In the cities the conditions are worse. In Brussels, for instance, Consul-General Roosevelt reports that often ten people occupy a single room; that 4,636 people occupy 2,362 rooms; two-thirds of the tenements being totally deprived of open air.
In Glasgow, in 1908, there were only 162,443 houses, and fourteen per cent, of the families had to be content with a single room, forty-seven per cent, with two rooms, twenty per cent. with three, and only nineteen per cent, had more than three.*
In Birmingham, in 1904, ten and thirty-three hundredths per cent, of the people were living more than two in a room. In one part (Dudley) seventeen and forty-eight hundredths per cent, were thus crowded.
"There are houses in London where rooms are let on the Box-and-Cox principle, tenants occupying in rotation for eight hours each. Sometimes a young woman will occupy the room by day which is let to a young man by night. People sleep under beds as well as in them, and pay rent for doing so. Evicted families live in sheds until they drift into the workhouse. Mr. Haw, a London tenement inspector, declares that one-fifth of the population of London, that is to say, about 900,000 people, are systematically breaking the law against overcrowding".
The London School Board reports that even in ordinary times from 50,000 to 60,000 children come to school too hungry to study. Mr. Richard Whiteing, in a book called "No. 5 John Street," a sociological study of the overcrowding of London, written several years ago, makes the following statements which I presume are correct: "Over 100,000 people herd two in a room; nearly 90,000 live three in a box; nay, they are still in thousands as they pig in seven to the four square walls. Hundreds of thousands can afford but two meals a day, and the half-mealers always hungry, are too numerous to reckon." Chicago and New York are rapidly approaching the same state. In a novel, "The Crime of the Century," by Rodrigues Ottolengui(Putnam Sons), there is an exposition of the overcrowding of New York, differing but little from the above. Indeed, only two and one-quarter per cent, of the families own their homes. In Chicago several families crowd into one room - men, women and children. Floor space is even rented to different men, one of whom sleeps there in the day and the other at night. The dreadful conditions around the stockyards are described by Upton Sinclair in his book "The Jungle," and the pitiful conditions elsewhere can be studied in John Spargo's, "The Bitter Cry of the Children".
* In 1901, according to Meyer ("Municipal Ownership," Macmillan), there was a population of 760,000, and yet there were 91,205 who were crowded in one-room dwellings as follows:
26,049 lived 3 to 1 room 25,276 " 4 " " " 19,535 " 5 " " "
11,100 lived 6 to 1 room 5,642 " 7 " " " 2,336 " 8 " " "
1,267 lived 9 to 12 to 1 room and there were 194,284 who had homes of two rooms.
6,105 lived 5 to 2 rooms
57,218 " 6 " " "
51,016 " 7 " " "
37,784 " 8 " " "
23,301 lived 9 to 2 rooms
11,720 " 10 " " "
4,664 " 11 " " "
2,436 " 12 " " "
A London letter* says: "There is fearful distress among the working classes in some of the poorer quarters. In West Ham, in particular, there are 12,000 adult males, of whom 2,000 are unmarried, and 3,000 single women out of work., In all, 30,000 sufferers are without food. The most pitiable among these are the infants. They are doubly to be pitied because of the appalling ignorance of the low grade British mother. All principles of hygiene are ignored, and cleanliness is uncommon. I have recently made note of a small lodging house in which the street dirt had accumulated on the floors to such an extent as to require, not a broom, but a shovel for its removal. The kitchen was covered with sewage. One hundred people lived in the house. Bad food, stale fish, contaminated milk, and half-rotten vegetables are the rule".