Regulating filth: cleansing in Scottish towns and cities, 1840–1880

Brunton, Deborah (2015). Regulating filth: cleansing in Scottish towns and cities, 1840–1880. Urban History, 42(3) pp. 424–439.



Although little explored, regulations – in the form of laws and byelaws – formed an important technique of nineteenth-century government. This article explores the implementation and enforcement of two sets of regulations regarding the keeping and disposal of dirt imposed by Scottish local authorities: one on behaviours around the disposal of domestic refuse, the other on the keeping of dung – a form of property. While behaviours around refuse were more stringently policed than those affecting property, in both cases regulations were not the basis of a strict disciplinary regime, but a means of informing, educating and persuading residents into cleanly habits.

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