1854 Public Health Inquiry Part 3
Posted by on January 01 1970 00:02:11

Water Rates

Mr Hawkins said,-
“We have taken Cheltenham as a precedent for our charges, but have adopted a lower scale. The rate charged is as follows:- 

Where the rent does not exceed   £5The charge is  0  60
                           "   " £10   "    " 0 10 0
                           "   "  £15   "    " 0  15 0
                           "   "  £20   "    " 1   0 0
                           "   "   £30   "    " 1   5 0
                           "   "  £40   "    " 1 10 0
                           "   "  £50   "    " 1  15 0
                           "   "  £60   "    " 2   0 0
                           "   "  £70   "    " 2   5 0
                           "   "  £80   "    " 2 10 0
                           "   "  £90   "    " 2 15 0

Mr Harmer stated,-
“An extra charge is made for supplying water-closets; 5s extra to the above rate being charged”

Mr Witchell stated.-
“Some tenants of houses for which I am agent have been served with a notice for not putting stop-cocks to the service pipes as follows:

Stroud Water-works Company
Numerous complaints have been made to the managers by many of the tenants of the Company of an insufficient supply of water, occasioned by other tenants allowing the water to run away and be wasted. The managers hereby give you notice that they shall discontinue the supply of water to every tenant who shall not after this notice provide a cask or cistern to hold the water, with a valve or ball and stop-cock; that they will not afterwards supply water to any such tenant on any terms whatever.

(signed) Henry Hawkins
“Clerk to the Company”

Mr Hawkins said,-

The owners of cottage property farm the water supply and in several instances a number of houses derive their supply from stand pipes. The water is not laid on to every house. In some cases the inhabitants fetch water from springs near the town, and a well called Hemlock's Well.”

Nuisances Prevention of in Streets

The 99th  section (6 Geo 4 Cap vi) provides “that if any person shall cause or permit any blood or noisome fluid to run or flow from any slaughter house, butcher's shop, shambles, or other place into the said streets, roads or any of them; or shall cause any privy or easement within the limits of the town to be emptied except between the hours of twelve at night and four in the ensuing morning; or shall at any time throw out of any door, window, or other place, upon any of the said streets, roads &c., any filth, or other noisome or offensive matter, or any water, except for the purposes of cleansing such streets , roads, &c.; or shall for the purpose of obtaining or collecting manure or soil, or for any other purposes whatsoever, stop up or impede the course of any common sewer, drain, ditch or watercourse, or shall carry empty, convey, or discharge therein, any filth, rubbish, or offensive or noisome matter or thing; or shall throw any offal, filth, or offensive matter or thing into any public or private well, pump, pool or reservoir of water, within the limits of the town;” every person so offending shall for each such offence forfeit and pay any sum not exceeding five pounds.

The 99th section also contains a list of numerous acts which are not to be committed in the streets, but these do not involve the question of health, but that of annoyance.

By section 98  it is enacted “That all spouts and pipes conveying water from the roofs of houses or other buildings into the streets, roads &c., shall be constructed and placed as to convey such water close to the face or sides of such buildings down to and underneath the ground or pavement, so that such water shall not run or flow over the surface thereof” under a penalty of 20 shillings for each day.

Mr Witchell stated,-

“A scavenger appointed within the last year or two, but scavenging, save and except the cleansing of the streets, has not been done; and unless the inhabitants turn out their refuse into the street it is not taken away. The 16th section has been acted upon where sewers exist, and the 24th section requiring streets to be named and houses number has been acted upon as far only as regards the naming of streets, but the houses have not been numbered.”

Mr F Robertson,  a resident in the adjoining parish of Painswick, stated,-

“A mill stream known by the name of Badbrook received the sewage of the town of Stroud and caused an abominable stench.”

Mr Robertson further observed, -

“When the water is low, as is frequently the case, a mass of back mud is exposed; the stream itself is shallow, and in seasons of drought the water is nearly dried away, and only the sewage is then running in the brook. The area of the mill-pond connected with the brook is about half an acre. The surface of the mud in summer is about an eighth of an acre, and is very injurious to my family, as I am obliged to prevent the children from going near it , and it spoils the prospect, as the best view we can get is on that side.”

Mr D Wood, the owner of the mill on Bad-brook, said,-

“An old drain discharged itself into the mill pond, the outlet of the drain being below the surface of the water, but within the last two years an alteration has been made by raising the end of the outfall drain. But within the last seven or eight years the quantity of sewage matter discharged into the mill pond has been greatly increased by part of the sewage from Middle-street, and Chapel-street has been diverted so as to empty itself into the brook.

Mr Wood proceeded by stating,-

“We often find after a storm of rain, that the stench rising from the mouth of the drain is intolerable and after the pond is drawn down every twenty four hours no water comes down for some time and then half of the surface of the bed of the pond is exposed during which time the smell is dreadful. Men are put into the pond to stir up the semi-fluid matter. The drain itself leading to the pond is an ancient drain.”

Mr Armstrong, surgeon, &c, stated,-

“At the back of my premises, which are situate in Middle-street, there are some privies and a large cesspool situated in an adjoining court belonging to several houses. The contents percolate through the walls of my house, a state of things which has existed more or less for some years; the effluvium is not only inconvenient, but very disagreeable.”

Mr James Isacke complained of the foul state of the sewer which passes under his house in Silver-street.

“The place is so bad that my medical advisor has told me that my family will never be healthy until they are removed. I suffer a great deal from this state of things, and I have been obliged to take a house for the last three years for my daughter. When the sewer is well flushed  and in the winter season I find comparatively little inconvenience. The drain is considered to be private property.

Mr W H Barnfield stated.

“The drain alluded to by Mr Isacke runs at the back of my premises; that in a storm it is gorged, and the soil and foul water overflow and run through my house.”

Dr Paine stated,-

“The last named drain passes through Mrs Johnson's premises to near the national school, and afterwards through some fields (my property), and thence into the Badbrook. In some parts of the town many of the privies are connected with the sewers; the stench therefrom has been for a long time very bad. At Brick-row, the privies stand close to the road, and when it rains the excremental matter is washed into the road, and runs over the surface, the smell is very bad, and when disease prevails it is sure to fix itself in this locality, where malignant scarlet fever has prevailed.

Mr H Lewis said,-

“I have resided in High-street for the last seven years, and made complaint to the commissioners respecting a drain in High-street, but nothing has been done, as the neighbours would not sign the paper to enable the commissioners to take proceedings before the magistrates against the persons causing the nuisance. For some time water was regularly thrown down the drain, by which means it was kept clean, but for the last six months this plan has been neglected. Dr Gregory has told me that either this nuisance must be removed, or I must quit the neighbourhood, it is so deleterious to his health.”

Mrs Johnstone stated,-

“I reside at Brick House in Church-street, near Mr Jones's brewery, where a quantity of pigs are kept, and they are a great nuisance. I have applied to the Board of Guardians, and they made him removed the pigs into another sty and also remove the manure, &c.  Mr Jones built another sty, and now he has two instead of one. He keeps a fat pig in the old sty. They also breed there, and the noise of the pigs and the stench arising from the premises are very disagreeable. I have complained about it, and they were removed for a short time, and then brought back.”

Mr G Mynett stated:-

“I am surveyor and inspector of nuisances under the commissioners, and I act under the direction of the committees, and discharge their general duties. I also serve notices or summonses which the commissioners may direct to be issued. I am inspector of lodging-houses; I only inspect nuisances in streets (as I am not the Inspector under the Nuisances Removal Act). If the gully-holes in the streets get choked with filth, I do not cleanse them, but give notice to the contractor for the repair of the roads. I look after notices for removing pigsties.”


By the 72nd section the commissioners are authorised and empowered to cause all the streets, roads, squares, crescents, lanes, entries, passages, and places within the limits of the town to be properly scraped, watered, and cleansed, and to cause the dirt and soil, dung, manure, and filth, found in such streets roads &c. to be taken and carried away.

It is however, required by the 74 section that all and every occupier of house or building, or tenement, before, behind, or at the side whereof any footway or pavement shall or may have been made or laid down under the authority of the Act shall henceforth cause such footway or pavement to be well and effectually swept and cleansed with water and otherwise upon Tuesday and Saturday in each week, between the hours of seven and nine in the morning, and shall also cause the water, dirt, and soil which may arise and be produced by such sweeping and cleansing to be collected together and removed and taken away. In default of so doing, to pay a fine of ten shillings to the commissioners, together with the costs and charges attending conviction.

Mr Witchell said,-

“The 74th section is found very difficult to work”

The 75th section provides that no persons but occupiers or their servants, or the persons employed by the commissioners for cleansing the streets, roads &c. shall take away any ashes, cinders, dust, dung, manure rubbish or other filth out of any streets, roads, &c. without the consent of the commissioners or their contractor first had been obtained under a penalty of forty shillings....

Mr Witchell stated,-
“This clause has never been acted upon; the inhabitants not having complained, the commissioners have not enforced the provisions of the Act. The refuse of the town has never been a source of profit.”

Slaughter Houses

The slaughter houses – five in number – are situated in the town, and close to dwelling-houses, i.e. one in Farr's alley, and described as a in a bad state; another near the bottom of High Street, a pig slaughtering-house near Froome-buildings in the Chalford-road; one in Chapel-street, and another in King-street.

Mr Witchell stated,-
“The latter has been reported to the commissioners, a large number of pigs having been kept on the premises.”

Inspection of the Town

In prosecuting this part of the inquiry I was accompanied by WH Paine Esq, MD, Mssrs Bucknall, White, Wood, Parsons, Thornton, Harmer, Bucknall, and Knee; G Witchell (clerk to the commissioners) Meynett, the surveyor.

In recording the results of my  inspection of the various dwellings, courts, yards, and places to which my attention was particularly directed, it is not my object to balance the evils met with at one  block of buildings with those of another  bock, as in most instances the condition of the premises were such as greatly need improvement, although the magnitude of the evils point of degree in upwards of 50 courts, yards, places containing dwellings varying from 2 to 30 in each place. The following are the names of some of their number. In no one of these places is there anything approaching a system of drainage.

,- Comprising three separate blocks of dwellings three stories in height, some of the number having no outlets at the back; water supplied by means of one stand pipe to eleven houses, and turned on half an hour each day in the morning. Foul water is thrown upon the surface for want of adequate drains. The foul smell from a gully near one of the doors was pointed out as being a sad nuisance.

, - A range of thirty dwellings, two stories in height, but no outlet at the back. Garbage is deposited on the space in front, whilst the privies are  close to the the public road. There is no means provided for carrying off the roofage waters; the supply of water is from the overflow pipe from the lower reservoir, at the end of the row.

,- Houses on two sides for part of the length of this street; foul water hangs upon the surface in front of some of the houses for want of proper channels; floors of the lower rooms below the level of the street.

– Contains five houses on one side fronting into the court, with the backs of the houses on the opposite side thereof. The entrance to this court is covered , the surface partly paved the opposite end blocked up.

– Insufficient means of carrying off surface waters.

– Houses two stories in height, with house at south end. Surface not paved; one privy to two houses; three ditto to five; the water derived from a pump in the garden.

,- Houses close; privy vault in garden; no water supplied; many of the inhabitants have to fetch water, and pay 1s per quarter for permission to take it.

The Leazes
, - Several houses without any outlets at back, each dwelling containing one sitting room, one bedroom, and attic, there are two privies to 10 hours, and one water tap for 16 houses, the water being turned on for 1 ½  hours twice or thrice a week. An open unpitched gutter for foul water about five feet from the doors and windows.

, - There are no drains; foul water &c is thrown into open cesspools and in some instances into the street. Garbage deposited on the premises; one privy used by tenants of five houses and situated close to the public road; one ditto for three houses, and similarly situated. Water derived from wells which are more or less connected, as the drawing water from one well immediately lowers the level of the water in the next adjacent wells. In one part the privy to four houses is placed at the end of the passage, and within four feet of the doors of the houses; this passage runs north and south, with a burial-ground at the side, separated only by means of a wall about seven feet in height. There are no outlets to this block of houses, whilst the floors of the rooms are below the level of the passage itself. It was stated by Dr. Paine, that the occupants of the these houses are constantly on the dispensary books.

, containing 14 houses situated in two courts, one within the other; this place was described as never being free from fever, and the people are on the parish books; the soil of the privy is banked up in the yard. The pump stands on the lower side of the entrance of the court.

Smith's-court contains 11 dwellings; water is on for one hour per day, when the supply is drawn from a stand pipe. The privy, which is a double one, stands in the court.

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contains 15 houses; there are only two privies; the foul water and slops are thrown upon the surface close to the doors. To one block of four houses there is no water.

Brambel's-court (Middle Street)
– Cesspool in yard, privy close to back of house, and in a bad state, pump out of repair. Air in this place very foul and bad.

Davis's court – Two privies to eight houses; no water but what is fetched from the pump in the street.

– The floors of the living rooms to four houses are below the level of the road. There are no outlets at the backs of these houses. One family live over the privy, which is common to all the houses.

Farr's alley contains a number of dwellings; surface uneven, privy in bad state; dung heap in yard; well and cesspool nearly close to each other.

Somerset-place This place which has been greatly improved of late, contains 6 houses without any outlets at the backs; there are four privies to 10 houses.

Clutterbuck's yard contains five tenements without any outlets at the back, the privy being close to a workshop.

Piccadilly contains houses fronting to one side and end of the court, with backs of houses on the remaining side and end; the ground floors of the rooms are below the level of the street. Open cesspool in garden westward of the houses, and a second cesspool with soil in another part.

With regard to the outlying portion of the parish, the system of cesspools, pigsties, and collections of garbage is close connection with the houses, as in the town prevails, and requires improving; but from the character of the district, these several blocks of houses are susceptible of being combined with that of the town, so far as regards works of water supply, sewerage, and lighting, and ought, therefore, to be dealt with separately – a matter proper for the owners to carry out.

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