The American Pictorial Home Book
or Housekeeper's Encyclopedia - online book

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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LOCATION OF A HOUSE.                                   27
Locality, Aspect, and Plan.—In choosing a situation for a house, the builder ought to consider very carefully, all the objections and advantages that may be urged for or against each spot proposed to him. To those who have lived in richly wooded districts, the sea air is a complete panacea for all their ills, not only because it is bracing from its saline particles, which are chiefly useful to the citizen, but because its air is free from the emanations of vegetation. But to the dweller in exposed situations, sea air is often prejudicial, and instead of affording the relief to the ailments to which it is obnoxious, it ag­gravates them tenfold, unless he can find a warm and protected spot, somewhat like the one to which they are acustomed, and some of the secluded nooks in the interior.
With regard to situation, then, it should be repeated, that a dry soil is always to be desired, and according to the nature of the dis­trict, either a high one, or else a moderately sheltered one. Gravel is desirable as a subsoil in all but very few situations, and even then, if it is very well drained, but nothing can be worse than a gravel bed which is locked in by a surrounding basin of clay, without any outlet for its rainfall. Such a spot is a sponge, constantly accumulating the elements of disease which are prejudicial, both to man and to some of the domestic animals, for it is notorious that such a kind of land is peculiarly fatal to sheep. It is not, therefore, the mere existence of a gravel bed which makes a spot suited to the habitation of man, but it also must be well drained, both superficially and in its subsoil, in order to be fit for his residence. It is astonishing what effect a small difference in the elevation has upon the salubrity of a particu­lar spot, A rise of sixteen feet within three hundred yards has been known to produce an entire change from a relaxing to a bracing air; this was partly caused by the lower spot being the bottom of a basin and completely enveloped in foliage, while the higher was compara­tively free from trees and had a tolerable fall for its surface water and for its drainage. Whenever there is a fall of ten feet to a running stream, the drainage in country houses may always be efficiently carried out, as far as the individual house is concerned, but this is not the only consideration, for the surrounding fields should always be well drained, or they will be constantly enveloped in fogs and be-