This section is from the book "The Principles And Practice Of Modern House-Construction", by G. Lister Sutcliffe. Also available from Amazon: How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding & Maintaining Your Home.
In no country so much as in Britain is the horse at once the friend and the companion of man, and in no country is he so well housed The arrangement and the construction of a gentleman's stable are of an importance second only to that of the dwelling-house itself; indeed, it is to be feared that in some cases the accommodation provided for his equine servants claims more thought and care than that provided for his human on<
In selecting a position for the stables, something of course will have to be left to the special exigencies of the site, but a few general principles may be laid down. While naturally taking somewhat of a rearward position, they should be easy of access from the front entrance and approach. It is not perhaps desirable to have them in too close juxtaposition to the domestic servants' yard and offices, but they should he of easy access from the master's office or study, and from the side entrance used by the master of the house and his family. As it is not desirable to have too many back lanes or approaches likely to be neglected, or to form a loitering-place for idlers, it may be well to arrange the stable entrance so as to be at the same time accessible from the main carriage-drive, and yet available for such purposes as the removal of manure, etc., without such operations being unduly in evidence.
By F. W. Lockwood, Fellow Of The Institute Of Sanitary Engineers.
Considering the importance of the stable department, it would seem proper to give it a fair amount of architectural embellishment, always beating in mind, however, the sound maxim, that utility is the cardinal principle in all building, and that the truest architecture is the artistic treatment of the useful. Whatever style is adopted in the dwelling-house should be applied in a plainer the stables. The material, so far as it affects the internal fitting up. will be more suitably dealt with at a later stage, but as regards general constrruction, the local materials will usually be found most suitable; brick, stone, or even wood, may be applied, but the latter in this climate is seldom durable, except at a considerable expense in the way of periodical painting or coating with other preservatives.
In the general arrangement of a stable there are many points to be considered. The modern horse is, like the modern man his master, an artificial product, and like him is easily affected by healthy surroundings or the reverse. There are few of the principles of modern sanitation, as set forth in the earlier this work, which are not also, in their degree, applicable to the stabling department. A dry and well-drained site, air, light, and ventilation without draught, are all indispensable for a healthy suite of stables. Cesspools under or close to a stable, and any large or long-standing collections of manure in close proximity, should also be avoided.
The principal accommodation required in a complete stable-range will consist of stalls, loose-boxes, one or more sick or isolation boxes, a washing-box or shed, coach-house, harness-room, cleaning and saddle rooms, a provender-room, tool-house (which may possibly also be made available for a heating-apparatus for hot-water pipes to the coach house), and lofts for hay and corn. The last-named may be partly over the stable, as tending to keep the latter at an even temperature, but the ceiling of the stable should, as far as possible, be air-tight, as the less communication there is between the air of the stable and the loft the better. For this reason it is desirable that the ladders or stairs to the loft, and the shoots for hay and corn, should not open directly into the stable, but, if possible, be in the provender-room, or in a separate passage. It is also of advantage that a portion at least of the yard should be covered over, for the more comfortable washing of carriages, etc, in wet weather. If this be done, a special washing-box for horses may perhaps be dispensed with, though it has its advantage on the score of privacy in the ease of restive horses. It is better not to have the manure-pit inside the stable-yard, but at some distance, a portable iron box being provided for the removal to it (daily or more often) of all manure from the stable. Latrines for the stable-men should form a part of every well-ordered stable.
A typical plan is shown in Fig. 727, with two stables of four stalls in each. a range of four loose-boxes, a sick-box, washing-box, harness-room, coach-house, fodder or provender room, and a tool-house. As the washing-box also for a passage, there is a direct communication throughout the range, except in the case of the sick-box, the isolation of which is rendered as complete as possible Perhaps four ordinary loose-boxes, especially with the addition of a sick-box, may be in a larger proportion to eight stalls than is usually the case.
Where hunters are kept, however, this number will not be too numerous, as the boxes will be used mainly for the hunters and the stalls for carriage-horses. If this is not the case, the end box can be cut off as a separate house for a root-store, or for dogs. Some persons, also, might prefer the loose-taxes to be entirely separate, with access only from the yard; but the horse is a sociable animal, and is more comfortable within sight and hearing of his companions. The advantages also in the matter of attendance, and the increased facilities for ventilation, outweigh those of increased isolation. The covered part of the yard is shown with only three supports, the facilities for the manufacture of light iron roofing rendering a multiplicity of columns quite unnecessary. It is not desirable that anything of the nature of a residence, especially where there are children about, should form any part of a stable-range, but apartments for at least one attendant should be provided, care being taken that, while accessible from the stables, they are not immediately over any part occupied by the horses. The room over the harness-room is often found suitable for this purpose. It is not well to have too many stalls for horses in a single stable; ranges of four, or at the most, five, with walls and doors between, are much better both for isolation and quietness.
Fig. 727. - Plan of Stable buildings for Twelve Horses.