Huddersfield Chronicle (11/Jul/1868) - Correspondence: Cottage Dwellings for the Poor

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.


Cottage Dwellings for the Poor.

To the Editor of the Huddersfield Chronicle.


It is gratifying to your subscribers to read from time to time the announcements you make of the princely liberality of our countrymen, in appropriating a portion of their wealth in the promotion of various Christian, social, and philanthropic objects. Scarcely has the echo of Mr. Whitworth's noble gift of £100,000 died away before we are agreeably startled by the pleasing intelligence that a benevolent neighbour, Charles Brook, Esq., of Meltham, has generously intimated his intention of expending £30,000 in the erection of a Convalescent Home in connection with the Huddersfield Infirmary.

I am sure this magnificent donation will elicit the heartiest expressions of gratitude and good will from the inhabitants of Huddersfield and the district generally; and the institution will no doubt confer a great benefit upon the industrious and needy poor of our town when prostrated by accident or affliction, and will considerably facilitate their restoration to health and strength.

But, while such ample arrangements are made for the healing of the sick, the halt, the maimed, and the blind, I fear the attention of Christian and social philanthropists are not sufficiently directed to the prevention of sickness and disease.

It is a well ascertained fact that one fruitful source of fever and sickness generally, is unsuitable and over-crowded dwellings — where a considerable number of persons of both sexes, are huddled together in a small apartment, without any regard to either health or decency. I know a cottage with two rooms, each about 15 feet by 13 feet, in which 13 persons are now living and sleeping ; and in which some of the adults follow their daily employment. This is only a sample of many others in the town and neighbourhood. It is not necessary to mention the moral, social, and physical evils that must necessarily arise from such a state of things, as they will be apparent to all your readers.

It is to be regretted that the necessity of providing convenient and cheap cottages for the poor — especially for poor widows with families — has not more heartily engaged the attention and the liberality of our Christian and social reformers ; for I am persuaded if this was done on a large scale, it would prevent a great amount of suffering and poverty to which the worst paid of the working classes are subject.

I remain, yours very respectfully,