good work. It was from him, as well as from another good builder, since dead, that I learned that in this place a substantial cottage of four rooms can be built for 60l.—as I know it can elsewhere. I have now applied again to Mr. Jackson for estimates; and he says that he can undertake to build for 60l. a house of four comfortable rooms, with a pantry under the stairs, and a fire-place in each room. For 100l. he would build one with five rooms, three above and two below, with a scullery. He has never built in brick, because no bricks are seen here, except the few imported for the backs of fireplaces; but he is disposed to think he could build at the same cost in a brick country. Some evidence which I have just received confirms his opinion.
Here is an account of three superior brick cottages lately built in the neighbourhood of Manchester. Each contains the same amount of in-door accommodation as my cottages. The dimensions are:—
Or 109l. each. The proportions being preserved, it appears that in Manchester, as here, a good cottage of four rooms, without accessories, can be built for 60l.
Mr. Bracebridge published a notice, some two years since, of some labourers’ cottages built for him twenty years before, which had stood well, and I appeared advantageous enough to recommend afresh. A row of six dwellings, admitting of a common wash-house and other offices, can be built for 500l.,—their quality being as follows:—
House-room, 13 feet by 12; a chief bed-room over it, of the same size. A second bed-room, smaller by the width of the stairs, is over the kitchen and pantry. By spending six guineas more, a room may be obtained in the roof 12 feet by 8, and 8 feet high, lighted from the gable, or by a dormer window. The detailed account may be seen in the “Labourer’s Friend” for November, 1857 (p. 180), and further particulars in a letter to the same publication, dated March 13th, 1858.
The fullest account that I know of, and on the largest scale, of the cost and rent of cottages, is contained in the Report of the Poor-law Commissioners on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Classes, in 1842. The date is rather old; but such change as has taken place in the last seventeen years is in favour of cottage-building, as a speculation, as well as in the quality of the dwellings. The economy, as well as the sanitary condition, is better understood.
At p. 400 of that Report there are tabulated returns from the officers of twenty-four Unions in the manufacturing counties, in which we see (among other particulars) the cost of erection and the rent of three orders of cottages. I can here cite only the extremities of the scales. The lowest order of dwellings, yielding a rent of 3l. 5s. per annum, cost originally from 28l. (at Stockport) to 60l. (at Glossop).
The next order, yielding a rent of 5l. 15s., cost from 40l. (at Uttoxeter) to 90l. (at Burslem and Burton-upon-Trent).
The best class, yielding a rent of 9l. 2s., cost from 75l. (at Salford) to 155l. (at Derby).
At pp. 401 and 402 of the Report, there is a long list of the same particulars, with the cost of repairs, in regard to rural cottages in England and Scotland. The cost of four-roomed cottages varies astonishingly, being as low as 20l. and 25l. in Bedfordshire and Cheshire, and as high as 180l. in Suffolk. The greater number are set down as between 40l. and 100l.
Any reader who refers to these tables will certainly amuse himself with the whole portion of the Report which relates to the cottage-improvement at that time achieved. Nothing will strike him more than the account (at p. 265) of the labourers’ cottages built by the Earl of Leicester at Holkham, in Norfolk, showing what a home the labouring man may have for the interest of 100l., with something additional for repairs; say a rent of 6l, though his kindly landlord asked less. In brief, the tenant has a—
In the rear, a wash-house, dirt-bin, privy, and pig-cot: and 20 rods of garden ground. The drainage excellent, and water abundant. For the rest, I must refer my readers to the Report, from p. 261 to p. 275, with the engraved plans and illustrations.
More modern narratives and suggestions abound,—judging by booksellers’ catalogues and advertisements. One of the most interesting notices of the subject that I have lately seen is in the October number of the “Englishwoman’s Journal,” and in letters, called forth by that article, at pp. 283 and 284 of the December number of the same Journal. If these letters disclose a painful view of the ownership and condition of many cottages,