the slummiest town in Lancashire

We have already met Reverend Frederick Watkins. In 1846 he travelled 9557 miles, mainly in Lancashire, inspecting schools which received government money. Schools largely dedicated to providing elementary education to the working classes in Manchester, Salford, Liverpool and every major and minor town in the county – 181 places in total.

One place stuck in his mind as the worst.

“In the town of Colne there are three streets containing 500 families of the operative class. There is not one privy belonging to all their dwellings! Disgraceful as in this respect is the state of many of the large and second-rate manufacturing towns, I know nothing greater than the filthiness and indecency of Colne”

Source: Minutes of the Committee on Education: with Appendices, London, 1847. Watkins report p 441

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