to the workhouse, where it is stated the Master experienced in an acute form, for at least two winters, the devoted attention of the pauper scribe, whose marvellous liking for slinging ink about' never deserted him. The Daily Telegraph, in an article on Our Pampered Paupers,' draws attention to the marvellously easy time some of this class experience in the Metropolitan workhouses, particularly instancing that of Camberwell, shewing how the ratepayers are called upon to maintain a lot of idle fellows who should be supporting themselves. According to the article, these lazy wretches try the institutions all round, and finally locate themselves where the dietary is best and the work easiest. One instance is given as an illustration, that of an able-bodied pauper of 43. He is strong, and could do an ordinary day labourer's work, but since 1881 he has been in the house. Once a week he takes a walk out, looks in at the shop windows, and sees all he wants, in order to know how the world is moving, and invariably takes his discharge for the Ascot week, to which he is believed to go. Then he returns, to shamble through the easy labours he has learnt to per- form with the smallest possible expenditure of exertion. Few seem, in fact, to make the smallest effort to find work. The article con- cludes :—" The sooner that, not only Camber- well, but ratepayers in general, look into this matter, and make the workhouse labour a far more deterrent and exacting exertion than it is at present, the better. Probably there is no form of labour, either, that the ordinary able-bodied pauper would more dread than that of a farm, and one would have liked to have seen some of the shameless drones who sat at their oakum set down to a good stiff piece of hedging and ditching." .Nearly everybody is accustomed to regard all North Wales in the light of a health-giving resort, and so no doubt it is, if its natural resources only are taken into account. But, where communities of any size exist in county districts, and little regard is paid to proper sanitation and water supply, many of them are little better than fever-holes and death-traps. In confirmation of this may be taken the latest report of the medical officer of health (Dr. R. Jones) to the County Council of Merioneth. Dr. Jones has compiled a most valuable report and tables, which prove that sanitation in the county is defective, that the rate of mortality is abnormally high, and that infectious diseases are rampant in some parts of the county. I cannot enter in detail into Dr. Jones's figures, but it may be stated generally that while the population is 55,211, the birth-rate for the whole county is 25-7 per 1,000, and the death-rate 19 per 1,000, as compared with 17-1 per 1,000 for the whole of England and Wales. The rate of infant mortality in the county since 1893 has steadily increased from 130-1 per 1,000 to 171-4 per 1.000. This is the average for the whole county it is still more startling in some parts. For instance, the rate of infant mortality in Festiniog was 250 per 1,000, and in Talyllyn as high as 326 per 1,000 registered births. Bala is not far behind with 292 3 per 1,000. The chief reasons for this state of affairs are said to be defective sanitary condi- tions, want of personal cleanliness, dirty feeding-bottles, and want of proper clothing. Apart from this Dr. Jones declares that the death-rate for the whole county is the highest recorded since 1891. Festiniog comes highest with 24-37 per 1,000, Dolgelly second with 22 6, while the death-rate for Barmouth and Towyn is low. Diphtheria carried away 26 victims, and it is reported that diphtheria has been prevalent in the Festiniog district for several years, and since September, 1893, there have been notified in that town alone 1,442 cases. Measles claims 40 victims. Heart disease is also increasing at an alarming rate in the country, 121 victims adding to last year's death roll. Dr. Jones gives it as his opinion that it is caused by dampness of the soil and the dampness of dwelling-houses. During the year 1337 cases of infectious diseases have been notified, as compared with 636 in 1893.






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