A comparison of the Public Health methods of London with Paris must necessarily be in- complete , The difficulties of such a com- parison rendering it so . These might be classified under the following heads of funda- mental differences;- racial, climatic, dimen- sional, and "constitutional". The Parisians have the lightheartedness and gaiety of the Southern nations . Much of their life is spent out of doors , they have their favourite cafes, where they meet their friends and often transact their business. Their meals and their meal times are essentially different to those of the Londoner. The cloud- covered skies, the frequent rains, fogs, and the high relative humidity of the atmosphere tend perhaps to produce a sober or gloomy state of mind in the Londoner. His mental reserve must not ho ever be put down wholly to climate for Ireland has a climate not less humid than has England but her inhabitants vie with the Southern nations in lightness and brightness of spirits.
London and Paris differ in size and popula- tion, both are situated on the banks of a river but one has the advantage as far as drainage is concerned of being near a tidal estuary. The altitude of London is 50 feet, of Paris 210 feet, above sea level. The entanglementof authorities with a certain unavoidable overlapping inseper- able from administration areas of such enormous dimensions and such heterogeneous agglomerate bodies corporate, is, certainly since the new French Law of 1902 (regulating among other things the respective duties of the Prefect de Police and the Prefect de la Seine more marked in London. These various points are however dealt with in the appropriate section of the thesis,which are as follows; -
Law, administration, authorities statistics; Hospitals; Infectious diseases etc. Disinfection; Housing; Water; Drainage; Street cleansing etc. Pood Inspection
In conclusion I would remark on some points of difference between the two capitals, what is better managed in each, what might be improved.
In London there is much confusion owing to the multiplicity of authorities. It is for instance,doubtful even to legal experts, how far the Local Government Board can interfere with the Corporation of the City of London, or with the Post Office, who possess certain rights. The London County Council can intervene to a certain extent as regards the Metropolitan Boroughs, but not as regards the city. As I mention- ed in the section on drainage, the methods of the L. C.C. are not always above criticism. An idea prevails that it panders to the more attractive schemes. As regards investigation into contaminated watercress beds and such like, as I mentioned, such are better done as in the case of the oyster beds by the Local Government Board, who have authority, and can act fearlessly, and the information gained can then be of value. In July 1904, a Conference of representatives of the Metropolitan Asylums Board and Metropolitan Boroughs' Councils, was held on the administration of the "Public Health (London) Oct. 1901," with the idea of exchanging views and laying down principles with a view to the Laws relating to p.TH. being equally and uniformly inforced throughout London. But with what result? Twenty nine authorities were invited to send representatives. 25 (not including the City or Westminster) accepted. A heated dispute arose as to whom should have the right to vote, as a result, 2 representatives from Paddington (according to their instruct- ions), had to withdraw. The conference was drowned in talk, resolutions were passed, but there is no evidence that any betterment will result from the meeting; jealousy between the different boroughs exists to such an extent. One of the Boroughs (Poplar), is said to be on the verge of bankruptcy, and the L.G.B. is at present holding an enquiry into its affairs. In short London requires, greatly, (a) One single authority under the Local Government Board to control public health matters. (b) A water supply from Wales. (c) The Main Drainage extended sufficiently to be efficient in the vet season.
With regard to Paris, Paris is certainly behind, as regards house drainage, the old systems have not been rooted out, that takes time. Things move slowly in France, it takes time for the people to be educated to the new methods, and not resent interference. In regard to this mutter I stumbled on the following quotation in referring to a French work, "La maison du citoyen anglais défie toutes les forces de l'etat. Ce peut n' e'tre qu'une..,nasure; elle peut étre déla- brée; le toit peut s'étre effondre le vent peut y entrer; la pluie peut y entrer; mais le roi d'An - gleteue ne peut pas y entrer." It is the well known utterence of William Pitt, but now in Britain the sanitary inspector does what the King could not, and it is becoming so likewise in France. The new French' Laws of 1902 -1903 are bringing about a vast change. The 'Casier sanitaire, "an idea got from Brussels and Berlin, is well worthy of imitation in this country, as we have imitated the creches, milk depots, and slaughter houses. There is now no confusion of authority in Paris. Each prefet has his duties defined, but it is to be regretted, I think, that the Prefet de Police still retains in part duties connected with vaccination and infections disease, which might have been wholly transferred to the Préfet de la Seine. It is also regrettable, I consider, that the tax taken off temperance drinks (boissons dites hygiéniques ), has been placed on private gardens. These should be encouraged, cities have every need of these open spaces.