If you lived in the West End of Derby in the 19th century, you were considered to live in the slums. It is here that the families I’ve researched lived mainly in what was known as court housing (some more information on court housing here).
An article on the Derby Telegraph site mentions that this area was part of an 1849 report to the General Board of Health on “The Sewerage, Drainage and Supply of Water and the Sanitary Conditions of the Inhabitants of Derby”;
In Willow Row, Court 1, 103 inhabitants shared two privies and residents reported that milk would turn to curd when mixed with water from the communal pump…
Observations of Walker Lane, where 75 cases of typhus fever were reported between June 15 and September 14, 1847, were: “The houses are of the most inferior description and the inhabitants of a piece with their houses; to crown all, there are lodging houses, which are the principal headquarters of vagrants, and of those comers and goers who, for reasons best known to themselves, prefer darkness to light.”
It is in these conditions that Hannah Bates, William Lamb and their families lived most of their lives. The slum clearances of the 1930s mean that the court housing is now long gone but it’s important to keep these living conditions in mind when researching the people of the area and trying to understand their lives.
Note: the Derby Telegraph article mentioned above is no longer available online [referred to: area-poverty-abounded-rich-community-spirit-pride/story-11591093-detail]