"The number of houses inspected has been 207, in which are situate 218 waterclosets, most of them fixed over cesspools, 20 open privies, 88 dustbins in yards, 78 ditto in vaults or areas, and 25 in kitchens under the stairs; these dustbins are kept in a comparatively clean state.
Throughout the neighbourhood it is important to observe that the houses are for the most part let out in lodgings; a separate family, and in some cases even two, are living in one floor, whereas but one watercloset or privy in the yard or area exists for the use of the whole house; consequently, in the rooms above the ground floor, portable cesspools or slop-pails are kept, into which night soil and dirty water and all refuse are thrown, and these are emptied about once a-day, either down a sink or into the watercloset or privy, and not unfrequently into a gully in the street. On the top or attic floor the occupants generally make use of the gutter for the emptying of these accumulations, which find their way down the rain water pipe into the paving in the yard at the back of the house, and sometimes into the footway in the street in front. It is a fact worthy of notice, that the greatest mortality has taken place in the upper floors of nearly all the houses. "
Report on Cholera in Westminster, 1854
Monday, 28 November 2011
You wouldn't necessarily want an attic room in Soho in the 1850s: