THE subject I have now to treat—principally as regards street-labour, but generally in its sanitary, social, and economical bearings—may really be termed vast. It is of the cleansing of a capital city, with its thousands of miles of streets and roads the surface, and its thousands of miles of sewers and drains the surface of the earth. And let me deal with the subject in a historical point of view.
Public scavengery or street-cleansing, from the earliest periods of our history, since municipal authority regulated the internal economy of our cities, has been an object of some attention. In the records of all our civic corporations may be found bye-laws, or some equivalent measure, to enforce the cleansing of the streets. But these regulations were little enforced. It was ordered that the streets should be swept, but often enough men were not employed by the authorities to sweep them; until after the great fire of London, and in many parts for years after that, the tradesman's apprentice swept the dirt from the front of his master's house, and left it in the street, to be removed at the leisure of the scavenger. This was in the streets most famous for the wealth and commercial energy of the inhabitants. The streets inhabited by the poor, until about the beginning of the present century, were rarely swept at all. The unevenness of the pavement, the accumulation of wet and mud in rainy weather, the want of foot-paths, and sometimes even of grates and kennels, made Cowper, in of his letters, describe a perambulation of some of these streets as "going by water."
Even this state of things was, however, an improvement. In the accounts of the London street-broils and fights, from the reign of Henry III., more especially during the war of the Roses, down to the civil war which terminated in the beheading of Charles I., mention is more or less made of the combatants having availed themselves of the shelter of the rubbish in the streets. These mounds of rubbish were then kinds of street-barricades, opposing the progress of passengers, like the piles of overturned omnibuses and other vehicles of the modern French street-combatants. There is no doubt that in the older times these mounds were composed, , of the earth dug out for the foundation of some building, or the sinking of some well, or (later on) the formation of some drain; for these works were often long in hand, not only from the interruptions of civil strife and from want of funds, but from indifference, owing to the long delay in
|their completion, and were often altogether abandoned. After dusk the streets of the capital of England could not be traversed without lanterns or torches. This was the case until the last or years in nearly all the smaller towns of England, but there the darkness was the principal obstacle; in the inferior parts of "Old London," however, there were the additional inconveniences of broken limbs and robbery.|
It would be easy to adduce instances from the olden writers in proof of all the above statements, but it seems idle to cite proofs of what is known to all.
The care of the streets, however, as regards the removal of the dirt, or, as the weather might be, the dust and mud, seems never to have been much of a national consideration. It was left to the corporations and the parishes. Each of these had its own especial arrangements for the collection and removal of dirt in its own streets; and as each parochial or municipal system generally differed in some respect or other, taken as a whole, there was no general mode or system adopted. To all this the street-management of our own days, in the respect of scavengery, and, as I shall show, of sewerage, presents a decided improvement. This improvement in streetma- nagement is not attributable to any public agitation—to any public, and, far less, national manifestation of feeling. It was debated sometimes in courts of Common Council, in ward and parochial meetings, but the public generally seem to have taken no express interest in the matter. The improvement seems to have established itself gradually from the improved tastes and habits of the people.
Although left to the local powers, the subject of street-cleansing and management, however, has not been overlooked by parliament. Among parliamentary enactments is the measure best known as "Michael Angelo Taylor's Act," passed early in the present century, which requires all householders every morning to remove from the front of their premises any snow which may have fallen during the night, &c., &c.; the late Police Acts also embrace subordinately the subject of street-management.
On the other hand the sewers have long been the object of national care. "The daily great damages and losses which have happened in many and divers parts of this realm" (I give the spirit of the preamble of several Acts of Parliament), "as well by the reason of the outrageous flowings, surges, and course of the river in and upon the marsh grounds and other low places, heretofore through public wisdom won and made profitable for the great commonwealth of this realm, as also by occasion of land waters and other outrageous springs in and upon meadows, pastures, and other low grounds adjoining to rivers, floods, and other water-courses," caused parliamentary attention to be given to the subject.
Until towards the latter part of the last century, however, the streets even of the better order were often flooded during heavy and continuous rains, owing to the sewers and drains having been choked, so that the sewage forced its way through the gratings into the streets and yards, flooding all the underground apartments and often the ground floors of the houses, as well as the public thoroughfares with filth.
It is not many months since the neighbourhood of so modern a locality as Waterloobridge was flooded in this manner, and boats were used in the Belvidere and York-roads. On the , after a tremendous storm of thunder, hail, and rain, miles of the capital were literally under water; hundreds of publicans' beer-cellars contained far more water than beer, and the damage done was enormous. These facts show that though much has been accomplished towards the efficient sewerage of the metropolis, much remains to be accomplished still.
The statute on the subject of the public sewerage was as early as the year of the reign of Henry III. There were enactments, also, in most of the succeeding reigns, but they were all partial and conflicting, and related more to local desiderata than to any system of sewerage for the public benefit, until the reign of Henry VIII., when the "Bill of Sewers" was passed (in ). This act provided for a more general system of sewerage in the cities and towns of the kingdom, requiring the main channels to be of certain depths and dimensions, according to the localities, situation, &c. In many parts of the country the sewerage is still carried on according to the provisions in the act of Henry VIII., but those provisions were modified, altered, or "explained," by many subsequent statutes.
Any uniformity which might have arisen from the observance of the same principles of sewerage was effectually checked by the measures adopted in London, more especially during the last years. As the metropolis increased new sewerage became necessary, and new local bodies were formed for its management. These were known as the Commissions of Sewers, and the members of those bodies acted independently of another, under the authority of their own Acts of Parliament, each having its own board, engineers, clerks, officers, and workmen. Each commission was confined to its own district, and did what was accounted best for its own district with little regard to any general plan of sewerage, so that London was, and in a great measure is, sewered upon different principles, as to the size of the sewers and drains, the rates of inclination, &c. &c. In there were of these districts and bodies: the City of London, the Tower Hamlets, Saint Katherine's, Poplar and , and Finsbury, and part of Middlesex, Surrey and Kent, and Greenwich. In these several bodies were concentrated by act of parliament, and entitled the "Metropolitan Commission of Sewers;" but the City of London, as appears to be the case with every parliamentary measure affecting the metropolis, presents an exception, as it retains a separate jurisdiction, and is not under the control of the general commissioners, to whom parliament has given authority over such matters.
The management of the metropolitan scaven-
|gery and sewerage, therefore, differs in this respect. The scavengery is committed to the care of the several parishes, each making its own contract; the sewerage is consigned by Parliament to a body of commissioners. In both instances, however, the expenses are paid out of local rates.|
I shall now proceed to treat of each of these subjects separately, beginning with the cleansing of the streets.
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|Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Articles|
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Metal Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Metal Trays, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Linen, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Curtains
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Carpeting, Flannels, Stocking-Legs, &c., &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Bed-Ticking, Sacking, Fringe, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Glass and Crockery
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Miscellaneous Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Musical Instruments
Of the Music 'Duffers'
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Weapons
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Curiosities
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Telescopes and Pocket Glasses
Of the Street-Sellers of Other Miscellaneous Second-Hand Articles
Of Second-Hand Store Shops
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Apparel
Of the Old Clothes Exchange
Of the Wholesale Business at the Old Clothes Exchange
Of the Uses of Second-Hand Garments
Of the Street-Sellers of Petticoat and Rosemary-Lanes
Of the Street-Sellers of Men's Second-Hand Clothes
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Boots and Shoes
Of the Street-Sellers of Old Hats
Of the Street-Sellers of Women's Second-Hand Apparel
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Furs
Of the Second-Hand Sellers of Smithfield- Market
|Of the Street-Sellers of Live Animals|
Of the Street-Sellers of Live Animals
Of the Former Street-Sellers, 'Finders,' Stealers, and Restorers of Dogs
Of a Dog-'Finder' -- A 'Lurker's' Career
Of the Present Street-Sellers of Dogs.
Of the Street-Sellers of Sporting Dogs
Of the Street-Sellers of Live Birds
Of the Bird-Catchers Who are Street- Sellers
Of the Crippled Street Bird-Seller
Of the Tricks of the Bird-Duffers
Of the Street-Sellers of Foreign Birds
Of the Street-Sellers of Birds'--Nests
Of the Street-Sellers of Squirrels
Of the Street-Sellers of Leverets, Wild Rabbits, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of Gold and Silver Fish
Of the Street-Sellers of Tortoises
Of the Street-Sellers of Snails, Frogs, Worms, Snakes, Hedgehogs, Etc.
|Of the Street-Sellers of Mineral Productions and Natural Curiosities|
Of the Street-Sellers of Mineral Productions, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Coals
Of the Street-Sellers of Coke
Of the Street-Sellers of Tan-Turf
Of the Street-Sellers of Salt
Of the Street-Sellers of Sand
Of the Street-Sellers of Shells
Of the River Beer-Sellers, or Purl-Men
Of the Numbers, Capital, and income of the Street- Sellers of Second-Hand Articles, Live Animals, Mineral Producions, Etc.
Income, or 'Takinags' of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Articles
|Of the Street-Buyers|
Of the Street-Buyers
Of the Street-Buyers of Rags, Broken Metal, Bottles, Glass, and Bones
Of the 'Rag-and-Bottle,' and the 'Marine-Store' Shops
Of the Buyers of Kitchen-Stuff, Grease, and Dripping
Of the Street-Buyers of Hare and Rabbit Skins
Of the Street-Buyers of Waste (Paper)
Of the Street-Buyers of Umbrellas and Parasols
|Of the Street-Jews|
Of the Street-Jews
Of the Trades and Localities of the Street-Jews
Of the Jew Old-Clothes Men
Of a Jew Street-Seller
Of the Jew-Boy Street-Sellers
Of the Pursuits, Dwellings, Traffic, Etc., of the Jew-Boy Street-Sellers
Of the Street Jewesses and Street Jew-Girls
Of the Synagogues and the Religion of the Street and Other Jews
Of the Politics, Literature, and Amusements of the Jews
Of the Charities, Schools, and Education of the Jews
Of the Funeral Ceremonies, Fasts, and Customs of the Jews
Of the Jew Street-Sellers of Accordions, and of their Street Musical Pursuits
Of the Street-Buyers of Hogs'--Wash
Of the Street-Buyers of Tea-Leaves
|Of the Street-Finders or Collectors|
Of the Street-Finders or Collectors
Bone-Grubbers and Rag-Gatherers
Of the 'Pure'-Finders
Of the Cigar-End Finders
Of the Old Wood Gatherers
Of the Dredgers, or River Finders
Of the Sewer-Hunters
Of the Mud-Larks
Of the London Dustmen, Nightmen, Sweeps, and Scavengers
Of the Dustmen of London
Of the London Sewerage and Scavengery
|Of the Streets of London|
Of the Streets of London
Of the Traffic of London
Of the Dust and Dirt of the Streets of London
Of the Street-Dust of London, and the Loss and injury Occasioned by it
Of the Horse-Dung of the Streets of London
Of Street 'Mac' and Other Mud
Of the Mud of the Streets
Of the Surface-Water of the Streets of London
Of the Master Scavengers in Former Times
Of the Several Modes and Characteristics of Street-Cleansing
Of the Contractors For Scavengery
Of the Contractors' (or Employers') Premises, &c.
Of the Working Scavengers Under the Contractors
Of the 'Casual Hands' Among the Scavagers
Of the Influence of Free Trade on the Earnings of the Scavagers
Of the Worse Paid Scavagers, or Those Working For Scurf Employers
Of the Street-Sweeping Machine, and the Street-Sweepers Employed With it
Of the Cleansing of the Streets by Pauper Labour
Of the Street-Orderlies
Street Orderlies -- City Surveyor's Report
Of the 'Jet and Hose' System of Scavaging
Of the Cost and Traffic of the Streets of London
Of the Rubbish Carters
Of Casual Labour in General, and That of the Rubbish-Carters in Particular
Of the Casual Labourers among the Rubbish-Carters
The Effects of Casual Labour in General
Of the Scurf Trade Among the Rubbish- Carters
|Of the London Chimney-Sweepers|
Of the London Chimney-Sweepers
Of the Sweepers of Old, and the Climbing Boys
Of the Chimney-Sweepers of the Present Day
Of the General Characteristics of the Working Chimney-Sweepers
Sweeping of the Chimneys of Steam-Vessels
Of the 'Ramoneur' Company
Of the Brisk and Slack Seasons, and the Casual Trade among the Chimney- Sweepers
Of the 'Leeks' Among the Chimney-Sweepers
Of the Inferior Chimney-Sweepers -- the 'Knullers' and 'Queriers'
Of the Fires of London
Of the Sewermen and Nightmen of London
Of the Wet House-Refuse of London
Of the Means of Removing the Wet House-Refuse
Of the Quantity of Metropolitan Sewage
Of Ancient Sewers
Of the Kinds and Characteristics of Sewers
Of the Subterranean Character of the Sewers
Of the House-Drainage of the Metropolis as Connected With the Sewers
Of the London Street-Drains
Of the Length of the London Sewers and Drains
Of the Cost of Constructing the Sewers and Drains of the Metropolis
Of the Uses of Sewers as a Means of Subsoil Drainage
Of the City Sewerage
Of the Outlets, Ramifications, Etc., of the Sewers
Of the Qualities, Etc., of the Sewage
Of the New Plan of Sewerage
Of the Management of the Sewers and the Late Commissions
Of the Powers and Authority of the Present Commissions of Sewers
Of the Sewers Rate
Of the Cleansing of the Sewers -- Ventilation
Of 'Flushing' and 'Plonging,' and Other Modes of Washing the Sewers
Of the Working Flushermen
Of the Rats in the Sewers
Of the Cesspoolage and Nightmen of the Metropolis
Of the Cesspool System of London
Of the Cesspool and Sewer System of Paris
Of the Emptying of the London Cesspools by Pump and Hose
Statement of a Cesspool-Sewerman
Of the Present Disposal of the Night-Soil
Of the Working Nightmen and the Mode of Work