Thursday, February 10, 2011

Overcrowding - Part II

There was overcrowding in some houses at Wolverton, as I described yesterday, but at least these were new, relatively well-constructed houses. Compare with Sir Frank Markham's description of some housing behind the High Street in Stony Stratford.
In the yard of the historic Cross Keys at Stony Stratford, on a patch 100ft by 16ft, eight houses were built, one room up, and one down, with a ladder for communication, and one common lavatory (which it was nobody’s business to clean), no running water, and one common pump in the yard. In the White Horse Inn yard, on a patch 90ft by 14ft eight houses and one privy were built, each home 14ft by 11ft. In Swan terrace, backing the Swan public house in the High Street, six houses were erected on a plot 80ft by 20ft, again with only one lavatory and a single pump. Some of these houses were built with only 4½in walls. Nearly every one of these houses was still in existence in 1919, a nearly every one tenanted in squalor, despair and disease.
I have looked at the equivalent census and in these back alleys you have large families - two adults and six or seven children. They are mostly agricultural labourers or paupers, either very poorly paid or with no income at all but for the charity of the parish.

There are noticeably no lodgers in any of these dwellings. Obviously the lodgers preferred a little more comfort.

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