Housing - Other Areas

See also Report on Housing Condition of Miners in Stirlingshire and Dumbarton by John Christie M'Vail, 1911.

Description of Houses at Kirkconnel built by the Kirkconnel and Sanquhar Colliery Company

The village of Kellabank, Kirkconnel, is built on a site of about five acres, situated on the south bank of the River Nith. It is connected with the village of Kirkconnel by an iron bridge. The ground has been leased from the Duke of Buccleuch for 91 1/2 years at £3 an acre. As the ground is entailed, it and the buildings thereon revert, at the end of this period, to the superior.

Seventy-seven cottages have been, built, of which, fifty-three are two-roomed, seventeen are three-roomed, and seven are four-roomed. There are no one-roomed houses here.

The setting out of the cottages on the ground is very good, and most of them have a southern aspect. They are built in blocks of from six to eight cottages, with service roads 15 feet wide between and round the back of the blocks.

The main roads are shown 24 feet wide and are to be macadamised. The footpaths are 6 feet wide and are to be formed of hard burnt brick laid on edge. A small garden plot is formed in front and a back garden behind the cottages. The front garden walls are of concrete. The back gardens are enclosed with wooden fences. The sloping banks of the Nith and plots in various parts of the village are to be planted with shrubs.

The two-roomed cottages consist of a kitchen (12 ft. x 12 ft.), room (12 ft. x 10 ft. 6 in.), small scullery (with sink and washing-boiler), a water-closet, and a coal place. The ceilings are 9 ft. 6 in. high.

The three- and four-roomed cottages are practically similar in plan, with extra rooms on the attic floor.

Baths have been placed in six of the three-roomed cottages and in all of the four-roomed cottages. The Company only provide a bath when the tenant desires them to do so.

The walls of the two-roomed cottages are built of 9-in. solid brickwork, cement harled on the outside and strapped and lathed and plastered on the inside. The walls of the three- and four-roomed cottages are built of 14-in. solid brickwork and finished in a similar manner. The roofs are covered with red tiles.

The drainage is quite satisfactory and is connected to the new sewage works on the other side of the river. The water is obtained from the District Water-Supply. The houses are lighted by gas from the Kirkconnel Gas Works.

The rents, which include rates, are as follows :-
Two-roomed houses -2s. 10 1/2d. per week, or £7 9s. 6d. per annum.
Three-roomed houses - 3s. 9d. per week, or £9, 15s. 0d per annum.
Four-roomed houses - 5s. per week, or £13 0s. 0d per annum.

If a bath is included 3d. per week extra is charged.

I have been informed that the rents charged just clear expenses. The company do not wish to make any profit on them.

The cost of building and the rents charged are very low, but the fact that the bricks used in building were made by the company, accounts to a certain extent for the low cost.

Proposed Additional Buildings, etc. - It is proposed to build a hostel on the site to accommodate forty young unmarried miners. Those who know anything of village life, where lodgers are kept in almost every house, will appreciate what this means for domestic life, it is also .proposed to build a village hall, while a football pitch has been laid out some little distance from the village.[Evidence presented by John Wilson to Royal Commission, 29th April 1913]

Newspaper Reports

Scheme For Thornhill District - Thornhill District Committee, which comprises the parishes of Upper Nithsdale, has decided upon a housing scheme, which comprises the erection of 250 new houses and the acquiring of 132 to be improved and reconstructed if necessary. The scheme includes the erection of 200 houses of three apartments in the mining village of Kirkconnel, besides 8 houses of three apartments, 35 of four apartments, and 7 of five or more apartments to be erected in other parishes. The larger houses are required for families engaged in the dairy industry. The cost of the scheme is approximately from £225,000 to £250,000. [Scotsman 21 November 1919]