EXTRACTS FROM AN ACT FOR PROMOTING PUBLIC HEALTH

(31st August 1848)

 

THE PREAMBLE

WHEREAS further and more effectual Provision ought to be made for improving the sanitary Condition of Towns and populous Places in England and Wales, and it is expedient that the Supply of Water to such Towns and Places, and the Sewerage, Drainage, cleansing, and paving thereof, should as far as practicable, be placed under one and the same local Management and Control, subject to such general Supervision as is hereinafter provided: Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That: ……………………

ESTABLISHING A GENERAL BOARD OF HEALTH

IV. And be it enacted, That the First Commissioner for the Time being of Her Majesty's Woods and Forests, Land Revenues, Works, and Buildings, together with such Two other Persons as Her Majesty by Warrant under Royal Sign Manual may be pleased to appoint, shall be and constitute a Board superintending the Execution of this Act, and shall be called "The General Board of Health" and shall have and execute all the Powers and Duties vested in or imposed on such Board by this Act, Providing always, that the said General Board of Health shall be continued only for Five Years next after the Day of the passing of this Act, and thenceforth until the End of the then next Session of Parliament, and no longer.

CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH A LOCAL INSPECTION CAN OCCUR

VIII. And be it enacted, That from Time to Time after the passing of this Act, upon the Petition of not less than One Tenth of the Inhabitants rated to the Relief of the Poor of any City, Town, Borough, Parish, or Place having a known or defined Boundary, not being less than Thirty in the whole, or where it shall appear or can be ascertained from the last Return for the Time being made up by the Registrar General of Births, Marriages, and Deaths from the Deaths registered in a Period of not less than Seven Years that the Number of Deaths annually in any City, Town, Borough, Parish, or Place during the Period in respect whereof such Return shall have been made have on an Average exceeded the Proportion of Twenty-three to a Thousand of the Population of such City, Town, Borough, Parish or Place, the General Board of Health may, if and when they shall think fit, direct a Superintending Inspector to visit such City, Town, Borough, Parish, or Place, and to make public Inquiry, and to examine Witnesses, as to the Sewerage, Drainage, and Supply of Water, the State of the Burial Grounds, the Number and sanitary Condition of the Inhabitants.

APPOINTMENT OF MEDICAL OFFICERS

XL. And be it enacted, That the Local Board of Health may from Time to Time, if they shall think fit, appoint a fit and proper Person, being a legally qualified Medical Practitioner or a Member of the Medical Profession, to be called the Officer of Health.

DRAINAGE, AND ASH PITS FOR NEW HOUSES

XLIX. And be it enacted, That it shall not be lawful newly to erect any House, or to rebuild any House without sufficient provision for the proper and effectual Drainage of the same and its Appurtenances; and if the Sea, or a Sewer of the Local Board of Health, or a Sewer which they are entitled to use be within One hundred Feet of any Part of the Site of the House to be built or rebuilt, the Drain or Drains so to be constructed shall lead from and communicate with such one of those Means of Drainage as the said Local Board shall direct, or if no such Menus of Drainage be within that Distance, then the last-mentioned Drain or Drains shall communicate with and be, emptied into such covered Cesspool or other Place, not being under any House, and not being within such Distance, from any House, as the said Local Board shall direct;

LI. And be it enacted, That it shall not be lawful newly to erect any House, or to rebuild any House without a sufficient Watercloset or Privy and an Ashpit, furnished with proper Doors and Coverings; and whosoever offends against this Enactment shall be liable to Penalty not exceeding Twenty Pounds; and if at any Time, upon the Report of the Surveyor, it appear to the Local Board of Health that any House, whether built before or after the Time when this Act is applied to the District in which it is situate, is without a sufficient Watercloset or Privy and an Ashpit, furnished with proper Doors and Coverings, the said Local Board shall give Notice in Writing to the Owner or Occupier of such House, requiring him forthwith, or within such reasonable Time as shall be specified therein, to provide a sufficient Watercloset or Privy and an Ashpit.

LIII. And be it enacted, That, Fourteen Days at the least before beginning to dig or lay out the Foundations of or for any new House, or to rebuild any House pulled down to the Extent aforesaid, the Person intending so to build or rebuild shall give to the Local Board of Health written Notice thereof; together with the Level or intended Level of the Cellars or lowest Floor, and the Situation and Construction of the Privies and Cesspools to be built, constructed, or used in connexion with such House;

REFUSE CLEARANCE

LV. And be it enacted, That the Local Board of Health shall from Time to Time and at all convenient Times provide that all Streets within their District, including the Foot Pavements thereof, are properly swept, cleansed, and watered, and that all Dust, Ashes, Rubbish, Filth, Dung, and Soil thereon are collected and removed; and they may make Bye Laws with respect to the Removal by the Occupier, or (in case of his Default) by the said Local Board, of Dust, Ashes, Rubbish, Filth, Manure, Dung, and Soil collected, placed, or found in or about any House, Stable, Cowhouse, Street, or Place whatsoever,

LVI. And be it enacted, That the Local Board of Health may, in their Discretion, provide, in proper and convenient Situations, Boxes or other Conveniences for the temporary Deposit and Collection of Dust, Ashes, and Rubbish, (and also fit Buildings and, Places for the Deposit of the Sewage, Soil, Dung, Filth, Ashes, Dust, and Rubbish collected by such Board;

HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE

LXVIII. And be it enacted, That all present and future Streets, being or which at any Time become Highways within any District, be under the Management and Control of the said Local Board of Health; and the said Local Board shall from Time to Time cause all such Streets to be levelled, paved, flagged, channelled, altered, and repaired, as and when Occasion may require, and they may from Time to Time cause the Soil of any such Street to be raised, lowered, or altered as they may think fit, and place and keep in repair Fences and Posts for the Safety of Foot Passengers;

LXIX. And be it enacted, That in case any present or future Street, or any Part thereof, (not being a Highway,) be not sewered, levelled, paved, flagged, and channelled to the Satisfaction of the Local Board of Health, such Board may, by Notice in Writing to the respective Owners or Occupiers of the Premises fronting, adjoining, or abutting upon such Parts thereof as may require to be sewered, levelled, paved, flagged, or channelled, require them to sewer, level, pave, flag, or channel the same.

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