From my site
- a piece on: Wallasey Local Governemt
The most serious failure [of the Wallasey Commissioners] was the concern of neglect of public health within the parish.The whole country had already received a scare in the cholera epidemic of 1832-1833. Liverpool had suffered more then most but the cholera of 1832 had actually originated from Seacombe.
The main problem for the Commissioners was the 'Wallasey Pool', which was then a wide inlet open to the Mersey tidal estuary. At low water the smell of silt, mud and the inhabitants dumping refuse was quite revolting and nauseating. Matters were not improved with the development of Birkenhead Docks which necessitated the building of a wall across the mouth of the Pool and the damming up of the water behind it to make the Great Float. The situation was made even worse when the Dock Committee became bankrupt in 1847, leaving the area a marsh. With an increasing population and those left unemployed by the dock collapse it is not hard to understand the daunting task in public health for the Commissioners. In response to the situation the inhabitants of Seacombe sent a petition to the Board of Health in June, 1851.
An inquiry was held at Parry's Hotel, Seacombe on 31st July, 1851, by Mr Robert Rawlinson, Superintendent Inspector under the Public Health Act, 1848. The Inspector found that the problems of Seacombe was also found in the rest of Wallasey. The sewers were urgently needed but was resisted because under the Wallasey Improvement Act, 1845, it stated that the owners of the property had to pay for any sewering but under the Public Health Act the soon to be elected Local Board would have the power to levy a sewer rate on tenants. The owners reluctant's in constructing sewers was heard at the Inquiry.
Further reports was also heard at the Inquiry including a report that there was no public lighting in the Parish and only a small private gasworks which only supplied Egremont Ferry. Also urgently needing attention was the housing conditions in the district. The worst was the area known as Mersey Street, which adjoined Seacombe Ferry, and was quite abominable. In fact the mortality rate of Poulton-cum-Seacombe was far greater than even in the worst district of Liverpool
It was the Inspector's view that Wallasey was in a similar condition to that of Poulton-cum-Seacombe. The issue with Birkenhead Docks could not be solely held responsible for much of the trouble in public health. The Inspector went on to say that "if Wallasey Commissioners had put in force the powers of their Act as it now exists to their fullest extent, many nuisances complained of would have been abated. But apparently most of the clauses relating to sanitary were, up to this time, remained a dead letter".