It would appear that the constitution of York Street, Westminster,
is a rotten one : not only were the houses whose fall, two weeks ago, occasioned so much injury and suffering, in a falling condition long be- fore they fell, but there are several others which momentarily threaten, unless means be adopted to prevent it, to tumble on their tenants' heads. The Annoyance Jury, whose duty it is to look after these matters, is thus constituted-
" The Lord High Steward of Westminster is required, by himself or deputy, to summon forty-eight jurors, in equal proportions from the various parishes within the city, who continue embodied six months, and are divided into three juries, of sixteen each. The powers of these juries are co-extensive, and em- brace the whole of the city, with the exception that no juror is qualified to act in his respective parish. The present juries were sworn in on the 3d of October last."— Tunes.
It is the duty of the Churchwardens of any parish, when a house is presented as dangerous, to surround it with a hoard; and if the proprie- tor, on receiving sufficient warning, do not take it down, to cause it to be taken down, and the materials sold to defray the expenses. The
Annoyance Court, consisting of the entire Jury, met at the Sessions- house, Westminster, on Wednesday, the Deputy Steward in the chair. when a presentation was made of two houses in Clare Market (17 and 18, Houghton Street), and the proper notices issued: it was also stated, that notices had been served on the Churchwardens, calling for the immediate taking down of four houses in York Street, which belong to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. Here the duties and powers of the Court end : as in most of the wise institutions of Old England, the power of ordering and the power of acting are placed in two hide- pendent bodies, between which the public regularly come to the ground. True, it is competent to any individual to apply to the King's Bench; and the King's Bench may compel the Churchwardens to pull down ; that is, any man who is independent of his neighbour's good or ill will, and who has thirty or forty pounds to throw away in such an adventure, may throw it away if he like. But, how many such can be supposed to live in a place like York Street? or to know or care any thing about its houses or its inhabitants ? It is plain, that if the Annoyance Jury be unfit to act, they are unfit to order ; either they should have the power to pull down what they consider to be unsafe, or that power should be vested in some one who can and will exercise it. The hol.s:; in York Street, that fell lately, had been three times presented. 1.7micr a strict administration of justice, the Churchwardens, by whose neglect they were permitted to stand, in the face of these repeated present- ments, would have been indicted for conspiracy to murder.
There is a great racket about this nuisance just now, as there always is when similar calamities occur; but nothing will be done. In a few days, the deaths and sufferings of the poor people will be forgotten : " my public" is too great a personage to care for such petty concerns. They serve for a little talk, and then pass away.