THE subject of cottage-building has of late years attracted a good deal of attention, but not before this was needed ; and there is no one who knows anything about the dwellings of the labouring class who is not aware that a great deal more attention ought to be bestowed upon it, even than is the case at present, by those who, from their position, must be considered responsible for the condition of these dwellings. The interest that is now taken in this matter is one which must increase ; for it is an important part of the great 2


social question of the day, the relation of employers and employed. It is therefore of more importance than any merely political question. The health and happiness, and even the morality of men, are very considerably influenced by the character of the houses in which they live; whereas they depend only in a very remote degree upon questions which merely relate to the government of the country. The far greater importance of what are called social, over what are called political questions, is becoming every day more generally felt, and it is well that it should be so. I do not think, therefore, that I need offer any apology for publishing a book upon this subject, but I feel that I ought to do so for the imperfect manner in which it is done. If, however, it shall in any way promote the great object of providing men with decent houses, instead of pigstys, to live in, I shall be perfectly well satisfied, whatever faults or errors may be found in it; but I would ask those who read it to regard it, not so much as a book of plans to be copied, as of suggestions as to the principles upon which good plans, and, therefore, good cottages, may be constructed. It is the result, not so much of actual experience in the building of cottages, as of studying a very large number of cottage plans from all parts of England, which, at two different times within the last four years, have been brought together at the shows of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, in competition for prizes offered for the best plans of cottages. Those plans were placed in my hands to report upon, and I have spent a considerable amount of time in studying them, for the purpose of learning, if possible, what principles of arrangement and construction are necessary, in order to obtain a really comfortable and convenient cottage, without any extravagant outlay. The plans given in this volume, and the remarks upon them, are intended to show the means by which this can be done, not to give plans which shall be quite perfect. There is no absolute perfection in things of this kind: if one thing in a house be made quite perfect, or as nearly so as possible, it is,

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