11. Privvy Middens, Flies and Smells

July 1920

Mexborough and Swinton Times July 24, 1920

Privvy Middens, Flies and Smells

George Henry Smith, Clifton Street, Denaby main, said that he had resided in Denaby about 17 or 18 years. The privvy middens, were emptied about once in two months, but just lately a little more frequently.

His Lordship: did you ever complain?

Witness: many a time sir.

Mr Mortimer: it has been suggested that there is no nuisance from flies. What do you say?

Witness: You can hardly live for them. (Laughter.)


Witness stated that he had known the contents of the privvy middens to lie on the ground for two hours. The children had to play around the middens.

Mr Mortimer: It is suggested that there is no smell?

Witness: It is a big untruth. The smell is awful.

Mr Mortimer: You are a smoker?

Witness: I am pleased I am (laughter.)

Witness added that the refuse was generally collected in the night-time and sometimes in the day time.

Mr Waugh: You haven’t been eaten up with flies?

Witness: Not exactly, or I shouldn’t be here. (Laughter.)

Mr Waugh: The smell is simply horrible.

Witness: It doesn’t smell grand

Mr Waugh: How many years have you been suffering from all these pains and penalties?

Witness: Thirteen

Mr Waugh: For 13 years you’ll be suffering like this. Why didn’t you leave?

Witness: You see, it is like this; we are not in the house all the time. We go to work in the daytime and go out at night. (Laughter.)

Mr Waugh: What about your poor wife?

Witness: I take with me (laughter.)

Mr Waugh: It’s a horrible place? – Yes

Mr Waugh:Aterrible place? – It is

Mr Waugh: Ugh! (Laughter.)

Thomas Hill, Alexander Terrace, Conisbrough, said that he had lived there since 1912. He had seen open carts collecting the refuge in the daytime and nighttime. He had sent in complaints about the matter.

The men who emptiedthe privvy middens went ahead of the cart and deposited the matter on the ground before the cart came. He agreed that might be done because of the shortage of carts.

His Lordship: shortage of tonnage again. (Laughter) You have complained to the sanitary inspector and it still goes on? – Yes


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