HomeThe house famine and how to relieve itPagina 5

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a few yards away, only the roofs were visible. Here the houses had
been built down in hollows, to which the water from the higher
ground adjoining seemed to come at its own sweet will and pleasure. ·
In one of these cases, the upper end of the cottage appeared to be
actually standing in a small bog. .
But one of the most serious defects from the double point of
view of health and decency is in the matter of privies and drainage.
_ Only a few of the villages I visited have a sernblance of what may
be called drainage. The ditch, the privy, or even a hollow in the
ground as you approach the cottage, served as the refuge for the
culinary fxlth and garbage. In a great many cases I found that one
privy had to serve for several cottages. In several instances I found
. these privies without a door, and exposed to view from the high
road.
Another serious aspect of the cottage question in rural districts
is the " tied cottage " system. This is the system under which the
tenant­farmers take the cottages with their farms, and sub­let them
to the laborers. The tenancy is dependent upon the service contract.
I All the laborers with whom I spoke on this question were very
emphatic in condemnation of the " tied " system. " Out of job, out
of houses," was their epigrammatic way of putting it. I had
remarked upon the bareness and the slovenly cultivation of the
cottage gardens. They all agreed with me, and they all gave me
the same explanation. This was it in effect: if they differed with
their masters over anything, and had to leave their service straight-
way, that is within a fortnight, they had to leave their houses.
I This meant they had to leave their crops and all their fruit trees,
’ if they had planted any. They all declared that if they were sure
. of getting a proper notice, they would be glad to spend a bit of
time and trouble in their gardens; but what is the good, if they
are to lose all, because of one hot word between themselves and
their masters, who are their landlords? One of my informants
threw a good deal of significant light upon this point. As showing
the insecurity of tenure, and the frequent ephemeral character of a
man’s employment, he told me of a case in his district where a single I
"tied" cottage had had nine different tenants within a period of
seven years. He cited other instances nearly as bad. He also gave
me a number of cases within his experience where the "tied" cot­ I
tage system has interfered tremendously with the efficacy of allot-
ments. In these cases, the laborers have not known from day to I
day when some little quarrel with their employer might compel
A · them to leave their cottage, and with it the district. Under these '
circumstances they have regarded it as too great a risk to take an `
allotment, in which they might be compelled to waste all their labor '
and expenditure by having to leave their crops. y
, Let me brieüy review the question of remedies for a moment. I l
l ‘have already said that, in the districts visited by me, there is a
l decided lack of healthy cottage accommodation. The laborers have 1
y emigrated in crowds to the towns. But the old houses have fallen
l into decay more rapidly than the people have made their exodus l,
l
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