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II.-LABORERS’ COTTAGES.
BY MISS CONSTANCE COCHRANE.
g. Càazäwzan qf the Croxtan Paris/z Meeizhg, Camás. ,· Mewzöer Sanitary fnstzïuiz.
THE London poor have many to plead their cause, and the Housing
Question is at last attracting the attention of able and thoughtful
persons.
But there are very few in the country who care to take a
prominent part in the same most urgent question there­namely,
the housing of the agricultural laborer. This work needs more
courage than some who have not tried it perhaps realize; the
would­be reformers living surrounded by individuals, many of them
local authorities, who imagine their interests lie in leaving bad
alone.
· During the last sixteen mths I have sent out a large numberh
of circulars to local authorities and others, all over England, wit
questions as to the sanitary condition of villagcs. To­day I will
refer to the evidence as to the scarcity of cottages. Out of IOI
returns for Rural Districts, in answer to the question "How many
good cottages are unoccupied?" in ninety the answer is "N one";
and such remarks as the following are frequently added : " More are
wanted" ; " None, either good or bad "; " Many wanting cottages ;
and much overcrowding."
One correspondent, a Parish Councillor, writes from Kent, " Forty
applications have been made for six cottages about to be built under
Part III. of the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 189o."
A clergyman’s wife writes from Devonshire: "During the nine-
teen years that we have been here, twenty-one cottages, which were '
then inhabited, are now fallen down in ruins, and no new ones have
been built. The people in a condemned cottage cannot move, be-
cause there is not a vacant house. More cottages are sadly needed."
Again, from Hampshire : " New cottages are rented before they are
finished." A laborer from Leicestershire writes: "You have to I
s stop in them till they are ready to fall down, and then go to the ,
town or do as you can." A Parish Councillor from Huntingdon­
shire: "Cottages very small and squalid; railway carriages some- _l
times used as houses." During last summer, when walking through Y
a village in West Wilts, I was surprised to see a girl standing at the
door of a cottage of which the roof was partly fallen in, and one of
the walls appeared to be in a dangerous condition. I expressed my
surprise at finding the house inhabited, and asked if it were con-
sidered safe. " No," replied the girl, " it isn’t, but we came out of a