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.
Country of Lincoln and Cambridge, and in Romney Marsh in Kent, though it is less general and of a far less severe type than formerly. It also lingers here and there in other parts of the country. The remittent and the intermittent (quotidian, tertian, and quartan) fevers differ only in degree and pass one into another, the intensity and the fatality being greater in warmer than in colder climates.
Goitre is a disease which appears to be caused or favoured by the use of waters from the dolomitic or magnesian limestone rocks - at any rate, under certain ill-understood conditions. It occurs occasionally in all places, however, but is not so prevalent now in Derbyshire as formerly. In some Alpine and Himalayan valleys it is endemic, as it used to be in the district of the Peak in Derbyshire; and when the present water-supply from the magnesian limestone was provided at Sunderland, fears were loudly expressed as to the consequences, but no ill effects have been observed. Dr. de St. Lager, from a study of the French conscripts, came to the conclusion that the combination of iron with the salts of magnesium and lime was necessary to induce goitre, but other observers attach more importance to the habits of the people as bearing on the circulation and action of the heart. The whole question is, in fact, involved in obscurity.
Rheumatic affections are prevalent in cold, damp soils, but acute rheumatism, or rheumatic fever so called, is more frequent in dry, windy, and comparatively warm situations and seasons, being, as is now generally accepted, a totally different disease.
Phthisis or consumption, both in the tubercular and the catarrhal forms, is favoured by dampness of soil, air, and dwellings, and a notable reduction in the death-rate has followed the lowering of the ground-water by improved drainage; but the tables compiled by Dr. Ogle, showing the comparative mortality from phthisis and from other diseases of the respiratory organs, prove beyond question that these diseases are far more directly connected with the habits and occupations of the people: bad ventilation of dwellings and workshops, and the continued breathing of irritating dust, have more to do with the production and development of respiratory diseases than any outward conditions of site and climate.
Diphtheria is connected with insanitary conditions, as is enteric or typhoid fever, but in the latter the seasonal prevalence is greatly influenced by the movements of ground-water.
Elevation. There are no places in these islands of sufficient elevation to permit of the full effects of diminished atmospheric pressure and rarefied air being felt as they are in the Swiss health-resorts of the Engadine, or Davoz Platz, where above the region of rain-clouds people can bask in the warmth of the sun's rays (which are unchecked by atmospheric moisture) when the air-temperature in the shade is below freezing; in such districts the respiratory and circulatory functions, and consequently the general nutrition, are strengthened and improved The influence of residence in hilly localities in this country is chiefly connected with the exertion incident to constant ascents of steep gradients, calling for increased action of the heart and lungs, highly beneficial under normal conditions, l»ut in weak subjects, or when carried to excess, leading to dilatation of the heart, or to that of the air-vesicles, a condition known as Emphysema.
Aspect. -The influence of aspect on the comfort and healthfulness of a house cannot be denied. Generally speaking, it is not desirable that a house should stand four-square with the points of the compass, since some rooms will in that case never receive direct sunlight. As a rule, morning-rooms should face the south-east, and drawing-rooms, most used in the afternoon, the south-west. The south-west, also, is the best aspect for verandahs and terraces or conservatories which are enjoyed in the long summer evenings. The dining-room might face south-east or south-west, according as it is used by the family as a morning sitting-room or chiefly for afternoon meals. The library should not Ik? too dark, but strong sunshine being undesirable, it is best for it to face the north-east or northwest. The kitchen, again, should not be gloomy, and being usually the sen-ants' sitting-room when their work in the house is done, ought to have a westerly aspect, south west rather than north-west Light, too, is essential to cleanliness, and should be secured for sculleries and other offices. The larder, bowever, which must be cool, should always be on the north or north-east, though with ample allowance of window for ventilation and light Bedrooms will of necessity face all sides, but the night and day nurseries should face the south-east and south-west respectively wherever possible. The west and south-west walls, being exposed to the heaviest rains, may with advantage be covered with evergreens; in fact. there is no better protection against damp than ivy, the broad leaves of which keep off the rain, and evaporate the moisture which its tendrils suck out of the porous brick and mortar. Walls well covered with ivy will always be found dry and dusty even in the wettest weather. The objection sometimes urged against ivy, that it harbours vermin, is the strongest evidence of the protection it affords against damp and cold, since it is on this account that snails and insects seek its shelter for their winter-quarters.
In calculating the amount and intensity of sunshine, falling on the walls or entering the windows on any given aspect, regard must be had to the right ascension and declination, or, in other words, the orientation and altitude of the sun at each season of the year. The former is the same in all places so long as the sun is above the horizon; the latter varies with the latitude. In the accompanying diagrams these are given for Central Germany, which is in the same latitude as the South of England; but further to the north the sun is visible for a greater number of hours in summer and for a smaller number in winter, rising and setting more to the north or the south respectively.