--- many of the families have no proper cooking place: there is only one cooking range or gas-cooker in the house and only one family has access to it. The others have to get oil as best they can by cooking on a bedroom fire, or a gas-ring. Hot water and baths are unknown luxuries in many of these houses and it is not to be wondered at that sometimes vermin are found in the houses.

These reports were duplicated in every borough and town in the country and were ventilated day in and day out in Parliament and the press. In Hornsey the 1923 Report lays out the situation of some tenants baldly, but there is some hint that the reports are beginning to have some effect.

---There are a few houses which, under pre-war standards, would be closed for not being 'in all respects reasonably fit for human habitation'. Having regard, however, to the post-war shortage of alternative accommodation these houses are occupied, in some cases by a bad type of tenant. Many of the occupiers take in one or more lodgers, or sub-let one or more rooms for the purpose of augmenting their incomes.

'The Hornsey Town Council is preparing to build some houses for the working classes: and it is undeniable that these houses will be very readily taken by decent people, ma»y of whom are newly married persons who for many years have been looking for houses. But, very properly, the Town Council demands that its tenants shall be fairly respectable and decent people: and the shiftless and bad tenant will not, and should not, find his way to a new Corporatin house. He would make a pigsty in a month, would take lodgers in every room and be evicted before he had paid any rent. So it must not be thought that the provision of Corporation houses will render more practicable the closing and demolition of, say Ward's Cottages, a block of six back-to-back houses in North Hill; for the tenants there are not the sort that would be received into a Corporation house.

'The sub-letting of houses and the taking in of lodgers, to which I have referred, is especially in evidence in the Campsbourne area, although it exists in other parts of the town. Practically every house in certain streets is sub-let, and in some instances the original tenant makes a good living out of letting his rooms.

Overcrowding can be considered from two aspects: there is a legal overcrowding where each person has less than 300 cubic feet of space (I believe there is none of that in Hornsey): and there is the moral overcrowding where more than one family share a cooking range, a sink, a water-closet and a copper - and of that there is a very great deal. It is economic in origin. One family cannot afford to live in a five-roomed house: but five families can afford to live there. Overcrowding of this nature will obviously not be remedied by the new Corporation houses; although these are emphatically needed by a large number of persons able aid willing to pay the rents and behave like decent citizens.'

As result of reports like this Hornsey Borough Council, like other councils, resolved to build houses for those who could not find clean, affordable housing elsewhere and so helped to produce a generation of healthy citizens.

 

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Hackney Archives, Bruce Castle.

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