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.
The apartment for the hot-water boiler may be utilized as a coal-house, and for the barrows, forks, shovels, buckets, and other tools, which form the necessary outfit of a stable-yard. Slow-combustion stoves are now made with a boiler sufficient to supply hot-water pipes for the coach-house and harness-room. It may sometimes be passible to combine an auxiliary-pipe for the coach-house with a set for the greenhouse, but it is not desirable to sacrifice convenience in other respects for this purpose.
Much advantage will be found from having at least a portion of the yard covered in, and sonic very comfortable yards are entirely so; but in these sufficient provision should be made for allowing a free circulation of air at the sides, care being taken, should the situation be exposed, that in high winds the air has a sufficient escape in several directions, so as to avoid any risk of the roof being lifted.
Convenient but not too close to the coach-house doors, there should be a proper carriag'e-washing' stand, arranged with a sufficient fall to a gully, Newton's medium size being very suitable. The washing-place should he not too far from the horse-washing stand or shed, so that the hose and attachment for washing the horses can also be within reach for the carriages. Of course if the number of horses is large, it may be desirable to have a separate water-supply and hose for the carriages. Besides the hose attachment, there should be a tap at the proper height for filling buckets for the stable use, even if, as in the best stables, the water is laid on direct to each stall.
In arranging for the water-supply to a stable, much will depend upon the site. Town and suburban stables will generally avail themselves of the local supply, for which much storage will scarcely be needed, and the pressure will be sufficient for the hose and other purposes. In the country, however, a special supply will generally have to be provided. Rain-water is often valued for this purpose, and if it is collected from the stable roofs, the cistern will have to be fixed at a suitable level below the eaves; the higher its position, the greater head of pressure there will be for the discharge from the hose. The tanks, when not too large, may be of galvanized iron, but slate forma a very clean and durable material, and for very large tanks boiler-plate iron is a strong and cheap material. Where the rain-water is used for drinking, it is better for being filtered. This need not be an elaborate affair. It should be borne in mind that the mechanical or straining part of filtration is now recognized as being the least efficient part of the process, and that the purification of water is in the main due to the biological work effected by microbes, and that the most efficient filtering material is that which furnishes for these the most favourable habitat. A very efficient filter for stable purposes may be formed by dividing the tank into two sections by a diaphragm reselling to within a few inches of the bottom, and placing a false bottom of perforated wood or a galvanized-iron grating, about six inches above the real bottom. This grating should have a layer of not leas than six inches of crushed coke. The water would enter the tank on one side, pass through the layer of coke and under the diaphragm, and ax-end again through the layer of coke on the other side. A filter of this sort does not become thoroughly effective until it has been in use for some days, and the microbes have become fully established. It will then remain in working order for a long period, and when it shows signs of clogging, a slight scraping of the surface of the coke will probably re-establish its efficiency.1
The gates for the yard are also, like the coach-house doors, more conveniently arranged to slide. They should be at the least ten feet in width, and may even be more where dignity of appearance is sought. A side-door should also be provided.
The manure should, if possible, be stored at a distance from the stable-yard, and removed by a small covered cart or barrow as collected daily or more often from the stalls. The manure-pit should always have a solid concrete bottom, and every precaution be taken to prevent liquids penetrating the soil, for they often travel underground for a great distance, and may pollute wells supposed to be quite beyond their influence. It will also be necessary to provide suitable latrines for the stable attendants. Water should be used if the supply is abundant, but earth-closets may be used with less objection than appertains to their use in many other places. If a pit or receptacle is required, the bottom and sides should be made water-tight, and the pit should admit of being easily and frequently cleaned.
The accommodation required for cart-horses is of course of a much simpler nature than for the carriage or riding horse. Not only is the horse generally of a heavier make, and of a less sensitive constitution, but he is looked upon as an unit of business who is expected to "pay his way", and who must therefore dispense with luxury. Still more is this the case in the stables of omnibus or tramway companies, or other large commercial undertakings. Everything in these has to be contrived to combine efficiency with economy, for which indeed the former is or ought to be only another name. The space is reduced to a minimum, five feet being generally considered enough for the width of each stall, though for large cart or dray horses more ought to be allowed. Space is also often economized in the width by placing the horses back to back with a passage in the middle. Thus with stalls nine feet long and a passage seven feet wide between, and a door at the end, a stable twenty-five feet wide will accommodate two rows of horses. It will hardly be advisable, however, unless with doors at both ends, to have more than about eight or ten stalls on each side.
1 It is probable that a better arrangement would be to have the filter above the cistern, as it would not than be always water-logged, and would have full opportunities for aeration. Two filters might be provided, one being in use and the other being laid aside for aeration or repairs. - ED.
The fittings must all be of the strongest and simplest kind. Metal capping will still be the best to prevent "crib bitting", but the remainder of the divisions may be of pitch-pine or spruce, both being hard and tough. "Swinging bars" have been sometimes tried to give at least the pretence of greater space in the stalls, but they are not satisfactory, and with any but the quietest horses may give rise to more trouble than comfort. In places where they have been introduced, they have been soon abandoned. The mangers and pots are often of glazed tire-clay, as being probably more durable than enamelled metal, and can be made with a fire-clay bar across to prevent nosing out the food. Hay-racks are often dispensed with, as chopped fodder is the custom in all these stables.
In the long run square sets, though dear at first, will generally be found to make the most economical floor, and, with the general introduction of peat-litter, drainage is dispensed with. With an impervious bottom, and care in the management of the litter, and of course ample ventilation, it is surprising how sweet a crowded stable can be kept even in summer.
With practically no more harness than a trace and collar, in the case of tramway or 'bus stables, each horse's harness can be hung upon his own stall -post. A special harness-room, except as a store, is hardly required, but in these large stables, where the horses are counted by the hundred, a harness-repairing shop, and a forge or shoeing shop, will each form a most important branch. A number of loose-boxes for horses sick or temporarily disabled, or on trial, will be very necessary. One for every eight or ten horses kept will not be too many. In stables of this size an engine and boilers to supply the power for cutting up the fodder and bruising and mixing the corn, and in some cases for pumping water, are indispensable, and will keep a special staff of assistants in full work, cutting, weighing, and filling into bags. In the passages between the various ranges of stables, strong rings should be built into the wall to secure the horses while being groomed, though a regular washing and grooming shed may be more convenient, and offer greater facilities for inspection. All provisions for cleanliness are of even greater importance than in the gentleman's stable. The manure-pit must not be large, and must have both sides and bottom impervious to moisture, and the removal should be daily. In the stables of one of the best-managed tramway companies, the principal walls. etc, are whitewashed monthly, and at the horses' heads every week. Lime-wash is a great and cheap purifier.
In many large city stables, still further to economize space, the horses are accommodated on two stories, the upper part being reached by an inclined plane or gangway. This gangway has to be made with cross pieces of wood, well covered with gravel or litter to prevent slipping. The floor of the upper stalls is best made of iron joists and concrete, which, with the great modern facilities for the production of these articles, involve very little extra trouble or expense. Naturally a little more care will have to be taken with the ventilation and lighting of the lower story, and, indeed, where possible, it is better to utilize this for subsidiary purposes, such as forges, harness-repairing, A:--.