Carnwath Area -  General Housing

New Woolfords, Carnwath

These forty-six houses are the property of the Pumpherston Oil Company. They are arranged in blocks of not more than eight houses to the block. The houses consist of two rooms and kitchen and scullery. There is a boiler and water-closet in the scullery. The houses themselves, which are rented at 4s. per week, are about the best we have visited ; but there are no gardens or drying-greens. The water supply is privately owned, and is not always adequate. [Evidence presented to Royal Commission, 25th March 1914]

Old Woolfords, Carnwath

This property belongs to a farmer, Hamilton by name, but is rented through the Pumpherston Company. There are twenty houses built on the but-and-ben principle, back to back, but occupied as single-apartment houses. Thus, two families use the same doorway. The houses are rented weekly at 1s. 3d. There are also twelve double houses rented at 2s. 6d. Water is supplied by one stand-pipe surrounded by a filthy gutter. Sanitary accommodation consists of eight dry-closets and four middens, which are in a deplorable state. There are no coal-houses or washhouses. These are miserable hovels. [Evidence presented to Royal Commission, 25th March 1914]

Quality Row, Wilsontown - Parish of Carnwath (Dixon's Coal Company, Owners)

This property, which we visited on 2nd June 1913, is, in respect of modern requirements, an entire failure. The houses themselves are small, being very low in the roof, and where a stair is put up, the under-side of the stairway passes through the bed from the level of the bearer at one end to the ceiling at the opposite end. There are no sculleries and no washhouses. The ash-pits are open and not satisfactory, there being no regular scavenging. Water is supplied by stands in the streets. Footpaths are in a bad state, with a wide open gutter running along the side. The rent of these places is 1s. 9d. weekly, and includes rates. [Evidence presented to Royal Commission, 25th March 1914]

Houses built in 1914 by Wm Dixon Ltd - 18 houses of 2 apartments - large kitchen and room, scullery, water supply, water closet and press accommodation [1926 description]

Extracts from the Annual Report of the County & District Medical Officer

1905 Report

Woolfords Rows.-These houses comprise three blocks of one-storey dwellings, are owned by Matthew G. Hamilton, Woolfords Farm, Cohbinshaw, and occupied mostly by shale miners and oil workers employed at Tarbrax Oil Works. They were brought under the notice of the Public Health Committee, and the Assistant Medical Officer made an inspection and reported thereon during the current year.

1906 Report

Woolford Rows.-These rows were brought under the notice of the Public Health Committee, and the assistant medical officer made an inspection on the 5th January. His report was as follows:-

Woolford Rows are situated about half-a-mile from Cobbinshaw Station, and within 300 yards of Woolford Farm. The rows consist of three separate blocks of two-apartment houses. Nos. 2 and 3 have been continuously occupied, while block No. 1 was empty up to June of last year.

Block No. 1 is the topmost of the rows, and consists of six separate dwellings. An inspection of the exterior of this block shows the following:- The roof is in fairly good condition, is slated, and there are very few defects; the ridging is good. The rainwater rhones are broken and useless; no damp proof course is visible. There is no ventilating aperture for ventilation underneath the floors; the walls are of brick, and in several places bricks are wanting. The general appearance of this block is more or less dilapidated.

House No. 1 consists of two apartments, one of which is not occupied. It was impossible to make minute observations on the back apartment, which was the only one occupied, as the window was blocked up by a shutter on the outside, there being no glass in the window. The only light in the apartment was from a miner's oil lamp, and this is all the light the occupiers have had since they came here in June last. It was observed that the ceiling at certain parts was broken ; the wooden flooring was also broken.

This apartment in its present condition is unfit for human habitation. The present tenant pays no rent.

House No. 2. - Unoccupied.

House No. 3 consists of two apartments, the front one of which has a floor area of about 10 feet by 14 feet. The ceiling is fairly good. The floor is wooden and quite whole. A window with an area of about 4 feet 6 inches by 2 feet; not made to open. The walls are not strapped or lathed. The back apartment has no window, but is closed up by a shutter on the outside. The walls are bare and exposed. The floor is good.

House No. 4.- Unoccupied.

House No. 5,- The front apartment is the same size as in No. 3. The window, also of the same size, is whole, and the floor has no defects. The second apartment has a good window. The walls are not strapped or lathed. The ceiling and floor both good. Altogether a fairly good house.

House No. 6.- This house is in much the same condition as the previous one - Both apartments being in fairly good condition.

It will thus be seen that this block in one or two cases has fairly satisfactory apartments, though it is probably not in a condition worth putting into proper repair ; certainly, the first two houses (Nos. 1 and 2) should be immediately closed.

Block No. 2 consists of 6 houses. The roof is slated, though there are a few loose slates to be seen. The rhones are broken and useless. There is no damp proof course. No ventilation underneath the floors. The walls are of brick and require pointing.

House No. 1. - There are two apartments. The front apartment is a room of perhaps 14 by 10 feet. There is no strapping or lathing. The window has an area of about 4 feet 6 inches by 2 feet. There are no broken panes. The window is made to open. The ceiling is whole and no evidence of dampness. There is a wooden floor. The second apartment is in good condition. The floor appears to be comparatively new. The window is whole, and of the same size as the one in front. In this apartment there is a small closet, where coal is stored. The rent is 1s. 6d. per week.

House No. 2. - Conditions same as in No. 1.

House No. 3. - Conditions same as in No. 1.

House No. 4. - This is a particularly tidy, clean, well furnished house. The structure generally is the same as in No. 1.

House No. 5. - The front apartment in this house has the front wall boarded. There was no sign of dampness ; ceiling was good.

House No. 6. - Used by the tenant of No. 5 as a store for excess furniture and wash-house.

This block is certainly not beyond repair. The houses have been built at a time when damp-proof courses and ventilation under floors were not in existence, but with some improvements, such as pointing of walls and pointing around the chimneys, frame of the windows made water-tight, these houses could be made good for habitation.

Block No. 3 consists of 10 separate houses arranged back to back, 5 in the front and 5 in the back. The roofs are slated. A fairly large number of loose slates can be seen. The walls are of brick, and require to be pointed. The rhones are broken and useless. No ventilation underneath the floors.

House No. 1. - The ceiling of No. 1 apartment is good. The windows are the same area as in the other houses, and are made to open. There is no strapping or lathing of the walls. The floor is wooden and in good condition. The room end shows on the outside gable wall evidence of dampness. The floor is good.

House No. 2, - One apartment of this house is used as a small shop. In the kitchen end there is no strapping or lathing. The floor is good.

House No. 3.  - Unoccupied.

House No. 4. - The floor of the kitchen end is good. The window good. No strapping or lathing. The room end is not used as a living room, but as a washing apartment, and for storing coals, &c.

House No. 5. - The kitchen floor is broken at one point. The room end has a fireplace. The room is used for lumber and a washing-house.

Back Row of Block No. 3.

House No. 1. - The kitchen end has no strapping or lathing. Window whole, and no evidence of dampness. The room end used as a washing-house and coal-house. It is said that during wind and rain wet comes in by the windows.

House No. 2. - Tenant out.

House No. 3. - The floor is good ; window whole ; no evidence of dampness. Room end used as a wash-house.

House No. 4. - House in good condition. Coal-house outside.

House No. 5. - General condition good.

This block, with a few repairs, such as pointing of walls, mending doors and window frames, could be made quite comfortable.

About 18 feet from the front of the houses is a surface channel, made of brick to carry off household slops, &c. This channel is in very bad repair, so that the water lies in pools. This will require attention. There had been originally four ashpits, but now there are only the remains of these, the walls being broken down, so that for a considerable area around the site of these ashpits the ground is covered with ashes, vegetable refuse, and human excreta, &c. The general sanitary condition of the immediate surroundings of these houses is very unsatisfactory. There are no privies or such conveniences. Water is carried from a good supply about 150 yards distant from the houses.

Saw the proprietor, and explained to him that something must be done immediately to improve the surroundings. This he readily consented to do, namely, to clean out the surface channel and remove the household refuse about the ashpits. As already mentioned, No. I block must be considered unfit for repair, but blocks Nos. 2 and 3 seem to be well worth repairing. At the same time that this is done, privies, ashpits, and such sanitary conveniences should be provided, and the ground between the doors and the surface channels should be put into such a condition that during wet it may be less of a nuisance.

There was no evidence of overcrowding.

An inspection was again made after hearing from the proprietor, when it was found that the suggestions in the main had been given effect to. As he was now proposing to have the same improvements carried out in block No. 1, a Committee visited Woolford Rows, and reported as follows : -

"Accompanied by the medical officer of health and the district clerk, we inspected, on the 9th July, the above houses, and afterwards met the son of the proprietor, Matthew Hamilton. We found that the two rows of houses recently repaired were now in a habitable condition, but we made the following suggestions:- (1) The water supply should be brought near to the houses, and stand pipes might be placed close to the drainage channels, so that they might be flushed with waste water; (2) that places for keeping coals might be provided. At present the water supply is about 150 yards distant, and the coals, although brought in bags, are mostly kept under the kitchen beds.

The six houses in the row (Block No. 1) not yet repaired were found in a dilapidated condition, but the owner seemed disposed to put them also into a habitable condition. As this will involve considerable outlay, including the rebuilding of the front wall, the proprietor is first to ascertain the cost of the repairs, and communicate to the district clerk his intentions.

The proprietor resolved not to proceed with the renovation of block No. 1, and intends having it demolished as soon as possible.

1905 Report

Tarbrax Village, which comprises about 150 houses, has had a great many sanitary improvements carried out by the new owners.

1906 Report

Tarbrax Village, which comprises about 150 houses, has had a great many sanitary improvements carried out. During the current year plans were passed by the District Committee for the erection of six rows of one storey and attic workmen's dwellings. These houses are to be provided with a water-closet for every two tenants.

1907 Report

During the year the Tarbrax Oil Company has built, at Woolfords, a row of three blocks, containing in all 24 three apartment houses, with a W.C. for every two houses.