HomeThe house famine and how to relieve itPagina 11

JPEG (Deze pagina), 1.05 MB

TIFF (Deze pagina), 5.99 MB

PDF (Volledig document), 47.35 MB

almost valueless as a scientific means of gauging the precise extent
of the evil. The other is the standard of the Model Bye­laws of the
Local Government Board, usually adopted by sanitary authorities in
an accurate test of any particular case and in bye-laws regulating
tenement houses, as in the case of the "ticketed houses" of Glasgow.
For every person over ten years of age 400 cubic feet of air­space is
allowed in any room not exclusively used as a sleeping apartment,
and 200 cubic feet for every child under ten years. In rooms ex-
clusively used for sleeping purposes the amounts are 300 and 150
, respectively. From a scientific standpoint this is by no means a
highstandard. The Army Regulations allow 600 cubic feet per
head for barracks, the Metropolitan Police require 450 cubic feet,
the Poor Law requires 500 cubic feet; while the law relating to
tenement property and lodging­houses in New York City exacts no
less than 600 cubic feet per occupant. Adopting the standard of
the Model Bye­Laws, it is well to remember that to maintain the
` air pure and uncontaminated requires a much more perfect system
of ventilation than is usually found in better­class houses, let alone
the dwellings of the poorer classes.
Now to apply the latter test involves accurate measurement of
the room space, and adopted on any large scale would entail con-
siderable labor on those engaged, so that the question arises how do
the results of the two tests compare? My personal experience-
and I am confirmed by other observers-is that to apply the two
tests to the same area the Census standard understates the amount
of overcrowding as compared with that of the Model Bye­laws. I
hope at some future time to be able to publish an extended analysis
of some larger areas than I have so far been able to cover, which
i will I am sure confirm my present conviction.
Now if this is the case, as I firmly believe it to be, the position is
appalling. In the North country, from which I come, according to
the Census returns, Northumberland has 38 per cent. and Durham
34 per cent. of the population living under overcrowded conditions,
while within a radius of twelve miles we have the three most over-
crowded towns in England-Gateshead, Newcastle and Sunderland, ,
in the order named. Three of the smaller towns of Tyneside, com- `
prising an almost entirely working­class population, have even higher
percentages of overcrowding. Hebburn has 55 per cent. of its popu- ,
lation overcrowded, Felling has 52 per cent., and jarrow 46 per cent. .
Now if by this standard the extent of the evil is understated, what
must be the conditions of life for the poorer classes, more especially
when we remember the wretched condition of much of the property, ,
its faulty accommodation, its ill repair, and the general lack of sanit­
ary conveniences. It is at least pleasing to think that we are realiz­ ,
ing the position and beginning to move. I,
,, The Census returns which, as I have pointed out, supply us with
the bulk of our information as to overcrowding, are now practically
out of date, and will shortly be supplanted by those of the forth- J
coming Census of 1901, while our knowledge of the actual condition l
of affairs at the present time is limited to scattered investigations