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Tenant's Sanitary Catechism

See the Public Health (London) Act, 1891, and the Housing of Working Classes Act, 1890.* The references are to the

former unless otherwise stated.

[DECEMBER, 1896.] The attention of householders and lodgers is directed to the powers given to the local authorities by the Public Health (London) Act, 1891, and Housing of Working Classes Act, 1890 (see pages 3 and 4). Occupiers are requested to read the questions below; and if their houses are not in a sanitary condition as prescribed by these Acts, they should fill in these spaces under the heading " Answers," and forward this paper, either signed by themselves or not, to the Sanitary Inspector for the district, who is obliged then to enquire into the matter. Persons employed in an insanitary workshop should use the form to describe the workshop, and send it to the Sanitary Inspector, or to the Home Office, Whitehall, London, S.W. Letters addressed to the Sanitary Inspector, Vestry Offices, with the name of the Parish, should reach the proper authority.

This leaflet may also be used by persons desirous of enquiring into the sanitary condition of any district in the County of London. The questions should then be asked by the enquirer, and the blanks filled up by him. The results, when collected, can be tabulated and published in the local press, sent to the Sanitary Authority, the County Council, and the Local Government Board, or otherwise made use of.



1. Name of Parish.
2. Name of Street and No. of House.
3. Name of the occupier or occupiers.

4. Name and address of the reputed owner.

5. Has the house a water-closet for the sole use of its inmates ?

(See Clauses 39 and 40.) 6. If a water-closet, is it properly flushed with water from a cistern separate from that used for drinking water?

(See Clauses 48 and 50.)

Any Act of Parliament can be obtained for a few pence of Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoode, East Harding-street, E.C., or P. S. King and Son, King-street, Westminster,

7. If not for sole use of the house, how many (a) houses, (b) persons use the same closet ?

(See Clause 46.) 8. (a) Is the kitchen or scullery fitted with a proper sink? (6) is it in sound condition and trapped?

(See Clause 40.) 9. Is there a properly constructed dust-bin for the sole use of the inmates ?

(See Clause 40.)
10. Is it regularly emptied ?

(See Clause 30.) 11. Are the floors throughout in a proper condition of repair ?

12. Are the ceilings and walls clean and in repair and free from cracks ? (See Clause 94,e, and Housing of Working Classes

Act, 1890, Clause 75.) 13. Is the roof sound and water- ! tight? 14.


any part of the house in such a condition as to be dangerous or injurious to the health of the inhabitants?

(See Clause 2, a.) 15. Is the water-supply abundant ? Is it constant or intermittent ? Are taps, etc., conveniently placed ? Are the cisterns regularly cleaned, and in an accessible position for inspection ?

(See Clauses 48 and 50.) 16. Is the back-yard properly paved and drained ?

(See Clause 16, d.) 17. How many rooms have you in your house?

18. Can you get a house clean and in repair in the parish in which you live?

19. What weekly rent do you pay ?

20. What is the space, back and front, between your own house and any other building ? (Housing of Working Classes Act, 1890, Clause

38, i., a. and 6.)

21. Have you any factory-chimneys close to you which persistently pour smoke upon your dwelling? Is there any works near you which causes bad smells, or noises at night?

(See Clauses 23 and 21.) 22. If you inhabit underground rooms what (a) is the height from floor to ceiling, () what height is there between the footway and top of windows ?

(See Clause 96.) I, the undersigned, do hereby give you notice that there exists in or upon the above-named premises the nuisances above stated.






SANITARY CLOSETS AND DRAINS. Clause 37 (i).-" It shall not be lawful newly to erect any house or to rebuild any house without a sufficient ashpit, with proper doors and coverings . . . and one or more proper and sufficient water-closets furnished with suitable water supply. (iii.) the sanitary authority shall cause notice to be served on owner or occupier requiring him forthwith: to provide the same if it be without the said water-closet or dustbin." "If such notice is not complied with the owner or occupier shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five pounds : : : or the sanitary authority may in lieu of proceedings for a fine execute such work and may recover the expense . from owner of house. Provided that where a water-closet has before the commencement of this Act been used in common by inmates of two or more houses and in the opinion of the sanitary authority may continue to be properly so used, they need not require such for each house" (37, iv.).

(N.B.—But the local authority should insist on each house having its own closet.]

Clause 39.—Every local authority shall provide that all drains, water-closets, earth-closets, privies, ashpits and cesspools within their district be constructed, and so kept as not to be a nuisance or injurious to health.

Clause 30 provides that it shall be the duty of every sanitary authority to secure the due removal at proper periods of house refuse from premises and proper emptying and cleansing of all ashpits, closets, and cesspools (if any) in their district. Where this is not done at the ordinary period and the occupier serves on the authority a written notice requiring the removal of such, if a sanitary authority fail without reasonable cause to comply with this section they shall be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds. And if any person in the employ of sanitary authority demands from occupier any fee or gratuity he shall be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty shillings.

Clauses 4 and 5 provide that on receipt of any information respecting the existence of a nuisance caused by premises unfit for human habitation, a closing order may be obtained, and if sufficient proof is given the Court shall make a closing order and may impose a fine not exceeding twenty pounds.

Clause 1.-" It shall be the duty of every sanitary authority to cause to be made from time to time inspection of their district to ascertain what nuisances exist calling for abatement and to enforce the provisions of this Act for purpose of abating same. And to put in force powers vested in them to secure proper sanitary condition of all premises in their district." Nuisances which may be abated summarily : Clause 2 deals with any premises injurious or dangerous to health ; any pool, ditch, gutter, water-course, cistern, water-closet, earth-closet, privy, urinal, cesspool, drain, dung-pit, or ashpit-any animal, any accumulation or deposit, any house or part of a house so overcrowded as to be injurious to health. Any absence of water-fittings, factories and workshops (not under Factory Act), and any person may give information to sanitary authority whose duty it shall be to immediately require it to be a bated.

Clause 75 of Housing of Working Classes Act, provides that any contract made for letting a house to persons of the working classes shall imply that such house at time of letting is in all respects reasonably fit for human habitation." For weekly tenants the time of letting cannot be more than one week ago.

Clause 2 (i) (a), defines a nuisance as any premises in such a state as to be a nuisance or injurious to health.

Clauses 2 and 12 give sanitary authority power to abate a nuisance summarily if its order is not complied with.

Clause 5 provides that where a nuisance is proved to exist such as renders a house or building unfit for human habitation the Court may impose a closing order till such Court has declared it to have been rendered fit for human habitation.

Clause 49 declares a house unfit for human habitation if it has not a proper and sufficient supply of water, and Clause 37 (iii.) provides that a sanitary authority shall call on an owner to provide forthwith closet or ashpit wanting to any inhabited house.

Clauses 3 and 12.- Who may Complain.-Information of any nuisance under this Act in the district of the sanitary authority may be given by any person aggrieved thereby or by four householders, or by any officer of such district, relieving officer, constable or police officer.

Clause 21 provides that if any house is rendered unfit for human habitation through offensive effluvia arising from any factory adjoining, any ten inhabitants of the district may complain to the sanitary authority, who shall enquire into and abate it. A heavy fine may be imposed.

Clause 31 of the Housing of Working Classes Act, 1890, says : "Four or more householders by written complaint can compel the medical officer of health in a locality to inspect houses that are considered unfit for human habitation, and he is then bound to report the results of his inspection to the local authority; he is also bound to declare that such houses or dwellings are fit or are not fit for human habitation.

Under the Sanitary Act, 1866, the sanitary authority has power to require any house which is occupied by more than one family to be registered; the sanitary authority has extensive powers over lodging houses thus registered.


IMPROVEMENT SCHEMES. Overcrowding has to be dealt with under Clauses 2 (e) and 7.

As to Displacement of persons for an improvement scheme, Clause 11, Housing of Working Classes Act, provides that accommodation shall be found for at least as many as are displaced in the same area, unless it can be proved that some other place not in immediate vicinity will be equally convenient.

Part iii. of the same Act gives power to the London County Council to build or hire cottages or dwellings for the working classes whenever there is need of them.

FABIAN LEAFLETS. 6 for id., or 1/- per 100. No. 71. The (London) Tenant's Sanitary Catechism.

68. The Tenant's Sanitary Catechism (for places outside London).

63. Parish Council Cottages and how to get them. For catalogue of other tracts apply to the






St. John's College, Oxford.






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