Ayrshire Housing Part 6

61. Trabboch, Parish of Stair

(Owned and leased by William Baird & Company, Limited.)
Trabboch is a village of ninety-four dwellings on the Stair and Littlemill Road, about 2 miles distant from Stair. It is made up of four rows, three of eighteen houses each and one of forty. The bulk of the houses are of two apartments. It was in the Parish of Ochiltree, but is now in the Parish of Stair, the alteration being made for parochial purposes.

The 1st, or Long Row. - The 1st, or Long Row, contains forty houses, built in five blocks of eight each. The end house of each block is of three apartments, the others of two.

The measurement of the two-apartment house is 14 feet by 12 feet for the kitchen, and for the room 12 feet by 6 feet. The three-apartment house is not much larger in floor space.

2nd, 3rd, and 4th Rows. - The 2nd row has eighteen houses on the same principle as the Long Row. The 3rd and 4th rows are exactly the same as the 2nd row. All the rents are 2s. a week.

Cottages. - Besides the houses mentioned, there is a cottage built crosswise at the beginning of each of rows 2, 3, and 4, the rent of which is 2s. 6d. a week. These have four apartments. The three rooms are very small, the largest being 9 feet by 8 feet. The kitchen is of a fair size.

General. - The water supply is from Loch Bradan.

There is a washing-house for every four houses, and a coal-house and a small dry-closet for every house. There is a tiny ash-pit attached to every closet.

There were no doors on any of the closets when we saw them (6th December 1913), and both closets and ash-pits were deplorably dirty. Some of the ash-pits were half-full of foul water and rotten matter.

The paths are unpaved, parts of them badly cut up, and in wet weather exceedingly dirty.

With a little attention Trabboch could be much better. Pavements before the doors would be a great help both as to appearance and comfort.

62. Highhouse Rows, Parish of Auchinleck

(Owned by William Baird & Company, Limited.)
Highhouse Rows stand on the side of the Ochiltree and Auchinleck Road, just outside of the village of Auchinleck.

There are two rows of forty-nine and forty-eight dwellings respectively, of two apartments.

The 1st Row. - The 1st row contains 49 two apartments, except four which have three apartments. The two apartments are rented at 2s. 1d. a week, the three at 3s. 6d., exclusive of rates.

The kitchens measure 13 feet by 11 feet, the rooms 12 feet by 10 feet.

This row is built of stone, which gives it a nice, clean appearance.

There is a washing-house for every four houses and a closet for every four, with coal-houses and ash-pits. These have the defect common to most rows - all built together in front of the houses, and only 18 feet distant in this case.

There is a supply of Loch Bradan water.

The paths are paved, which give here, as everywhere else, the houses a better appearance, and help to keep the inside of them much cleaner.

The open syvors at the top of this row were almost stagnant, and when we saw them on 6th December 1913 contained quantities of dirty water.

The houses inside are fairly comfortable, having wooden floors, and in the dwellings we visited were oven grates.

The 2nd Row. - The 2nd row is built of brick, otherwise it is the same as the 1st row.

There is often a bad smell at the top here, so we were informed, from the fact that there is an outlet from all the closets here. There are provisions for flushing regularly, but this is often neglected. The ash-pits, too, were very dirty; indeed, some of them were disgraceful. We were told that in summer the flies were " something ' awful." We could well believe it from the state in which we found the ash-pits. Some of the people to whom we spoke expressed an earnest desire for water-closets. The open syvors all along the rows looked dirty, and better scavenging here is urgently needed.

63. Hurlford, Parish of Riccarton

(1) Marchmont Place. - Hurlford is a large village about 2 miles from Kilmarnock. With the greater part of the village we will not deal, our purpose being to report on houses owned by colliery owners, as well as on a few in which miners live.

Marchmont Place is a "land" of sixteen dwelling in all, eight upstairs and eight, on the ground floor, owned by Messrs J. & R. Howie, Limited. It is situated on the right-hand side of the Galston. Road, a short distance from Hurlford Cross.

These houses are of a good appearance, and have fair accommodation. Some are of three apartments.

The rents of these are £11 a year upstairs, and on the ground flat £10. The two-apartment house on the ground flat is £8, 10s. These have cement floors, while the others are of wood.

Every family has a water-closet and every four have a washing-house. There are small open ash-pits over against the courtyard, which might be better arranged.

The paths are unpaved, but when we saw them on 6th December 1913 they were clean. The backs might be muddy in wet weather.

There is a small row next to Marchmont Place of one storey, having six dwellings of two apartments and sculleries. These also have a fine appearance, and we believe are comfortable. The paths, etc., are the same as Marchmont Place.

The rent is £8 a year.

(2) Collier Row. - The next row on the same side of the road is called the Collier Row, and consists of 12 two-apartment houses rented at £5, 17s. 6d. The kitchen measures 14 feet by 12 feet, the room 12 feet by 10 feet. The floors are of brick tile.

There is a closet for every three tenants, with an ash-pit and a washing-house. Coal-houses are provided also.

The paths in front of this row are clean and dry, though unpaved. This row is very much older than the others mentioned, but it is in a fairly good state of repair.

(3) Salisbury Place. - The next row is of two storeys, with fourteen houses of two-apartments. The top storey is reached by an outside stair.

The rent is £7, 10s. a year.

There is a washing-house for every four tenants, and a closet, with open ash-pits - not too clean when we saw them. There are coal-houses, also.

There is a supply of gravitation water throughout.

We believe all these rows belong to Messrs J. & R. Howie, Limited., The path all along is dry and clean, and there is an. attempt at ornamentation by young trees being planted at intervals along the front.

(4) Office Row. - Crossing the road we get the Office Row. It was originally a row of six single-apartment houses, but two tenants were occupying two houses each, and two the remaining single ones when we visited it on 6th December 1913.

The houses are old and of a poor type.

Each measures 13 feet by 11 feet, and some of them are rather damp.

The conveniences are very poor, there being only one closet for the row and one small ash-pit. These were disgracefully foul, dirty, stinking water lying in pools around. There are coal-houses, but no washing-house.

They belong to the Messrs Howie, and the rent is 1s. 7d. a week.

(5) Chapel Cottages. - The next row, coming back towards Hurlford Cross, is Chapel Cottage Row, owned by Messrs J. & R. Howie, Limited. There are four houses here of two apartments and scullery - two at front and two at the back - with a sink and water-tap.

There are water-closets and one open ash-pit in a deplorable condition.

The rent of the two houses at the front is £7 a year, those at the back being £6, 10s. There is one washing-house.

Alongside of these is Chapel Buildings, owned by Messrs J. & R. Howie, Limited. This is a tenement of four houses - two on the ground floor and two above. One is of three apartments, the others two apartments.

There are water-closets, but the one ash-pit, already mentioned, has to serve for these four houses also. When we saw it it was overflowing.

(6) Skerrington Row. - The next row down towards the Cross is the Skerrington Row. The first two houses, so we were informed, belong to Messrs J. & R. Howie, Limited. They are of two apartments, at a rent of 2s. 6d. a week.

There is a water-closet for these, but no washing-house nor any coal-house. These two have the privilege of sharing with the Chapel Cottage, and Chapel Buildings the use of ash-pit already described.

The remainder of Skerrington is privately owned. It is a pity there is any remainder.

This portion of it consists of three houses in front and six down the side - all of two apartments.

The rent is 2s. 2d. a week.

There is one washing-house for all the Skerrington Rows. There are two small boilers, but there was not a single whole pane in the window when we saw them on 6th December 1913. There is one dry-closet of three compartments, with no locks on the doors. There are no coal-houses. The closet entrance was flooded with foul water. There is a woman employed to keep them clean, but is unable because of the nature of them.

The size of the kitchen is 12 1/2 feet by 12 feet, and the rooms about half that size. The side row is out of repair and is very damp. The water gets through the ceiling. The floor is brick tile, badly broken. The pathway here is unpaved and beggars description. Besides the 2s. 2d. a week for rent for these houses, the rates this year amount to 27s. 9d.

The next lot of Skerrington houses consists of five fronting Hurlford and nine fronting the Galston Road - four of two apartments upstairs at the back, at a rent of 2s. 7d. a week, and four of two apartments downstairs at the front at the same rent; except one tenant who pays 3d. a week extra because there is a back door. The other house has one apartment at 1s. 10d. a week.

There are other four houses of one storey fronting the road. All of them are damp.

We were informed that the factor for these houses is Mr James Finlay.

The type of these houses is as poor as can be imagined. The accommodation as to closets, washing-houses, etc., is altogether inadequate. At the lower end of the side row we looked into an empty house which had a broken door, and which was littered with every conceivable abomination.

(7) Howie's Square. - Coming still back towards Hurlford Cross, behind the front street is what is known as Howie's Square, owned by Messrs J. & R., Howie, Limited.

There seems to have been eleven dwellings originally, but only four single apartments were occupied when we visited the square on 6th December 1913. Whatever these houses may have been, they are dingy enough looking now. The inside appearance confirms the impression given outside.

The square is situated on the margin of the river Irvine, and in high floods the houses are inundated.

There are three dry-closets, one washing-house, and an open ash-pit. This was full of all kinds of decaying vegetable matter, and was littered in front fully 12 feet. We were informed that twenty tenants, besides two shops, use this ash-pit.

The rent of the single house is 1s. 3d. a week.

(8) Portland Rows. - Portland Rows are on the right-hand side of the main road to Riccarton, about three minutes' walk from Hurlford Station. There are two rows.

The front, or old row, is a huge tenement of two storeys, built originally, so we were informed, to house eighty families. We were slow to believe this statement, but the same number was given to us when we made further inquiries.

There are twenty double porches at the front, giving an entrance to four houses each, and a like number at the back. The entrance from one side of the porch goes straight in to the house on the ground floor, and to the left is a stone stair loading to the flat above. On the other side of the porch the stair to the room above is on the right. It was the construction of these stairs which led us to believe that both up and down stairs were meant for one tenant, but we were assured that this was not so. It is true that a goodly number of families are occupying an upstair and a downstair house, but, on the other hand, it seems also to be true that there are some who have only the one apartment. A number of these houses were empty when we visited the row.

The sixe of the house on the ground floor is 14 foot by 12 feet, and the porch 8 feet by 6 feet. They are said to be about seventy years old, and the rent is, for the single house, 5s. 5d. a month, exclusive of taxes.

There are six washing-houses, but some of those on 6th December 1913 had not a single pane of glass. There are sixteen dry-closets in all, some with doors, some without, with a few small ash-pits only 18 feet from the porches at the back.

The paths, both at front and back, are unpaved, and muddy in wet weather. Beside the porches at the back is a brick paved space, very badly broken and lying in pools of water. There is a small cesspool, one of which had been closed by the tenants because of the offensive smell. There are no coal-houses, the coals in some instances being stored in the porch. The accommodation is far below what it ought to be both as to amount and quality. The population in this row is 250.

The New, or Back Row, has twenty houses of two apartments. The kitchen measures 13 feet by 11 feet, and the room about 10 feet by 9 feet.

There are dry-closets for every three tenants, with ashpit, etc. As is the case in many other places, the washing-house, coal-house, closet, and ash-pit are all under one roof, about 12 feet from the front of the row.

The paths are unpaved and very muddy. There are open syvors in front of the doors not too clean.

The rent is 1s. 4d. a month.

Both rows belong to Messrs William Baird & Company, Limited.

(9) Furnace Row. - The Furnace Row is situated on the right-hand side of the main road to Riccarton, about a stonethrow from Hurlford Railway Station. It is owned by William Baird & Company, Limited, and consists of 16 two-apartment houses.

The kitchen measures 12 ½ feet by 11 ½ feet, the room being 11 feet by 6 feet. The rent is 8s. 8d. a month; inclusive of taxes. There is no fire to the room.

There are two washing-houses at the far end, but they are in very bad repair. There are two dry-closets of two compartments each. The two at upper end had no doors when we saw them on 6th December 1913, and were very filthy. We were told they were never used except by children. Those at the other end of the row were not much better, and rarely used. As one man put it, "We are compelled to go to the fields, and may be taken up any day for trespassing."

The two ash-pits were in a horrible litter. We were told these places in summer were "hotchin with mauks," i.e. moving with maggots.

There are six or seven coal-houses at the back, and running parallel with the backs of the houses is a high stone wall, 19 feet from the houses, in which space is the drying green so called. This space is littered with refuse and filth, the children evidently using it as a closet.

The front paths are unpaved, but fairly clean.

There is a supply of gravitation water.

These houses are of a poor type, and the sanitary arrangements are abominable.

Lugar Company Store

At Lugar the Company still runs the store - a co-operative store. It is run by William Baird & Company. The conditions are that if a miner gets discharged - his dividend is paid once a year - or leaves his employment, he forfeits his right to his dividend for the year. If he happens to be discharged in December his dividend for the whole previous year is forfeited. Such cases do happen. A case happened recently, and the man wanted us to take the matter to the Court and fight it; but the rules of the co-operative society, drawn up, I presume, by the owners, our legal advisers informed us, were such that we would have no chance in Court to recover that man's dividend for the year. In one case the man got discharged in December, and his dividend from January had to be given up.

(Commission) Why was he discharged? - I forget at the moment. It was a very trifling matter - a "thraw " with the gaffer. [Additional information from Thomas McKerrell, Minutes of evidence]