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The sites themselves on which the houses on the Woolston side of the water have been built, are however healthy ; but this cannot be said of the site of new cottages at Old Portswood, built on the marsh. At high tide, water will always be within a few feet of the floor of these dwellings, as it will always be within a few feet of the ground level of the new Board Schools at Mount Pleasant now being built on the edge of the old mudland, at the very pleasant cost, to the ratepayers, of about thirty-six thousand pounds.
The foundation stone of these costly schools was laid with considerable eclat, but our retrospect shows that a large proportion of inhabitants would have preferred to have had less eclat, and more economy. Even the Education Department refused to sanction the expenditure as originally proposed, and it had to be cut down to the present figures of about seven thousand for the site, seven thousand for making a foundation by driving piles into the mud, and twenty-one thousand for the building, in addition to fittings. These schools at Mount Pleasant for 1,200 children will cost £30 per scholar. The Board Schools recently built by the old Shirley and Millbrook School Board for 1,000 children, cost i£15,000, or £15 per scholar. Of course, you can, and it is desirable" that you should, make you own inquiries concerning the accuracy of these astonishing figures, and perhaps you will be able to discover where the great leakage has been. Seven thousand pounds for making a foundation for schools to be built on the old mudlands! There is an extensive area of mudland still remaining on the Western Shore, which has been much discussed during the year in reference both to its malodorous qualities and its possible reclamation. It has been wisely decided to let it alone. As it has been contended that the School Board should be the supreme authority for education in this town, high and low, and as they have lately shown a partiality for mud, they may, if the progress of educational legislation should recognise such a claim, require these mudlands before long as a site for additional schools already said to be wanted at Freemantle, at £30 per pupil in order to be worthy of the town, or in order to make it more famous as a site on which to build a new School Board University, which would, of course, be a marine muddy one, the first of its kind, built on the tidal mud, having scholarships from Board Schools, also built on the tidal mud, by which promising pupils, likewise educated on the tidal mud, could be drafted into it. Unless in the meantime some change in the higher ideals of School Board instruction, as regulated by code, should occur, the pupils could there have their heads crammed with learned lumber, and their brains taken out in order to make room for it, to their lasting disadvantage in the battle of life.
The health of the borough has continued satisfactory, as shown by the reports of the work of the Health Committee and the annual report of the Medical Officer. The hospital ship has at times been of special service in isolating cases of scarlet fever and other contagious diseases, and so preventing their spread. A new hospital for contagious diseases has been decided on, and plans obtained for the same. In view of the possibility of such a terrible outbreak of small-pox as occurred lately at Gloucester, it would be desirable to look even more closely than has been done to the Vaccination Laws. The Board of Guardians have been the administrators of this law, but since the growth in importance of sanitary matters and the necessary increased work i the Health Committee, the time appears to have arrived when such committees in large towns should administer the Vaccination Laws.
The Mayor, on behalf of the town, has received many distinguished visitor during the year, and paid ceremonial official visits on the water, with the silve
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