Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/345

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From Lord Shuttleworth to Mr. Edmund Maurice.

On the Artisans' Dwellings Act of 1875.

I was closely associated with Miss Octavia Hill in 1873, during the inquiry by a committee of the C.O.S. into the whole question of the dwellings of the working classes in London. It was a remarkable committee, over which the late Lord Napier and Ettrick presided, and to which nearly everyone then prominent in the work of improved dwellings belonged, including such men as Lord Shaftesbury, Sir Sidney Waterlow, Mr. Hughes (Tom Brown), etc., etc. Mr. Bosanquet was then Secretary of the C.O.S., and took an active part.

In 1874, with encouragement from Miss Octavia Hill and others, I brought the subject before the House of Commons, basing my speech a good deal on the excellent and very practical report of the C.O.S. Committee. In the debate on my motion, Mr. (now Lord) Cross, who was then Home Secretary, promised a Bill, which he introduced and passed on the part of Mr. Disraeli's Government in 1875—the Artisans' Dwellings Act. In the consideration of that Bill Miss Octavia Hill again gave valuable advice; and when, a few years afterwards (about the year 1880), a committee of the C.O.S. was appointed to consider the working of the Act, and how far it should be amended, she and I again worked together upon that committee, and I remember gratefully the signal help which she then gave.

Miss Octavia Hill was pre-eminently fitted for contributing an exceptional amount of practical knowledge, experience, and wisdom at the meetings of such committees and conferences on a subject which she had