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October 1981 Index

Caithness Field Club

Caithness Field Club Bulletins
October 1981

Extracts From Reports By The Inspector of Nuisances, Thurso

8th August 1896
I have called upon all the fleshers in town and asked them to have there slaughterhouses lime washed and clened and they have agreed to have it done as soon as possable and some of them has don it already...

I have called upon all the bakers in town and spected ther bakehouses. I have asked them to have there bakehouses whitwashed and clened down and all the bakers has promised to have it done as soon as possable.

11th September 1896 
There is a passage between the properties of Mr. John Tait and Mrs. Mackays Publichouse in Swansons St which is causing a nuisance to the public as there is a continual run of urine coming down the passage which is made principally by parties which comes out from Miss McKays house. I am not aware whither this passage is public or private or if it dos belong to the properties abuting it. It would require to be shut with a gate at end next to Swansons St. There is an old stone built drain in the passage refared which is broken down and which there is a nasty stanch from it. 

As I reported to the commissioners the necessiety of having a fresh layer of sand put on the filther beds at the reservier in May last but is time now to have it don. It requires about 30 tons of Murkle Sand. 

12th December 1896 
Now if the two lamps is put up at the Harbour they will require a meter if they ar to be lighted all night. As the ship captains and fishermen says that the lamps will be of little use to them unless the lamps is left lighted all night and if that is to be done I think the harbour master could have charge of lighting and puting them out in the morning. 

9th April 1897 
I have gone over all the town and making a specil inspection for to find if there were nuisences anywhere which required to be removed or abated. I find that the town is as clean if not cleaner than at any other period of the year. I must say that the Town is improving year after year in the way of clenliness and there is no infectious diseases in the town at present. 

I entend to get the flowr plots dressed soon in Sir Johns Squire. I wish to know if the commissioners is to supply flowr seeds for it this season. Sir Tolmache Sinclair supplyed all the flower seeds the last season. 

6th August 1897 
I have to report that the Town is at present clen and there is no infectious deseases excepting one case of mescels which secured last week. The patient was removed and admitted into the casual poors house Rose St by the concent of Mr Logan chairman of the Parish Council Board, as the Burnside Hospitle is occpyed at present with a patient taken with tifoid fever from the Parish of Bower. 

As I was asked by the commissioners to give a probably estimate of keeping of Sir John Sqaure for the pas three months. The expenditure for mans time 13 days at 2/6 per day, £1:12:6 and 7 gallons of weed-killer for applying on walks at 2/- per gallon 14/- in altogher £2:6:6. One cutting of the grass will do it this season. 

11th September 1897 
I have to report to the commissioners that there has been one case of infectious disease in the town for the last month. A child belonging to a woman from the country. The child has been in the town for some time with a nurse in Wilson Street. It was taken with scarlet fever and it was removed to the Burnside Hospiatle by orders of Dr Smith. 

I beg to ask the commissioners if they shall grant me a few holydays this year. I could arrange with the clerk at any suitable time for going on leve. I shall be obliged. Your Obedient Servant, John Innes. 

9th December 1897 
The Addition to shead at the commissioners stable is finished and the ambulance waggan has not into shelter at last. 

I beg to inquire of the Commissioners if there is any law or by law to prohabit boys and others from fishing sillocks and small fishes at or near the mouth of sewer pipes leding from the WC at the Esplenade and the pipes leding from WC at Swansons Quay in the Harbour. It is considered very offensive and possable that fish is dangerous to humane health after they are eaten. They ar sold through the town and said to be fish caught at Scrabster Roads. 

......the contract with Mr William Moore Ormlie is about finished for this year ...... I am of opinion that straw need not be advertised for as the old horse cannot eat straw. I tryed straw this year but he could not eat it so I had to get hay. If good hay could be got for the horse they might get a little less corn than they would require with straw, so the difference in the account would not be much more. 

8th January 1828 
... I have been making inquiries from the lowerymen at the Railway station to see how they were feeding there horses. But according to the information that I received from them it would not be possable for the commissioners to feed there horse the same way and it would be more expenses as the Wordie & Co has machinery for cutting the hay and brusing Indian corn. I sent to every town where they have horse working. 

I will have to dismiss Norman McKay from the commissioners service as he is in no ways suitable for the work for which requires to be don. It cannot be expected that a man between 70 and 80 years of age can be very fit for work and lighting and extinguishing the Towns lamps, which requires to be don with activity. But as he has been long in the commissioners employment I dont wish to dismiss him without the Commissioners concent and approvil. 

12th February 1898 
Again I have to report to the Commissioners that one of the seats on the Victoria Walk has been ranched out the ground and thrown over the bank head and another one partly broken up and thrown over the bank into the sea by some malicious person or persons. I wish to know if the Commissioners wishes the seats to be replaced by placing new ones. 

The lengthy report dated 16th May 1898 covers an inspection of piggeries, byres, dairies and milk stores, and lodging houses. There were at least nine pigs and 93 cows in the town. The animals were kept in ones or twos by individual families, the pigs being young animals which were being raised for slaughter or sale. There were five milk stores belonging to milk suppliers who had up to 12 cows each. 

6th July 1898 
The Thurso gass manager has asked me for permission to empty 8 or 9 barrels of gass liquid at the manure Depot at Oldfield but before granting him permission I beg to inform the commissioners of it as it is poisonous and smells very offensive. But at the same time I beg to say that it will make a splendid disinfectant if it were sprinkled all over the manure heap it would saturate into the manure and disappear. It would save puttong on quick lime for a time. 

6th August 1898 
.....an agreement must be made with Willim Angus officer of the Established Church for lighting the Town Clock. Mr Eric Manson is quite willing to continue the lighting of the clock if the clock would be lighted at the by pass at the street with a certain amount of gass left burning all day ........ there is three jets burning to alumnating the clock but if a incondecent was put instead it would give as much light if not more and the consuming of gass less. 

..... have inquired of the coastguards man if he would take charge of the life buoy and line but has informed me that he could not take charge of it as he had other duties to preform but that he would assist to look after it as much as he could so that it would not be tampered with and he purposes that it should be placed on a peg to the buttress wall of the Esplenade between the bathing coaches and steps at the west end of the Esplenade and he is also willing to give any practice to any gentlemen or ladys which wishes to get information about the use of it at the time of saving persons from drowning. 

9th September 1898 
.....the manual Fire Engine has come from Perth since about three weeks ago and all its fittings for working it but I have not tryed it as yet but I am certain that it will do its work all right but the shed where it is keept is not good for it as it is very damp nearly everything which is keep in it is destroyed with rust. The ambulance waggon is in a bad state with rust and the pent and the cloths is falling off with rust ..... something required to be done to the old ambulance coach soon or it will be a shame to go out with in when it is required. 

I have also to state that other two lenths of Fire Hose has come of 6Oft each there is in all 180 feet of new Hose and 150 of old hose. I have to state that a branch coupling for 2-1/2in. Hose for coupling two hoses to the Engine, a fire would be sooner extinguished. This coupling would be very serviceable and it will not cost much. 

12th November 1898 
..... I asked Mr. Robert McDonald,, manager of Lightings Department Perth to send me a lighting road or a match stick as it is called for lighting street lamps. I does better than the torch with stormy weather as the torch is often put out with the wind and delayes the lamplighters so that they have to go out to light sooner. But the matchstick will act with any kind of weather. It is a grate benefit because it dos not require oile or wick or triming of any kind. At times the one match will light two lamps. 

8th December 1898 
I have to bring under the notice of the commissioners the necessity of having a Fire Brigade formed or organized for working The Fire Engine when required as it takes 20 men to make it work with the speed that it requires. But in my opinion the best way would be to get assistance at the fire engine at fires would be to give each man which assisted 1/- per hour and less than one hour 6d and the commissioners to charge the Insurance for the expence if the propertys were insured with any company and I believe that there would be plenty to assist if they were made aware of such an arrangement. 

6th January 1899 
..... there is slaughtered swine taken from the country to a Flesher in the Town. Since the Public Slaughterhouse has been used for slaughtering animals and in my opinion if animals slaughtered in from the country is to be continued that the customs taken at the Public Slaughterhouse will be less than may be expected. 

9th February 1899 
The rules of the Fire Brigade has been printed and I have given a copy of it to each member of the Brigade and a list of names and I expect to begin practice noon. 

6th May 1899 
I have gone over the greatest part of the Town inspecting the water fittings in houses and presises and as fas as I could see or find the water fittings were in working order exceping 3 or 4 places which had to be repared. But at the same time I am aware that there is a great dale of water wasted at the old fashioned pan water closets which there is a great many of them in the Town still. When they are used they ar often allowed to run for a considerable time and some people puts a bit a wood or other material under the upull lever for allowing the water to run. If there were more of the washdown pedestal closets in the Town it would be a great saving upon water as it only allows about 2 gallons of water to pass at a time. 

8th July 1899 
On 15th June I had to arrange with Mr Murdo Sutherland joiner for to have the mortal remains of J........ S...... intered at the expence of the Town. He was not on the poors board and his friends did not wish to acknowledge him. 

9th September 1899 
I beg to give an explanation to the Commissioners of the extra cost for the horse feeding from May 15th 98 to May 15th 99. I have to remind the Commissioners that at a monthly meeting held in 9th Dec 97 it was agreed to advertise for corn and hay only without any straw as the old horse which is past 26 years of age could not eat straw. The contract for corn and hay ..... was as follows corn 18/- per quarter, Hay 1/4 per stone. From October 98 to January 99 was all new hay green and heavy to be compared with the bulk it had, and one bag of bran was allowed for each horse in 4 weeks as corn and hay alone is not very suitable for regularly worked cart horses. In my opinion the Commissioners horses can be compared with any other regularly worked horses in Thurso for there feeding as they have to be at work every day of 6 days in the week. It is no advantage to have an old horse for either his feeding or the work. 

.....the Town Clock is not lighted yet as a committee were appointed the last year for making a arrangement about the lighting of the Town Clock and as that committee may be still in power to make arrangements as they think proper, I have not interfered in the matter. 

7th October 1899 
.....I will give the names of places which is the largest consumers (of water) for other than domestic work. 

Two Posting Establishments .......... Washing Carriages 
Three Hotels .................. Washing Carriages 
Six Fishouring Establishments........ Washing Fish Clening 
One Gass Works .........  Clening Gass 
The Policy Park ............. Cattle Drinking 
Sir Georges Park .................... for Cattle and horse 
Two Steem Engines ............... Turning laythe, sawing wood.
Five Farm Steadings ................. Wattering cattle and horse          
Eight Bakhouses ..................... Manufacture of Bread 
The Slaughterhouse ................. Manufacturing 
One water trough ................... Public Trough 
Railway Station ................  Washing Carriages
Booling Green ...................... Watering green 

16th October 1899  
Child of Paggie Noulance tinker buried at the expense of the Burgh. 


This sad entry is the final one in a Report Book which gives a clear insight into the developing Burgh of Thurso from 1872 until 1899. 


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

Published in October 1981 Bulletin