Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 13, 2018
Webpage updated: March 31, 2018




The following information is taken from the Eighth Report of the Medical Officer of the Privy Council by Doctor Hunter and was published in the Western Daily Mercury in 1866.  It has been broken in to small paragraphs to make it easier to digest.


At East Stonehouse, between Plymouth and Devonport, the local authority was also a paving board but it had recently appointed an Inspector of Nuisances.

The Board had long been concerned about drainage and had devoted much energy to that subject, so much so that only a third of the houses in East Stonehouse remained with a dependence on cesspools.

No action had been taken against overcrowding or filthy rooms.  The only actions had been against foul privies.

Nothing had been done under the various Labourers' Lodgings Acts.

The Board does not employ a surveyor.   The Board members carry out the inspections themselves.  Mr Kent is the Board's honorary secretary.

Very few workmen's families have a whole house in East Stonehouse.  Mostly they are living in one room.  The houses are generally newer and smaller than in Plymouth.

The rooms visited were on average about 12 feet square by 8 feet high.

In Brownlow Place a house of eight rooms held eight families at a rent of 2s a room.  Large families were turned away.

Peel's Cottages had a kitchen and a bedroom, for which the rent was 7 a year.

At Wellington Cottages there were four rooms in each house, let at a rental of 4 per room.

Cleeve's Cottages were also of four rooms each and had no back opening.  The rent was 1s 3d per room per week.

In rooms where two shillings a week was paid, there were instances of 5, 6 and even 7 people living together in a room.

The accommodation in the Royal Marine Barracks for the married Royal Marines was considered insufficient and many of them lived in rooms in the Town.  Their families were among the poorest in East Stonehouse.

There was no inspection of "common lodgings" in East Stonehouse.  The superintendent of the Devon County Police was willing for one of his sergeants to be appointed by the local authority to carry out that duty but he was also of the opinion that there were no common lodging houses in the Town.

In 1861 East Stonehouse apparently had 1,245 inhabited houses with a population of 14, 343.  This represented 11.5 persons to a house.

In all three cases, of Plymouth, East Stonehouse and Devonport, the rents were taken either by a collector in the case of non-resident owners or by the owner themselves; or it is taken by one of the occupiers of one of the rooms, who farms the whole house.  'The rent seemed a precarious income, and ownership seemed often under dispute' Doctor Hunter concluded.