Film: 4186

London | 1950 | Sound | B/W


Foreword: Much has been written about Old Father Thames and many a tale told of dramatic adventures within its reaches, but few realise the extent of the measures taken by the Lord Mayor and the Corporation of London through its Port Health Committee, to guard against our being invaded by those enemies seen and unseen, which might otherwise attack us in our very homes. The area of the Port Health Authority involves not only the docks but also seventy miles of the River Thames from Teddington Weir to the Nore Lightship. Incidentally, did you know that the Lord Mayor of London is by long tradition the Admiral of the Port? The work of this authority is both varied and comprehensive as we shall now show.

Hoisting of a number of ships' flags on board a foreign ship. These flags signal the need for a Port Health Officer to investigate the ship. His presence is essential in order for the ship's master to gain his pratick - his right ot go ahead, unload his cargo and permit his crew to go ashore. At Gravesend, the headquarters of the Port Health Authority, the medical officer finishes his cup of tea hurriedly and makes preparations to answer the call. Port Authority headquarters at Gravesend is the Hygea with the ambulance launch Howard Dayton in attendance. The skipper and the Medical Officer enter the wheelhouse and rapidly maketheir way to the ship. Various shots of traffic on the Thames. The medical officer clambers on board the ship. The ship's master greets him and together they run over the declaration of health form. brief shot of a young boy asleep in bed. The medical officer examines the suspect and although a rare occurrence, he confirms the yung boy is definitely a plague suspect, a menace to anyone he might come in contact with. As a result, he is immediately ordered to the port isolation hospital. The patient is removed on a stretcher while the medical officer examines the rest of the crew. The patient is transferred to the launch where he is stred in the ambulance compartment. After a short run, the launch arrives at the special pier of the Port Isolation Hospital. The patient is carried up the causeway to the hospital. The rodent officer is seen looking for rat traces to determine the probable extent of infestation. On this occasion, fumigation has been ordered. This is undertaken with poison gas. Warning notices that fumigation is underway are displayed. The ship's personnel is checked off the vessel. The fumigators, all wearing white coats, put on carefully adjusted gas masks and after the necesary sealing up having been completed, the ship's holds are now ready for gas treatment. The poisonous vapour is pumped into the hold. After a short time the covers are removed and a series of tests made to ensure no gas remains, after which a gas-free certificate will be issued, enabling the crew t return. Free baiting is used for rats that come across with cargo. Soaked bisquit russks are laid down fofr three or four nights. After this poison bait is laid in the same position. As each bait is an estimated meal for one rat, the amount consumed estimates the number killed. The POrt Health Authority is also responsible for many things connected with the ship itself. An inspector makes a routine examination for the state of hygiene conditions below deck. ventilation, lighting, type, position and general conditions of the storerooms. The inspector scrutinizes large bags of flour. He discovers it is infested with weevil. He now inspects the crew accommodation for general layout. In particular he inspects the porthole. Several men in white coats lift carcasses off a trolley and stack them up. Of particular interest at this point is the reference to hygiene made of the voiceover, "Government regulations lay down that an adequate and efficient staff must always be available for examining and making sure of the wholesomeness of all imported foodstuffs. In this room dealing solely with meat, the task is carried out with complete thoroughness. This is definitely reassuring in these days when so much of our meat has to be imported." Certain shoulder glands are excised for the detection of disease, one of the tests which is always made. Another test is made by splitting the carcass down the centre of the backbone in order to examine the inner substance. Both these exploratory techniques are shown. Rejected carcasses are sent to approved firms and could materialise later as soap. Offal is tested for human consumption (tuberculosis,TB) Imported canned goods from Australia are examined. Final shot of Port of London Authority with shipyards in the background.

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