Residents and staff at Ross Street model lodging house in Calton, in 1910.
Seven model lodging houses were built by the City Improvement Trust between 1871 and 1884, six to provide decent accommodation for single working men and one for women. They were a distinct improvement on the earlier, privately owned common lodging houses, which were often overcrowded and insanitary. Lodgers could expect a clean bed in a model lodging house dormitory for just a few pence a night, and there was usually a shop on the premises. Most lodgers had few possessions. Some had employment during the day, others relied on poor relief or begging to raise the money for their bed.
A Glasgow Corporation report in 1896 took a harsh tone in describing lodgers: "They are of all nationalities ... disrobed clergymen and street bullies, decayed gentlemen and area sneaks, tramps, tinkers, labourers, sweeps, thieves and thimble-riggers. The moral tone is low, the habits are generally unclean, and so sometimes is the language."
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning
beggars, cats, City Improvement Trust, homeless, hostels, kitchens, lodgers, model lodging houses, single women