Sunday, 6 May 2018

Walking the streets of Manchester in 1870 ......... of privies closed courts and foul passages..... Ludgate Street

Now Ludgate Street which runs from Rochdale Street into Angel Meadow should have fared better.

New gates, 1908, a closed court
There are no images of the place in the City collection, it warrants only one entry in a street directory and got a pretty poor press from the Manchester Guardian back in 1870.

You can still walk down it today.  It is one of the narrower streets in the city and is fronted by a mix of tall residential properties, a warehouse, car park, and some open land.

And as such is not over remarkable but back in 1870 it attracted the attention of the Manchester Guardian and appeared as No. 3 of their series “In the Slums.”*

Ludgate Street, 1851
“Ludgate-street is a principal thoroughfare leading from Rochdale Road into Angel Meadow.

From each side of this street branch off many courts, each with its open gutter down the centre; and as the houses are built back to back, forming the front street and back yard at the same time.

In each of these courts we find privies and ashpits very dilapidated and dirty, and in many cases built over with rooms.

In Church court the privies open on to the yard or court, where boys and girls are playing about. ....... Foul passages past fouler places lead from these courts and streets, passages so narrow that it is impossible to avoid contact with that which decency would shun, but which is utterly unheeded by those who dwell here, such is the debasing effect of constantly living in such places.

Back Simpson –street, Marshall’s Court and many other places we have visited could be adduced to show how horrible this district is, but it is needless to reiterate facts.  In Factory Court there is one lodging-house registered for 20 beds. And 20 beds means 40 persons and for these 40 persons there are one privy and one ashpit, and these are partially destroyed by the fall of an adjacent wall.

Church Court off Ludgate Street, 1851
In Joinery-street there is a court with a foul privy, without a door, and full ashpit within five feet of the living room; and in a court off Brabham-street one privy, without a seat or door and in such a state that it cannot be approached, is the sole provision for seven houses.”

Nor was that quite all, because our intrepid journalist moved a little distance away to Newtown which he described as a suburb of Angel Meadow which had “plenty of open spaces, spaces which might act as lungs for the overcrowded district it adjoins and where a little fresh air might be found.”

Nearby in another building were “hundreds of cows’ feet waiting to be boiled and, and separated from them by a board only, a heap of bones of those which have preceded them."

44 Angel Street 1898 which backed on to Ludgate Street
Alas this was not to be because the area was full of piggeries.

Behind one street there were sixteen in a long block “without drainage or anything to carry away the filth; it soaks through and runs the amongst the soil till the place is offensive in the extreme for yards away."

Now I could go on but I won’t.  There were plenty of more pleasant places in the city which in the fullness of time will appear in our walks but for now that is it.

Next time; Deansgate and Davenport’s Court “where “scarcely a night passes but some robbery id committed ........ and almost under the shadow of the Cathedral tower.”

Location; Manchester in 1870

Pictures; New gates, 1908, m8316, Angel Street, 1900, m85543, S.L.Coulthurst, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, and Ludgate Street in 1851 from Adshead map of Manchester, 1851, courtesy of Digital Archives Asscociation,

*In the Slums, Manchester Guardian, March 3, 1870

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