[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] Sue, —Your article re
" Slums " in the Spectator of last week is one I cannot let pass without a word of thanks ; also a few remarks that may be interesting to you on the subject.
After forty years' experience I can speak what I know, and what I have seen of the state of slums in Chatham and neighbourhood—even also in a picturesque hamlet, that wrings my heart, and has made me despair of justice so fat as legislative means are concerned.
I beg you; most earnestly, to fight this good -fight with all your might. I was very young when my inclinations drew me to investigate matters in a private way in the slums of Chatham, &c., and to see if I could trace any effort to clear these Augean stables, or could help to rouse the apathy of the smug and respectable, or the selfish and thoughtless. It is only last week I went to a block of " Model " dwellings, built about twenty years ago by the municipal authorities. They are a shame to the town, and ought never to have been built, with one bedroom only to each tenement. In one of
these was a family of seven children and parents ! And the tiny living-room could not accommodate all at once ! In the others the families range to all sizes. The blocks were like so many cupboards packed side by side, and one above the
other. How any sane person could have allowed them to be built I cannot imagine. It is courting disease, vice and dis- vontent. No farmer would think such accommodation fit for any domestic animal. Now, when I came away I was wrapped in thought for days at the misery of it, and I think !hat I propounded your theory, almost word for word, to my msband as the only method. Abolish at once—no waiting fifteen years !
I maintain that the man or woman who lives in putrid air Ind breeds consumption or other ills is a danger to his neigh- bour in these wretched areas crowded together. Therefore, rules for prevention of fetid air should be enforced by health officers. In one area I was trying to find a certain house, and went to ask the way in an adjacent shop of the High Street, Chatham. The shopman, who knew me, looked
amazed, and said, "You must not go." I said, " I must." He then implored me to take a companion if I did, and go in the daylight. The sequel is a long story, so I will spare you. Please accept my sincere thanks for even your one article, and let it be only a forerunner of action—prompt and practical. I shall look eagerly for developments.—I am, Sir, &c., SOPHIA BAKER.
The Homestead, Meopham, Kent.