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have been known to sleep during the harvest season. Like the rest of the close, the inhabitants, with the exception of two families, were all Irish, This house differs very essentially in its outward appearance from those formerly described. It is a well-built modern structure, which rendered the contrast with the state of its interior all the more striking. After entering the door,-which, if the visitor did, without receiving a shower-bath from some window five or six storeys up, he might congratulate himself, the close, damp smell was absolutely sickening. The stair, thickly encrusted with mud, probably some years old, and moistened with water which had trickled down from the flats above, rendered the ascent one of risk, which was very likely aggravated into actual danger by the accelerated descent of some reeling drunkard. The interior of the house was in a great measure destitute of wood, every available piece, with the exception of the doors, having been torn from its fastenings by the stick-breakers, converted into firewood, and hawked about the streets. The glass in the lower half of the windows was replaced by brown paper or a bundle of rags, the upper half bedewed with dust. An inventory of the furniture would have exhibited a rickety table, two or three stools or blocks of wood, a few planks raised off the floor for a bedstead, and one or two articles of crockery ware. Grates there were none,-a few loose bricks, with some pieces of old iron hoop placed across them, being the most approved substitute. The appearance of the inmates we need not describe; they are before our eyes every day;suffice it to say, that it was in perfect keeping with the houses, and that the samples at the entrance to the close did not in the least belie their friends in the interior. The rents charged for these, and all such dwellings in Edinburgh, are enormous, L.2, 12s. being the amount demanded for the privilege of living in one of the worst cellars. The whole close produced a rental of about L.140, scraped together in silver and copper.
"Such, then, was Burt's Close some twelve months ago; and that it is no exaggerated description, any one may satisfy himself by taking the trouble to walk into some of the adjoining closes, or into such a close as North Gray's in the High Street, where he may see a state of matters in many respects similar. Taken all in all, it is not too much to say, that for fever, filth, crime, and delapidated houses, Burt's Close was perhaps the worst close in Edinburgh; at least such is the testimony of the police, who in self-protection visited it in couples.
Here, then, we have one of the worst closes in Edinburgh, the question is, Can such a state of matters be remedied? Is it possible to clean an Augean stable like this? We answer, It is; and for the best of all reasons,because it has been done-Burt's Close no longer exists; and to complete the reform, the name itself has been changed to that of Warden, which was the original name some thirty years ago. Nor is the alteration one of a partial nature; it is no half-and-half measure, but a change, thorough, radical, and complete. Where wretched cellars were wont to be, now stand a handsome coffeehouse and reading room, for the exclusive use of the working-classes. Miserable hovels, hotbeds of fever and filth, are now replaced by an airy, commodious bleaching-green. Dilapidated garrets, at rents of L.4, are now occupied by respectable mechanics, who pay L.3 for a comfortable house with water and gas. The process by which this has been effected, 'consisted of rebuilding one part, remodelling another, removing a third, and repairing the rest. The front house has been entirely rebuilt. In the tenement situated immediately behind, the whole interior has been renewed and laid out commodiously. The large building at the top of the close has been repaired, so as to make the interior worthy of its exterior, and is now occu pied as a comfortable model lodging-house. And lastly, the centre of the close, formerly occupied as a byre, has been removed altogether, and con
verted into a bleaching-green, which has been covered with nine or ten inches of good protestant black earth, carted from the excavations recently made at John Knox's Corner. Besides being useful to the green, we hope this measure will help to avert the evils invoked against us by our former tenants; some of whom, we were told, on the day of their ejection, went down on their knees, and cursed us by all the saints they were acquainted with; and no doubt hope that we are yet to suffer for our cruelty in turning them out, by a protracted residence in purgatory-from which we stand a bad chance of release, if it depends on their intercession.
"There are four distinct features which characterise the improvements effected on this close, upon the strength of which we feel ourselves entitled to call it the Model Close. To each of these separately we shall now draw
"I. The erection of superior houses for the working classes, situated in the heart of the town, with water, gas, water-closet, and bleaching-green, constructed out of old property, and at moderate rents,-amply remunerative, at the same time, to the proprietor.
"11. A grocer's shop, where no spirits are sold.
"III. A commodious coffeehouse and reading-room, for the benefit of the working-classes.
"IV. A model lodging-house, where mechanics can obtain most comfort-. able accommodation at the same rates as those charged for the worst."
We can testify from the accounts of others, and from personal observation, that these praiseworthy objects have been attained; having taken a recent opportunity of inspecting the whole premises, at a period of the evening when the inmates of the coffee-room and lodging-house were in the act of arriving,-under the guidance of the intelligent person who has the charge of the concern. Our first visit was to the coffee-room, which is, perhaps, scarcely advantageously enough situated to catch the public eye, being immediately behind a provision-shop, to which, indeed, it forms a back apartment, although we observed, on entering the clean, level, well paved close or court, that it had also its side entrance from the latter. In days of yore, the apartment was dedicated to other uses, and below it had been a cellar occupied by Irish tenants in all their filth and squalor. It is now a warm, cheerful apartment, partitioned off into boxes, where all refreshments, those only of an intoxicating kind excepted, can be had at the lowest remunerating prices. The tables were well strewed with newspapers and periodicals; and the visitors, though not at that time very numerous, were of the class for whose use it was intended. By and bye, we doubt not, the number of frequenters will increase.
To quote the scale of charges for refreshments would be needless, after the remark already made; and in reference to the food for the mind afforded, there is nothing which we can find fault with, except that the list of newspapers, with one (and that only a provincial exception,) does not contain a single newspaper of Church principles; and that while "Chambers" and "Hogg," &c., are duly deposited to enlighten the customers, we did not observe either the well-known face of George Buchanan looking sagaciously from the monthly cover of "Blackwood," or our own varied and instructive pages, containing aliment not less salutary. Free discussion, let us whisper the projector, can do no harm. The
"Witness" will counteract "Macphail." The "Household Words" of Dickens looks at the social questions of the day in very much of a secular aspect; and if exercise of the reasoning powers be judicious in its due place, we will back the Dee-side minister, or our ancient friend who chronicles his peregrinations through the modern Babylon,—the one to exercise the reasoning powers of the hardest-headed visitor, and the other to provide solid as well as stimulating food for the intellectual faculties. There are other features, it seems, beyond the periodicals, of which last the names of a few only have been cited:
"In addition to the literary entertainments, various innocent recreations, such as bagatelle, draughts, and dominoes, have been introduced.
"There is also a library containing a variety of works, entertaining, instructive, and religious. The terms for the reading-room alone, are one shilling a quarter, or a penny a visit, but to those ordering refreshments, no charge is made for the use of the newspapers and library, so that for the sum of one penny, they can treat themseives to food for mind and body. Should these pages meet the eye of any of the merchants or manufacturers of the Grassmarket, we take the opportunity of asking them to lend their help by patronising the news-room. The list of papers and periodicals already given, is a guarantee that the small subscription of one shilling a-quarter, will not be thrown away. We can confidently challenge any one to shew us a newsroom in town, where one penny a-week can command so many papers. As formerly mentioned, the room is most comfortably fitted up; and during the hours of the forenoon, which is the time most suitable for them, it is little frequented. We make this request, because they can thus very materially aid us in carrying out the success of this desirable establishment. The primary object of the institution is to furnish the working-classes with a place where they can obtain comfortable meals at economical rates, and spend their evenings pleasantly and profitably; but owing to the small charge made for provisions, the large selection of newspapers, which form a prominent feature in the attractions of the place, cannot be maintained without the aid of regular subscribers."
The model lodging-house, we were given to understand, can make up ninety beds, and has an average of about sixty occupants at present, per night, some of whom are stated lodgers. It is very much on the plan of the "Victoria Lodging-houses," which have done so much good here and elsewhere. When we entered the kitchen, we found a promiscuous, but decent company,-neither women nor children being present, as the house is appropriated to single men. The bed-rooms were airy, and the accommodation most comfortable, the charge being only threepence per night. In a general meeting-room, off the kitchen, (in which latter various respectable mechanics were cooking their supper at the blazing fire,) we found a number of the inmates rationally employed, some arranged around a bagatelle table, and others preparing to practice sacred or other music; while in the precincts of the kitchen, the humbler indulgence of the evening pipe is not prohibited to such as have means to command, and the desire of indulging in that luxury. We were pleased to hear that an eminent friend of the working-classes, whose graphic pen has depicted certain of the dark localities in our city, and drawn their inmates to the life,-strolling like ourselves, one evening, into the house, had given practical proofs of his love for sweet sounds, by taking his
part in the choral performances of the evening; and we are sure that the founder of the Edinburgh Ragged Schools would have heartily exchanged a pinch with any man present who indulged in that recreation. All wore a decent aspect; and coming up the stair, as we descended, we met an almost clerical-looking individual, apparently in the travelling line, about to establish his quarters for the night, in the by no means untempting hostelry.
We quote Dr. Foulis' account of the management of this part of the scheme, but must first of all extract a short passage to give an idea of the nature of the evil to which a remedy has been so well applied:
"Few people have ever thought of the inconvenience and danger to which a mechanic or domestic servant is exposed on first arriving in a large town like this, arising from the absence of cheap inns. Such a thing as a house of this kind, where the charges are at all suitable to their circumstances, does not exist. They are shut up to the alternative of either procuring accomodation at a rate far beyond their means, or taking their chance at the first sign of "Lodgings" which presents itself; and, comparing the number of disreputable with that of respectable houses, their chance is poor indeed, and, moreover, designing characters are in the habit of waylaying unsophisticated country people at the railway stations, and enticing them into the worst of these dens of iniquity. According to the report given in to the LodgingHouse Association by the police in 1840, 40 wretched lodging-houses, containing 331 beds, were at that time situated in the adjacent streets of the Westport, Grassmarket, and upper part of the Cowgate. These places, most of which still exist, are haunts of the dissolute and worthless. Thefts are committed in them upon the unwary, plans of depredation are concocted, and many led into the commission of crimes. Persons of both sexes, and all characters and ages, are promiscously intermingled, three and four in one bed. Mr. M'Levie, the active criminal officer of the Edinburgh Police Establishment, stated, that it was well known to the police that men, women, aud children, were permitted to occupy the same rooms and beds indiscriminately, no control being exercised over them by the keepers of the houses. One of them contained forty-five beds, another thirty, and several eighteen beds. The air in these unwholesome places was very unsafe. and produced retching and vomiting in the officers who had entered in search of notorious offenders.' He found disreputable females in the same apartment with respectable young lads and girls from the country, who had been introduced into these dens in ignorance of their character; and in many cases such persons had been stripped of their clothes, robbed of their money, and turned into the street. With the view of improving the condition of these houses, and remedying, to some extent, the evils complained of, the Model or Victoria Lodging-houses have been established.”
The plan of the other Improved or Model Lodging-houses has been followed in the present instance:
"Each large room contains from two to three iron bedsteads. In the case of single beds, of which there are thirty-two in the Grassmarket house, there are more. The small rooms have one double or three single beds; a table, two or three chairs, and clothes-pins in convenient places, complete the furniture. There is a Bible in every room. The rooms and passages are lighted with gas; and on each plat or landing-place of the stair there is placed a sink and water-cock for each flat. At these the lodgers may wash if they choose, but the principal place for this purpose is in the kitchen, where there are three zinc basins, with water-cock to each. The bedding
and bed-clothes consist of a straw pallias, a mattress, two bolsters, two sheets, two pair of blankets, and a thick woollen cover for winter. The mattress is filled with chaff, one of the bolsters with straw, the upper one with cotton. No fires are allowed in the bed-rooms, to avoid the risk of burning; and for the same reason smoking in the bed-rooms is prohibited. No access is allowed to the bed-rooms during the day, an iron gate being placed across the foot of the stair, the key of which is kept by the superintendent. This gate is also locked at night, to prevent bad characters taking away bed-clothes without the superintendent's knowledge. The lodgers cook their own food, with the assistance of one of the servants; for this purpose the kitchen is furnished with all the necessary culinary utensils. At present there is a large open fire; but, in addition, hot plates and some recent improvements in cooking apparatus are in contemplation. The kitchen-grate is furnished with a large boiler, kept constantly filled with hot water from a self-feeding cistern placed in a press adjoining. Every means is taken to supply the inmates with moral and religious instruction and innocent recreations. With a view to this, there is divine service in the large sitting room every Sabbath evening. It is a fine sight to see wanderers from every quarter sitting with their Bibles in their hands, listening to the words of life; and a more attentive congregation we have never seen. There is a library of instructive and religious works, and several periodicals are regularly supplied, such as Hogg's Weekly Instructor, Chambers' Journal, Christian Treasury, Family Friend, &c.; the Monthly Visitor is also distributed regularly. The recreations consist of a bagatelle table, and several sets of draughts and dominoes. By these means their temporary home is rendered attractive, and an endeavour made to lessen the temptation to more questionable kinds of amusement, with which wayfarers are apt to beguile their leisure hours. The superintendent, who is assisted in the management by his wife and two servants, is invested with complete authority in the house; and is responsible for the articles of household furniture. In the admission of lodgers, he judges what applicants are to be received into the house, and may decline to receive them without assigning any reason-such as persons in a state of intoxication, persons appearing to be the subjects of infectious diseases, and those of bad character, or believed to be such. He fixes where each lodger is to sleep, at the same time consulting the wishes of the inmates as far as he can. He is responsible to the lodgers for any article committed by them to his care, such as packmen's boxes, money, watches, &c.; this is a most valuable arrangement, and much appreciated by the lodgers, who can enjoy their rest in the confidence that their property is safe, which in many of the ordinary lodging-houses it is not possible to do. In addition to this, each lodger may have a small press of his own, of which he receives the key by depositing a sixpence with the superintendent, which is returned on the delivery of the key at his departure. But these lock-ups are more intended for small articles and provisions; valuable things are safer in the hands of the manager, who has a closet for the purpose of keeping them. Each applicant pays his lodgings in advance, and all the names, with the date of arrival and departure, are written down every night by the superintendent. Those remaining more than six nights are allowed to stop the seventh night free, thus making the actual charge eighteenpence a-week, or a fraction more than twopence-halfpenny a night.
"The numbers frequenting these Victoria Lodging-houses are very great, and they are almost all of the class of workmen out of employment, or travelling in search of work. Last year the number of night's lodgings paid for was close upon 80,000. The greater number of these remain only one or two nights, but the superintendents are allowed to encourage some steady