World Health Day

The World Health Organisation commemorates World Health Day on April 7th and invites you to join a new campaign to build a fairer, healthier world.

Worthing’s Health in 1922

For World Health Day, we have found a Worthing Herald newspaper article dated Saturday June 16th 1923, publishing features of Dr. Wilshaw’s fifteenth annual report.

By 1922, the village of Heene would have become part of the Worthing and Municipal Borough.

This article enlightens us to the state of health, from numerous aspects, in the Borough of Worthing during that era.

We share some extracts here.


The Registrar General’s estimate of the population of Worthing for 1922 is 31,460.


The total number of births registered during 1922 was 404 (221 males and 183 females).

This is equivalent to a birth rate of 11.8 per 1,000 inhabitants. Average birth rate for previous five years 14.5.

Of the births, 22 were illegitimate children, forming 5 per cent of total births.

The average number of illegitimates born during the last five years is 27.


The deaths amongst Worthing residents numbered 472 (228 males and 244 females), some of these occurring in other places.

The death rate was 13.8, and of England and Wales 12.9. Average death rate previous five years, 15.2.

The infantile death rate was 52 per 1,000 births. Average for previous five years, 57.

Zymotic Mortality

There were two deaths form the seven principal zymotic diseases:- Small-pox 0, measles 0, scarlet fever 0, whooping cough 1, diptheria 0, enteric fever 1, diarrhoea (under two years) 0, Total = 2.

The zymotic death rate is thus 0.06.

Average zymotic death rate, previous five years, 0.27.

For World Health Day, we have found a Worthing Herald newspaper article dated Saturday June 16th 1925, publishing features of Dr. Wilshaw’s fifteenth annual report.

Maternity Institutions

The proposed provision by the Worthing Hospital of a Maternity Ward, in co-operation with your Public Health Committee, which was the subject of negotiation last year, is now nearly complete, and it is hoped to open in April this year.

The existing arrangements with Nurses Andrews and Swaby for the reception of mothers (married and unmarried) into their private maternity home is being continued, and for abnormal cases the arrangement with the Brighton Hospital for Women is still in force.

Isolation Hospital

The Borough Hospital is at Swandean, Durrington, three and a half miles north-west of the town, the accommodation being:- 14 beds available for scarlet fever, 14 for diptheria, 4 for observation cases, 12 for tuberculosis.


When epidemic, and accommodation is available, cases can be nursed at Swandean or, when necessary, the Assistant Health Visitor attends cases nursed at home, giving advice and assistance.

No voluntary workers’ scheme exists, the cost of nursing being borne by the Corporation.

The Worthing District Nursing Association, which is supported by public subscriptions, supplies nurses to suitable cases on application, but infectious cases are not attended.


The dispensary is at the Worthing Hospital, under the direction of the County Council; the Borough Health Visitor assists there, by arrangement with the County Council.

By agreement with the County Council two blocks, containing 12 beds (six for males and six for females) were erected at Swandean in 1920, and the first patients were received on January 1, 1921.

During the year 33 patients were treated, of these 5 males and 4 females belonged to the borough, and 12 males and 12 females came from outside the district. There were 10 deaths.

The health visitors paid 517 visits to homes during the year in connection with notified cases of tuberculosis.

George Cornford

George was an engineer at the Water Works in 1866, the early years of the growth of Worthing.

Public Water Supply

During the year the Corporation, on the advice of the Water Engineer, have carried out additional works at the Broadwater Pumping Station, with the approval of the Ministry of Health.

The works consist of a deep borehole, 20in, in diameter, in the chalk N.E. of the existing well, carried to a depth of 370ft. 0in. below ordnance datum.

In August a three days continuous pumping test showed a discharge of 25,000 gallons per hour.


The work of relieving the Broadwater sewerage system by the extension of the sewer in Broadwater Road, connecting with the main sewer in Broadwater Street, near the church, was completed the past year.

Houses in 1922

The following figures obtained from Mr Martin show the inhabited houses in the borough at the middle of 1922:-

Number of inhabited houses, 7,869; Number of families or separate occupiers, 9,000; Rateable value £218,600; Sum represented by a penny rate £870 (poor rate), £820 (general district rate); At the 1921 census the population was 31,520; At the 1911 census the population was 30,305.

Maternity and Child Welfare

Births – Registered: Legitimate 382, illegitimate 22, total 404. Notified (96 per cent): Live births 383, still births 5, total 388. By medical practitioners 74, by midwives 307, by parents 7.

Infant deaths – Number, Legitimate 18, illegitimate 3, total 21. Rate per 1,000 births: Legitimate 45, illegitimate 7, total 52

Visits paid by health visitors: 3,321.

The Maternity and Child Welfare Centre is open every Monday to all mothers, and children under five years of age, and a consultation is given to mothers by the M.O.H.

During the year 41 dental clinics were held. There were 115 attendances, 34 were new cases. the extractions numbered 269.

Glaxo, Virol and Lactagol were sold at the Centre to 101 mothers, some of whom paid half-price, and the total amount received during 1922 was £127.19s.5d.

Glaxo, Virol, cows’ milk and dinners were given to 77 mothers, the total cost of which was £177.19s.4d.

Children’s Care Society

This society co-operates with us in visiting children from one to five years of age and supplying milk in necessitous cases.

During the year the committee have paid over 1,227 visits to mothers and children in their homes.

Relief was also given in 325 cases.

Seven cases of tuberculous school children have obtained great benefit by receiving a constant supply of milk.

Four tuberculous children were sent to Convalescent Homes, the expenses being wholly or partially defrayed by the society.

Daisy Liesching

Daisy and her sisters were known for organising fundraisers and entertainment for children. They wanted to be missionaries.

School Boot Clubs

Boot clubs have been continued in 12 schools with great success.

1,102 pairs of boots were supplied and £578.11s.2d. was paid during 1922.

Poor Law Relief

The following particulars were obtained from Mr T A Boyden, the Relieving Officer, as to the extent of Poor Law relief for the borough – Half year ending March 1922 £1,451.2s.5d.; half-year ending September 1922, £1493.5s.10d.

John Ashling

John was involved in many aspects of the “Health” of Worthing in the development years. in 1881 he was a builder, employing 22 men. By 1890 he was appointed the Overseer to the Poor in Heene and manager of the Water Works, where he offered cheap private baths for working men and women.

Infectious Disease

The number of notifications of infectious disease during 1922 was 140 – Scarlet fever 50; diptheria 29; enteric fever 3; puerperal fever 2; erysipelas 5; ophthalmia neonatorum 1; tuberculosis 44; encephalitis lethargiea 2; pneumonia 4.


The number of exemptions from vaccination in Worthing during 1922 was 246.

Sanitary Inspection

General Inspections – Houses and premises inspected under the Public Health Acts and Housing Acts, 1,252; houses (newly infected), 92; common lodging houses, 14; offensive trades, 195; dairies, cowsheds and milkshops, 149; factories and workshops, 99.

Visits – Slaughterhouses, 108; butchers shops, 183; fish shops, 47; premises (re complaints), 74.

Return as to the Number and Nature of Sanitary Defects Remedied – Drains entirely reconstructed, 9; drainage defects remedied, 71; ventilation and soil pipes repaired, 8; W.C.’s repaired or new ones provided, 62; yards paved or repaired, 39; sink waste pipes and channels repaired, 39; rain-water pipes repaired, 8; roofs and gutters repaired, 16; house floors repaired, 17; houses cleansed and whitewashed, 73; sanitary dust-bins provided, 298; walls defective through dampness, remedied, 7; offensive accumulations removed 5; animals improperly kept, nuisance remedied, 2; overcrowding abated, 2; miscellaneous defects remedied, 53; fire ranges repaired, 11; houses made fit, 1; disinfections carried out, 161; smoke nuisance abated, 1; drains tested and reported on, 15.

Number of Statutory Notices served under the Public Health Acts – Section 36 (affecting 85 houses), 37; Section 46 (affecting 1 house), 1; Section 41 (affecting 4 houses), 3; George lV, Act (re River Ditch and Teville Stream), 8.

Food Inspection

The butcher, fish and provision shops and the railway stations were frequently visited, and the result of inspections is shown in the following table, giving the amount of diseased or unsound food surrendered and destroyed:

Unsound – 585lb. beef; 99lb. mutton; 4tons potatoes; 2 sheeps’ heads and plucks; 101lb. sausages, 3 tins sweetbreads; 1 fowl; 4 boxes cod and haddock; 2 tins salmon; 9 tins sardines; 12 boxes bloaters; 30 boxes kippers; 2 tins crayfish; 1 barrel crabs; 7 tins pilchards; 7 tins pineapple; 1 box apples; 2 tins apricots; 1 box pears; 2 tins peaches; 6.25lb. cherries; 4 tins baked beans; 5 tins corned beef.

Medical Inspection of Schoolchildren

Of the 995 children examined at routine cases 114 or 11 per cent, were found to have defects requiring treatment.

And, in addition 165 or 16 per cent, were referred for observation, but not treatment, excluding in both cases dental defects.

Therefore, roughly one child in every eight examined was found to have some defect sufficiently serious to require treatment.

Abigail Jonathon

Abigail was a student nurse and we wonder if she might have been examining children at schools in Worthing.

Following up

This work is admirably carried out by the school nurses, and the extent of it may be gathered from the following summary of homes visited.

Re eyes, 176; teeth, 1; heads, 82; tonsils, 308; ringworm, 12; various, 73; total 652.

Survey for conditions of Uncleanliness – The nurse makes at least one visit to each school per term and examines the whole of the children for dirty head etc., conditions, and during the year paid visits as follow: –

Inspections for cleanliness, 169; inspections for eye cases, 23; various, 213; total, 405.

The average number of visits per annum made by the school nurses to each school: 15.

The total number of examinations made of children by school nurses in the year in the schoolsL between 11,000 and 12,000.

The work of the School Clinic has proved useful in encouraging a more rapid return to school of children suffering from minor ailments, as well as in the supervision of children needing special observation.

Co-operation of Voluntary Bodies

The Children’s Care Society, which chiefly works in connection with the Maternity and Child Welfare work, conducts a Boot Club in all the schools, and ladies collect monies every Monday morning and issue orders for new boots where required.

Last year £578.11s.2d. was paid in, and 1,102 pairs of boots were provided.

Blind, Deaf, Defective and Epileptic Children

These children are ascertained through inspection by the Medical Officer and other periodic visits to schools.

Also by visits of the school nurses, and from information received by teachers, parents, school attendance officers, the health visitor and the visitors of the Children’s Care Society.

At the end of the year we had 13 mentally deficient and 6 epileptic.

World Health Day 7th April 2021

We wonder how you feel, after reading this article giving you a peep into the Annual Health Report of 1922, in comparison to your health experiences of 2021? Will you join the World Health Organisation campaign to build a fairer, healthier world?

A small donation would help us continue to bring you the history of yesterday, and the findings of today!

Sue Standing – Chairperson for Friends of Heene Cemetery