Priory Rents Cut, 1967

1967 Tenants of Priory House

In October 1967, the plight of 7 families at Priory House, Coatshill was heard when the landlord was forced to slash their rents.

Tenants complained about the poor condition of the building and the County Rents officer stepped in to reassess the rent and rates. William Mitchell acting on behalf of the council had suggested dramatic cuts to the weekly rent, but the landlord , Mr David Byars from Larkhall had not complied. With the final date for appeal coming and going, the annual rent changed overnight from £68 to £28 and for smaller rooms from £59 to £18. Four of the tenants told reporters that their weekly rent had dropped from 35s 10d 7d to 19s 7d. Fifty eight year old Francis Mair now paid 7s 6d instead of 25s per week.

However, despite this, the tenants were still unhappy about their living conditions and the writing seemed to be on the wall for the building in general. The previous October they had an eviction notice but when it went to court, it was deferred to February. Mrs Callan who lived upstairs in the tumble down mansion added, “nothings going to be done about the condition of this place until something terrible happens. There’s a hole right through the floor and I’ve had to move my bed to the middle of the room to prevent my leg going right down it! There’s draughts from the windows like nothing else.”

Another angry mother complained about the lack of coal boxes outside, meaning delivered coal was always wet and took a long time, if at all to light. Residents had started to bring large stockpiles of coal into the house at the top of the landing! Francis, who was sharing a room with her 28 year old son, said that wherever the rain came on, it would put out the fire in the fireplace.

The residents of Priory house are pictured that month, including those named in this article.

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  1. Linda Mackie-Marieskind

    Hi Paul, what a story, and how awful for those poor families, heart breaking really I know what our new house was like in 1957..cold, damp, icicles on the inside of windows, with double bricked walls, so those flats would have been bitter, especially with wet coal! I can only imagine, although you paint a pretty good picture, thanks for sharing.

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