HC Deb 23 July 1875 vol 225 cc1906-7

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether his attention has been called to the Report of the Local Government Inspector on the condition of Shoreditch Workhouse, where, it is stated decomposing bodies are brought into proximity with the wards of the infirmary, the health of the patients and of the people of the neighbourhood being endangered thereby; whether action can be taken to ensure the immediate erection of a suitable mortuary; and, whether, in view of the importance of the matter, he will consider the desirability of causing special inquiries to be made in other crowded districts, with the object of enforcing such sanitary regulations as will prevent the evils above referred to?


, in reply, said, that, with respect to the first part of the Question of the hon. Member, the Report of the Inspector had been brought under his (Mr. Sclater-Booth's) notice, having in fact being addressed to himself. There could be no doubt that the mortuary of the Shoreditch Work-house had been unduly and improperly made use of by the Vestry, with the permission of the Guardians, for purposes for which the Vestry was bound to provide accommodation of its own. As soon as the attention of the Guardians was called to circumstances set out in the Report of the Inspector, notice was given to the Vestry that the mortuary could no longer be used for the purposes of the parish. With regard to the second part of the Question, he had received a letter from the Vestry Clerk of the parish to the effect, that after great difficulties the Vestry had succeeded in making arrangements which would enable them within a short period to provide a mortuary for their own use. The House would not be surprised that there had been some difficulty and delay, seeing that there was no power of compulsory purchase of land for mortuaries. With reference to the third part of the Question, in one of the new provisions of the Public Health Act, now before Parliament, he had taken power for the Local Government Board to compel local authorities to provide mortuaries where they were required. But his hon. Friend was probably aware that that part of the provisions of the Public Health Bill did not extend to the metropolis. In other crowded localities, however, it was his intention to make inquiries and assure himself that mortuaries were provided wherever there seemed to be a necessity for them.