7th September 1900
A COMPLAINT FROM EAST GREENWICH
Sir. May I ask for a line of two in your esteemed paper with respect to some of the parts of our town neglected by the Board of Works or those of the sanitary officers whose duty it is to look after the well-being of our parish at East Greenwich? The part to which I wish to draw attention is the far end of Blackwall Lane near the S.M.Gas Works. The ditch on the left side of the lane is nothing but a dirty lot of mud, impregnated with some chemical stuff, mixed with old tins and sometimes old bed mattresses which during the warm days was most offensive and a hotbed of diseases to the many children who used to be stuck in it. If the ditch is needed to flush the sewers why not dig it out and fill it day and night with the river water at high tide which would keep it sweet and clean? If it is not wanted then why not lay drain pipes and fill in and make a pathway of it, which would be much appreciated. The second items I speak of is two filthy manure heaps in the lane – one close to the pathway owned by Mr. Mason, where all kinds of filth are shot in the shape of rotten apples, fish at times, old rags and paper, creating an awful smell and at times raked over by children, who eat the rotten fruits. The other heap is owned by a Mr. G. Saner on the roadway into the Gas Works, which is as bad, if not worse, than the other. One has no objection to stable manure, but when rotten fish, apples and the sweepings of the market are shot with it then it is most offensive. The children also rake this over and eat the rotten fruits. Is it a wonder that they carry home disease in the shape of fevers, etc. Very often landlords are put to great expense for drains, etc. which is not any fault of the house at all but of such hotbed of disease. I would like to draw to your notice the alarm that is being created by the fear of the plague at Glasgow reaching London, Such things as filthy ditches and manure heaps, if allowed exist, will go a great way to help the spread of the plague if it should reach London, or least help very much to breed fevers among the children. If you can find room for my letter in your valuable paper it may attract perhaps the attention of someone in office to the matter. I am Sir, etc. A WORKING MAN.
7th September 1900