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unemployed operatives of the cotton districts. Under the provisions of this Act 1,500,0001. may be advanced on loan out of the national funds, upon application by the duly-constituted authorities in the several localities, for the prosecution of works approved by the Government inspectors, and which must be of a kind to employ the largest possible number of unskilled labourers. The application is to be accompanied by proper plans and estimates; the money is to be advanced by instalments; and there are to be periodical returns made to the Poor Law Board of the number of men employed, in what way, the number of distressed operatives included in them, whether paid by piece-work, the rate of pay, the men's earnings, &c. Provision is also made for a sufficient supervision of the works in progress. It would seem, therefore, that there is at least a reasonable guarantee for the judicious application of the money so advanced. Already, by the beginning of October, applications had been made for nearly 1,000,0001. The larger part of the works proposed, it is said in the official reports, consists of sewerage; paving and flagging streets ; straightening and widening public roads, &c.; and those who know the great cotton towns know full well how much such works are needed in them. But some of the towns propose to execute works of a more ornamental though hardly less useful character. Oldham, for instance, proposes to make a public park—an improvement of immense value in that locality. Manchester will extend the waterworks under a local Act, form a new cemetery, improve Piccadilly, &c. Blackburn was the first town to accept the provisions of the Act, and according to the Government inspector, Mr. Rawlinson, the eminent civil engineer, as regards the preparation of the necessary plans and specifications, and the carrying out all the other preliminary details, that town might serve as a model for the rest of Lancashire, for nothing could be more complete and perfect.” The works proposed here are the formation of main sewers, the cleansing and deepening of the river, making and paving streets, &c. As a first instalment, the sum of 78,3001. is required, but more will probably be asked for during the winter. It has received 10,0001., and other instalments will be advanced during the progress of the works. Several hundred bands are already at work here. Manchester has applied for 200,000l.; Oldham for 50,0001. ; Bolton and Stockport each for a like sum Preston for 28,5001. ; Wigan for 35,0001.; Ashton, Rochdale, and Burnley, each for 30,0001. ; Macclesfield for 47,5701.; Bollington for 9,8591.; Glossop for 3,5002.; Dukinfield for 11,000l. ; and Denton for 3,0001, : and several other places propose to apply for assistance if they have not already done so.
Altogether, the operation of the Public Works Act promises to be of the greatest service in assisting the distressed districts to tide over the coming winter. Some doubt has indeed been recently expressed, by persons holding high official positions in those districts, whether too sanguine a view has not been taken of the probable results. Although 700 men are employed under the Public Works Act in Blackburn, we are told by the chairman of the Committee, only 200 of them are distressed operatives, and there is little likelihood of being able to increase the proportion. But even there it appears that 400
or 500 of the operatives are engaged " upon contracts unconnected with the Public Works Act.” And this is what will probably occur in most towns. The more important works undertaken by the local boards will induce, sometimes compel, the carrying out by private persons of other works, severally less, but together perhaps nearly equal in amount; and upon them the operative, if he be willing and able, will be sure to be employed. And that he is both willing and able we know on the best authority. The operative likes the work; and, though awkward at first, soon masters it, and improves in health whilst so employed. Thus far the operation of the Act has been most beneficial. Mr. Farnall, whose unremitting labours in the distressed districts, and large grasp of the subject, have been so generally recognized, whilst showing that the number of persons receiving parochial relief is steadily diminishing, and the prospects of the cotton manufacture as steadily improving, assures us that there is in progress “a gradual absorption of the operative population in other departments of labour." These are facts of the most cheering kind; and now the Public Works Act comes in as an invaluable and timely auxiliary. Nor is it the least cause of rejoicing that the works effected under it will be a lasting benefit to the towns, and their sorely-tried inhabitants.
Another subject which has engaged much attention is that of providing additional and better Dwellings for the Labouring Classes. Evidence of the urgent necessity for this abounds on every hand. Every public improvement in our great cities almost inevitably destroys many of the houses of the poor. We read of a railway being brought to a more central and convenient terminus, but little think how many poor people it drives away from their homes and places of occupation. There might have been read in the same newspaper one day last August two such suggestive advertisements of sales by auction as these :-"North London Railway. Eighth Clearance Sale. Materials of about 180 Houses near the Kingsland-road.”
" Midland Railway. Building Materials of 138 Houses in Agar Town.” Now of these houses near Kingsland-road a large proportion were occupied by the poor; of those in Agar Town almost all were inhabited by the poorest. Since then, to make way for the North London line, many hundreds of small houses have been pulled down to the west of Shoreditch and Bishopsgate-street. South of the Thames the demolition has been on an equal scale for the London, Chatham, and Dover, and the Charing Cross Railways. And there has been a comparatively small number of new houses built of a kind to suit the means of the humbler occupants of those destroyed; and few are building. It is the house of a somewhat higher grade that best repays the builder even of small houses. The very poor are then compelled to herd closer together, in order that by clubbing their means they may pay among them the higher rent which they are unable to meet separately. And this overcrowding inevitably engenders disease and immorality. Earnest men are doing their best to palliate this state of things. A remedy lies beyond the means hitherto attempted.
An experiment that has been much talked of is that of Alderman Waterlow, who has constructed some lofty blocks of dwelling-houses
in Paul-street, Finsbury. The houses are neat and even cheerfullooking externally; and inside the most careful provision has been made for home and family comfort. Each block has a recessed centre, with balconies to each floor, and a staircase common to all. The floors are divided into groups of rooms, each complete in itself, strictly separated, and adapted to larger or smaller families. Mr. Waterlow calculates on a clear profit of 6 or 8 per cent. The apartments let as soon as ready, and the scheme altogether appears to have been so successful that a number of gentlemen have formed themselves into a company to erect several similar buildings at King's Cross and elsewhere. It is estimated that for 25,0001. buildings like those of Mr. Waterlow may be erected to accommodate 200 families. They are to be divided into--dwellings of 3 rooms to be let at 7s. 6d. and 6s. 60. a week, and of 2 rooms at 5s. 60. But though these would meet the wants of many of the working-people dispossessed of homes by railway progress, &c., and be well adapted to newly-married couples, it is manifest that they are above the reach of the very poor. Indeed, to build these very dwellings, Mr. Waterlow had to pull down half a street of wretched hovels, of whose inhabitants probably not one would dream of being able to rent an apartment in the handsome pile for which they had to give way.
It is this lower stratum of society—though still not the lowestwhich Mr. Peabody's munificent gift will probably help. The first practical employment of a portion of the Peabody Fund has been in the erection of an immense pile of buildings at the junction of White Lion-street with Commercial-street, Spitalfields. The building, which has a frontage of 215 feet to the latter street, and 140 feet to the former, is of a kind of domestic Gothic, with stepped gables, &c., imposing from its mass, loftiness, and substantial character; but showing that there has been no unnecessary expenditure on merely decorative features. The basement, ground, and first floor of the Commercial-street wing are appropriated to shops, with their stores and dwellings, which will thus supply a valuable source of revenue. In White Lion-street there will be a co-operative store. On the second and third floors are the dwellings for the poor, which consist of 3 of one room, 47 of two, and 7 of three rooms, placed on each side of a wide corridor. Dust-shafts pass from the roof to the basement, where are large dustbins accessible from the yard. The living-rooms average 13 feet by 10, the bed-rooms 13 feet by 8, and all are 8 feet high. They are supplied with large cupboards, cooking range, boiler, oven, hot-plate, &c. Lavatories are provided on each floor; and the fourth, or topmost floor, is appropriated to laundries, baths, and areas to serve for drying clothes, and as a play-place for children in wet weather. The rents, varying according to the amount of accommodation, are to be fixed at so low a rate that the poorest of the industrial classes—i. e., those whose wages range from 12s. to 22s. a week-may be able to pay them” without subletting, which will on no account be allowed. "We fear it is a miscalculation which supposes that “the poorest of the industrial classes can pay a rent estimated on average earnings such as these. A very large number who, having no settled employment, find occupation by the day as unskilled la
bourers would make up a much lower average of earnings at the year's end. It is an admirable undertaking as far as it goes: it is the duty of the philanthropist to inquire whether it descends low enough. The building is from the designs of Mr. Darbyshire, the architect of Miss Burdett Coutts's Dwellings for the Poor at Bethnal Green.
Not far from the Peabody Dwellings, in the same street, is another building on a smaller scale that merits a passing note. It is a neat structure, built at a cost of about 6,0001., from the designs of Mr. H. H. Collins, for the “Jewish and East London Model Lodging Houses Association.” This also has shops on the ground floor and conveniently arranged dwellings above.
Other efforts are being made in London, and in some of the provincial towns, to improve the dwellings of the poor ; but it must suffice to make this general mention of them. It hardly belongs to a paper on Public Improvements to speak of what is being done to get rid of the scandal attaching to the state, both as to number and kind, of the cottages of the rural population. Yet this subject is so important that we should have been tempted to enter upon it had we not already far exceeded the space allotted to this section. As it is, we can only add that zealous and generally well-directed efforts are making both by societies and the owners of property to amend what is amiss; and we may hope that attention having been so strongly directed to the evil, it will not be long before it is greatly mitigated.
An experiment, belonging partly to the town, partly to the country must however be mentioned. It is that of Mr. Edward Akroyd, of Halifax, the donor of the magnificent church at Haley Hill (engraved
Companion to the Almanac' for 1862, p. 258), and whose good works in that town have been so numerous. Mr. Akroyd has built a complete village, named from him Akroydon, of substantial and even handsome houses, of a bold and simple Gothic, differing considerably in size and costliness, but all admirably arranged for comfort and convenience, and adapted to the several grades of persons employed in his mills, or others in the neighbourhood. By a modification of the principle of the Building Societies, the houses become in a few years, by an easy weekly payment in the shape of rent, the property of the occupants. We commend the scheme to the consideration of those who in like circumstances are anxious to confer a permanent benefit on their dependents, or less affluent neighbours.
3. CHURCHES AND CHAPELS. Church building is carried on with, if possible, more zeal and vigour than ever; and, as the lists which follow will show, elaborate finish and costly decoration are becoming more and more a matter of
Of the style there is little to remark beyond what was said at the commencement of the paper. The churches are all Gothic; but in most instances details, in some the general forms, or leading features, are more or less of a foreign type. Irregularity of outline seems to be now the guiding principle in designing a church: symmetry and simplicity the abiding terror of the church architect. To avoid these, he will snip up the outside of his church into as many odd peaks
and projections, and decorate it with as many “bands” and lines and dubious ornaments, as though he were a Nuremberg toy-maker. More thought is, however, undoubtedly being given to the actual use of the building. The nave is treated more as an auditorium; and piers of extravagant thickness are seldom employed. The chancel, again, is made more emphatically a sacrarium, a holy place, to be trodden only by ecclesiastics. _Whether this be strictly in conformity with the principles of the English church it is not our business to inquire. It is held by ecclesiologists and the clergy to be in conformity with the ritual ; and architects are carrying out the idea to the best of their ability.
The employment of coloured marbles and surface ornament, of what is termed Polychromatic decoration, is very general. It is introduced freely in the chancel, more sparingly in the body of the church. In descriptions published after a consecration we now commonly read glowing accounts of “the richness, brilliancy, and beauty” of the colouring; but to accept these phrases literally we must revert to mediæval practice and notions, and divest the mind of whatever may have been learned by a consideration of the architectonic polychromy of the ancient Greeks and Romans, or by the study of those later masters of painting and decorative art whom of old we were accustomed to designate the great colourists of Italy.
Of London churches opened during the year, that of St. Alban, Baldwin's Gardens, Gray's Inn-lane, is the most important. General notices of it having been given in the volumes for 1861-63, we here merely record its completion. To discuss its merits and demerits would require a consideration of principles involved in the design for which we have now neither space nor inclination. It will suffice, therefore, to say that whilst the exterior is unnecessarily ugly, though an excellent specimen of brickwork, the interior is spacious, lofty, and well-lighted. The body of the church is large in style, forms an admirable auditory, and, without being solemn or impressive, has a noble effect. The chancel, with its quaint shapes and many colours, its alabaster and marbles, its crosses and symbols, and its ten waterglass pictures of the Suffrages of the Litany on the east wall, is a work of great care and cost, but, to our thinking, artistically very unsatisfactory; and the pictures-not being intentionally irreverentare (except to mediævalists) almost ludicrous. In all, the church is 120 feet long, 50 wide, and 95 high-higher in fact than the nave is long, and hence making that look disproportionately short. It affords 800 sittings, which, as an inscription on the exterior states, are to be for ever free and unappropriated. With the endowment, the church has cost the munificent donor, Mr. J. Hubbard, M.P., 35,0001.: the site was given by Lord Leigh. Mr. Butterfield was the architect.
As an example of the current phase of church architecture we give an engraving of St. Mark's, Notting Dale, just completed. The woodcut (No. 1.) explains sufficiently the general form and character of the exterior. It is marked throughout by studied irregularity. Every part that can be is made to differ from its corresponding part. The transepts are lower than the nave, and the windows on the south differ in form from those on the north. The tall spire is of slate ; the