Muirkirk Area Housing
59. Glenbuck, Grasshill Row, Parish of Muirkirk
(Owned by William Baird & Company, Limited.)
Glenbuck is a village in the Parish of Muirkirk, about 3 1/2 miles from the town of Muirkirk, nestling among the Glenbuck hills. Our investigation only covered the Grasshill Rows, owned by William Baird & Company, Limited, although most of the village is occupied by miners.
These Grasshill Rows have 33 two-apartment houses, with a population of 123. There were three empty houses when we visited the village on 4th December 1913.
The rent is 7s. a month (lunar).
There is one dry-closet for every four tenants, formerly without doors, but now protected by sparred gates with locks. The peculiarity of these closets is that each of them could accommodate two persons ; in fact, are seated to do so, but are without partition of any kind. There are coal-houses, but no washing-houses. The closet, ash-pit, and coal-house are under one roof, only 12 feet from front door. The ash-pits were very dirty.
The footpaths are unpaved and dirty, with dirty, sluggish, open syvors in front.
The kitchens measure 15 feet by 12 feet, the rooms 12 feet by 9 feet. The floors are of wood.
Many of the houses have large rents across them, due, it is thought, to the vibration of the works' locomotives and waggons passing so near, and because the foundations are in mossy ground.
There is a supply of gravitation water brought from the Hareshaw Hill.
The sewage runs in an open drain till it reaches the main road, 20 or 30 yards away, and, we were told, smells badly in summer.
60. Muirkirk South, Parish of Muirkirk
(Owned by William Baird & Company, Limited.)
Muirkirk South is a considerable village on the south side of the river Ayr from Muirkirk proper. It is built in rows, having 237 dwellings, with a population of 1064, exclusive of officials' houses and of Linkieburn, most of which is tenanted by Spaniards, making it a little difficult to get exact figures. It belongs to Messrs William Baird & Company, Limited, and is tenanted chiefly by miners. In Linkieburn and Linkieburn Square there are a number of furnace workers, the Muirkirk furnaces being quite near.
Linkieburn. - The row nearest to the station is Linkieburn. On the right-hand side up there are fourteen houses, with only seven entrances. It is almost wholly inhabited by Spaniards, some of whom have rented two houses for the purpose, we presume, of accommodating lodgers.
The size of the house is 14 feet by 12 feet, and the rent is 2s. for the two houses. They are built of stone.
There are six houses of two apartments on the left-hand side up.
The rent is 2s. 1d. for this double house.
There are two dry-closets, with doors, for both sides, but no coal-house and no washing-house. One Spaniard on left side of row had built a washing-house for himself, so we are told, the use of which he allows some of the other tenants.
The paths are unpaved, but very clean.
The Spaniards here are of a good type, one house we were in being nice and clean.
There is a good supply of water, a continual run going down the open syvor.
Linkieburn Square. -There are 15 two-apartment houses in Linkieburn Square. The kitchens measure 15 foot by 10 1/2 foot, but the rooms are more strips, 11 feet by 6 foot. There are in all sixty-four people here.
The rent is £4, 4s. per year.
There are no washing-houses and only three coal-houses, but some of the tenants have built wooden ones for themselves. There is a dry-closet for every four tenants, with open ash-pits. The closets were very clean.
The paths are unpaved, but very clean. There is a copious supply of water always running in the open syvor about 9 feet from the door.
This water is led in pipes from the hills.
This square is built of brick, and some of the houses are slightly damp.
Midhouse Row. - There is a population of ninety in what is called Midhouse Row, inhabiting 25 two-apartment houses. Some rent two of these two-apartment houses, the rent of which is 3s. 10d. a week, and 2s. for the ordinary house.
There is a washing-house for every five tenants, a dry-closet for every three tenants, with coal-houses and covered ash-pits. All these are under one roof, only 12 feet from the door, which is always undesirable.
The paths are unpaved, but very clean; the kitchen floors of brick tile and the rooms of wood.
Like the other rows, there is plenty of water running, as well as for use.
Railway Terrace, No. 1. - Railway Terrace, No. 1, contains 26 two-apartment houses built of brick, with a population of 101.
It is the same as to size, rent, and accommodation as the Midhouse Row. In this Railway Terrace, No. 1, a good number of tenants have rented three apartments.
Railway Terrace, No. 2. - Railway Terrace, No. 2 - contains 27 two-apartment houses, with a population of 146.
These houses are built of stone, with the same washing-house, closet, coal-house, and ash-pit accommodation as the two previous rows.
The rent is 1s. 10d. a week.
These houses are said to be a little damp.
The paths are unpaved, but clean. As in the other rows, there is plenty of water.
Kames Row, No. 3. - Kames Row, No. 3, is built of brick, containing twenty-seven houses, with a population of 123. The kitchen measures 14 feet by 12 feet, the room 12 feet by 10 feet.
The rent is 2s. a week.
There is a washing-house for every-eight tenants, and a closet for every four. There are coal-houses and covered ash-pits.
This row is paved in front, which is a great help to the appearance and comfort of the houses.
Plenty of water, as in the other rows.
Kames Row, No. 2. - Kames No. 2 is a replica of Kames No. 3. There are several tenants here who have taken three apartments. The population here is 291, inhabiting fifty-six dwellings, and the rent is 1s. 11d. a week.
Kames Row, No. 1. - Kames No. 1 has fifty-eight houses of two apartments, with a population of 249. It has the same accommodation in everything as the others, but is unpaved.
The rent is 1s. 10d. here.
At the lower end of these rows there is a settling pond which ought to be removed, as it gives off a very bad smell, especially in summer. The flies at this lowest row are a perfect plague. Another thing which is to be deprecated is the washing-house, coal-house, closet, and ash-pit all under one roof, and in many instances only 12 feet from front door.
The water supply is excellent, the gravitation water being brought from Cairntable. The water is plentiful and good.
The inhabitants are a markedly good type. They take a great interest in their gardens, many of them having glass frames and some large glass houses. A great many of them have rented three and four apartments, which is proof that the people here are willing to pay for better accommodation.
The one thing lacking here is water-closets. If those were erected, and a bathroom added, we believe that the people would justify their erection by using them and appreciating them. On the whole this is a good type of village. A very little trouble and expense would make it a desirable place to live in.
Additional information from Thomas McKerrell, Minutes of evidence
"In several cases we discovered when the families grew up they took in two houses; that is to say, if they were in a one-apartment house, when the family grew up they insisted on having the other house taken in. In particular, at Muirkirk we discovered a family in two single-apartment houses made into one. Another family, in a two-apartment house, had taken in the adjoining two-apartment house and made their house a house of four apartments, so that overcrowding could be improved by this method - by giving the people more facilities for a family taking in two houses."