Delmar Bicker-Caarten was by profession a commercial traveller, but is remembered in Southampton as a campaigner against poverty and poor housing. In November 1890 he published in the Southampton Times an article entitled The Exceeding Bitter Cry of Outcast Southampton, in which he described the awful living conditions in the back streets, courts and alleys of Southampton. The Southampton Times, spurred on by these revelations, ran a series of articles on Southampton Slums and their Inhabitants, which helped to bring the problem to the attention of the authorities. In 1893 an official inquiry into living conditions in the town led to the Report on Dilapidated Housing in Southampton, which outlined the problems and the steps needed to be taken. The eventual outcome was the town’s first slum clearance programme and the building of St Michael’s lodging house in St Michael’s Square.

Bicker-Caarten lived with his family at 4 Upper Chamberlayne Place, Cranbury Avenue and then at 2 Forest View. He died at Amersham in 1928.

Newspaper clippings (available at the Local Studies Library):

"These days the name of Delmar Bicker-Caarten … " (Southern Daily Echo 12/12/2014)

Further reading:

'Delmar Bicker-Caarten, Champion of Outcast Southampton’, by John Edgar Mann, in, Southampton Local History Forum Journal, no. 12, Summer 2007, p30-31. (HS/h
Dilapidated Housing and Housing Policy in Southampton 1890-1914, by Martin Doughty. (HS/lk)
‘Social Action and Social Crisis in Late Victorian Southampton’, by J. F. M. Brinkman, in Southampton Local History Forum Journal, no. 12, Summer 2007, p40-48. (HS/h)


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