Dr. Robert De La Poer Beresford, MD DPH FCS was the medical officer for Oswestry for 50 years, producing annual medical health reports for the town from 1875 to 1925.
The records are not totally complete but give a good overview of the health of the town. Records are held at the Oswestry Guildhall archives. One of the records that he kept was the numbers of children born and the number of those that were illegitimate.
1914 10 illegitimate children
1915 176 children born, 17 illegitimate
1916 no report in archive
1917 21 illegitimate children
1918 199 children born, 27 illegitimate
1919 170 children born (90 males 80 females), 18 illegitimate children
It was noted that it was a very hot and dry summer that had caused health problems. There was also an outbreak of measles 166 cases 1 death. The Influenza outbreak affected 9 men and 14 women.
1920 392 children born (211-male 181 female)
1921 203 children born (105 males 98 females), 29 illegitimate children
1922 no report in archive
1923 189 children born, 1 illegitimate child
Dr Beresford noted how pleased he was that there was only 1 illegitimate birth
1924 220 children born (101 male and 119 female), 15 illegitimate (4 male and 11 female)
1925 187 children born (114 male and 73 female), 5 illegitimate (2 male and 3 female)
What is also recorded is the number of women that died in or because of childbirth. The number is very low – only 2 women died during the period from 1914 to 1925.
Dr Beresford was very concerned that the population of the town was not growing in line with the national average. He reported that the town needed more housing and that they needed to encourage more marriages in the town to grow the population to 10,000.