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1936: 'Clever' rat problem in Glebe Road

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 28 January 1936

Chicken in Gardens.

The Sanitary Inspector reported that, owing to the tenants of some of the Council’s cottages keeping chicken in their cottage gardens, considerable nuisance had arisen from the harbouring rats.—

The Committee recommended that the Clerk be instructed to give notice to all present and future tenants of Council cottages that the keeping of chicken on the Council’s property will be prohibited after June 30th next.

Captain Harley said he was sorry to see that the Committee recommended that the keeping of chicken on the Council's property be prohibited. They were an urban area in name, but were much of a rural community, and he thought that to prohibit the keeping of chicken would confer a good deal of hardship on their tenants.

The Chairman: It is a question of harbouring rats.

Glebe Road c1930

Captain Harley said that it was not fair on the tenants, seeing that other people kept chicken in gardens.

Mr. Eaton remarked that the Committee probably had something in their minds when they made the recommendation. He asked if the tenants utilised all their land for keeping chicken and if they had been a nuisance to their neighbours.

Mr. Snowden stated that the matter arose through several Cuckfield tenants keeping fowls and through his having had complaints about rats from surrounding tenants. He had been trying to exterminate these rats for about six months, but had not been able to do so because the fowls attracted the rats from all around. He requested two tenants to adopt certain methods to exterminate the rats and, if necessary, to stop keeping fowls. Only a few fowls were kept in the gardens. In one case there were 18 in a small section. In small gardens the fowls became a nuisance, but it might not be serious in the case of larger gardens.

Mr. Knight: If it constitutes a nuisance it should be abated, whether the people are the Council's tenants or not. If a person keeps fowls in a proper condition, they cannot be a nuisance.

Mr. Taylor enquired as to what were the conditions on which Council houses were let.

The Surveyor: I think one of the conditions is that the tenant shall not be a nuisance to his or her neighbours.

Mr. Hilton suggested that the number of fowls kept be limited.

The Chairman: I think it is more a question of the food lying about.

Mr. Carter proposed, as an amendment, that the recommendation be referred back for further consideration by the Committee. It might be possible to make some regulations about the keeping of fowls. It seemed a pity that because the Cuckfield rats were too clever for the Sanitary Inspector, they should stop all their tenants from keeping fowls.

Mr Carter’s amendment was carried. The report, amended, was then adopted.

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 04 February 1936


To the Editor The Mid-Sussex Times.

Dear Sir, The report of the Cuckfield Urban Council meeting, referring to chicken and rats, was very interesting to read, I being one of the tenants who received notice to exterminate the rats or give up chicken keeping.

Is it sincerely thought that if two of us gave up chicken it would free Glebe Road of rats ? If so, I think it is a mistaken view.

Long before the Council Houses were erected a Cuckfield Council man used to catch rats along the bank. It was not the chicken then, that's certain, it being a good ten years ago.

I have been tenant only about 2 and a half years.

Yours faithfully,

Frank G. Towner

35 Glebe Road, Cuckfield.



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