what is the meaning of "pass the requirements" and "district council surveyor"?

Hydesville is a typical little hamlet of New York State, with a primitive population which was, no doubt, half-educated, but was probably, like the rest of those small American centres of life, more detached from prejudice and more receptive of new ideas than any other set of people at that time. This particular village, situated about twenty miles from the rising town of Rochester, consisted of a cluster of wooden houses of a very humble type. It was in one of these, a residence which would certainly not pass the requirements of a British district council surveyor, that there began this development which is already, in the opinion of many, by far the most important thing that America has 34 of 188 given to the commonweal of the world.


1 Answer 1


(British) district council is a form of local government. One of the typical responsibilities of local government is planning permission - deciding whether it is allowed to construct, demolish or alter buildings. Any proposal hoping to be gain planning permission would have to meet the regulations regarding the stability of the building, its fire safety, drainage, parking, environmental considerations etc, to ensure the building is not dangerous or otherwise detrimental to the public. In other words it would need to pass the requirements.

The text is therefore essentially saying these houses would be too humble to meet the planning regulations of British local government.

A surveyor is someone who maps out land for construction or legal purposes. I do not believe surveyors are actually the people who enforce planning requirements, so the text is perhaps slightly innaccurate in that regard, but they would be involved in the overall process of town planning and construction.

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