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in the Board Room, where the papers will be counted to-day by about 40 women and girls.
BRISTOL.–Four ladies presented themselves before the electors, these were, for the parish of Clifton, Miss Alice E. Winkworth, and Miss Catharine Woollam ; for Westbury, Miss Mary Clifford, and for St. Philip and Jacob Out, Mrs. Manning Prentice. The Bristol Committee exerted itself most actively, and an excellent letter by Mr. F. W. Oaten was extensively circulated.
The result of the election was known on the 13th ; all the four ladies were elected. Miss CLIFFORD was at the head of the poll of Westbury-on-Trym with 1756 votes, being upwards of 500 votes ahead of every other candidate. Miss ALICE WINKWORTH headed the poll for Clifton with 1687 votes, and Miss WOOLLAM came next with 1672 votes; the highest number polled by any other candidate being 1398. In St. Philips, Mrs. PRENTICE was third on the poll with 1481 votes. The ladies have, therefore, had a complete triumph. The contest was very sharp. In Clifton a paper of reasons was circulated < Why ladies should not be Poor Law Guardians,” possibly thereby helping the cause they meant to hinder. In Westbury, Miss Clifford's opponents resorted to the mean subterfuge of posting notices that she was not qualified, and it was useless to vote for her. This was promptly contradicted, and many "plumped” for her in consequence. There are 830 women-ratepayers in the parish of Clifton, and nearly all voted, and voted for the ladies.
BUDDINGTON.-Mrs. McLLQUHAM was returned without opposition.
ABERGAVENNY.-Mrs. FIELDER has again been elected, making the fifth time; she received 517 votes.
ELSTREE, HERTS.--Mrs. Shaw has been re-elected, receiving 77 votes, while her opponent had only 27 (of which 24 were from four relatives), and three others. All Mrs. Shaw's colleagues with one exception voted for her.
CHELTENHAM.—The issue in Cheltenham has not been so fortunate as in other places. Miss March Phillips withdrew in hopes of making a compromise easier, and the other lady who was one of the Liberal candidates,
was defeated. The result of the election, which was keenly contested on party grounds, has been an increase of Conservative members from 11 to 14; it must not, therefore, be accepted as any proof that the Cheltenham ratepayers would not have been very glad to have ladies on their Board.
CARDIFF.— Miss Jenner was nominated for two parishes in Cardiff, but in neither case were the number of votes sufficient to ensure re-election.
MARAZION.—Ten candidates were nominated for Marazion School Board, among whom was Miss Mary Michell. There were five seats to be filled. The election was on April 3rd.
BRIDGWATER.–At the guardians' meeting on March 22nd, the chairman (Admiral Hickley) spoke of the desirability of appointing some ladies as guardians. He was sure they would be eminently useful, and that the guardians would welcome them at the board meetings. Two ladies were subsequently nominated, Miss Kate Spiller, proposed by Dr. Winterbotham, and also by Mr. A. G. Barham, and Mrs. Mary Jane Hammill (widow of the late Mr. J. B. Hammill), nominated by the Rev. F. Seale. Seven new guardians were to be elected. We have not yet heard the result.
HASTINGS.-On March 18th at Capel-le-Ferne, St. Leonards-on-Sea, through the kindness of Mrs. Tubbs, a drawing room meeting of a representative and influential character was held to discuss this question. About 80 persons were present, among them several of the leading clergy of the town, some well-known members of the medical professsion, one of the Poor Law Guardians, and many ladies and gentlemen who take a prominent position in philanthropic work. The chair was taken by Lieut.-Colonel Lewis, J.P., who referred to the hard work generally thrown upon guardians and the efficient manner in which they usually performed their duties, and he argued that they would obtain much assistance in these difficult duties from the cooperation of women.
He introduced Miss Mülller, of the London School Board, who would explain to them the object of the meeting.
Miss MüLLER began by remarking that two leading
characteristics of the age are—the tendency for social affairs to become the personal duty of every individual, and the growing importance of combination and organisation. The greatest movements of the day are carried on by associated bodies of men; education, for example, is passing out of the hands of private individuals, and becoming a matter for companies or government to deal with; and the methods of charitable action are being similarly enlarged. This principle should be applied to the work of women among the poor. Private charity is avowedly unsatisfactory in its results, and yet it is especially women's work. How, then, can it be rendered more efficient? Simply by giving women a position as Poor Law Guardians, and thus enabling them to bring their knowledge, experience, and influence to bear in an effectual manner upon the existing institutions. Miss Müller then pointed out the special ways in which women might be useful. Mr. WOMERSLEY, and after him Dr. ELIZABETH BLACKWELL, expressed their strong sympathy. The latter drew special attention to the fact that by Poor Law work being given to women, the centralizing tendency of our times, which gave increasing power to the central government, would be counterbalanced, and party politics be less mixed up in municipal affairs. She assured her audience that women guardians in London were doing good work in controlling expenditure, regulating housekeeping concerns, and giving advice and assistance to female paupers.
Dr. HEATH moved, and Mrs. F. HUME seconded the resolution, “That this meeting is of opinion that it is desirable to promote and support the candidature of women for the office of Poor Law Guardians.” Mr. Halley Stewart, supported by Mr. Fearn, proposed that to give a practical character to the meeting, a Committee should at once be formed for the purpose of finding if possible a woman candidate to stand at the approaching election. A few ladies and gentlemen at once volunteered to act as a Committee, with power to add to their number.
Two ladies, Miss Hall and Miss Mosley, expressed their willingness to come forward, but in both cases
April 15th, 1882. there has been a difficulty about the qualification. One had been duly entered on the rate book about six weeks before, after her father's death, but the rate book, they were informed, could only be signed by the judges in petty sessions, which occurred three days after the nomination list was closed. The other lady was nominated for two wards; she was duly qualified, but the qualifications of both her nominators were objected to on technical grounds. This contest is therefore postponed for another year.
LONDON ELECTIONS. LAMBETH.—A very large and influential gathering was held on March 13th, by the kind invitation of Dr. and Mrs. Chaning Pearce, at the Manor House, Brixton Rise. The Chairman was the Rev. J. Coxhead. Miss Müller, who acted as Secretary for the meeting, announced the reception of a large number of letters from persons interested in the movement, including the Rev. R. Ransford, Mrs. Pfeiffer, the poetess, Mrs. Higgins, Mr. and Mrs. McArthur, Mrs. Fawcett, wife of the Postmaster General, Mr. G. L. Turney, J.P. (Member of the Camberwell Board of Guardians), Rev. P.J. Turquand, &c., &c.
The Westminster and Lambeth Gazette thus reports the meeting:
Mr. J. A. Lyon, who was a Guardian at Camberwell for many years, contended that women were required as Guardians of the Poor, if the duties were to be carried out, and moved : That it is desirable that there should be a fair proportion of suitable women upon every Board of Guardians. Mr. GEORGE Hill seconded the motion, and it was agreed to unanimously.
The Rev. J. MARSHALL, in a somewhat lengthened, though practical speech, moved “ That this meeting understanding that Miss Eva Müller, Miss Lord, and Miss Whitehead are willing and legally qualified to become candidates for Lambeth, would be glad to hear their views on Poor Law Administration. Miss LIDGETT, Lady Guardian for St. Pancras, seconded the motion, and it having been supported by Miss BUCKLEY, it was unanimously approved.
Miss Eva Müller, who met with a cordial reception on rising, said, in presenting herself as a candidate for the office of Guardian, it would be well if she gave some reason why she had come forward for election, although the fact that the greater proportion of those receiving pauper relief were women and children seemed in itself sufficient reason for a woman wishing to become a member of the executive body. If they considered the different ways in which the
administrators were called upon to act, there was scarcely one where women's co-operation would not be valuable; many, in fact, in which it would be more than valuable. Let them take the workhouse itself. What was its management, but housekeeping on a large scale ? the master and matron were, or should, be the servants of the Guardians, answerable for its management, the care of the people, and the employment of the supplies entrusted to their charge. She need scarcely say that a mere cursory visit on a day when visitors were expected was not sufficient to ensure that all the servants would be found conscientiously performing their duties, and on that day, known by the paupers of some districts as “deceit day” it was not surprising that the whole workhouse routine was found to be as satisfactory as could be wished. The visit, in fact, was a mere matter of form, and she had an illustration of this when visiting one of the largest of the London workhouses, and she asked the Matron if she often saw the Guardians. The reply was,
Yes, but they never interfere with me. I am mistress here, and I should not stay if I were
That was a well managed house. She could see that many reforms introduced were due to the master and matron themselves; but all masters and matrons were not capable of managing several hundred people single handed, and if they were, still they are fallible, and should be taught to respect the authority of those placed over them. She thought the hearty co-operation of women in this work was most desirable, because, a woman at all suited to be a Guardian came ready trained for the most important branches, ; she had had
; to deal with servants; was taught domestic economy; and had had experience in laying out money to the best advantage ; and added to the fact, that constant attention to details sharpened her perceptions, and made her quick to see where abuses existed, she had as much, if not more, moral courage than a man in sweeping them away. As to the administration of out relief most women interested in the poor would have visited them in their own homes, and by a little investigation would be able to possess themselves of a knowledge of details, which, not unnaturally, might be kept from the relieving officer. A woman would be able to calculate the resources of a family and obtain a just knowledge of the circumstances of each case, and thus be able to advise whether relief should be more generousiy given or altogether withheld. It was owing to the efforts of the new Board in St. Pancras, amongst whom four were ladies, that a saving in out-door relief in the last twelve months was effected to the extent of £1,400. She thought she had now touched upon all the departments where a woman's services would be useful, and she wished to say a few words as to her own qualifications. About a year ago she desired to have some training in nursing and also to acquire a knowledge of workhouse management, and for three months had lived in the capacity of nurse in one of the largest and best managed workhouses in England. She had during her stay in the infirmary spent two or three weeks in each of its departments, and not being quite on the footing of a hospital nurse, she had been at liberty to visit any part of the workhouse