HC Deb 12 June 1879 vol 246 cc1721-2

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been directed to the Report made by the Medical Officer of Health of Islington, on the 16th of March, 1877, and to the fact that a portion of the site of a burial-ground there is being covered with dwellings occupied by working men and their families under conditions that are dangerous to health; whether, as stated in a further Report on the 7th of Juno last, it is correct that the foundations are not deeper than one foot, that then the workmen came to bones and decomposed matter; that the houses near are rendered unsafe by the instability of the subsoil; that the houses have no proper and efficient drainage; and that the state of the ground is calculated to produce pestilence; and, whether, under these circumstances, the Home Secretary will do anything to prevent these houses being occupied?


It was my desire some time ago to make an order for closing the burial-ground in question, and for planting it, as in other places; but I found, on inquiry, that it was absolutely impossible for me to do so. The same proceeding was attempted by one of my Predecessors, Sir George Grey; but the Law Officers of the Crown advised him that he had no power to take such action. It is a pity that the Vestry authorities did not indict the owner of the site of the burial-ground, or the builder, when they were proceeding with this work, if the facts of the case are as stated by the hon. and learned Member, and I do not cast the slightest imputation upon their accuracy. I have ordered a special Report to be made by the Inspector of Burial Grounds; and if I can take any action in the matter I shall do so. I cannot conceive anything more injurious or more scandalous.