§ THE EARL OF SHAFTESBURY
desired to call attention to the accounts which had appeared in the newspapers of the hardships that had been inflicted upon the poorer class of inhabitants of Blewitt's Buildings, in Fetter Lane, in consequence of their eviction from their dwellings for the purpose of the improvements about to be made in that district under the Artizans and Labourers' Dwellings Act; and wished to know whether the attention of the Government had been called to the subject?
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP,
in reply, stated that in consequence of these statements in the newspapers an inquiry had been made, the result of which did not bear out their statements, which were more picturesque than accurate. He had not any detailed information as to the number of persons who were affected by the scheme; but the district was scheduled in the Act of last year, and the notices had been duly served upon the inhabitants of Blewitt's Buildings—to which, however, they paid not the slightest attention. The attention of the Sanitary Committee of the Commissioners of Sewers had been directed to the disgraceful condition of these buildings; and on the 12th of June last the Sanitary Committee reported that the place was notorious for some of the worst offences against the sanitary law, and was a standing disgrace owing to the conduct of the tenants, who had set the owner at defiance. The Commissioners directed their clerk to refer at once to the freeholder, and direct him to put the 1040 buildings in order without any further delay; but the powers given by the Artizans Dwellings Act had not been put in force, in consequence of the owner having undertaken to pull the houses down within three months. However, nothing had been done, in consequence of the persistent refusal of the occupiers to turn out, and the nuisance had become so great that it was necessary for the sanitary authorities to take action in the matter. The usual three months' notice was given to the tenants; but they had either forgotten it, or set it altogether at defiance. The principle of the Artizans and Labourers Dwellings Act was that the inhabitants of all houses which were a source of danger to themselves or their neighbours should be compelled to leave them; and he did not think that those who set themselves in absolute defiance of the law deserved any sympathy at the hands of their Lordships.