Edinburgh Bookshelf

Edinburgh Past and Present


82 EDINBURGH PAST AND PRESENT. One feature in these modern dwellings for the people is specially notable and rare, so far as Edinburgh is concerned. They are selfcontained-each family having a separate entrance. The localities of the buikiings are Stockbridge, Norton Place, Dalry Road, Hawthorne Bank, Edinburgh ; Henderson Road, and Restalrig, Leith. The houses are chiefly the property of the occupants, and have been acquired by the simple and easy process of paying a moderate rental. Since this movement was commenced, the earnest attention of social reformers has been largely directed to the truth that thousands of workmen and their families are dragging out a miserable existence in abodes where comfort and refinement are unattainable. Small, without pre perly separated apartments, badly lighted, and indifferently ventilated, their internal arrangements obstruct and discourage the pursuit of knowledge, and mar all domestic and intellectual enjoyment. No notice of the beneficial change which has taken place in Edinburgh would be complete without some recognition of the scheme initiated during the Lord-Provostship of Mr. William Chambers for the removal of decayed buildings and the erection on their sites of houses containing all the modem requirements attainable under existing conditions. Notwithstanding all that has been done, there is still a wide field for exteaded effort. All honour is due to the Peabodys, the model mill-owners, and the civic corporations who have from their own resources, or aided by the Skte, done so much ta wipe out the blacked stain on modem civilisation, and whose splendid efforts are a monument of enlightened philanthropy. But such generous and Wisely directed action is and must ever be of rare occurrence and partial application. Beautiful and beneficial in itself, it can only affect a small portim of the vast wage-receiving class, and cannot be reduced to a self-acting system dependent upon the will and ability of a limited class ; it must always be fitful and uncertain. What we want is some simple agency, easily understbd, tvithin the reach of all, and of universal application ; and this we have in the principle of combined action as illustrated by the Edinburgh movement. It has been put to the test of practical experience; and in Glasgow and many English towns the example is being followed with the most beneficent results.
Volume 11 Page 131
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