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Overcrowding - 1898

The Argus, 10th June 1898, transcribed by Kay Collins

Overcrowding - It hardly seems credible that in a town like Rushden there should be such a flagrant instance of overcrowding as was revealed in the report which the Medical Officer of Health presented to the Urban District Council on Wednesday evening. Were it in the courts of Whitechapel or the slums of Birmingham, where poverty's ruthless hand is more keenly felt, one would have read the report with a feeling of pity, but in a rural district where the cases are entirely different the enormity of the act strikes one with double force, and the feeling of pity gives place to one of indignation.

Here is a case of ten people—husband, wife, six children, and two lodgers—living in one small house, with one living room downstairs, a front bedroom and small back room. How they lived, crammed into this limited space is a matter of wonder. Certain it is they could have little regard to comfort and less sense of propriety.

When the case was exposed two of the elder children were sent out to sleep, but the lodgers, who should have been the first to leave, were retained. With such a glaring instance of fringement of all sanitary laws it does seem a case in which strong measures should be exercised, herding together of people in this way invites infection, and is a danger and menace to the health of the town.

The Rushden Echo, 10th June 1898, transcribed by Kay Collins

Medical Officer's Report for Rushden - A Case of Overcrowding

In his monthly report, Dr. Owen, medical officer for Rushden, states that during the month there were seven fresh cases of scarlet fever and three of measles. Isolation and disinfection were being resorted to, and all precautions were being taken against its spread. There was a case of overcrowding in Drawbridge-yard, where ten people occupied a very small house, viz., a man and wife, six children, and two lodgers. He (Dr. Owen) had advised them to

Get Rid of the Lodgers

or to move into a larger house.

The report was presented at a meeting of the Rushden Urban Council on Wednesday.

The Chairman (Mr. John Claridge) asked Dr. Owen when he found out this case of over-crowding.

Dr. Owen: A fortnight ago.

The Chairman: What has been done? Have they acted on your suggestion?

The Sanitary Inspector said the man had got the promises of another house and as soon as they could get into it they would. Meanwhile two of the children were being sent out to sleep.

The Chairman: It is

A Most Serious Case

of overcrowding.

Mr. Wilkins: They have kept the lodgers?

The Inspector: Yes.

Mr. Knight: They keep those that pay. (Laughter)

On the motion of Mr. Wilkins, seconded by Mr. Knight, it was decided to give the occupier 24 hours notice to abate the nuisance, failing which proceedings will be taken.

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