Dirty Old Town


Copies of Rawlinson’s report into the sanitary condition of Hexham in 1853 are rare.  The report makes for a fascinating read and gives a real insight into the lives of Hexham’s residents over 160 years ago. This facsimile edition of Robert Rawlinson’s report into the Sanitary Conditions of the People of Hexham in Northumberland is the result of a collaboration between the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne and Hexham Local History Society and is published in paperback and digital form by Hexham Local History Society. In 1854, Hexham made its first proper steps into the modern world. Until that date, there had been few forays into modernity as we know it. The coming of the railway was without doubt of great importance to the town in its relationship with the outside world, particularly the eastern portion of the Tyne Valley. But, in a sense, the railway was thrust upon the town, though money from it was used for the building of the Subscription School. The most significant change generated within the town before 1854 was the building of the gas works, which meant that the town was better lit than hitherto with its flickering oil lamps. Within the pages of Rawlinson’s report the sanitary problems are described in considerable detail. But as well as this, the report touches upon many aspects of life in Hexham providing a fine picture of life in the town in 1853. For these reasons, it is very good that Rawlinson’s Report is at last reaching a wider public.

Available via Amazon and a print-on-demand service. Please note that Amazon may show the book as “Temporarily out of stock”. However, an order will cause a copy to be immediately printed and dispatched to you.

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A large scale PDF version of the original town survey map reproduced in the book is available for downloading by clicking here (3MB).


30 in stock

SKU: HLHSDirtyOldTown Category:


Paperback: 96pp, 2 maps
Publisher: Hexham Local History Society (January 2015)
ISBN: 978-0-9565078-6-0

Peter Rodger (Designer), David Jennings (Introduction) and Robert Rawlinson (Original Author), Dirty Old Town, a reproduction of Rawlinson’s report into the sanitary condition of Hexham in 1853.