Tuesday, 29 November 2011

'Volumes of dense smoke'

China Mieville's Unlundun is a parallel universe city with no Klinneract (say it aloud) and dirt we can't conceive of. 

This story, taken from the Saturday 3 November 1887 edition of the London Standard, reads like a chapter in Unlundun's slow retreat:

The King vs. Davison 

'Mr Chitty opened the pleadings, and the Attorney General briefly stated the substance of the case. 

The defendant, Mr Davison, stood indicted for having erected a manufactory for lamp black, at Crouch End, on the Hornsey road, to the great inconvenience of the inhabitants residing in that neighbourhood.

This factory was situated near the highway, it constantly poured forth volumes of dense smoke and had been several times on fire. The health and comfort of the inhabitants, therefore, was greatly injured by this establishment, and the present prosecution was instituted to abate such nuisance, and effect its removal from that spot. 

John Watts lives at Hendon, is surveyor of the bye-roads, knew the defendants's manufactory in Duvals-Lane on the road to Hornsey, in the parish of Islington. The building is situated between 30 and 40 yards from the high road. The premises were erected in the early part of 1826, and commenced working during the summer of the same year. 

The effluvia that issued from the manufactory while at work is so disagreeable that it frequently occasions sickness and may be smelt at the distance of about a mile. cross-examined by the Common Sergeant. 

There is a brick-kiln adjoining the defendant's manufactory, but the smell from that is by no means like what proceeds from Mr. D's premises. 

Constable 'A Kiln on the Hornsey Road' 1797

A number of wintesses, inhabitants residing near the defendant's manufactory, were called and examined, and from their evidence they corroborated the testimony of the first witness, as to the offensive effects produced from the said manufactory. They also spoke of several fires having occured in the building, and must remove from their houses if the nuisance is not abated. The Common Sergeant, who conducted the defendants' case, said, that under all the circumstances stated on the part of the prosecution, he had advised his client to submit to a verdict against him. 

The jury consequently pronounced the defendant Guilty. '

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