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Caithness Field Club

Extracts From The Inspector of Nuisances, Thurso
Compiled by G Watson

In addition to his normal duties of maintaining to roads and drains, the Inspector compiled lists of properties which had no roan or roanpipes or properly laid pavements. The street names used are the old style. i.e. Sutherland St. and Forss St. for Princes St. McDonald Squire for Sir John's Square. Cathness St for Sir George St. and Davidson's Entry which was almost on the alignment of the modern Beach Road.

The entry for Wilson St gives a clue to the origin of the name, ".... The property belonging to the heirs of the lat Balie Wilson, no roans."

9th March 1874
".... the dick around the ground behind the established Church is now in a very brocken down dilapeted condition and the stones is also in the way of geting streets properly cleaned. The pump behind the Church would require sum provision made for taking off the west water as at present it runs into the Church."

13th April, 1874
"The drain has been made according to instructions behind the Established Church."

11th May 1874
"According to instructions 1 caled on Mr McKenzie Photographer and found that he was emptying his impure water into a pipe that had no connection with any drain. He has now stopped doing so and is emptying it into strand opposite his place."

".... the mouth of the Cathness Street Sewer is in a filthy condition owing to the tide not rising high enough to clean away the filth and would reccomend that it should be made a bout six feet longer."

8th June 1874
"The Inspector would also recomend The Commissioners to put the Act in force regarding parties building new houses or repairing auld ons in so far as they should be made to put up a fence or boarding around same."

"The small wooden house at the weying mashin would require to be relaid and lock put on the door." (Where was this weighing machine located?)

13th July 1874
"The Inspector would recomand that all new Pavements in Town should be laid with stones of not less than two and one half inches thick end in Pavements where more Traffic is expected sawn stones to be used."

"The Inspector would again call the Commissioners attention to the Ditch in Janet Street along Misses Tait and Dunbars Property and before another meeting of the Commission the railway is expected to be open and all their sewerage fall into it and something will require to be don."

"According to instructions receved I have gauged the springs at Heathfield and Bloody Moss and the following is the result.

HeathfieldBloody Moss
DateGallons Per HourDateGallons Per Hour
June 17360June 17120
June 19240June 19120
June 22300June 22120
June 24240June 26 75
June 26240 June 2960
June 29180July 1 60
July 3 300July 375
July 10120July 745
July 1030
LocationGallons per 24hrs
10th August 1874
"The Meddew Well would require a new Strupe as their is a great waste of water owing to the difficancyof the present one."

14th September 1874
"The Burgh Fiscal Mr James Gunn has laid down a large quantity of Stones on the public road opposite his feu in Ulbster Terric (i.e. the upper part of Princes St near the Station) and Inspector called upon him to have it closed in according to Act. And as it is in a part of the Town where their is so much Trifac after dark owing to let Trains comming in it is very dangerous. But as yet he had done nothing to it.

As instructed at last meeting I have gauged the spring at Bloody moss and found it to yeald 11520 gallons in twenty-four hours."

14th December 1874
"Inspector .... has exammend the Byres belonging to Mr Robert Inas and they are kept in a very filthy state. Being a publick nucance and ask liberty to hand inn his name to burgh fiskel for procecution.

The Inspector would call the Commissioners attention to sewer from Mr Garry's house (now Viewfirth) as he has made it down to upper corner of reservoir and left it open there.
A cart belonging to Mr. Andrew Swanson came in contact with lamp post in Campbell Street and brock the glass and as their is no glass in Town, Inspector craves instructions."

8th March 1875
"Seeing Messrs Stewart's account today for gass I find he has been charging for 55 lamps when there is only 54 Publick Lamps in Town and only 53 before March 1874."

8th May 1880
'The Dyke in Durness Street between Mr Macdonalds property and the old church is in a dangerous state and would require to be taken down." (The old church was the Original Secession Church founded about 1766-7, it was situated on the north side of Durness St and to the west of the short street which runs between Durness Street and the Esplanade.)

13th December 1880
"Wilson Street. The Cooperative Society pavement wants to be relayed.

The pavement in front of Police Office relayed."

8th January 1881
Water. There is a great waste of water in frosty weather. Nearly all those that has it in their houses lets the water run to keep their pips from fresing."

August 8th 1881
Custom. The sum of 16/4 custom collected on the Petermas market was handed to the clark."

13th February 1882
Mr. Leitch Balliemore is to build a dick behind the stone at the Braehead - known as Craig Stone, the ground to be enclosed is Public Property, I therefore call the attention of the Commission to it."

June 11th 1883
"There is 37 streets and lanes in the Town that is named but in the Old Town there is some lanes that is not named .... ".

December 8th 1884
"The shade proposed to be built behind the Hall will cost about 10 to build it with bricks and a slate roof. And corrugated Iron about f7 10/-. And to be put up with Flagstone with sawn edges in front with shadeover roof about 5. And to put up with wood 3:15. The clothes postes proposed for the Island, Iron 11/- each, wood 3/- each. The palls will cost 2/3 per foot or 18/- per pall."

March 9th 1885
"I inspected the common Lodging Houses in Town and find them in a very fare state of cleanliness. William Hart has accommodation in his house for 17 lodgers. William Farquhars house will accommodate 5 lodgers. The rules will require to be reprinted as some of them is woren out and disfigured."

13 July 1885
"The inside of the Meadow Well is cleaned out and gravel from the beach put in the bottom."
"Mr Peterkin has recommended that some parts in the Old Town should be lime washed such as Mrs Smiths property in Wilson Street, the dick at Mr Smith of Olrigs property, the dick behind the well in Shore Street and such like places."

August 30th 1890
"I must report to the Commissioners that the horse is still lame and is unfit for works?
"The old flagstone sawmill belonging to Mr James Gerry at the braehead is in a dangerous state as a part of it has fallen and it is dangerous for children and others that is passing under the Bra."

Oct 11th 1890
"Notice must be given to Dr Smith to get his dunghill removed and to put proper drains into his stable and not alow the filthy water to run down upon Mr Dicks cotch house." (Is this the same Dr Smith whose memorial fountain can still be seen on the Esplanade?)

"The old Tolehouse Olrig Street is very filthy and dangerous."

10th January 1891
"The old tolehouse will soon be all removed, we are carting, the stones down to near Mr. Hatfields property some of them for mettle and others for building purposes." (The Scrabster Toll was located in the private garden behind the telephone box in Olrig Street.)

7th March 1891
"Water. There is a grate dale of wast at the street pumps by children. 1 think that the teachers of the schools should get notice to provent it opsite there schools, which there is an aful lot of wast at the pumps."

9th May 1891
"There is need of a larger cart for the Newtown distric of the Town because the ashes and refuse is incresing daly and the present cart is not able to contane all the stif and to have all the town clened in the mornings and puting out the cart for clening away ashes in the afternoon is away with the time that 1 cannot get any other work done with the men and the men has given notice that they intend to leve the service unless they get 1/- added to there weeks wages."

My thanks to:-
Mr. I. Sinclair, Thurso for allowing these extracts to be used.

Published in October 1980 Bulletin