Complacency of Cellar Living – February 1922

Only the other day I was talking with a woman — not yet very old —who remembers when there was a considerable population living in the cellars of the town in which she lived as a child. “They are all condemned now,” she said.

I wondered if I really remembered seeing a certain cellar in a neighbouring small town and known to both of us used as a dwelling or was it that I had talked with the woman who used to live in it.

 “Oh yes,” she said. “Joe S. and his wife used to live down there and a very nice cellar it was. There is a big front place and two good pantries and a little wash house in the back; very dark they were because there is only a window from the front.”

But that was a very good cellar and Mrs S always kept it nice. There were grades in cellars in these days and no medical opinion to suggest that they were an unfit breeding ground for families and no articulate public opinion to scratch the comfortable complacency of the well to do.

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