~ HOUSDEN'S PASSAGE ~
Housedens Passage, St. Mildred's Parsih
The St. Mildred Slums Again
Councillor Horsley, referring to the Medical Officer's annual report, said he observed there was a reference to the shelving of the proposal that had been made to pull down certain passages in Stour Street and compensate the owners of the property. The Medical Officer expressed the hope that the Council would not lose sight of this matter, and he (Councillor Horsley) fully agreed with him, hoping it would not be permantently shelved. The Medical Officer had stated that there were 75 houses containing 101 inhabitants which were unfit for habitation and chronically bad, and serveral members of the Council, amongst whom were the Mayor and Alderman Hart, agreed that it was necessary to take immediate action; whilst remarks fell from the Aldermanic bench to the effect that the present state of the buildings was cruel to the occupiers. The feeling amongst many of the Council was that the fact of there being other instances of insanitary dwellings in Canterbury should be no bar to attacking this case which had been reported upon regularly by the officials. The Medical Officer's report had been referred back and it was understood that he would present another report. No other special report had yet been received but here was the hope expressed that the matter would not be lost sight of , and he (Councillor Horsley) gave notice of motion on the subject, to be placed on the agenda for the next Council meeting.
Councillor Harris said he questioned whether this was admissable, seeing that the matter had been already dealt with by the Council and the Committee. He believed the owner had put this particular passage in considerable repair, and he thought the matter should lay in abeyance for some time. It was known that the Medical Officer withdrew his report because it was too strong, and if the property had been put into repair it was not necessary to re-open the question, as the Council had plenty to do already.
The MAYOR pointed out that he visited the property and was quite of the Medical Officer's opinion that it was a disgrace to allow people to live there. In fact at that time he gave private advice to the owners that the property would, probably, be pulled down, and it would, therefore, not be advisable for them to spend money on it. As to giving them compensation for allowing insanitary dwellings, that was against all reason. Why should the Council compensate persons for violating the law? If a person put up an insanitary dwelling for his own profit the law should be enforced and they should be pulled down or the nuisance abated.
The Sanitary Inspector, in reply to the Mayor, said the owner of Fortune's Passage had proceeded with certain works, but the owner of Fowler's passage had done nothing and the property was in a most insanitary condition, as it was now worse than ever. Housden's passage was, virtually, closed; nothing had been done and it was impossible to make them good.
Councillor HORSLEY said he did not think discussion should take place now as he had only given notice of motion.
The MAYOR asked the Inspector to prepare an up-to-date report on the property, but Mr. RICHARDSON said that under the Act, this was a duty of the Medical Officer and the Surveyor.
Kentish Gazette and Canterbury Press, Friday for Saturday, May 16, 1896
Susannah CULLEN ^
Frederick BROADBRIDGE, Wood Sawyer ^
William TAPPENDEN, a private in the East Kent Militia *
Ellen FULLER *
James FULLER, H.M.S. St. Vincent, Royal Navy *
James CORNISH, Farm Labourer ^
Charles SMITH, House Painter *
Stephen BAKER, Birch Broom Maker *
© T. Machado 2007