Housing - New Monkland
See also 1910 Housing reports
Eastfield Rows, New Monkland Parish
(John Murray, General Manager, Nimmo's Coal Company, Owner)
We inspected this property on 24th June 1913, and are of opinion that it ought not to be available for inspection. There are 3 one-roomed houses, 3 two-roomed houses, and 3 back-to-back with the one-roomed houses. There are no sculleries, no coal-cellars, no closets, no ash-pits, and the water supply is from one stand in the street. The houses are old-looking, and should be pulled down. Rent here is 1s. 8d. for a house of one apartment, and 2s. 8d. for one of two apartments; is paid weekly, and does not include rates. [Evidence presented to Royal Commission, 25th March 1914]
Eastfield, New Monkland Parish
(Jas Nimmo & Company, Owners)
In reading the notes taken when we visited this place on 24th June 1913, I find a remark written through all the sheets - "Whole place and houses disgraceful, and should be pulled down." This place cannot be described at all; it must be seen. [Evidence presented to Royal Commission, 25th March 1914]
Longriggend, New Monkland Parish
(Jas Nimmo & Company, Owners)
These houses were visited on 24th June 1913, and were found to be like the property of the same Company at Eastfield - indescribable. No Commission on Housing can complete its labours without seeing this property. There are not even rhones on the houses to conduct the water along the roof. [Evidence presented to Royal Commission, 25th March 1914]
Roughrigg, New Monkland Parish
We inspected these houses on 24th June 1913. These are not houses at all, and are really held together by the work of the tenants. There are no sculleries, no coal-cellars, no washhouses ; two dry-closets or privies (of a kind) for twelve tenants; scavenging done, sometimes and somehow ; one stand on the street for water; rent, 1s. weekly, plus rates, for a one-roomed house, and 1s. 8d. weekly, plus rates, for a two-roomed house. The whole place is most discreditable. [Evidence presented to Royal Commission, 25th March 1914]
Calderbank Square, Calderbank
Calderbank Square, Calderbank - This square is the property of Dunlop & Company. It consists of a complete square of two-storey houses, mostly single. Access is gained to the square proper by pend-closes. The area enclosed by the houses is more like a ploughed field than the entrance to dwellings. Rents are - for two rooms and kitchen, 3s. 1d. per week ; for one room and kitchen, 2s. 10d. per week; for single house, 1s. 10d. per week. There are coal-cellars of a kind let into the stairways, which are outside. Water is supplied from a few stand-pipes. Open middens are the only means of disposing of refuse ; there are privies attached to these, but at the time of our visit (25th December 1913) were not accessible unless one were wearing water-tight boots. We understand there is a proposal to erect water-closets here to justify the continued occupation of the property. That would be wise if they also built new property. These houses were erected in 1846. [Evidence presented to Royal Commission, 25th March 1914]
Calderbank Square - This property is built in the form of a square, having a frontage on two sides of 237 feet, on the other two sides of 187 feet.
This property contains fourteen tenements, each consisting of, on the ground floor, two houses of room and kitchen; on the upper floor, two houses each of room and kitchen.
The width of these houses from front to back is 26 feet.
Rental - 2s. 10d. per week, including taxes.
Four corner tenements (having a 33 feet 8 inches and 36 feet 6 inches frontage), each consisting of, on the ground floor, two houses each of room and kitchen; on the upper floor, two houses of room and kitchen, and one house of two rooms and kitchen.
There is a small close through each of these tenements.
The width of these houses (on the 36 feet 6 inches frontage) is 26 feet, (on the 33 feet 6 inches frontage) is 20 feet.
Rental - room and kitchen, 2s. 10d.; two rooms and 3s. 1d. per week, including taxes. Other two tenements, each consisting of, on the ground two houses each of one apartment; on the upper floor, one house of one apartment, and one house of two apartments.
The width of these houses from front to back is 20 feet
Rental - single apartment, 1s. 9d.; two apartments, 2s. 6d. per week, including taxes.
There is a pend close through these (20 feet wide) tenements.
The ceilings of all the foregoing houses are 8 feet 6 inches high.
The property is built entirely of stone, having a slated roof.
The ground-floor houses have only an entrance off the streets, the upper-floor houses having an open stone stair. There are no washhouses, and the only conveniences for the tenants are dry-closets, with ash-pits, and at the date of our visit were in a bad state of repair, and in a dirty condition, and are far too few in number.
Water is obtained from stand-pipes; a few of the houses have water in them, which we understand the tenants have to pay £1 towards the cost, but pay no additional rental.
The property apparently lacks a proper drainage system, and the court inside the square is in a very bad condition, more especially during wet weather.
The property was built about sixty years ago.
In our opinion the cost of the erection of this property would be about £7148.[Supplementary report on cost of rebuilding old houses, presented to Royal Commission on 25th March 1914]
Calderbank Square - Squalor of Miners’ Homes – Conditions A Blot on Civilisation - In a recent speech of Mr Lloyd George, reference was made to the horrible conditions prevailing in Calderbank Square, near Holytown. The "DaiIy News" followed the matter up, and sent out a special correspondent to the spot to see the "Square" for himself. The correspondent writes as follows:-
I doubt if it would be possible to find in any civilised, or uncivilised, country so incredibly squalid a place as Calderbank Square, a colony of cottages in a village near Holytown, a few miles outside of Glasgow. In his speech at Chesterfield, Mr Lloyd George referred to the Square as a place in which it is a scandal that human beings should be called on to dwell. That is putting it quite mildly. Personally I would rather live in a field; in an old leaking tent, winter as well as summer, than spend 24 hours in Calderbank Square. Grouped round two large squares connected by a passage are rows of two storeyed houses. In most cases one family lives in the two rooms on the ground floor, and another family in the two rooms above, reached by stone steps outside. Only a few houses have water laid on; the great majority of tenants have to fetch it from a tap outside.
No Sanitation. - Big families, with five or six children, have to make the best of a home which consists only of a kitchen and bedroom, without water or sink or sanitary equipment of any kind. Slops have to be thrown into a sort of funnel connection with a pipe. In the open square are four small wooden huts which provide about 100 men, women and children with the only "sanitary" arrangements available. The huts are not connected with any sewer but stand in kind of open cesspit, which is supposed to be dealt with when necessary. The condition of the huts - judging from a view I had of one through the open door – is incredibly filthy. The smell in the summer, I was told by one of the tenants, is almost unbearable. Windows have to be kept closed. The people living under those primeval conditions are not in Calderbank-square because they like it but because there are no other houses available to rent they can afford to pay. Two rooms in the square cost only 3s 6d a week. Excellent little houses, built near by under a housing scheme, are let, I understand, at 10s., plus rates. Some of the tenants in the square, desperately anxious to escape from its squalor and filth, lived for a few happy weeks in the new houses. Then they found – as they had feared – that the rent was too much for them. And back they had to come to two rooms in the hated square. The tragedy of it is that these people are worthy of far better homes. I have never seen cleaner rooms than those I visited. All the metal work and the pots and pans were brightly polished, and everything was scrupulously clean.
Heart-Breaking - "But it’s enough to break a women’s heart” said one young wife to me, as she looked round her two crowded rooms. I found another woman lighting a fire, camp fashion, in the Square outside to boil a saucepan of water for washing clothes. Her kitchen fire it appeared, was too small, and all the washing had to be done out of doors. "Terrible" was the word she used to describe her house.
At Blantyre and Rosehall, and other places on the outskirts of Glasgow, I have seen single-roomed cottages inhabited by large families who have nowhere else to go. But I have seen nothing quite so scandalous as Calderbank Square. It is made possible by being on the top of a hill, exposed to sun and wind, but it is a place no self-respecting country can tolerate in its midst. [Motherwell Times 25 July 1924]
CALDERBANK SQUARE AGAIN. – “Living in Hell”
Apropos of the conditions prevailing at Calderbank, near Holytown, an interesting article appeared in last week's "John Bull" by Mabel Homer, under the title "Living in Hell," in which she says: -
I write of trouble. There is a muttering of public opinion, which, unless it is speedily backed by concerted, public-spirited action, may break out into something worse.
Let the women who exist in Calderbank Square, a mining quarter near Holytown, speak for themselves.
"We live here," writes one, "because we simply cannot afford to pay higher rents. But oh ! it's heartbreaking work."
Yes, it is heartbreaking work. And soul destroying, body-stunting work as well.
Two rooms together form tenements in which there is neither water nor sink or light laid on. Rooms? They are not deserving of the name. They are hovels. They would not bear comparison with the barns in which a decent farmer houses cattle. But in them whole families, numbering anything up to a dozen souls, contrive to live. Two or three huts in the open square provide at least one hundred men, women, and children with the only sanitary convenience there is. These huts do not connect with any sewer. There is an open cesspool. The filth is indescribable. The women, despairing, say, "It is unbearable."
And yet, because they must, they fight on, striving to keep themselves and their belongings clean. Pots, pans, and brasses shine. It is heroic, but it brings a catch into the throat. For, when everything is on the side of the angels, in a properly sanitary and well-equipped home, what a task confronts the housewife with a family of youngsters to keep healthy and clean.
When the Black Plague swept this country, rich and poor alike dreaded the first appearance of a plague spot. Very tiny it might be at first, but it pointed to the hidden infection. None ignored signs merely because at the moment they themselves might be untouched. The word was enough. The plague was deadly, and must be stamped out.
Calderbank Square is such a plague spot full of virus. Let it be cleansed and decent housing given to its inhabitants before the infection spreads. Picture the death-beds - for indeed death is no unknown visitor to Calderbank Square - and see how the squalid misery robs the last sad scenes of that dignity which is the right of grief to claim for its own.
Calderbank Square, and all its like must go. And, naturally, those who insist on such reforms, will be asked "How?" I can tell what some women in London have done. They were aghast at the horrible housing conditions that existed in some of the little back courts adjoining one of the finest West End squares. They formed themselves into a committee. They went over the district inch by inch and mapped out its worst spots. Pressure was brought to bear upon local authorities. Plans for reconstruction and improvement were set on foot. The work is proceeding. It is not yet finished nor can anyone prophesy where it will end.
What interests us is that it would not yet be begun - the condition of the worst-housed tenants would still be bereft of hope - but for women, public-spirited women in happier circumstances who saw the local plague spot and recognised the deadly nature of its virus. What has been done can be done again. Nothing is impossible to women of public spirit when they really set to work and use their wealth of talent and (material means for the public weal. For the saddest of all reflections in this matter of scandalous housing of worthy folk, is that the hapless inhabitants of spots such as Calderbank Square are powerless to help themselves. [Motherwell Times - Friday 15 August 1924]
Calderbank New Square
This property consists of two rows of houses.
No. 1 Row, facing Main Street, Calderbank, having a frontage of 236 feet 4 inches and 26 feet 2 inches wide.
The property contains five tenements, each consisting of, on the ground floor, two houses of room and kitchen; on the upper floor, two houses of room and kitchen: and two tenements, with 3 feet 6 inches close, each consisting of, on the ground floor, two houses of room and kitchen; on the upper floor, one house room and kitchen, and one house two rooms and kitchen.
The rental - room and kitchen, 2s. 10d.; two rooms and kitchen, 3s. 1d. per week, including taxes.
No. 2 Row, facing New Street, having a frontage of 236 feet 4 inches, and 22 feet 3 inches wide.
This property contains seven tenements, each consisting of, on the ground floor, two houses of kitchen with small bedroom (no fire) and scullery; and the upper floor, two houses of room and kitchen.
The rental - for houses ground and upper floors is 2s. 7d. per week, including taxes.
The ceilings of all the foregoing houses are 8 feet 6 inches high.
The property is built entirely of stone, having a slated roof.
There are no washhouses, and the only conveniences for the tenants are dry-closets, with ash-pits, and at the date of our visit were in a bad state of repair, and in a dirty condition, and are far too few in number.
Water is obtained from stand-pipes; a few of the houses have water in them, which we understand the tenants have to pay £1 towards the cost, but pay no additional rental. The property apparently lacks a proper drainage system, and the court inside the square is in a very bad condition, more especially during wet weather.
In our opinion the cost of the erection of this property would be about £4657.[Supplementary report on cost of rebuilding old houses, presented to Royal Commission on 25th March 1914]
White Row, Greengairs
This in a row consisting of six single-apartment houses, which were inspected and found to be damp and unfit for occupancy. The matter was reported to the Committee, who inspected the property. An interview was arranged with the proprietrix, but no proposal to remedy the condition was obtained. Statutory procedure was adopted, and a closing order obtained from the Sheriff. [1906 Annual Report of the County & District Medical Officer]
As mentioned in the preceding report, this property, consisting of six one-apartment houses, was reported as unfit for occupation, and was dealt with under Section 16 (1) of the Public Health Act. Sheriff Glegg granted a closing order. Since then the proprietrix has died, and my attention was directed to the place as becoming a nuisance through the public having access to it. The matter is being dealt with by the Sanitary Inspector. [1907 Annual Report of the County & District Medical Officer]
Two properties mentioned in last, year's report, White Row, Greengairs, consisting of 6 one-apartment houses, had been closed as unfit for human habitation, but the proprietrix continued to reside in one of them. After her death the premises became a nuisance through the public having access to them. The Sanitary Inspector took proceedings under Section 16, and the property is now demolished. [1908 Annual Report of the County & District Medical Officer]
South Stanrigg Rows
This group of 32 one-apartment dwellings was referred to in the Special Report on Housing, page 178. The houses were originally owned by a coal company, but are now in the hands of the superior, and their present insanitary condition was brought under his notice with the view of having them shut up. It was found, however, that the houses had been let on a lease which would expire at. Whitsunday, 1912, and the superior undertook that they would not be again let as dwellings after the expiry of this lease. [1910 Annual Report of the County & District Medical Officer]