Sturges v Bridgman (1879) 11 ChD 852

Key point

  • It is no defence to a claim of nuisance that the claimant “came to the nuisance”


  • Doctor (C) moved into a house and built a shed to carry out his private practice
  • C’s shed was next to a confectioner (D) and the noise of the pestle and mortar was clearly audible from his shed
  • C sued D in nuisance and sought an injunction
  • D argued that C “came to the nuisance” since he had been using the pestle and mortar for confectionery for more than 20 years

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • An injunction was granted against D to stop using the pestle and mortar

Thesiger LJ

  • There was no easement by prescription as C had neither consented nor acquiesced to the noise since he had no knowledge of it
  • It is argued that allowing C to succeed in his claim would mean that a person can build a private residence in an industrial area and prevent trade from being carried out
  • However, whether something amounts to a nuisance must have regard to its locality (“what would be a nuisance in Belgrave Square would not necessarily be so in Bermondsey“)
  • In this case, the noise amounted to a nuisance based on the locality