2 DECEMBER 1899, Page 29


I am much interested in the question of the housing of the poor, I naturally read Dr. Bussell's letter in the Spec- tator of November 25th with a good deal of pleasure and anticipation. Living, as I do, not very far from Shelland Green, I went over this week and inspected the two cottages which have been " erected " for a sum of 2200. I may say at once that I was, on the whole, pleased with the accommoda- tion, which is as staled in Dr. Bussell's letter. I have to add a figure which he did not give, the height of the rooms being about 7 ft. 3 in., not a high average for the size of the rooms. He forgot also to mention that there were two good cupboards the bedrooms. I was very much surprised on going up the stairs of the larger house to notice through a window that the outside wall was something like 16 in. thick, a very uncommon thing in these days of jerry-building. On coming down and surveying the wall outside it was quite apparent that this was an old wall and part of the gable of a former house. On inquiry of the tenant of the smaller house I was in- formed that before these cottages were built two other cottages stood there which had been partly destroyed by lightning not very long ago. On further examination I came to the conclusion from the difference in the size of the bricks that these cottages had not been built absolutely new from the foundations, but that a certain amount of old standing material had been left and utilised. I should like to ask Dr. Hassell whether this is a fact or not. Behind the houses there was a second building, which had evidently been standing for some time, to which had been added some small portions of new brickwork for sanitary purposes. There were some fine fruit trees in the garden, the produce of which, I should say, if properly looked after, would go a con- siderable way to pay the rent. Dr. Hassell does not say what he paid for the land. Surely the price of the site should have been included in his calculation. He has also omitted to state what the amount of rates would be, and the item of insurance is not mentioned. If the price of the site, and rates, and insurance are taken into account, it will consider- ably reduce the net return from the £200 laid out. I submit, therefore, that this is not a fair illustration of what cottages can be built for in the country.—I am, Sir, &c., P. H. B.