Common lodging-house

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Illustration of Low Lodging House, St Giles, London, 1872

In Victorian era England, a common lodging-house was a kind of cheap hotel. There were a number of common rooms, which people used for either eating or sleeping. This meant that people who were not part of the same family ate and slept together.[1] Today, the closest equivalent to this would probably be a hostel.

Very often, criminals and prostitutes lived in such houses. In the mid-19th century, the common lodging houses in London were in a very bad condition. This prompted the Common Lodging Houses Acts 1851 and 1853. These regulations, however proved ineffectual and the requirement that residents leave between 10 a.m. and late afternoon hit poor and sick residents hard, as they were obliged to walk the streets during this time, in all weathers.[2]

Even tighter control was imposed when regulation of common lodging houses was transferred from the police to the London County Council in 1894.[1] This led to higher standards and regular inspection by council officials. The new regulations required the landlords to limewash the walls and ceilings twice a year[1] and the mixed sex accommodation, which was frequently a cover for a brothel, was abolished. Proper beds and bedding had also to be provided instead of mattresses on the floor and worse.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Common Lodging-house". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 778.
  2. Fiona Rule (2008) The Worst Street in London: 51, 56, 70–75. Hersham, Ian Allan
  3. Fiona Rule (2008) The Worst Street in London: 161–62. Hersham, Ian Allan