HC Deb 06 August 1885 vol 300 cc1282-3

asked the President of the Local Government Board, What steps he has taken to call the serious attention of the local authorities in the various seaports and towns of the Country to the terrible outbreak of cholera, not only in Spain but also in France; whether the local authorities as well as the Local Government Board are taking efficient means to prevent its introduction into this Country; and, whether any steps can be taken to improve the disgraceful state of Covent Garden Market?


The action of the Board may be shortly summarized. We have urged upon the several Local Authorities in England and Wales the importance of their taking such measures of precaution against cholera as the sanitary condition of their district may demand, and we have supplied them with a Memorandum by the Medical Officer of the Board on the subject. We have prohibited the importation of rags from Spain; and if there is any serious spread of cholera in France, an Order will also be issued as regards rags from that country. The Regulations in force last year during the prevalence of cholera in France and Italy, for dealing with oases of cholera which may reach our ports, are still in force. We have strengthened temporarily the staff of Medical Inspectors for the purpose of inquiring as to the sanitary condition of the ports and other districts which there is reason to suppose would be most likely to suffer from cholera in the event of its introduction to England; and I am advised that, on the whole, there is reason for satisfaction with the action in preparation for cholera by the various Sanitary Authorities on the coast. The Managers of the Metropolitan Asylum District have obtained the services of a medical man, who has had large experience as a Medical Officer of Health in the Metropolis, with the view of his assisting them in maturing the arrangements as to a first line of defence, in the way of hospital provision, which would be necessary in London in the event of an outbreak of cholera. It must, however, be recollected that while I am anxious to do everything in my power to aid the Local Authorities in fulfilling their duties, the responsibility for providing against the advent of cholera and of dealing with it, should it reach our shores, rests, and must rest, with them.


Might I ask my right hon. Friend, with reference to Covent Garden whether he will make a personal inspection of the market at the time when it is most offensive—namely, between 5 and 6 o'clock in the morning.

[No reply.]