County Palatine of Chester
Local Medical and Panel Committee
March 22, 1939
Sir Robert McCarrison on Diet for Health
"THERE is, therefore, no longer any doubt as to what the right kind of diet is. It is one made up of the following eight classes of foodstuffs:
- Whole or lightly milled cereal grains; whole wheat flour and bread made from it or standard bread or bread containing the germ of the wheat and a proportion of the outer skin of the wheat grains; rye bread; oatmeal; semolina.
- Milk and the products of milk: cheese, butter, skimmed milk, curds and buttermilk.
- Pulses: peas, beans and lentils.
- Fresh, green leaf vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, watercress, cabbage, parsley, turnip tops, nettle tops, and young dandelion leaves.
- Root vegetables, particularly potatoes, carrots and onions.
- Fruit, both fresh and sun dried; with the fruit may be included tomato.
- Meat, including glandular organs such as liver, fowl, and fish, particularly the herring.
And it is on diets made up for the most part of these that you must live if you wish to be vigorous, hardy and healthy and to remain healthy."
1. Ann. Rep. Chief M.O. Bd. of Educat., 1936, p. 120.
2. (a) M. Mellanby: 'Lancet,' London, ii, p. 767.
Brit. J. Dent. Sci. 1921;
Brit. Dent. J., 1928;
Sp. Rep. Ser. Med. Res. Coun., London, No. 180, 1929
"Of great practical importance was the observation that the feeding of the mother during pregnancy and lactation might have an even greater effect on the development and structure of the permanent, than of the deciduous teeth of the offspring." -- [Sp. Rep. Ser. Med. Res. Coun., London. "Vitamins: A survey." p. 91]
(b) (1934) Drs. Wilfrid Fish and Leslie Harris, D. Sc., in 1934 drew attention to shortage of Vitamin C causing poor dental enamel and cement.
(c) (1937) Dr. Evelyn Sprawson, London Hospital, stated that children in the institution in which he worked who were fed on raw milk had perfect teeth whereas others in circumstances identical in all respects except that their milk was pasteurized had defective teeth.
3. Ann. Rep. Chief M.O. Bd. of Educat., 1936, p. 50.
4. E. Mellanby: J. Physiol., Jan., 1918.
5. Final Report Dep. Cttee. Maternal Mortality, 1932, p. 60.
6. (a) J. Wilkinson: Views summarised under "Anaemia," Rolleston's Encyclopaedia of Medicine.
(b) C. C. Ungley: Goulstonian Lectures for 1938. 'Lancet': 23rd April, 1938, p. 925.
'Some deficiencies of Nutrition': II 'Nutritional Deficiency in relation to Anaemia.'
He refers, inter alia, to the observation by Lucy Wills, [B.M.J. 1931, vol I. p. 1059] that deficiency of "a substance associated with the Vitamin B complex" might play a part in the causation of pernicious anaemia. In certain tropical anaemias, often arising in pregnancy, and always associated with poor diets, Wills observed that Marmite, that is autolysed yeast, was as effective as liver extract. Large doses are given, a drachm 2 to 4 times a day, and the complicating oedema rapidly disappears.
7. Sir John Boyd Orr, "Food Health and Income," 1936 [Macmillan] p. 35.
8. Ibid. p. 43.
9. Captain J. Lind, "A Treatise on Scurvy," published 1757. The main experience related was "on 20th May, 1747, I took twelve patients in the scurvy on board the 'Salisbury' at sea. Their cases were as similar as I could have them. Two of these were ordered each a quart of cyder a day. Two 25 drops of Elixir Vitriol t.d.s. Two 2 spoonfuls vinegar t.d.s. Two on 1/2 pint sea-water a day. Two others had each two oranges and one lemon given them every day. These they ate with greediness, at different times, upon an empty stomach. They continued but six days under this course, having consumed the quantity that could be spared. Two had an 'electary' [electuary] of garlic, mustard, etc. The consequence was, that the most sudden and visible good effects were perceived from the use of the oranges and lemons; one of those who had taken them being at the end of six days fit for duty ... The other was the best recovered of any in his condition; and being now deemed pretty well, was appointed nurse to the rest of the sick."
Lind recognised the value of green salads: -- "Salads of any kind are beneficial; but especially the mild saponaceous herbs, dandelion, sorrel, endive, lettuce, fumitory, and purslain. To which may be added scurvy-grass, cresses... " "For medicines in scurvy, he continues, "there is no great occasion, provided the green herbage and fresh broth keep the belly lax... "
10. Captain James Cook, F.R.S. "Voyage towards the South Pole and Round the World," 1772-5 ["Voyages," Everyman Edition, Dent, London.]
"Sour Krout, of which we had a large quantity, is not only a wholesome vegetable food, but in my judgement highly antiscorbutic, and it spoils not by keeping... By this means the disease was prevented getting a foothold on the ship." At first the sailors would not eat it, but "the moment they see their superiors set a value upon it, it becomes the finest stuff in the world and the inventor an honest fellow..."
"Rob* of lemon and orange is an antiscorbutic which we were not without. The surgeon made use of it in many cases with great success." *['Rob' means "the inspissated juice of ripe fruit, obtained by evaporation of the juice over a fire till it acquires the consistence of a syrup, which will prevent its fermentation." (Webster) For Zilva's present day method of concentrating lemon juice see "Vitamins: A survey" (Med. Res. Council) 1932, p. 255. The juice thus concentrated 4-1/2 times was used in 1930-31 by the Brit. Arctic Air Route Expedition. A dessertspoonful a day kept Augustine Courtauld entirely free from all symptoms of scurvy from 26th October, 1930, to 5th May, 1931.]
Of the termination of Cook's second voyage Raymond Beazley writes [Traill's Social England, vol. 5, p. 303] "On 29th-30th July (1755) he landed at Plymouth, after three years' absence and with the loss of only four men -- a decisive victory over the scurvy."
The regular use of lemon juice was made compulsory in the Navy in 1804. In the middle of the century West Indian lime juice was unfortunately substituted. In 1876 H.M.S. "Alert" and H.M.S. "Discovery," Captain Nares, plentifully supplied with lime juice, and had much serious scurvy. Miss A. Henderson Smith, 'Lancet' 1918, ii 813 and R.A.M.C. Jl. 1929, 32, 93, 188, reviews this important blunder.
Modern recognition of accessory food factors
11. Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, P.R.S., O.M. 1912. Journal of Physiol, 44, p. 425.
Of his experiments on rats upon a purified synthetic diet which included fat, protein, carbohydrate, salts and water -- all the ingredients of food then known to be necessary -- he wrote that: --
"The total energy consumption of the animals was carefully determined, and it was shown that the rats upon the highly purified diet ceased to grow at a time when their intake was more than sufficient quantitatively to maintain growth."
"On a less pure basal dietary the food consumption necessary for a given weight increment was reduced to one half or less compared with that necessary on a pure basal dietary."
"Cessation of growth on a pure dietary took place before any failure of appetite." Half a teaspoonful of milk added made all the difference: the rats began to grow.
Leslie Harris, D.Sc. ["Vitamins in theory and practice" 1931, Cambridge Univ. Press] points to this work by Hopkins as providing the convincing quantitative evidence for the accessory food factors. It was substantially the beginning of a new dietetic era.
Sir Robert McCarrison's work
12. His appended bibliography, for which the thanks of the committee are due to Mr. T. J. Shields, librarian of the B.M.A., gives some conception of the basis of research upon which Sir Robert's teaching is founded.
Perhaps no passage in his writings better summarises his doctrine than that which is quoted in our Testament.
13. The Hunza are a small tribe in the Hunza Valley on the northern-most frontier of India. Sir Robert McCarrison, who for some years was medical officer of the area which includes their valley, Sir Aurel Stein, General Bruce and many other travellers and climbers all pay tribute to their physique.
Dr. Wrench in "The Wheel of Health" [C.W. Daniel and Co., Ltd., 40 Great Russell Street, W.C. 1 -- 1938] has gathered together all the information available about this people. It is an easily read volume of fascinating interest and the culture of the food which is the basis of their marvellous health -- and be it added good humour -- is related.
That there are some suggestive evidences in a high mountain district of Peru of a closely comparable civilisation, long extinct, is a fact of interest. In view of the range of green vegetables the Hunza cultivate, the detail that some sixty salad plants have been discovered in this Peruvian region is noteworthy, especially as no such flora is found elsewhere in that country.
Experiences of Members of the Committee
14. These have no pretentions to be scientific research but are submitted as examples of the effects of diet noted over and over again in ordinary family practice.
The reality of the value of using fresh, well chosen food is shewn in a practice in a Cheshire village. The County ante-natal scheme makes provision for a woman's own family doctor to supervise her in pregnancy. Her nutrition is his first concern. In the village referred to the local Mothers' organisation conducts a 'child-welfare' each month to which the local doctor is honorary M.O. A fair percentage of all his patients attend and thus receive his advice upon the nurture of the children some 8 to 12 times a year; and a thorough mutual understanding has grown up. The food of the mother, during her pregnancy, is wholemeal bread, 1 to 2 pints of milk (raw), generally including 1/2 a pint at breakfast taken with porridge (medium oatmeal scattered into boiling water and stirred till it thickens); eggs are used freely; salads in abundance, including celery and dandelion leaves; green leaf vegetables plunged into boiling water for 5 minutes and eaten with butter or poached eggs -- or with meat, but the amount of meat taken is very moderate; liver weekly; herrings twice or once a week and a little cod liver oil except on herring days; fruit in abundance -- such is an outline of their food. The evening meal is often begun with soup of the Scots broth type, but carrots, unpeeled, are grated into it just before serving. Apples are eaten in their skins or baked in their skins, and other fruit is used freely. Potatoes are baked in their skins or boiled in their skins [dropped into boiling water and boiled till they "smile," then the water is poured off and a crumpled cloth put in the pot whilst it is drawn to the side of the fire.] Cheshire cheese, grated into a salad, with a hard egg, is advised and popular.
The wholemeal bread in question is fertility bread, that is, locally grown wheat, ground or rather dashed to pieces by a steel fan revolving 2,500 times a minute in a local mill, mixed with half its weight of raw wheat germ fresh off the rollers of a Liverpool mill and -- a point to be rigidly insisted upon -- baked at once, within 36 hours at most -- a rather close but very palatable bread, requiring no little skill in baking, though a number of bakers in the neighbourhood have acquired it.
If her haemoglobin be 80 per cent, or under, the mother receives iron, ferrous sulphate, or other.
With rare exceptions, and those almost always "strangers," the mothers feed their infants at the breast 9 months and then wean them by a year or a little more. The nursing mother's food continues as in pregnancy, including the greens and salads. The feeding times are 6 a.m., 10 a.m., 2 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. -- and very seldom in the small hours.
The children begin to bite the wholemeal crusts at from 7 to 9 months and then often get a little raw turnip juice made by putting Barbadoes sugar [Muscovado] into a hollowed out swede or other turnip.
Except custard (egg and also "beast milk") and junket, no milk puddings are used, except when occasionally rice which still has its germ and silver skin, can be obtained. Ordinary rice is discouraged.
Furmity, [Frumenty] is not yet forgotten by the indigenous people and its use is encouraged.
No patent or "processed" food of any kind whatever is employed, with the exception of Marmite and dried yeast.
Broth, red gravy, brains and marrow bones are used for the children from 9 months onwards.
The children are encouraged to go barefoot, which suits them very well, but only a very few of the mothers so far, are entirely cordial about this.
When the regime grew up little by little, many years ago, there were a thousand minor difficulties; fruition was slow. But it has now been established long enough for the generation it has fostered to be studied.
The teeth are a good index of the fidelity of the mother in carrying out the regimen, both before and after the baby was born; and it may be said that perfect sets are becoming more common.
The children are splendid. As infants they sleep as well as could be wished, grow well, and are not over fat, but weigh well and very seldom "ail anything." Broncho-pneumonia, for instance, is almost unknown amongst them. One of their most striking features is their good humour and happiness. They are sturdy limbed, beautifully skinned normal children.
It is not desired to give the impression that the child population of this village is perfect or that complete compliance with the dietary advised is secured even amongst all who attend the centre; but it is a fact that the mothers follow it substantially and with good results, which those concerned think they recognise.
The benefits are visible in the households. "We have all taken to brown bread now; and I'm sure we're the better for it." -- "No white bread comes in this house: it's all wholemeal and there's no trouble with constipation." -- "We've got that fond of the meal bread that when we went to the seaside and they gave us white we all looked at each other!" -- And a number of families seriously cultivate their gardens for growing a succession of saladings.
A young woman, town bred, resident in a large public institution where she was a technical instructress, married a farmer. That is to say she passed from a menage where white bread and contract butter were the invariable rule whilst green vegetables were the rare exception, and subjected to prolonged cooking in steam jacketed pans at that, -- to one where good fresh food was available if trouble were taken. It was taken; but it was too late. Anaemic and constipated as she was, her pregnancy confirmed the fear that she was in no fit state to become a mother. Despite all efforts she passed through the kind of experience which seems to justify the notion that to be gravid is to be ill. All forms of toxemias of pregnancy, anorexia, hyperemesis, albuminuria and oedemia were exhibited by turns; and a foul otorrhoea of old standing awoke to virulent activity. Despite all this she arrived at term and underwent an anxious, lingering and difficult confinement. The infant, resuscitated by prolonged artificial respiration, was sickly and emaciated. His respirations were intermittent and after some 60 hours he breathed his last. The mother hung on to life and almost imperceptably her condition drifted -- or rather was led, for she was surrounded by the utmost solicitude -- into slow convalescence.
All this detail has been related as a contrast to the sequel. Being actively minded she began to take quickened interest in her surroundings, the farm. Little by little she came to do a real share of the normal work of a country-bred farmer's wife. Strength and the look of health came to her. The improvement was not fortuitous. It was decided from the start that a real attempt should be made to rebuild her physique. Her food was the fertility bread, farm or Empire butter, salads in variety and abundance, with grated carrots, soup and barley, potatoes in their jackets and unlimited fruit. Marmite and dried yeast were used. She took about a quart of milk a day fresh from their own cows, and she gradually came to take as many eggs as she wished, herrings freely and occasionally liver. She enjoyed life, and it was obvious in about a year that she was in abounding health.
Then she announced that she was again pregnant. A time of excellent health followed, no drawback. The confinement was normal, birth being spontaneous. The baby was in first rate condition. Lactation was established and maintained fully and easily for over 9 months, finished finally in about a year. With the exception of a mild influenzal attack, the mother's health has been good. Furthermore the chronic otorrhoea of many years' standing has at last dried up.
The baby is as good, physically and in morale, as could be wished.
In May, 1938, I was consulted by a young Irishman. His age was about 23. He complained that he was "very poorly and had been sick and vomiting for three days." I found he was suffering from catarrhal jaundice. He had come over from the West of Ireland two months previously and was employed on a road construction scheme in Cheshire.
I questioned him about his diet. I found that his breakfast consisted of bacon, white bread and tea. His dinner he took to his work and was mainly sandwiches of white bread and ham or beef with tea, and his evening meal was white bread and butter, sometimes an egg, and sometimes a bit of meat and tea.
My examination revealed to me, despite his illness, a physique and an alertness of mind and body which it was a delight to behold. He was well over six feet in height with jet black hair and a ruddy complexion, and in his jaws there were 32 healthy and symmetrical teeth. He possessed a supple body and limbs of good proportion, and apart from his gastric condition was of sound constitution.
I thought him to be as fine a specimen of humanity as I had ever seen. He aroused my interest and I wondered how such a body had been nurtured.
On enquiry he informed me "they were very poor in the West of Ireland and food was very poor indeed." "What did they have for breakfast?" -- "Porridge and milk and a little bit of bacon fat."
"What did they have for dinner?" -- "Porridge and milk and a little bit of bacon, buttermilk and potatoes, and sometimes broth." His mother made grand broth of vegetables which they grew in the garden -- carrots turnips, potatoes, green vegetables.
"What did they have for tea?" -- "Oatcakes, scones and butter with milk and plenty of buttermilk, sometimes a little tea with bread and eggs." On further enquiry I found they might have an old fowl with bacon and potatoes for their Sunday dinner. "His mother made very good gooseberry and blackberry jam."
"Did they have any fish?" -- "Oh yes, they always had a bit of dried salted fish, and as they lived near the river they sometimes got a bit of salmon." "They had very little meat, but they could always get a rabbit." "The potatoes were often baked for supper."
It would appear that his body had been nurtured on the natural products of the West of Ireland.
Tristan da Cunha
(14+) Tristan da Cunha. -- We are indebted to Mr. Irving Gane, Hon. Secretary, Tristan da Cunha fund, for the following information: --
Mr. James. R. A. Moore, L.D.S., R.C.S. (Eng.) visited the Island in 1932 and again in 1937. In 1932 he examined 156 persons and 183 in 1937. Of the 3,181 permanent teeth in the former year, there were 74 carious and of the 3,906 in the latter year there were 179 carious.
He speaks of the physique of the people as being good. They are well set up, clean, and well nourished. The children are breast fed and are not weaned until at least one year old. Fish and potatoes are the staple diet, meat occasionally, milk and butter sufficient. Eggs form a big item of the island diet and are mainly Mollyhawk and Penguin. Vegetables are not plentiful, but beetroot, lettuce, beans and onions are now being grown. Imported flour and sugar are regarded as luxuries, but they have been brought in to a greater extent latterly, which may account for the tendency of the teeth to deteriorate.
The fat in adequate amount is provided by rendering down the carcasses of young Mollyhawks and Petrels and is used extensively for frying. Sea water is evaporated to provide salt.
Nutrition and the Soil
15. Sir Robert McCarrison, in the following passage, clearly recognises the essential dependence of the health of mankind upon the quality of the soil.
He was lecturing to boys and girls, and said there is no longer any doubt as to what is the right kind of diet, and went on to detail eight classes of foodstuffs (see beginning of the notes). "What I want you to learn from this lecture," he continued," is that it is the foodstuffs themselves that matter to you rather than any chemical ingredient of them; the foodstuffs which I have mentioned in the list given above. These, when properly combined in the diet, supply all the food-essentials known and unknown, discovered and undiscovered, needed for normal nutrition, provided they are produced on soils which are not impoverished. For if they be produced on impoverished soils their quality will be poor and the health of those who eat them -- man and his domestic animals -- will suffer accordingly. Man is literally created out of the earth, since it is the earth that supplies, through the agency of plants, materials out of which he is made. If, therefore, he is to derive all the benefits which the earth is so ready to yield to him he must employ his intelligence, his knowledge and his labour in rendering it fit to yield them to him. In this country impoverishment of the soil goes on apace because we take out of it in the form of crops more than we put into it in the form of animal and other organic manures. This impoverishment leads to infertility of the soil and this, in its turn, to a whole train of evils: pasture of poor quality; poor quality of the stock raised upon it; poor quality of the foods this stock provides for man -- meat, eggs, milk; poor quality of the vegetable foods he raises for himself; and, faulty nutrition with the resultant diseases in plants, beasts and men. Out of the earth we and the plants and animals that feed us are created and made, and to the earth we must return the things whereof we are made if it is to yield again foods of a quality suited to our needs. There is in this country, at the present time, no greater need than that by proper care and cultivation of our soil we may make ourselves self-supporting in the health-giving foods, particularly milk, garden vegetables and potatoes."
16. (a) Albert Howard and Yeshwant D. Wad, "The Waste Products of Agriculture," 1931 [Oxford Univ. Press] pp. 167.
17. The ancient Chinese method: see "Farmers of Forty Centuries." F. H. King, D.Sc. [Jonathan Cape: reprinted, 1933].
Dr. L. H. Bailey writes in the preface: --
"The first condition of farming is to maintain fertility. This condition the Oriental peoples have met."
King: "The average of 7 Chinese holdings ... indicates a maintenance capacity of 1,783 people, 212 cattle or donkeys and 399 swine -- 1,995 consumers and 399 rough food transformers per square mile of farm land. These statements for China represent strictly rural populations. The rural population of the U.S.A. in 1900 was placed at 61 per square mile of improved farm land and there were 30 horses and mules." [p. 17]
King: "They" [the Chinese] "have long realised much time is required to transform organic matter into forms available for plant food, and although they are the heaviest users in the world, the largest portion of this organic matter is predigested with soil or subsoil before it is applied to fields. This is at an enormous cost of human time and labour, but it practically lengthens their growing season and enables them to adopt a system of multiple cropping which would not otherwise be possible. By planting in hills and rows with intertillage, it is very common to see three crops growing upon the same field at one time, but in different stages of maturity -- one nearly ready to harvest, one just coming up, and the third at the stage when it is drawing most heavily on the soil ... " [p. 23]
King speaks of "the almost universal planting of hills or drills, and so making possible the utilisation of earth mulches in conserving soil moisture."
In short, the maintenance in health and happiness of a population of 500 millions depends on the systematic use of organic -- vegetable and animal -- wastes, carefully composted together by the age-old skill and applied, often as a mulch, to the growing crops, to which the system of planting allows access and at the stage of life of the plant when readily assimilable plant food produces the best result.
Of the value of the wastes, King gives many examples: --
[p. 22] "The International Concession of the city of Shanghai, in 1908, sold to a Chinese contractor the privilege of entering residences and public places early in the morning of each day in the year and removing the night soil, at a price of more than $31,000, gold, for 78,000 tones of waste." He quotes from the annual report of Dr. Arthur Stanley, Health Officer of Shanghai, " ... if prolonged national life is indicative of sound sanitation, the Chinese are a race worthy of study by all who concern themselves with public health ... The main problem of sanitation is to cleanse the dwelling day by day, and if this can be done at a profit, so much the better." [q. by King, p. 175]
The late Dr. Geo Vivian Poore [in his "Essays on Rural Hygiene" (Longman's) 1903] employed a quotation from Victor Hugo [Les Miserables] to point to the proper use of city wastes: --
"Ces tas d'ordures du cain des bornes, ces tombareaux de boue cahotés la nuit dans les rues, ces affreux tonneaux de la voirie, ces fétides ecoulementits de fange seuterraine que le pavé vous cache, savez-vous ce que e' est? C'est de la prairie en fleur, c'est de l'herbe verte, c'est du serpolet et du thym et de la sauge, c'est du gibier, c'est du béeail, c'est le magissement satisfait des grands boeus le soir, c'est du foin parfume, c'est du blé doré, c'est du pain sur votre table, c'est du sang chaud dans vos veines, c'est de la santé, s'est de la joie, c'est de la vie. Ainsi le venut cette création mysterieuse que est la tansformation sur la terre et la transfiguration dans le ciel."
"Rendez ecla au grand creuset; votre abondance en sortira. La nutrition des plaines fait la nourriture des hommes."
"Vous etes maitres de perdre cette richesse, et de me trouver ridicule par-dessus le marché. Ce sera la , le chef d-oeuvre de votre ignorance."
-- The quotation is more than lyrical and literary: it is good hard sense.
To return to King: he clearly points [p. 23] to the Chinese recognition, ages old, of two invaluable principles: (a) the fact that leguminous plants, clover, beans, peas, vetches, lupines, acting as hosts for lower organisms living on their roots, "are largely responsible for the maintenance of soil nitrogen, drawing it directly from the air." This was only discovered in Europe in 1888.
"Just before, or immediately after, the rice crop is harvested, fields are often sowed to 'clover' (Astragalus silvicus) which is allowed to grow until near the next transplanting time [rice is grown in seedbeds and transplanted as seedlings] when it is either turned under directly or more often stacked along the canals and saturated with soft mud dipped from the bottom of the canal. After fermenting twenty or thirty days it is applied to the field ... " [Compare the practice of Messieurs Arthur Guinness -- see below -- at their hop gardens at Bodiam].
(b) [King, p. 167]. The important fundamental principle "only recently understood and added to the science of agriculture, namely, the power of organic matter, decaying rapidly in contact with soil, to liberate from it soluble plant food."
It is the working of this principle which Sir Albert Howard has now disclosed, and the practical manner of its employment has been rationalised in his "Indore method." [See 16 above]. Also see quotation in The Testament itself.
Of King's book, Farmers of Forty Centuries, Viscount Lymington ["Famine in England" (Witherby), 1938, p. 138] speaks as "a book which should have made all western doctors and biological scientists re-think and re-value everything they ever thought and dreamt."
Town Wastes at Nairobi
18. "The most interesting development in the transformation into humus of the waste products of a town has recently taken place in Kenya. A factory, erected and managed by the Express Transport Company, is now at work at Nairobi, converting the following wastes into manure: coffee parchment, boma manure, tannery waste, hair, wool and fleshings, horn and hoof, bones, cotton seed residues, chaff, wood ashes and crude limestone. When necessary these materials are first finely ground before mechanical mixing, then moistened and composted in pits according to the technique laid down in The Waste Products of Agriculture [Howard & Wad]. Nothing, however, is left to chance: the proportions of the various ingredients are suitably adjusted; the correct degree of acidity is maintained in the fermenting mass; everything is done to turn out an ideal fertilizer. The conversion takes ninety days, when a rich, finely divided humus of the following composition (expressed in percentages) is produced: moisture 25.0, organic matter 62.15, nitrogen 1.5, phosphoric acid 1.5, potash 1.5, lime 4.0. The content of soluble humus is 14.0 per cent; the carbon : nitrogen ratio is 15:1. The plant has a capacity of 20 tons a day; in 1934 the sales amounted to 3,500 tons; the price at the pits is 14s. a ton. In a letter, dated Nairobi, September 26th, 1935, the managing director of the company reports:
"The results obtained on controlled experimental plots of flowers, vegetables, maize, grassland and coffee have been amazing."
"The Nairobi enterprise started as a simple commercial proposition suggested by the results which followed the adoption of the Indore Method on the Coffee Estates of Kenya. It proved an immediate success for the simple reasons that the product is just what the soil requires and the price is reasonable."
[Lecture: London Sch. Hygiene and Trop. Med., 17th June, 1937.]
19. "A Boon to Smaller Municipalities: the Disposal of House Refuse and Night Soil by the Indore Method." [The Commercial and Technical Journal, Calcutta, October, 1936] quoted by Howard, ibid.
Precise details of the working of the system are given, tools and layout. As to cost: "A population of 5,000 in India yields some 250 c.ft. of house refuse daily, enough to mix with all the night soil. This will require a compost factory of 16 pits of 500 c.ft. each -- one pit being filled in two days. With roads, platforms, and tools this costs from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1,500. The daily output is 150 c.ft. of finished compost, which finds a ready sale at Rs. 5 to 7. At the lower figure the sale proceeds of the first year will be about Rs. 1,800. This more than covers the working expenses.
"A factory of this size will need a permanent staff of five men, since each pit will need the labour of:
4 men for filling and mixing,
1/2 man for the first turn,
1/2 man for the second turn,
5 men for removing and stacking,
and one pit will be filled every two days. If the work were given out on contract these labour figures could be reduced."
The Sanitary Aspect:
"From the point of view of sanitation and public health the results are very satisfactory. On this point Lieut. Colonel Tyrell, C.I.E., I.M.S., Inspector-General of Hospitals and Director of Public Health, Holkar State, reported in 1933 as follows: --
'I have been able to watch and assist in the development of the Indore Process since it was started early in 1932. From the experience so far gained, the process holds out great prospects of proving the most satisfactory method employed at present for the disposal of night soil and town refuse.
'From the public health point of view some of the outstanding features are:
'(1) The very high temperature (which is generated in a short time) leads to the destruction of insect life and also renders the compost unsuitable for fly-breeding. The temperature is so great and remains high for such a long time that it seems probable that the ova of helminths are destroyed, but it has not been possible, so far, to carry out any tests in this connection.
'(2) The smallness of the area (about three acres) required for the complete disposal of all the refuse from an area populated by 60,000 persons. Under the old trench system the night soil was carted considerable distances, often across fields, with resulting damage to carts and spilling of the contents. In the rains it was a common occurrence to see broken-down carts bogged in the mud and the contents flowing over the ground and to find the trenches half full of water and the earth to cover them turned into mud. Under the new system all that is required is a small area of land laid out with metalled roads and a much reduced staff of men working under much better conditions.
'(3) The rapid and complete manner in which the night soil and refuse are converted into what looks and smells like odourless black mould. The comparison between the new system and the old method with its enormous dumps of refuse, requiring many months to disintegrate and forming a breeding-place for flies and rats, is most striking.
'The Indore Process has been put to a very severe test during the last few months when the rainfall has been excessive and over 50 inches. In spite of these very adverse conditions the results have been satisfactory -- and with further experience even better results may be expected. There is a steady market for the compost, and when its manurial value is better known the demand is likely far to exceed the supply.'"
Arthur Guinness, Son & Co., Ltd.,
16th February, 1939.
L. Picton, Esq., B.M.,
In reply to your letter of the 15th February, I have to say that we have been using crushed refuse from Southwark since before 1922.
At one time we simply spread the crushed refuse on the hop gardens to encourage the growth of weeds during the Autumn and Winter, thereby saving wash of the soil and providing a green manure for ploughing in in the Spring. Of late years, however, we have cut up our hop bines and the coir yarn on which they grow into 9in. pieces and together with any waste material we can get hold of from marsh dykes, etc., have put them into a compost heap, where fermentation takes place and the whole reduces down to a friable mass, which is then spread on the hop gardens. We believe this encourages the earthworm.
We have no knowledge that the health of the plant is influenced one way or the other.
We spread something in the neighbourhood of 10,000 tons of this mixture in the course of twelve months.
21. The results of Captain R. G. M. Wilson's trial of the Indore system at the Iceni Estate, near Surfleet in Lincolnshire are related in a memo which he drew up for the Brit. Assoc. who visited the estate on the 4th of September, 1937. He wrote: --
"The Iceni Estate consists of about 325 acres comprised as follows: --
Arable land, etc -- 225 acres
Permanent grassland -- 30
Rough wash grazings -- 35
Land under intensive horticulture -- 35
Total -- 325
The main idea in the development of the Estate has been to prove that even today, in certain selected areas of England, it is a commercial proposition to take over land which has been badly farmed, and bring it back to a high state of fertility, employing a large number of persons per acre.
To this end the Estate has been developed as a complete agricultural unit with a proper proportion of live stock, arable land, grassland, and horticulture, with the belief that after a few years of proper management the Estate can become very nearly, if not entirely, a self-supporting unit, independent of outside supplies of chemical manures, etc., and feeding stuffs of the land being kept in a high state of fertility, which is quite unusual today, by:
- A proper balance of cropping.
- The conversion of all wheat straw into manure in the crew yards and the utilisation of this manure and as much as possible of the waste products of the land for making humus for the soil.
As regards (2), the method of humus making which has been employed is known as 'The Indore Process,' and has proved remarkably successful. The output in 1936 amounted to approximately 700 tons, and in the current year will probably be about 1,000 tons.
As a result of this utilization of humus, the land under intensive cultivation has already reached a state of independence, and for the last two years no chemicals have been used in the gardens at all either as fertilizers or as sprays for disease and pest control. The only wash which has been used on the fruit trees is one application each winter of lime sulphur, and it is hoped to eliminate this before long.
The farm land is not yet independent of the purchase of fertilizers, but the amount used has been steadily reduced from 106 tons used in 1932, costing £675, to 40-1/2 tons in the current year, costing £281. Similarly the potato crop is now only sprayed once, and this, it is hoped, will also be dispensed with before many years when the land has become healthy and in a proper state of fertility.
Eventually, with a properly balanced crop rotation, there is no doubt in my mind that the same degree of independence can be reached on the farm as has already been attained on my market garden land.
The probable cropping will eventually work out as follows: --
75 acres potatoes.
75 acres wheat.
25 acres barley, oats, beans and linseed (for stock feeding).
15 acres roots (for stock feeding).
30 acres one year clover and ryegrass leys for feeding pigs and poultry and cutting for hay, ploughing in the aftermath.
The live stock carried on the farm at the June returns was as follows: --
22 cattle (cows and young stock of my own breeding).
14 horses (including foals).
15 sows (for breeding).
103 other pigs.
120 laying hens (of my own stock).
And although it is rather early to say, I believe that the above figures may be about right for the size of the farm, with the addition of about twenty cattle for winter yard feeding. This latter importation will be rendered unnecessary in a few years when the number of cattle of my own breeding will have increased."
[q. The Empire Cotton Growing Review, July, 1938].
Freshness and quality of food
22. Sir Robert McCarrison writes [personal communication, 27th December, 1938]: "This is a good point, for there is 'something' in freshness and quality of food which is not accounted for by the known chemical ingredients of food: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins."
23. (a) Freshness
Dr. F. Jno. Poynton [B.M.J., Oct. 21, 1933, p. 755] records "an interesting event concerning infantile scurvy. On former occasions I have alluded to my belief that this condition seemed to me to be on the increase. Now, for the first time in my years of hospital life, I have had three cases at the same time in my ward at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street. This seems remarkable when we realise the great work that has been done on vitamins and when we perhaps look upon the position of Vitamin C as one of the best understood among them. These cases have been severe, and one of them recalls, in the severity of the affection of the gums, the periosteal swellings, and the haemorrages into the eyelids, the classical paintings of such cases in the days of Dr. Cheadle and Sir. Thos. Barlow, some originals which were left in my possession on Dr. Cheadle's death. Further, in spite of active treatment, new periosteal swellings have appeared in one case. Though we know there may be difficulties in feeding these children, the scurvy symptoms at least are, as a rule, arrested. It would be interesting to know whether others have met with this increase in scurvy.
Curiously enough, though it may have not the least bearing or connection, I have met recently with numerous cases in adults of mysterious purpura upon the four extremities. This purpura has been accompanied by a little discomfort, and the lesions vary in degree up to bruises of the size of the palm of one's hand. They have not been associated with arthritis, but in some instances have appeared at irregular intervals over many weeks and have attracted attention by a slight tenderness followed by the appearance of bruising.
As regards infantile scurvy, I am not prepared to do more than direct attention to the vast quantities of dried milk now in use, and to raise a question which I have raised before, whether such foods, even given with precautions, make for the best constitutions in years to come. We know that some children do not take fruit juices well, or are thought not to take them well, and these are then discarded; and should infantile scurvy really be on the increase, and my experience not be only a hospital coincidence, it is clear to me that many diets must touch the border line of a pathological metabolism."
Note: The insecurity of reliance upon orange juice to correct the damage done to milk by heating it (pasteurising, boiling or drying) is rendered more obvious by the common use of cold storage for oranges as, according to Professor Plimmer, vitamin C is slowly destroyed by freezing.
"One of the difficulties in discussing the quality of plant and animal products is the impossibility of defining quality in a scientific way. Nevertheless, quality exists and can be sold, as is well known in dealing with a wide range of products such as tea, coffee, hops, tobacco, fruit and vegetables.
In the case of tea there is a very definite conviction in the minds of the leading brokers in London that quality has fallen off since artificial manures have been used in producing the crop. On several large groups of tea estates in India the Indore Process has been in full operation during the last two years, and an impression is growing that the quality of the tea produced is beginning to improve.
In Worcestershire experienced merchants are convinced that the highest quality hops are always produced with farmyard manure.
In the case of the wheat crop raised on Lord Lymington's estates in Hampshire, careful records have been kept of the life of wheat straw when used for thatching. Wheat straw from fields manured with organic matter, partly of animal origin, lasts ten years as thatch; straw from similar land manured with artificials lasts five years. What the difference in quality is between the two sets of grain has not yet been determined.
At Dr. Pfeiffer's farm near Flushing, in Holland, compost is solely used in the greenhouses and for the outcrops. In quality, flavour and keeping properties the produce is far above that from land in the neighbourhood on which artificials are used.
In vegetable growing in England, the effect of organic manuring on quality can be seen on the large scale on Mr. Secrett's farm at Walton-on-Thames. Mr. Secrett uses practically no artificials and raises his produce on fermented stable manure. He stands at the head of his profession as regards to quality.
At the Iceni Nurseries at Surfleet, near Spalding, Captain Wilson has been converting all waste products into humus by the Indore Process since November, 1936. The result has been amazing as regards the improvement in quality.
In Madras, McCarrison found that grain produced with farmyard manure contained more vitamins than grown with minerals.
[Sir Albert Howard: "Manufacture of Humus from the Wastes of the Town and Village": Lect. London Sch. Hygiene and Trop. Med. 17 June, 1937.]
"Humus and Disease Resistance. The evidence in favor of the view that disease resistance in plants and animals depends on soil fertility is considerable.
My own experience in India from 1905 to 1931 was recently summoned up in a paper on the Role of Insects and Fungi in Agriculture, published in The Empire Cotton Growing Review, XIII, July, 1936, page 191. In this paper I gave a short sketch of my experience of disease from my student days till now. I concluded the paper as follows: --
"Insects and fungi are not the real cause of plant diseases, and only attack unsuitable varieties or crops improperly grown. Their true role in agriculture is that of censors for pointing out the crops which are imperfectly nourished. Disease resistance seems to be the natural reward of healthy and well-nourished protoplasm. The first step is to make the soil live by seeing that the supply of humus is maintained."
The most striking confirmation of my views has been supplied by commercial vegetable growers who use humus only, for growing their produce. Near Flushing in Holland, Dr. Pfeiffer informs me that insect and fungus diseases are negligible and that no poison sprays are ever used. Captain Wilson's experience at Surfleet in South Lincolnshire, where the Indore Process is in operation, is still more striking. I have never seen healthier crops than those at Surfleet, or crops freer from disease. Mr. Secrett's results at Walton-on-Thames are much the same as those at Surfleet.
In regard to animal diseases my experience in India was very similar. In 1910 I was allowed to have my own oxen at Pusa, and at once decided to make use of these animals for the study of disease. The greatest care was taken with the selection of the breed and of the type of animal; the feeding, hygiene and management were as near perfection as I could make them.
I had my own oxen at Quetta and at Indore, and managed them on lines similar to those adopted at Pusa.
For twenty-one years -- 1910 to 1931 -- I was able to study the reaction of well-fed animals to the epidemic diseases such as rinderpest, foot-and-mouth disease, septicaemia, and so forth, which frequently devastated the countryside. None of my animals were segregated; none were inoculated; they frequently came in contact with diseased stock. No case of infectious disease occurred. The reward of well-nourished protoplasm was a very high degree of disease resistance, which might even be described as immunity." [ibid].
The principle underlying this power of the plant and of the animal -- or man -- consuming it to resist disease came to light in his researches on tea and other tropical plants and in those of one of his colleagues, Dr. Rayner, on forestry: --
"How does humus affect the crop generally and how does a factor like this increase resistance to disease? The large-scale trials of the Indore process now being carried out on tea, coffee, rubber, cacao and other crops in the tropics have furnished some interesting information on these questions.
In a number of cases in tea and rubber in particular, very striking results followed closely on one dressing of compost applied at the rate of five tons to the acre. There was a marked improvement in growth and also in resistance to insect pests such as red spider, Tortrix and mosquito blight (Helopeltis). Two applications of compost have also transformed a derelict tea garden into something above the average of the locality. In a recent tour of tea estates in India and Ceylon I have seen these results for myself, and have discussed matters on the spot with the men who have obtained them.
When these cases were first brought to my notice towards the end of 1936 and during 1937 I found considerable difficulty in understanding them. If humus acts as an indirect manure by (1) recreating the crumb structure and so improving the tilth, and (2) by furnishing the soil population with food from the use of which the soil solution eventually becomes enriched to the advantage of the crop, such factors would take time and we should expect results, if any, to be slow. The improvement following humus was the reverse of slow -- it was immediate and spectacular. Some other factor besides soil fertility appeared, therefore, to be at work.
After much thought it occurred to me that the explanation would be found in the active root system of tea and rubber, and that the remarkable results recently obtained by Dr. M.C. Rayner on mycorrhiza in relation to forestry at Wareham in Dorset would apply to tropical crops.
The simplest and most obvious explanation of the sudden improvement after one application of compost is the well-known effect of humus in stimulating the mycorrhiza which are known to occur in the absorbing roots of tea, and which in all probability are to be found in rubber, coffee and other cultivated plants in the tropics. Now compost is essential for the full activity of these mycorrhiza -- a fact which has been strikingly brought out by the recent work on conifers in this country. How the compost acts is a matter which is certain to engage the attention of specialists for some time to come. I have been in touch with these investigations and have confirmed their great importance by independent observations in the nurseries of the Liverpool Corporation at Lake Vyrnwy. Compost leads to the formation of numerous mycorrhiza and to exceedingly well-grown nursery plants. Where no compost is used the growth is poor and the stock is unhealthy.
The mycorrhiza appears to be the machinery provided by Nature for the fungi living on humus in the soil to transmit direct to the active area of the roots the contents of their own cells. Whether this is the only means by which such things as accessory growth substances can safely pass from humus to plant, or whether the fungi provide essential materials for their manufacture in the plant itself, has yet to be determined with certainty. Some such explanation of what is taking place seems exceedingly probable. If the accessory growth substances contributed by humus were to pass from the soil organic matter into the pore spaces of the soil they would have to run the gauntlet of the intense oxidation process going on in the water films which line these pores. In this passage any substance of organic origin would be almost certain to be seized upon by the soil population for food and oxidized to simple substances, such as the plant ordinarily takes in by the root hairs. If, as seems almost certain, freshly prepared humus (obtained from animal and vegetable wastes) does contain growth-promoting substances (roughly corresponding to the vitamins in food), it would be necessary to get these into the plant undamaged and with the least possible delay. The mycorrhiza association in the roots, by which a rapid and protected passage for such substances is provided, seems to be one of Nature's ways of helping the plant to resist disease.
The Separation of the Factors
A long experience of the cultivation of leguminous plants in India has completely shattered my belief in the idea that these crops can be grown successfully without organic matter, and that the nitrogen fixation in the nodules is the complete story as far as the supply of combined nitrogen is concerned. Farmyard manure or compost, as already stated, is essential for keeping these crops healthy and for making them form seed in the Indian monsoon. Organic matter always stimulates both root and nodular development.
I was, therefore, naturally interested during my recent tour to the East to see whether this is the whole story and whether or not another factor (mycorrhiza) is operating as well as the nodules. Specimens of the roots of a shade tree -- a species of Erythrina -- and of a green-manure plant (Crotalaria anagyroides), both of which have been manured with compost, were collected in Ceylon and sent to Dr. Rayner for examination. Mycorrhiza and nodules were found in the roots of both these cases, but never together in the same rootlets. These either bore nodules only or mycorrhiza only. These observations provide a simple scientific explanation of the common practice of manuring leguminous crops with humus in the East and in Great Britain. Humus, by establishing the mycorrhizal relationship, appears to be able to influence the plant direct. The nodules seem to supplement the mycorrhiza and are only one factor in the case.
There is a further point of some interest in this matter. When plants like French beans are grown on poor soil by means of the nodules only, or by means of artificial manures, the produce is tasteless and of poor quality. For real taste and quality in the produce it is necessary to use humus (made both from vegetable and animal wastes) or farmyard manure. A supply of combined nitrogen appears therefore to reach the plant by way of the nodules and root hairs; the materials which are needed for quality appear to be absorbed by the mycorrhiza. The leguminous plant therefore promises to be a very valuable instrument in separating out the various factors concerned in this question. Will, as seems to be the case, quality and disease resistance only be obtained when the mycorrhiza mechanism functions? Will disease resistance and quality turn out to be the same thing -- the consequence of the perfect synthesis of proteids and carbohydrates in the green leaf? Does infection by insects and fungi most readily occur in this group when the mycorrhizal condition is absent?"
[Sir Albert Howard: "Insects and Fungi in Agriculture." Vol XV. No. 3. "Empire Cotton Growing Review." July, 1938.]
Speaking elsewhere of the mycorrhizal association in clovers and other plants, he says: --
"This is a very important matter, and its realisation is perhaps one of the greatest advances in agricultural science in the last fifty years. During 1938 I had occasion to have examined the roots of the grasses and clovers of some of the most noted meadows and pastures in Europe. Both the grasses and clovers, which were remarkably healthy, were heavily infected with fungus growths, and these growths are being rapidly digested by the roots. Here we have a direct channel of nutrition between the humus in the soil and the roots of the plant by means of fungi which are digested just where proteid food rich in nitrogen and phosphorus is needed. The roots of a plant act very like the stomach of an animal, and agricultural science has completely lost sight of this important section of the nitrogen cycle and one of the ways a plant feeds. The mycorrhizal association occurs in most, if not all, of our crops -- cereals, fruit trees, grasses and clovers, hops, strawberries, vines, bulbs, and so forth, and it at once explains why farmyard manure gives better results than artificials. Good old-fashioned muck helps the mycorrhizal association; artificials do not, and cannot. I consider that the failure to recognise this mycorrhizal association in British farming is one of the many consequences of the N.P.K. mentality which for a hundred years has cast a withering blight on the progress of agriculture. Everyone has been thinking in terms of plant nutrients and has forgotten to study Nature's marvellous machinery by which the soil and the plant come into gear. Had this been done fifty years ago, we should have heard far less of artificial manure and much more of humus and of muck. The small plots of Rothamsted would have been unnecessary."
[Sir Albert Howard in a speech upon a paper by Sir Bernard Greenwell, Bt., on "Soil Fertility -- the Farm's Capital" "Journal of Farmers' Club," February, 1939, p. 9.]
On the same occasion Sir Bernard Greenwell said:
"This country can only grow more food if more capital, in the shape of humus, is put into the soil. This capital can only do its full work when the land is properly farmed. Humus will then pay regular dividends in the form of high quality produce, which in the years to come will be recognised as the foundation of our public health system. The last three lines of this paper, "A fertile soil means healthy crops, healthy animals and, last, but not least, healthy human beings," should be adopted as the motto of the Ministries of Agriculture and Health."
Sir Bernard also remarked: --
"The application of the waste products of the town over and above those of the farm, and the subsoiling of the grassland are complementary to the Fertility Scheme of the Government."
Whilst disclaiming, of course, the slightest knowledge of agricultural technicalities the Panel Committee can see that the questions of the use of waste for the soil's health and of the operation of subsoiling are in close accordance with the methods of Nature. The way subsoiling opens the soil is comparable to that in which the roots of forest trees do so. Of subsoiling Sir Bernard said: --
"I am told that the reason this operation is so very successful is because the subsoiler lifts and shatters the soil so that the oxygen in the air starts the decay of the old turf roots underneath. It also lets the water down and the shattered soil forms a reservoir from which the plant above can draw its supply. Thus humus is formed from the decayed vegetable matter and animal wastes, and this in turn brings bacterial action and nitrification, and the manufacture of plant food. The grasses and leguminous plants (clovers, lucerne, and so forth) are able to root much deeper, earthworms increase because there is the material there which they can consume, but most important of all -- and this is a point which we are only just realising -- the presence of humus in the soil enables other fungi to invade the roots of grasses and clovers and set up the mycorrhizal association: a method of direct manuring which up to the present has been unrecognised. Finally, conditions for the fixation of nitrogen from the air are established.
"I have not come across many writings on the earthworm since Charles Darwin's noted work, but I am certain that the fertility of the soil is bound up with organics which are a great encouragement to the worm. There is very little doubt that he is a scavenger and if he disappears you will find his job taken by leather jackets and other insects detrimental to the crops."
The comparable effects of the operations of the root systems of forest trees are brought out of the following passage by Sir Albert Howard which seems to supply the key and model of the whole business: --
"How does the forest manure, cultivate and preserve its soil? Can Nature teach us anything about the factors involved in the maintenance of the soil and of its fertility?
"The forest makes its own manure. All the waste products of the large and varied animal population (found in every primeval forest) become mixed with the leaves and other residues which fall on the ground. The manufacture of humus then takes place on the surface: the resulting organic matter is drawn into the soil by natural agencies: a rich, well-aerated, moisture-retaining earth results.
"The cultivation of the forest soil is accomplished by the invisible labour force the jungle always maintains. The roots of trees and of the undergrowth break up the soil in all directions; when these roots die and are consumed by insects and fungi, an extensive drainage and aeration system (often lined by the remains of the bark) is left behind. Another set of less permanent drains is made by earthworms, Termites and other animals which also mingle the humus found on the surface with the layers of soil underneath. A simple percolation and moisture-retaining test of a piece of forest soil, rich in organic matter, compared with the behaviour of similar earth which has been exposed to erosion, will show the great importances of the humus factor in helping the land to drink in and to retain the rainfall.
"The way the forest preserves its soil provides much food for thought. Ample provision is always made for cover -- the soil is never exposed to rain, sun or wind. The rainfall is broken up into fine spray by the trees and undergrowth; the surface is further protected from rain-wash by a layer of fermenting wastes.The upper soil is kept porous by means of organic matter and burrowing animals so that it can easily absorb rainfall. The run-off from these areas is usually a comparatively small volume of clear water, very different in amount and character from that from uncovered land subject to erosion."
[Sir Albert Howard: "A Note on the Problem of Soil Erosion." J. of Royal Society of Arts No. 4471, 29 July, 1938. p. 926.]
That the use of wastes of life in accordance with natural laws is at the root of national health seems to us an issue from the contemplation of the whole subject. Even when wastes are returned to the land merely to get rid of them, they assert their power of conferring fertility, as an example at home shows. Manchester bought Carrington Moss, in our County, in 1886, exclusively for the purpose of receiving the wastes of the city. Since then 1,300,000 tons have been deposited there. From 1870 the pail closet had been gradually substituted for the insanitary privy. "No great difficulty in organising the strictly collecting side was experienced, this being carried out during the period of the pail-closet system by means of vans familiarly known as "Dolly Vardens": but the problem of effective disposal became acute." Carrington solved it. A "wild moss," "exceedingly absorbent," 17 to 20 feet deep, it was capable of receiving as much as 300 tons of night soil per acre per annum. "What was once raw, barren, useless bog land has been reclaimed and transformed into a vista of smiling fields." "The whole of the wild moss and the partially cultivated moss has been drained, delved, manured, and thoroughly reclaimed." "Shrubs and vegetables are grown on an extensive scale by nursery-men and market gardeners, and the Parks and Cemeteries Committee lease 100 acres as a nursery, from which they supply shrubs to the Manchester parks. The golden elder, rhododendron, privet and poplar grow to perfection in the peaty soil."
The cost of the 1,015-1/2 acres in 1886 was £39,165 and including the money spent on it since, the total cost has been £85,648, but its present value is £91,878.
[We are indebted to the M.O.H. of Manchester, Dr. Robert Veitch Clark, for kindly supplying these particulars.]
It would seem that the marriage of agriculture to a foreign partner, chemistry, arranged by Baron Liebig in 1840, was a mistake. A more homely alliance would have been preferable -- in our Cheshire proverb, "It is better to marry over the mixen than over the moor."
The Nature of Health (Introduction and Table of Contents)
McCarrison bibliography (References)
Speeches by Sir Robert McCarrison and Sir Albert Howard
Correspondence in the British Medical Journal
Food and Health -- Lionel Picton
Soil Fertility and Health -- Sir Albert Howard
Soil Fertility: The Farm's Capital -- Sir Bernard Greenwell
Open-Air Dairying -- A.J. Hosier
Farming for Profit with Organic Manures -- Friend Sykes
Nutrition and Health -- Sir Robert McCarrison
Nutrition in Health and Disease -- Sir Robert McCarrison
Studies in Deficiency Disease (Introduction) -- Sir Robert McCarrison
Diseases of Faulty Nutrition -- Sir Robert McCarrison
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration -- Weston A. Price
The Saccharine Disease -- T. L. Cleave
An Agricultural Testament -- Sir Albert Howard
Ill Fares the Land -- Dr. Walter Yellowlees
Food & Health in the Scottish Highlands: Four Lectures from a Rural Practice -- Dr Walter Yellowlees
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