Smallpox in St John's Wood

Second outbreak

© British Newspaper Archives

This is a transcript  of an article  in Reynold’s News on 19th August 1894.

Portland Town District  was the area around  St John’s Wood High Street which itself was described  at that time as  “composed chiefly of small houses, closely packed  together,  and occupied by a poor class of tenant”.

‘As was anticipated by Dr Wynter  Blyth,  the medical   officer of health for Marylebone , a  fortnight ago,  there has been a recurrence in a limited form of the outbreak of small-pox which  recently created so much panic in Portland Town, St. John’s Wood. During the greater part of last week the smallpox returns for the metropolis were extremely low,  but now there is a “second crop” in Portland Town. On Sunday eight fresh cases came from the Portland Town District, while the rest of the metropolis showed a clean bill of health as regards that particular  disease.  On Monday four more cases had been removed from the infected area at Portland Town, making a total for the previous three days of eighteen from that particular locality.  The Portland Town cases were principally taken out  of Henry-street,  Nightingale-street,  New-street  and Tucker’s place.  Considerable alarm is again manifesting itself in St. John’s Wood, though there is no likelihood of the panic assuming its former dimensions.

On Wednesday two cases of small-pox came from the parish of St.Marylebone,  the one from Nightingale-street, Lisson-grove,   and the other from Henry-street, Portland Town. The development of the disease in Nightingale–street is being watched with very considerable anxiety by Dr. Wynter Blyth, the medical  officer of health,  inasmuch as that thoroughfare is the centre of a very crowded  district.

On Thursday one case came from Lisson-grove, another  from  Barrow-Hill-road, Portland Town, and a third from Poplar.   All were promptly removed  to the hospital  ships in Long Reach.

The officials of the Metropolitan Asylums Board, in reply to inquiry yesterday morning, stated that the process of discharging recovered patients who suffered from the recent outbreak of small-pox is now proceeding rapidly, while fresh cases are coming but slowly. Yesterday there were 166  cases under  treatment.

  The Metroploitan Asylums Board had three hospital ships, the Atlas, Endymion and Castalia,which were moored at Long Reach near Dartford, Kent.  In 1901 the Long Reach Hospital was erected on land adjoining the shore base of the hospital ships to provide extra accommodation during the smallpox epidemic.

This page was added on 02/04/2014.

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