Salford Corporation Model Lodging House

On Bloom Street in Salford not far from Salford Central Station stands this apartment building.  An advertisement on the Internet promotes it by suggesting that it offers a, "New York lifestyle in Salford.  This is far from the accommodation it offered when it opened in 1893.  During Victorian times there was a lot of concern about the conditions that working people found themselves living in especially transient and single people forced to live in privately owned lodgings that were to say the least unhealthy.  Around the country benevolent organizations and councils began building "model lodging houses" to provide accommodation for single men and in some cases single women.  Here is an account of the situation in Glasgow, "Up until 1866 Glasgow had numerous, privately owned "common lodging-houses" where men and women were huddled together in dark, ill-ventilated rooms. They were regarded as hotbeds of vice.  Therefore, in 1866, the city of Glasgow decided to provide cheap accomodation for single working men and women. Seven model lodging houses were built between 1871 and 1884. Six were for men and Moncur St. was for women. Each lodger had a bed and was able to use the facilities. There was a large dining room and kitchen and lodgers generally did their own cooking and washing."

When this Model Lodging House opened in Bloom Street it was the first of its kind in the country. It offered accommodation for 285 men and some lodgers were said to have lived there for over twenty years.''

In its transformation into a modern apartment building a glass atrium was added to bridge the space between the two bays of the building.  It is described as follows: "From the large square entrance hall, two staircases lead up to a second floor each with a bedroom and en-suite in the roof space. The original beams have been exposed in the upstairs' rooms creating a striking contrast between the contemporary fittings and the architecture of the building."


The following article is from the Illustrated London News, of January 19, 1850 and it describes life in a model lodging house erected in London

The directors of the Metropolitan Association (incorporated by Royal charter) for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrious Classes (by whom the extensive range of dwellings for families was erected, some years since, in Old St. Pancras-road) have, during the past year, extended their operations to one of the most crowded districts of Spitalfields where they have undertaken the erection of a large building for single men, and dwellings for sixty families, upon a plot of land in Albert-street, Spicer-street, not far from the brewery of Messrs. Truman, Hanbury, and Co. The building for the men has been recently completed, and was formally opened by a public meeting held on the premises, on the 12th of December, when the Earl of Carlisle presided.

The plan is arranged for the accommodation of 234 inmates, whose comfort is provided for by all the details and appliances of a modern club-house. It may be described in general terms as a large structure of five stories in height, inclusive of a basement; the three upper stories being fitted with sleeping compartments; the ground-floor devoted for day use; and the basement contains baths, wash-house, larders, and extensive cellarage for coals, stores, &c. But a better idea will be formed of the advantages it affords, by a more detailed mention of the accommodation to which its inmates are entitled.
    Any respectable single man of the working classes, on payment of three shillings to the Superintendent, and a small sum as a deposit for articles of crockery, &c., becomes a tenant for one week, and receives two keys, a larger and smaller. The larger of these opens the sleeping compartment on the upper stories, the number of which corresponds with that stamped on the bow of the key (it will unlock no other). On closing the door, he finds himself in a space eight feet in length, by four feet six inches in width, lighted by half a window (which he can open or shut), and furnished with a substantial iron bedstead, clean bedding, a clothes-box (unlocked by the smaller of his keys), clothes-pegs, and looking-glass. There is also the means of admitting fresh air under his clothes-box, which be can regulate at pleasure. The framing of his compartment is not carried up to the ceiling, so that the long ward in which it is situated can be readily ventilated. Ample provision for washing is afforded him, in lavatories, two on each story, fitted with enamelled basins, towels, and every requisite. On leaving his sleeping apartment, he descends a stone staircase to the ground-floor, where he enjoys the free use of three large apartments, the principal of which is a spacious and well-lighted coffee-room, with an open roof of stained timbers, supported by cast-iron columns, the general appearance of which is shown in the accompanying engraving. The tables are arranged in boxes, and here is supplied coffee, or a more substantial meal, according to a fixed scale of charge. On one side of the coffee-room is the reading-room, 60 feet in length, provided with newspapers and a library of books. On the other side of the coffee-room is a large kitchen, in which the lodger can cook for himself at either of its two powerful ranges; or he may be supplied here, as in the coffee-room, with provisions ready cooked. A staircase leads to a portion of the basement fitted up as a larder, where the lodger's smaller key opens one of the 234 safes, arranged on piers.

    The whole establishment is under the control of a superintendent, whose office, situated close to the entrance-door, commands a view of the hall, staircase, and door to coffee-room. He has also under his care the stairs to the baths and washhouses on the basement; for the washing department is intended to be used (though at different hours in the day) both by the inmates of this building and those of the dwellings for families now in course of erection. These families are to enter the washhouse by a distinct entrance.
    The whole of the building is thoroughly ventilated, the foul air being drawn from all the rooms by an upward current in the ventilating shaft that rises nearly 100 feet, and into which several of the smoke flues of the building are conveyed. There are large cisterns in the roof, and smaller ones in other parts of the building. Every floor has an opening, secured by an iron door, into a dustshaft, communicating with a dust-cellar in the basement. The premises are well lighted with gas. The waterclosets are detached from the main building.

The structure has been erected from the designs and under the superintendance of Mr. William Beck, architect, by Mr. S. Grimsdell, builder

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