THE basic necessities of life are taken for granted these days. Like hygiene and sewage.

But 114 years ago, Honley village with a population of 5,466, was described as "an abominable, stinking, disgraceful place".

This was not the fault of the people who lived there, but of the health board which had failed to put in sewers or make proper arrangements for the disposal of human waste.

A committee of the West Riding County Council met at Honley in 1891 to hear the complaints.

There had been periodic outbreaks of typhoid and diptheria, it was said. Some drains had been laid but had been unsuccessful. The smell from them was so bad at Thirstin that the grates had been covered with sacks.

But the worst criticism came for the closets - outside lavatories - that were never emptied.

In evidence Mr C Wall told of a case where there was only one closet for 14 houses. He also knew of a family of 10 that had no closet accommodation at all.

The county council urged that improvements be made.

The times our ancestors lived through and survived. Thank goodness for today's indoor plumbing.