Wednesday, 25 November 2009
A very useful hole
This is a photo of a very useful hole in the wall of a house in Saltaire. Anyone know what it's for? Clue 1: these holes are only found in the walls of the houses that have doors that open straight onto the street. Clue 2: we do not have giant mice in Saltaire!
Answer: they're for milk bottles. At least, as far as I know, that's the ingenious reason behind them. In bygone days, milk was delivered daily to each house by the milkman - in returnable glass bottles. Of course, the glass bottles (full or empty, waiting to be collected again) were a bit of a hazard to passers-by. The pavements in some of the streets are quite narrow and not very well lit at night, so milk bottles would have been a sitting target for unwary pedestrians, vandals or drunks (of which I'm sure there were a few, despite Sir Titus Salt's rules for his tenants). So some of the houses at the top end of the village (ie: those built later, as the village grew) have the refinement of these neat little recesses to stack the bottles in.
At any rate, that's what I have always understood the holes to be for. If anyone has a different theory, please let me know!