Esoteric London

No. 970: Victoria Embankment, WC2

Posted in Architectural by esotericlondon on November 15, 2013

© Roger Dean RED_4826 copy

Victoria Embankment, London, WC2. Photo © Roger Dean 2013

Sanitary Ramblings. Being Sketches and Illustrations, of Bethnal Green. A Type of the Conditions of the Metropolis and Other Large Towns – Hector Gavin, 1848:

It is lamentable to observe, in this extensive and populous parish, the enormous number of dwellings which have been constructed in defiance of every law and principle on which the health and lives of the occupants depend. In a vast number of instances, the dwellings have been planted, or stuck on the ground, with scarcely any foundation; great numbers have the clay, or damp ground, immediately below the wooden floors; they are very often below the level of the front or back-yards, or streets – from the first cause the rooms are excessively damp, and, in an extraordinary number of instances, truly uninhabitable; from the second cause, they are liable to be flooded, either on the occurrence of showers of rain, or when the water-pipes are left running. The dwellings are, in innumerable instances, considerably below the level of the whole of the surrounding neighbourhood, and are thus rendered very damp, as well as dark. House-drainage is almost an impossible thing under these circumstances; – for instance, all the houses behind Crabtree-row, and the filthy courts and dens abutting on it, – and those miserable remains of cabins and huts between Hackney Road, and the open space fronting Crabtree-row. The dwellings are often built of the worst materials, and thus become very speedily out of repair, a state in which they are allowed to remain as long as a tenant can be found for them. The roofs of the rooms I found, in a great number of instances, stained by the water which had percorated [sic] through the roofs of the houses; the inhabitants being thus exposed to the injurious effects of damp as well from above, as below.

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