‘Little Hell’ and the Douglas Slums: Source E

From 'The Report of the Sanatory Commission' on their findings about the cholera epidemic. Published in the Manx Sun, 25th October 1848

Extract a.





Extract b.

“In only one or two streets are there any covered public Sewers, and even these are but partially available in their several localities. the private Sewers from the sinks of the greater part of the dwelling houses in the town, including those of many of the most respectable classes, for want of public sewers, are necessarily emptied into the open street and in some places the “fall” is so trifling that these impurities remain nearly stagnant, until heavy showers of rain disturb and remove them. in some places there are dwelling houses without yards, sinks, or drains of any kind! The result is obvious. the surface drainage of the upper part of the town finds its way to the lower, and in certain localities the position is so very flat, and the fall so difficult to attain by private means, that the inhabitants of those districts, to rid themselves of the dangerous nuisance, are subject to continual expense and trouble, which after all afford them but imperfect relief.”

“…As to the “occupiers” we are constrained to admit, that whilst we have found that the extreme of poverty is no bar to the extreme of cleanliness, in many instances, yet in a vast number of the poorer classes their habits are sadly the reverse of this.

Nevertheless, our experience has led us to believe, that these latter habits are greatly influenced (and have perhaps been engendered) from the want of proper conveniences in their dwellings.

Our efforts to improve their sanatory condition, by measures of cleanliness, have been received always with willingness, and generally with gratitude and thankfulness, which encourages us to hope that the efforts of the benevolent [wealthy people who give money], if aided by the cordial co-operation of the proprietors of houses [landlords], may lead to great improvement in this painful particular.”

Questions to consider:

About Extract A:

  1. What problems are caused by the lack of sanitation?
  2. What needs to be improved to provide a solution to these problems?

About Extract B:

  1. What does the Committee have to say about the attitude of the poor to hygiene and cleanliness?
  2. Who do they recommend should provide a solution to the problem?


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