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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2194

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1984
HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

comfort of others are far more difficult to prove than those affecting property, where the effect is visible or tangible. Moreover, with regard to the former it is necessary to consider the rights of both parties Specific forms of nuisance affecting the comfort of others.

Noises.—Placing a stable so close to a house that the noise of the horses interferes with the enjoyment of the owner of the house is a nuisance. So also the carrying on building or other works during the night so as to disturb the rest or reasonable enjoyment of the neighbours. On the other hand, domestic arrangements and practices which involve noise to the vexation of neighbours can seldom be prevented. Thus, it is very difficult to obtain redress with regard to the barking of dogs, or the crowing of cocks and the like, unless of a very unusual character; and notwithstanding the general rule that it is not necessary that there should be injury to health in order to constitute a nuisance, it would seem that, in practice, damages (or an injunction) are not often obtainable with regard to the nuisances in question until they have become sufficiently developed to affect an ordinary person's health.

However, within the area under the jurisdiction of the London County Council, some redress may be obtained under a bye-law passed by that authority, see p. 1987.

The difficulty in establishing the existence of a nuisance in connexion with music or singing is well exemplified by a case in which it was held that:— the giving of music lessons extending over seventeen hours in a week, in a house separated from the adjoining house by a party wall, there being also from time to time practising on the piano and violin, and singing, and in the evening musical performances for the entertainment of the persons living in the house, and occasionally musical parties, and frequent practising on the violoncello as late as 11 at night,—did not constitute a legal nuisance of which the adjoining occupier was entitled to complain. Moreover, in that case an injunction was granted to restrain the occupier of the adjoining house from making noises for the purpose of annoying the occupiers of the former house.

Smells.—Such as that caused by the cooking of -food in a restaurant, when carried on in close proximity to residential or professional premises. Brickburning, if carried on as a business, can generally be stopped as a nuisance, but where brickmaking is only being carried on temporarily for the purposes of building on adjacent land, there may be difficulty in obtaining redress.

Smoke from a chimney, whether used for trade or otherwise.

Obstruction of light.—In cases where a prescriptive right to such light has been acquired (as to which, see p. 1988).

2. Public Nuisances.—A private individual cannot take legal proceedings in respect to a public nuisance, unless he has sustained some special and direct damage beyond that suffered by the general public. Nor is he entitled to abate such nuisance, except under such circumstances, and then only to the extent to which he is injured.

No prescriptive right can be acquired to commit a public nuisance.

Where the occupier of premises is liable for a public nuisance, his liability will, as a rule, be found to arise from the fact that his premises abut on a highway (including a public path); for the occupier of such premises is liable if he does any act, or keeps anything thereon, which may make the highway dangerous for persons or animals using it lawfully and with ordinary care—as for instance by:—Keeping a lamp in a dangerous condition overhanging the highway; allowing any object, including the branches of trees, to project in such a manner as to obstruct the passage; making any excavation on the highway, or on his own premises, but so near to the highway as to render it a source of danger to persons using the road, even though the danger consists only in the risk of their accidentally deviating from the roadway; allowing a fence close to the highway to become so out of repair that it gives way when leaned against; leaving any object on, or near, the highway in a manner calculated to frighten animals passing along it; leaving open the lid or grating