Huddersfield Chronicle (21/Jul/1866) - Magistrates in Petty Sessions: Sanitary Condition of Lockwood

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.

Magistrates in Petty Sessions.

Sanitary Condition of Lockwood.

Bethel Holroyd, of Netherton, was summoned for permitting, by insufficient drainage, a nuisance to exist on certain property belonging to him, situate in Victoria Street, within the limits of the Lockwood Local Board. Mr. Learoyd, who appeared for the complainants, inhabitants of Lockwood, described it as an "intolerable nuisance," and a disgrace to the defendant and all other parties connected with it. It was perfectly true the nuisance had been brought under the notice of the Local Board, and was, at the last meeting of the Board, referred to the surveyor, before whom it had been for something like three months. If Local Boards did not keep pace with the requirements of the public, the law gave the inhabitants power to lay their grievances before the magistrates, and ask for that magisterial interference which certain of the residents of Lockwood now sought. The cellars in respect of which the charge had been laid, were wholly unprovided with drainage, and the result was that all the filth and sludge from the surrounding houses, which were situate in a most populous district, flowed into the cellars, and had to be constantly removed. The stench was so great as to prevent not only the inhabitants of the houses to which the cellars belonged but others from sleeping at night. In the locality there were no less than 87 dwellings, occupied by 392 people, all of whom were suffering from this nuisance. While contagious diseases were prevalent, the Bench would, he was sure, consider the parties more than justified in calling for magisterial interference, and asking that the defendant, at whatever inconvenience to himself, might be compelled to stop the nuisance, if even it resulted in the temporary closing of the cellars.

Mr. Superintendent Heaton informed the Bench that on Thursday last, in consequence of complaints from Mrs. Ann Byrom, widow, who lives in Victoria Street, he, accompanied by Inspector Airton, Police Sergeant Sedgwick, and Police Constable Redman, inspected the place, and in the cellar of the cottage occupied by Ann Byrom they found a great quantity of sludge and dirty water. The cellar was in a most "filthy and disagreeable state," and a house occupied by Wm. Littlewood, in the same row, was in a worse state than Mrs. Byrom's. The dirt and sludge was several inches thick, and it "smelled awful." While they were in the house occupied by Littlewood they were told how this filth entered the cellar, and a test was applied. They procured a quantity of water, and poured it on the surface of the street, where the inhabitants team their refuse water, and in less than a minute it had made its way into the cellar, there being no drain to carry it away.

The Chairman : What do you want the defendant to do ?

Mr. Learoyd : We want him to provide house drainage.

Mr. Heaton said a drain appeared to go from one of the houses to Betty Byrom's cellar, and there was a small aperture through which the sludge and dirt could be seen. A rule was put through the fissure, and the sludge was three inches deep.

Ann Howe, occupier of a cellar dwelling, stated that the stench arising from the accumulation was so great as to prevent persons from sleeping.

The defendant stated that the Local Board had laid pot pipes in New Street to carry away sewage, but none had been laid in Victoria Street, the sewage from which ought to run into the New Street drain. No provision had been made so as to enable him to drain the dwellings, hence there was an accumulation of sludge all down Victoria Street.

The Bench imposed a penalty of 1s. and costs (total 27s. 6d.), and gave the defendant a week to abate the nuisance, and intimated that after that time a fine of 10s. would be inflicted for every day the nuisance continued to exist.