The main street of Clyde in 1876. In the left foreground
are Messrs John Grindley (butcher) and James Samson (later
an auctioneer). Beside the lamp-post is Mr George (surveyor
and engraver) and the three men standing beyond are Mr
Vincent Pyke (magistrate and warden), J. P. Armstrong
(dentist) and Brough (lawyer). - Otago Witness, 20.11.1912.
Copies of picture available from ODT front office, lower
Stuart Street, or www.otagoimages.co.nz.
The New Zealand Times yesterday morning published a
rather lurid article on Wellington slums.
The writer says: - "For a bedroom, a sitting room, and
kitchen the rent exacted is 13s a week. One of these hovels
is inhabited by a family of seven persons - a man, wife, and
five children. The father, mother, two little children, and
the baby all sleep together in one bed, and two small boys
sleep in the back room.
The father earns 2 11s a week. Life is nothing but a hard,
remorseless struggle against the pinch of poverty, and
becomes merely an existence in a large box, amid crowded
buildings that shut out sun and air and cheerfulness."
Of another locality he writes: - "Blind alleys abound, houses
are huddled together promiscuously, backyards are scarce
worth the name, and in some localities intrusion is resented.
At night the blind lanes are simply warrens of swarming
youngsters. Why are they not at home?
Because in many instances their mothers and fathers have gone
to the picture shows and locked up the house lest the
children should set the place on fire. Some of these
localities are festering sinks of immorality and drunkenness,
and what sort of object-lessons are provided the young boys
and girls who are driven into the streets for companionship
till their parents come home?
Brawls and fights are frequent, and some of the houses have
an evil reputation. Here is our local Chinatown, but those
who know the Chinaman best, especially in his treatment of
women, do not condemn him. A poor European woman, with a
besotted and callous husband, makes a fall and seeks asylum
with one of these Asiatics.
Such a woman recently became ill, and had to be taken to the
hospital. 'Good-bye, John,' she said; 'you have been very
good to me - far better than my husband'." A social worker
declared to the writer that the residents of Haining and
Frederick streets were among the most law-abiding in
The Chinese frequently offered their services for works of
charity and subscribed liberally to relieve the sufferings
even of afflicted and destitute Europeans.
The Mayor (Mr D. M'Laren) told the writer that the Congested
Areas Committee found that it would be a very expensive
business to resume the land on which slums had developed,
owing to the very high prices. In the present condition of
the city's finances the undertaking would be too great.
In cases of non-compliance with the building regulations the
council, instead of getting a nominal fine, now applies for
injunctions from further operations till the by-laws are
complied with. He thought it would be a wise policy to insist
on some measure of town-planning in the suburbs .
- ODT, 18.11.1912.