‘Little Hell’ and the Douglas Slums: Source C

Source C: From the trial of a Little Ireland landlord, John Hardy, who was prosecuted for the condition of his rental houses, described here. Reported in the Isle of Man Examiner, 19th September 1885

“Mr Macdonald continuing, said: Rooms 2 and 3 in house No. 1 are divided by a petition, and as the boards have shrunk anyone can see from one room into the other. Number 3 house is in the same condition, the rooms being divided in the same manner. No. 2 privy [toilet] and ashpit answers for this house. The roof is not watertight, and the rain comes in. The ashpit is very dirty, and the smell exceedingly offensive, and injurious to health. The whole block requires reconstruction and amendment in the construction, so as to abate the nuisance. no.4 house is generally dirty throughout, but there is a back-kitchen where there is a sink right over the ashpit and water closet [toilet] of No. 2. The smell is there very bad. notice was served on Hardy to have the ashpits emptied. The houses are not fit for human occupation, in consequence of the defective construction.”

Questions to consider:

  1. What can you learn about living conditions for the residents of ‘Little Hell’?
  2. Which problems were caused by the poor construction of houses?
  3. This is from part of a court case in which a landlord was prosecuted for the state of his houses. What does this tell you about attitudes towards the problem by 1885?


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