Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

9 articles on this Page

[No title]




-+- SPECIAL MEETING OF THE TOWN COUNCIL. A SPECIAL meeting of the Ruthin Town Council had been summoned for 4 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon, when the following members presented themselves in the Coun- cil chamber:—Aldermen R. P. Davies, E. Roberts, T. P. Roberts, Councillor John Roberts, and the officers. The mayor sent a letter of apology. The above gentlemen waited until a quarter past four; but up to then, no quorum had appeared, and Mr. Edward Roberts said be could not wait any longer, and then left the room. Dr. W. D. Jones, the medical officer, said he had prepared a report which should have been sent in some time ago, and which was to be read that day; and confirmed or not, it had to be sent up to the Local Government Board and the County Council before the end of the month. Mr. R. P. Davies said he could only express his regret that they could not form a quorum. The appearance of the agenda was quite sufficient, in his opinion, to induce everybody to attend. The Town Clerk said the most important business before them was the preperation of the estimates for the coming year. Mr. John Roberts said that the Council had got into the habit of starting unpunc- tbally, and thus the members had come to think that there would be a quarter of an hour's grace, and attended accordingly. He hoped that if another meeting wa.s held the following week, it would be -fixed for Tues- day, as he would have to be at Llanrwst that day, and had already made considerable sacrifice in order to attend the meeting that day. The Town Clerk said that he had engage- ments that would occupy him the whole of next week. Mr. John Roberts said there was oce cause for the absence of members; vix., the funeral of the daughter of Mr. Jesse Roberts. Mr. Edward Roberts then left the room and a little later, Mr, Thomas Williams and Mr. T. H. Roberts entered. Still there was net a sufficient number to form a quorum, and the Deputy Town Clerk and the Borough Surveyor were sent cut in search of mem- bers. At half past four, Mr. William Williams made his appearance; and six members being t,faer< present, the business was then com- menced. Mr. T. P. Roberta moved that the senior Alderman (Mr. R. P. Davies), should take the chair, which was agreed to. The Chairman We are now half an hour late. Are we justified in going on with the business, or whether it is your wish that we should adjourn ? Mr. John Roberts: I should like us to proceed. Mr. T. J. Roberts and lvIr. Edward Roberts now came into the room, followed a little later by Mr. Francis Doweil. FINANCIAL. Considerable time was spent to consider the bills, &c., presented for payment; and it was announced that a balance of < £ 124 4s. Id. was in hand after paving all these bills. MEDICAL OFFICERS' ANNUAL REPORT. The Medical Officer presented his annual, report for the year 1898, which was as fol- lows :— During the year, 52 deaths and 75 births -42 males and 33 females-were registered in the borough, making a death rate of 18'2, and a birth rate of 25'3 per 1,000 of the po- pulation. During the month of November last, three cases of scarletina of a mild character were notified to me. These chil- dren attended the Board School, which was also attended by children from the outlying district, were scarlet fever was very preva- lent at this period and probably the infec- tion was commenced in this manner. Mea- sures were taken to prevent the spread of this disease, which proved Successful. One case of diphtheric sore throat was reported from Upper Clwyd Street, which recovered. The premises were carefully inspected, but nothing was found thereon that could ac- count for the attack. The only case of fatal infectious disease that occurred during the year was one of typhoid fever in Rhos Street. Not far from this place, at the back of the Railway Terrace, were some very de- fective drains, which possibly might account v for the case. The drains have been tho- roughly put in order after a great trouble. You will find from the tabulated statement accompanying this report that the infant mortality 14 was comparatively high, but the majority of them died a few days and weeks old, from conjenital debility. There were no deaths between the ages of 15 and 25 but 14 occurred between the ages of 25 and 65, and 21 from 65 upwards. Of the causes of death, 2 were due to COlJsurnp tion, and 4 to bronchitis-a remarkable di- minution in the disease of the respiratory organs. Heart disease accounted for 10 deaths, principaly amongst very old people, and inmates of the union workhouse. Eight deaths took place in this institution during the year. The water supplied to the town has been of good quality, and fair in quantity, The main drains are in excellent condition their only defect is ^hat they are not ven- tilated by means of shafts instead of down- spouts. Some trouble has been experienced, however, with private drains in several in- stances, as both landlord and tenants repu- diated their liability to abate the nuisances. No steps have been yet taken to deal with the question of the removal of the refuse. There are places in the town, such as at the back of Railway Terrace, &c., where the large accumulations of all kinds of rubbish constitute nuisances prejudicial to health. The most offensive nuisances the officers have to contend with are the pigstyes that abound throughout the town. It becomes very invidious to deal with individual cases; the only practical remedy,is to abolish them altogether but I question whether the Council have the courage to enforce such a measure, owing to its unpopularity with a certain section of the inhabitants. The schedule attached to the report shows that the area of the borough is 2,033 acres and the population in 1891 was 2,728. The death rate on this basis was at the rate of 18'2 per 1,000 per annum, the infant mor- tality being 40.7 per 1,000 births registered. THE DEATH RATE, AND CAUSES OF MORTALITY. Mr. Edward Roberts asked what was the rate of mortality compared with the previous year. The Medical Officer said it was 18'2 as against 24'6 according to his calculation but he understood that these figures were privately disputed. The birth rate last year was 25'3, which was considerably in excess of the death rate. He considered the death rate of 24 (5 the previous year a very high one, Mr. Edward Roberts: Do I understand that the death rate last year was 18'2 as against 24*8 the previous year 1 The Medical Officer: Yes. Mr. Edward Roberts Which indicates an improvement of 6'4 per 1,000 ? The Chairman I dare say, Dr. Jones, you have studied the subject; and I should like to know how does this compare with other towns similar in size and population ? The Medical Officer: The death rate for last year—18'2, is rather low but that for 1895 I considered rather high. The death rate is not influenced exactly by the sanitary condition of a town. We ought to consider whether it is an adult population or not. It simply stands to common sense that in a town like this, when its commercial pros- perity is not what we would desire—that the manhood of the town migrate to other towns, where they secure better livelihood. Some body have to be left behind, of course. And who are these? The young and the old, which are very susceptible to the influences of the weather. You must consider the ages of the bulk .of the population, and other con- ditions in connection with the death rate. During the year only one case of zymotic disease had occurred, and that was a ease of typhoid fever in Rhos Street. Children from Cae'rf alien suffered from scarlet fever. During that period, children from Llanrhai- adr, where scarlet fever was prevalent, at- tended the Board School; and the children of the town were affected in this way. A case of diphtheric soar throat occurred in Clwyd Street. I examined the premisses, and found nothing whatever to account for it. The water supply was perfectly good, and the surroundings of the house were everything that couldhedesired. The patient recovered. With the exception of these cases, the health of the town has been very satisfactory; and I think it is a very good record indeed (hear, hear). The Chairman I am sure we all feal very much indebted to the medical officer for his very valuable information and personally, I feel very satisfied. Mr. T. J. Roberts in moving the adoption of the report, said they had reason to be thankful for the reduction in the rate of mortality. The average death rate through out the kingdom, taking town and country together was 16'6 for last year, so that t o,, Ruthin was only a trifling over the average. He found that in Llanrhaiadr alone, the death rate was 20.3, so that they might con- gratulate themselves on being lower than some of the country districts. The medical officer had, in his opinion, reported very fairly. THE 'COURAGE' OF THE COUNCIL. OUGHT THE PIG STYES BE REMOTED1 LIVELY DISCUSSION. THE MEDICAL OFFICER THREATENS TO RESIGN. THE WATER SUPPLY. COUNCILLOR JOHN ROBERTS AND HIS WATER RATE. Mr. T. H. Roberts There is one paragraph in the report which I think reflects upon the cour- age of this council. I should like to know wheth- er the council has power to abolish the pig styes as suggested in the report of the Medical Officer ? The Medical Officer rose to reply, when the Chairman said It is a legal question. I think the Town Clerk should answer it. The Town Clerk: This is a question that has been before the council on several occasions. The bye-laws provide that people cannot keep a pig stye if it is proved by the Medical Officer to be a nuisance, and injurious to health and under the provisions of the Public Health Act, the council can remove it. I Mr. John Roberts The same rule, I take it, would apply to a donkey or a horse, if kept in a filthy condition. The Town Clerk Certainly. The Medical Officer said he was not there to discuss the question, but merely to express his opinion. The Council could please themselves whether they would act on that opinion or not. He was of opinion that the nuisance caused by the pig styes was almost unbearable, and a real disgrace to the town. And he would go further than this even. It was not necessary for them to prove that "a nuisance was prejudicial to health it was enough to prove that it was offensive. A chimney on fire might not be prejudicial to health, but it was nevertheless offensive, and for the reason became a nuisance. The chairman said that, according to his opin- ion. the law did not prohibit a person from keep- ing swine in a borough, but it did provide that he should keep them in such a way as not to cause nuisance. The Town Clerk That is so. Mr. T. P. Roberts said he believed that Den- bigh, and in fact, all similar towns, were in the same predicament in connection with this matter. People ought to be allowed to keep pigs, if they kept them at certain distances from the houses, and in such a way as not to be a nuisance (hear, hear). The people had been allowed to keep pigs for generations, and he could not see why it was so dangerous to keep them nowadays. When they were speaking in the Council, they seemed to him as if they endeavoured to show that Ru- thin was subject to more nuisances than any other town, and he really protested against such a thing (hear, hear). Denbigh was in exactly the same position, and in fact every other town in o r '0 North Wales (Mr. Edward Roberts :■ 'Question'). If it could be proved to them that the pig styes were keot far enough from the houses, and did not constitute a nuisance, surely that was quite sufficient. These pig styes were in existence ever since he could remember, .-and he never heard anything against them. In days gone by, men were far stronger and abler than-the present generation. Men were now growing weaker and weaker (laughter). Why years ago, if they wanted a good fighter, they had to go to Llanfwr- og for him (loud laughter), |a place where pig styes were to be found in abundance. Really, he hated to hear people continually running the town down (hear, hear). A healthier town than Ruthin could not be found; and to hear them in the Council running it down, although in an in- I direct way, without cause, was a thing which he really protested against (hear, hear). There WaS no sense in it. Mr. John Roberts said that the abolition of the pig styes in the town was really a very ser- ious matter; and he, for one, would never be a party to it (hear, hear). If certain pig styes were a nuisance, the council had their remedy. Let the owners of those styes be summoned, unless they abated the nuisance complained of. That would be the proper course to adopt, and not to punish all that kept pig styes by the abolition of such styes (hear, hear). The Medical Officer said he had no feeling in this matter, beyond the interest he felt in the welfare and prosperity of the town. He could conscientiously say, that not a week passed with- out either tbejinspector or himself had been assailed by somebody on account of the nuisance caused by these pig styes. On the way to church, the other day, he was asked what he and the inspector were doing he could. say that the stench from some of these pig styes was simply abominable. Mr. John Roberts Then, why not summon the owners of those pig styes, instead of going in for the abolition of the pig styes throughout the whole borough; Mr. Thomas Williams (speaking in Welsh) said it would be a great pity to do away entire- ly with these pigstyes. The poor people, by means of a pig, were able to make a few shil- lings to meet their rent, and other things (hear, hear). Indeed, some people seemed to be living almost entirely by keeping a few pigs. If ce- ment was used to floor the pigstyes, they could easily be kept clean; and the nuisance would, therefore, be done away with altogether. As far as he could see, there was no earthly reason in abolishing the styes. Mr. T. J. Roberts: I take it chat; this matter can be dealt with in the proposed new bye- laws. The Chairman: As far as I understand the law on the question, people can keep anything they like, provided they keep it in such a, way as not to cause a nuisance. That is the law oil the subject I think. The Town Clerk: Yes; the law states that it must not be a nuisance. Mr. Edward Roberts said this was entirely a question of degree One person might keep his pigstye so as not to constitute r!. nuisance, whilst another kept it so filthy that, it would be a great nuisance. If the Inspector brought before the Council a, case in respect of which complaints had been made, and which the Council consi- dered to be a nuisance, then they could easily deal with that case upon its own merits; where- as there would be no need to act in respect of those pigstyes kept in proper order. Mr. John Roberts said, that, before the adop- tion of the report was put to the meeting, he should like to mention that there was one para- graph to which he took a serious objection. The Medical Officer stated 'That the water supplied to the town had been of good quality, and fair in quantity.' He (Mr. Roberts) did not think that when the Medical Officer wrote the report he had in his mind the fact, that du- ring the September quarter they had only a supply of two hours a day: and that the quality of the water d'uring that period, or during a great portion of that period, was neither fit for man or beast. The Medical Officer said he ought, perhaps, to qualify his report in regard to the quantity of the water. In Ruthin, as in every other town, they suffered the disadvantages of the dry season; and the water supply was? affected by the dry weather in the period referred to. Mr. John Roberts:. There-js another element in this case—defective and insufficient storage and cap&eity of reservoir. The Medical Officer: I am not dealing with that question. Mi. John Roberts: Yon,vere going to the general question now. The Medical Officer: I meant by pure water, thatnt was not contaminated in any way; and I am not even now aware that any disease has been the result of an impure supply of water. Mr. T. P. Robert- Yon are right,there. The Medical Officer: When I used the terra fair quantity," I did Dot mean that the water supply- was what it might be. I say that the water hitherto has been as pure as we can expect it to be. Mr. John Roberta: If you state in your report that the supply was I fair' with the exception ot the September quarter, I will agree. Mr. T. P. Roberts: The water was pure even then. After some discussion, Mr, John Roberta said he insisted upon enter- ing his protest against a report being sent from the Council to the Local Government Board, stating that the water supply had been fair in quantity, when the Medical Officer himself had stated that there had been an exception during the September quarter. He might state that he bad not yet paid bis water rate for the September quarter; ami he did not intend to do so, until compelled by the County Court Judge, I The Chairman said that the Water Company were making'every effort to remedy die defect. Mr. Jobs Roberts: The.same eld "story # sir. Mr, Edward Roberts; Yes, for the last ten years, at least. 1 Mr. Francis Dowel!: We, as Councillors here/ are almost all of us against doing away with the pigstyes: and are we going to leave that particu- lar item in the report ? The Mayor: Unless you decide that it be ex- punged. Mr. Dowel! Every member of the Council, I think, are of opinion that part of the report should be amended. I beg to propose that it be left out. Mr. W. Williams seconded. Mr. T. H. Roberts I propose that it be left there. The Medical Officer said that he had been ac cused of not speaking bis mind on matters apper- taining to the health of the borough. Now, in this report, he had spoken his mind, and his re- port was to be taken to pieces. He would ag an state that the pigstyes were a disgrace to the town. Mr. John Roberts But I do not think that the Medical Officer should charge this Council of not having sufficient courage to carry out his personal opinion, I maintain that our duly is to deal with the individual cases that are reported and brought before us, and not punish the whole town because of nuisances caused by a few. Mr, T. P. Roberts said what he desired was, that one or two cases should be brought before the Council to be dealt with oa their merits, and j not go in for the total abolition of the pigstyes. Mr. Edw. Roberts: What is contained. in the report is merely a recommendation by the medical' j officer. That is all; and we need not act upon 1 Mr. John Roberts But fey adopting the report we should bind ourselves for the abolition of the pigstyes. Mr. T. P. Roberts And further, we shall be consenting to the remark that we are without courage to do our duty. Mr. Edward Roberta ;-It is perfectly true. Mr. T. £ *• Roberts —I challenge the Doctor, or any one else, to bring a case before tirs council, which, if proved to be a nuisance, the council will not have the courage io carry out their opinion, Mr. Jean Roberta: — And I challenge Mr. Edward Roberts now to move, that we abolish the pigstyes throughout the borough. The Town Clerk :—That Is merely a recommoaoa- tion by the medical officer. The Medical Officer said there could be no doubt but that the remarks made would add to his unpopularity. But he did not care much for that. He knew he was moopalar witb a certain section of the pubjic, but that was quite immaterial to him. Wbat^ he bad stated in his report was in the interest of. the town, and he would send the report to London whether it would he adopted or not. j. Mr. Edward Roberts contended that by adopting the report they would cot pledge themselves to go in for the abolition of the pigstyes, That was simply a matter of opinion. He thought they would be acting very wrongly indeed towards their ir officer, who was doing a very courageous thing, if they refued to adopt his report. Moreover they need not act on the, recommendation made in the report, hut to tell the medical officer that they did not approve of his recom- mendation was a retrogade step altogether. They should adopt; his report for what it is worth, .and act upon it or not. But to tell the. officer th-,tt they would not accept his report, would be to him a direct slap in the face, and thatalso for doing bis unties concien- tiously. The medical officer was a scientific man, aijd they ought to accept his opinion oa raatteni &ffeotiag the health of the town. Mr. John Roberts said he bad an amendment to move. The matter should be left as it was before, or in t » WMds, to leave it open to any member of. the council who was favourable to the abolition of the pigstyes, to bring it forward at a subsequent meeting of the eancil. His amendment was that the report be simply received, Mr. Edward Roberts — That is the resolution already before us. Mr. John Roberts :—No there is avast difference between receving and adopting » report. •Mr. T. J. Roberts :—I will withdraw my mo&en for the adoption of the lepoit The word 'receive, will meet my views on the subject. The Chairman said they had a very interesting discussion, and did not think the time had been lost. However, he wou«d now ask them to vote- on the question. The Medical Officer :—Whether you adopt the report or not, geutiem'en, I shall send it to London, accom- panied by a letter, and in that letter, I shall my reasons. There is DO use quibbling with words. Mr. Edward Roberts -Hear, hear. reasons. TI!fŒP is DO use quibbling with words. Mr. Edward Roberts -Hear, hear. The Medical Officer :—You decline my recommenda- tion and if you have no confidence in me, I shall re- sign my office, which, no doubt, will be very pleasant to some members of this council. Mr. EdwlJ. d Roberta — Bear, hear. •The Medical Officer :—I shall, in my letter, explain everything to the Local Government Board. The Chairman said he was sorry to hear the medical ogioer making those remarks, would-be very sorry indeed if such a thing as Dr. Jones resignation should happen. They were only discussing the report in a friendly spirit, and although they might ditter, they ought to consider the discussion in that way. The report was an excellent one, and he' woaM hRVe no objection to adopt it. That did net mean that they I agreed with the sentiments expressed. Mr. T. P. Roberts said, that, of course, he was sorry that Dr. Jones had taken such a view cf the matter; at the same time, he could not adopt that which challenged the council to do their duty'(hear). He had a high opinion of Dr, Jones' personal capabil- ities; at the same time, he could not concur with him in what he called nuisances dangerous t6 the health of the town, Suppose two or three eases were brought ul before them, did any one think that the council had not sufficient courage to carry out their duty in connection with such cases? That was the question. Mr. Edward Roberts, in referring to Mr. John Roberts amendment, said he had never heard of a report being received without being adopted. In his opinion, they should-take the report for what it was worth and they need not enforce it unless they thought fit-, to do so. To receive the report, and not adopt it, seemed to him a most extraordinary thing. For once, they had a man who said a very straight- forward thiisig, and the council was now going- to receive his report, The item in question was only Dr. Jones' personal opinion; they had asked him to tnake his aim vial, report, and he thought it wrong altogether to qualify the report by any resolution of the council. He should like to k what would bo the effect of such a proceeding as that on the \pHbl;c? They would at once say that the council were afraid of the electors; they would say that the council would not adopt the independent report os their medical officer. He would seriously ask, would it not be much better, more candid end straightforward to adopt the report of the medical officer ? Mr. John Roberta :—And the pisstyes? I Mr. Edward Roberts:—'Wait a moment, .sir. To refuse to adopt the report from an independent, professional officer of the corporation, and qualify itiu the manner suggested, will simply give the public to understand that we are afraid of it—that we are afraid of the truth. Mr. John Roberts rose to make a remark, when Mr. Edward Roberts said: — Pardon roe, Mr. 't ItobertfJ, am in possession of the chair. Proceeding, he said that ]jeoplo would say they were IJndeavouring to conceal something revealed in the report of the medical officer If the report was not adopted, nothing codld do -more harm, nothing could be worse than concealing the truth. In adopting the report, tho council would not pledge themselves to anything; at the present time. They would be simply accepting the report of their medical officer, and to amend the report of a respectable public officer, who wad respons' ible to the Local' .government Board, and to the County Council would, be a most extraordinary thing to do. He bagged the council not to do such a. th:ng. Mr. John Roberts :—Might I remind Mr. Edward ,Roberts- Mr. Edward" Roberts (interposing) :—I propose that the report of the medical officer be adopted. Mr. T. H. Roberts :-If the Doctor consents to amend the paragraph in regard to the water supply, I shall second the motion. The Medical Officer:- Yes, I will agree to that; it is a matter of fact which I cannot dispute. Mr. John Roberts sâd be should like to remind the council of the construction put upon the word adopt' soma time ago by Mr. Alderman Edward Roberts him-- self. The, borough surveyor, in- his monthly report,» made an application für an increase of 20 pounds in bis salary. A nation was made that the report, which included the application, be adopted. The mayor ruled that by adopting the report the increase of 20 pounds was granted, and he thought every number of the oour.cil present at that time wag of that opiuíon except Mr. Alderman Edward Roberts. Now, by adopting the report of the Medical Officer, the council would be proceeding to' the' total abolition of the pigstyes. Mr. Roberts had stated that they refused the report. Nothing of the kind, the amendment was that the report be received. A member here, suggested that the report be laid on the table. The Town Clerk :-It cannot be laid on the table it must go to the Local Government Board., The Chairman said he did not think that the phrase reflecting on the courage of the council should be inserted, and he, for one, did net like that "part of it. Mr. Edward Roberts said the point now raised was altogether another matter. The discussion was about1 the pigstyes—whether the council would adopt the report as fat- as it concerned the pigstyes, and bis pro- posal was that they should adopt it. He, however, had heard no amendment with regard to the point now raised. The report of the medical officer would go to the papers and the Local Government Board, and no resolution of the ceuncii could possibly alter it; and if the council said that the report was wrong, they took upon themselves great responsibility. Mr. T. E. Roberts :-The report\states that we had no courage—that we are too cowardly to carry out our duties, and are afraid of the public. That. and nothing else, is the meaning of the phrase; and to ask. the members of the council to support this is most ridiculous. Mr. John Roberts :-AVe ought to resign, if it is true. ,Mr, Edward Roberts :—My .motion is that the report of the medical officer be adopted, and I still adhere of the medical officer be adopted, and I still adhere to it. Mr. John Roberts asked for the ruling of the chair- man as to the meaning of the word 'adoption,' having regard to the decision of the mayor on the question ot increasing the salary of the borough surveyor. Mr. Edward Roberts :—That ruling, was entirely wrong, Mr. John Roberts :—No, it was not. The Chairman :—If we adopt this report, we shall be adopting the. sentiments expressed in it undoub- tedly. The Medical Officer said that if he bad wounded the feelings of members of the council in using the -words- complained of, he was very sorry,_ The word 'courage' was inserted perhaps rather hurriedly, and he would be glad to substitute for it some milder term. He II would, therefore, withdraw the phrase (hear, bear). Mr. John Roberts:—I shall not withdraw my amendment, Mr. Edward Roberts:—In the altered form,, there can no objectioa be to the report,. The report was then modified in the following man- ner. With regard to the water supply, the words 1 with the exception of the September quarter: were added; and on the subject of tho pigstyes. it was altered so as to read, 'but I question whether the council can enforce, &p.' On being put to the meeting, <> -viav, Messrs. r Roberts, T. H. Roberts, and T. J. Roberts, voted in favour of adopting the report in its altered form, and 5 in favour of Mr. John Roberts' morion to simply receive it. Mr. John Roberts :-Don'i; you vote, Mr. Chair- man ? The Chairman -No, there is a majority, and there is no necessity for my vote. TENDERS FOR TOLLS, Two tenders were received for the tolls of borough, but it was discovered that the collector was entitled to a notte a* terinirat- his engagement; and after a Ion was decided that the tenders received The Town Clerk, in, reply to a rL > «t the hiring of the collector appeared r,o be « o: and in that esse, he would brc entitled co a r ,'„b!e notice expiring at the end of the year. CARTAGE OF STONES, &o. The tender of Mrs. Hughes, Penystryd, which was the lowest, was accepted, for cartage of stones and street watering. EATE DEFAULTERS. It was decided to defer the consideration of the list of rate defaulters until the special meeting to bo held 011 Monday. CAPES AND OVERALLS FOR THE COBPOR- ATION MEN. Two tenders, with samples, were received for supply- ing 8 corporation men with capes, overalls, and hats, ami the tender of Mr. W. Thomas, diaper, was accepted, the total amount being 4p, 12s. The other tender was from Mr. Atkinson. An oil -ovc A was also given to the borough surveyor. A special meeting of the council will b u Monday, to coiuader the. estimates and other < {Other-Efttbiw News in page 6)-, I


C O E W E N . ''.-



[No title]