HC Deb 11 August 1892 vol 7 cc324-6
MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether the Local Government Board have received information from the Metropolitan Asylums Board of their intention of erecting a new fever hospital; whether he is aware that the Metropolitan Asylums Board proposes to place that hospital on a site separated only by a railway embankment from a population of four thousand working people, and on low-lying ground in a neighbourhood frequently flooded by reason of the discharge of surface water; and whether, seeing that there is available ground not open to these objections within a distance of two miles, the Local Government Board will refuse their sanction to the erection of the hospital on the proposed site?

MR. J. HOWARD (Middlesex, Tottenham)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether the Local Government Board is aware of the alarm which the renewed application by the Metropolitan Asylums Board, for the erection of a fever hospital in Tottenham, is exciting amongst the large population there, and of the opposition to it by all the Public Bodies in the district; and whether any reason has been shown for altering the decision come to by the Local Government Board last year to withhold their sanction from the scheme?

MR. J. G. TALBOT (Oxford University)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether the attention of the Local Government Board has been drawn to the fact that the accommodation for fever patients in the hospitals of the Metropolitan Asylums Board is now very nearly exhausted; and whether, in the interests of the poorer inhabitants of London especially, he will consider the advisability of sanctioning the acquisition of a site on which temporary fever hospitals at least can be erected?


The President of the Local Government Board has had under his careful consideration the proposal of the managers of the Metropolitan Asylum District with reference to the erection of a new fever hospital. In the first place, he directed that a local inquiry should be held by Dr. Bridges and Mr. Hedley, the two Inspectors of the Metropolitan District, so that those who objected to the proposal might have an opportunity of stating their objections, and the objections might be fully before him. Since the inquiry the site has been visited by Major Tulloch and Mr. Gordon Smith, the Chief Engineering Inspector and the architect of the Board, in order that he might also have the opinion of these officers as to the suitability of the site. With regard to the objections to the site which are suggested by the question, the land proposed to be purchased is about fifteen acres in extent, and therefore admits of a considerable distance, in addition to the width of the railway embankment, being interposed between the hospital buildings and any dwellings on the other side of the embankment. It is also to be observed that the Royal Commission on Small-pox and Fever Hospitals, in their Report in 1882, state that— All evidence goes to show that well-conducted fever hospitals involve no appreciable risk to the neighbourhood. And this view is supported by the results of inquiries instituted by officers of the Board. With regard to the question that the site is on low-lying ground in a neighbourhood frequently flooded by the discharge of surface water, he is informed that the average level of the site is about fifty feet above Ordnance datum, and that the site is about twenty-five feet above the level of the River Lea into which flood water is conducted. The central portion of the land, which is the part on which buildings would be placed, has an elevation of not less than five feet above the ground at the extremities both north and south. There appear, therefore, to be no circumstances as regards flooding of the land by surface water which would render it unsuitable for the erection of buildings. It is, of course, essential that hospital buildings for the Metropolitan District should be within such a distance as to enable patients suffering from acute infectious disease to be conveyed there with safety. Careful search has been made for a suitable site for a hospital for the North-Eastern parts of the Metropolis within a similar distance to that of the site in question, but without success. Assuming that a site could be obtained at a distance of two miles from the, proposed site, the distance would be too great. The President of the Local. Government Board, having regard to the urgent necessity for provision being immediately made in consequence of the present epidemic of fever in the. Metropolis, and to the fact that the managers have been unable to find any more suitable place in the North-Eastern part of London, considers that he has no alternative but to assent to the purchase by the managers of the land in question, for the provision of accommodation for fever patients; but he will limit his assent to the erection of buildings to be used temporarily, and in which fever patients will be received.