HOUSING was the urgent post war need of both Meltham and Kirkburton urban districts, according to Dr Eric Ward, medical officer for Division 20, in his annual report.
“Many houses in Kirkburton are unfit for occupation and should be dealt with under the appropriate sections of the housing acts,” he said in the report. “The pressure of the other work has prevented the sanitary inspectors from carrying out a large number of routine housing inspections.” Information about housing conditions was far from complete but he hoped a house-to-house survey would soon be carried out. There was no accurate record of the extent of overcrowding in the area, but applications for council houses indicated the prevalence of many cases of overcrowding and unsatisfactory housing conditions. Some cowsheds and dairies in the area left much to be desired and records were being made of all private water supplies. At the end of the year 110 houses were known to have piped supply from private sources – 70 of them in Thurstonland and Farnley Tyas, 36 in Shepley and four in Lepton. Some 74 houses depended on wells and springs for their supplies – 13 in Kirkheaton, 12 in Shepley, eight in Shelley, 37 in Thurstonland and Farnley Tyas, three in Whitley Upper and one in Kirkburton. During the year 25 samples were taken from 14 private supplies for bacteriological examination. Thirteen were regarded as unsatisfactory, two were of “doubtful quality” and 10 were “unsatisfactory for domestic use”. The general health of the community was well maintained but the birth rate fell 2.49 per 1,000 compared with the previous year (14.36 against 16.85). The death rate was 11.06 per 1,000 compared with 12.67. Except for the increase in the number of cases of scarlet fever there was no abnormal incidence of infectious or other diseases.
A “wonderful day” was the unanimous verdict of 36 Stile Common County Boys’ School on their return from Birkenhead. They had been present at the launching of the new Ark Royal, the Royal Navy’s biggest aircraft carrier and had seen the Queen, who performed the launching ceremony at the Cammel Laird shipyard. The boys, members of the school’s Ship Adoption Project, were in the charge of Mr C Garthwaite, an ex-naval man, and Mr J E Clark. The aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious gave a 21-gun salute. Alan Hayes and Bryn Peck were two of the boys who saw the queen.
A drama festival of one-act plays, sponsored by the Huddersfield Youth Committee, was staged in the Fraternity Hall. Taking part in the non-competitive festival were Lockwood Civic Youth Club, Central Lads’ Brunswick Club, Paddock Civic Youth Club and the Huddersfield Co-operative Youth Club. The Paddock club performed The Rocking Chair, an award winning play by George Taylor, of Holmfirth. Taking part in the second evening of the festival were Oakes, Milnsbridge and Birkby civic youth clubs and the YMCA.
Dr John Bernard Toogood, a 24-year-old organic chemist at Huddersfield’s Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) works, was awarded one of only six scholarships for the whole of the country to attend a four-month summer course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the USA. The scholarships were awarded by the American Students organisation financed by American industrial firms. Dr Toogood, of Newport, was living at Halifax Old Road, Grimscar.