Housing for the poor in nineteenth-century Manchester was often cramped, badly ventilated and situated in the city centre near factories or polluted rivers.
This diagram to the left is from a Sanitary Association report and shows back-to-back terraced houses. Whole families could live even in one damp cellar. A practice only stopped by a Local Act of 1853. These quotes come from a Sanitary Association report on working class housing in the Deansgate area of Manchester:
"Cellar 3 is but one room about 12 feet by 14. There are two beds in the room. 7 people live & sleep in this one room. We could learn nothing more [because] a little girl only being in charge.
Cellar 5 has 2 rooms 12 ft by 14 & 12 by 12 respectively. The rooms are dark and damp. The approach to the cellar from the street is not more than 2ft 6in wide and the top of the window is rather below the level of the street. The tenant has been in it only a short time but complains of damp, rats, mice, etc.
Cottage No 1 has 3 bedrooms, a living room and a front room used as a shop. The shop is about 12ft by 13, living room 12ft by 9. The bed rooms were described as being no larger. Eleven people live in this house; a man, his wife, 5 children and 4 lodgers."