« AnteriorContinuar »
May 15th, 1882 Liberal side. She moved :-" That this association
“ offers its hearty congratulations to Mr. Gladstone on the bold and generous policy he has adopted towards Ireland, and expresses its earnest hope that the country will support £im in this fresh effort to remove every Irish grievance.
Miss BLACKBURN seconded the resolution, and spoke of the benefits of organisation. If Conservative women would organise, she should welcome it exceedingly.
MAINTENANCE OF SOLDIERS' WIVES. In the discussion on the army estimates, April 17th
Mr. SEXTON moved the insertion of a clause with the view of making the soldier's liability to maintain his wife and children as strict as is the civilian's. This, he maintained, it was not under the present wording of the Act, which made it possible for men to be sheltered against claims which they would be bound to meet if they were civilians.
Nr. 0. MORGAN defended the wording of the Act, and opposed the amendment on the ground that it proposed to take away the discretionary power of the Secretary of State in certain cases.
After remarks by Mr. Biggar,
Mr. RYLANDS said it was impossible to accept the proposal in its present form; but when it was shown that a soldier had deserted his wife and children he agreed that the word “shall” should be substituted for “may” in regard to the order by the Secretary of State requiring the soldier to contribute to their support.
Mr. C. BENTINCK remarked that in the case of a wife of good character an order was invariably made, and that when a system was working so well it was undesirable to make
alteration. Mr. TAYLOR thanked the hon. member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) for bringing forward this matter. He had himself in previous years urged the abolition of the state of affairs complained of, and he had thought the whole grievance removed by the Act of 1881. It was to be hoped that the amendment would be pressed to a division.
Mr. CHILDERS repeated his promise, made on the
second reading of this Bill, fully to consider before next Session the questions raised by the hon. member for Sligo. As at present advised, however, he held that the discretion of the Secretary of State ought not to be abolished entirely.
After a few words from Mr. Sexton and Mr. Hopwood, the Committee divided For the amendment
116–67 The clause was agreed to, and the Bill as amended was ordered to be reported.
SHOP ASSISTANTS. On April 16th a meeting, convened by the Shop Assistants' Labour League, was held in Trafalgar Square, in support of the movement for promoting legislation to shorten the hours of labour in shops. A good many young girls, shop assistants, were at the meeting. Å resolution was passed declaring that it was not necessary to keep shops open after 8 p.m., and attributed the present long hours to “the greed and selfishness of a minority of employers who purchase wealth at the expense of the diseased and worn-out frames of grown girls, youths, and adults of both sexes, and who thus hinder generous employers from closing early.” It further pledged the meeting to avoid the shops
which were kept open after the hour named, and to influence others in the same direction.
HER Majesty's Principal Inspector of Factories appends to his report to the Home Secretary some remarks sent him by Superintending-Inspector Whymper upon the home life of women in dressmaking and drapers' establishments. Mr. Whymper says:
I have made myself acquainted with the internal arrangements of the establishments of some twenty-five of the larger drapers, &c., of the west central and western districts of the metropolis. I have also visited several of the Homes which provide board and lodging for females of the class named, as well as of the restaurants which offer them refreshment. The drapers visited employ indoors nearly 6,000 females ; of these about 1,500 are “ assistants," i.e., saleswomen and showroom hands; and over 4,000 are workroom hands, i.e., milliners, dressmakers or mantlemakers. In three establishments none sleep on the premises ; in one only all do so, both assistants and workers, to the number of 140. Of the aggregate number employed,
some 1,850 appear to board and lodge on the premises, about 1,500 being assistants. The reason why the boarders are composed almost exclusively of these is because they are to the employer of far more value than are the workroom hands. He is therefore anxious to take extra means of fixing the former in his employment. Heads of departments, first hands in the several workrooms, and apprentices have the next chance of lodging privileges, while the ordinary millinary and dressmaking hands, as persons whose places can be more easily filled up, form the contingent which is, for the most part, left to shift for itself as regards lodging. Of the workroom hands it is the more capable who are ugually lodged. Non-residents often take French leave, especially for two or three days after a regular holiday, and this is inconvenient to the employer in proportion to the skill of the person who absents herself. "I think that the boarders have little' to complain of. I can express nothing but approval of the accommodation which I have seen. Only a few, indeed (as a rule, heads of departments, &c.), had, at the time of my visit, à room to themselves, but under some firms there is no greater number than two in a room, and I was told more than once that steps were being taken to provide each person with a separate apartment. So large a number as five or six, and that in a large room, is exceptional. The bedrooms themselves are clean, tidy and usually airy and cheerful. The amount of sitting-room accommodation differs at various places. At one place I found four large sitting-rooms for about 130 persons, with newspapers, periodicals, a large library, and pianos ; at another, with about 100 persons, I found two sitting-rooms, a library, a reading-room, and a music-room with piano; at a third, a sitting-room for every 20 persons, with a separate club for women. Again, elsewhere I was told of four bathrooms with fitted baths. I visited an establishment where two distinct houses, each with housekeeper, cook, and the necessary servants, were maintained for the indoor hands, a doctor in regular attendance being paid by the firm. From a member of another firm we heard that he had lately spent £1,500 in the purchase of a library for his assistants. The same reason which induces an employer to provide comfortable lodging, not to speak of luxuries, for a large proportion of bis hands, viz., the value to him of the latter-would naturally cause him to see to the goodness and sufficiency of the food. I myself had a sight of two or three bills of fare, as well as of the food itself, and I could not find fault. The exact precautions taken to ensure respectability varied at different establishments, but in all there was evidence of care and of a sense of responsibility. About the home life of the day-hands not very much seems to be known to the employers. Inquiry on this head is no doubt made by some of the latter with more, or probably less, strictness, and we were assured that the great majority live with parents, relations, or friends. But, even assuming this to be correct, and allowing for a small minority satisfactorily cared for in those excellent institutions, the “Homes," I cannot but conclude that there must be a large number living in lodgings. I have evidence of the highest authority to this effect as regards one important parish. “Many young women," I am told, " from the large drapers' shops, and almost all those employed at the lesser shops, i.e., the smaller
milliners and dressmakers, live in lodgings, many of them in the neighbourhood, and generally two together.” With this my information from other districts, though less authoritative, entirely concurs ; and it is here that we come to the reverse side of a picture which has hitherto been favourable; life in lodgings being, in the words of one of the most intelligent and apparently conscientious of the employers, “but the first step in a downward road.” This is no doubt somewhat too strongly put; still it can hardly be denied that an unprotected life of complete independence is not what one would recommend to a young woman in London; and it is to a recognition of this fact that is due the establishment of the Homes, which claim to 6provide a safe and comfortable home for respectable young women
engaged in houses of business, or seeking employment in such." The Homes which I have seen or teard of in the central or western parts of London north of the Thames, are over a dozen in number. In London south of the Thames I know of but one, and that one is occupied almost exclusively by servants.
The lady artists and designers engaged at the Lambeth Pottery (Messrs. Doulton & Co.'s) met at the new buildings on the Albert Embankment on Wednesday evening, April 26th, to present a testimonial to Mr. Doulton, the principal of the firm, on the completion of the tenth year of female employment in connection with the art-department of the potteries. Thanking the donors for their gift, Mr. Doulton said it would be placed among his most valued possessions.
MANCHESTER FREE LIBRARY.—The Manchester Guardian, May 3rd, says the vacant office of Librarian of the Ancoats Free Library has been filled by the appointment of Miss Emily Casserley. The fact is noteworthy as it is the first time that a lady has been placed at the head of one of the branch libraries in Manchester, and the number of lady librarians throughout the kingdom is very small. Miss Casserley entered the service of the Library Committee in 1871, and has fairly earned her promotion. The Mayor of Manchester, in an address to the Library Association, has told the story of the experiment of the employment of young women as library assistants, and of the success that has attended it. It was due to his influence that this new opening for women's work became available, and the benefits that have followed the adoption of women librarians in Manchester will not be without their weight elsewhere.
SOCIETY FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN. The Annual Meeting of this Society, presided over
by Lord Shaftesbury, took place at the Society's offices, 22, Berners Street, on Friday, the 12th inst. We are unable from the lateness of the date to give a detailed report of it.
The Society has to regret the loss of the help of Miss Warne who, for 18 years, has taken charge of the book-keeping class, but who now, from weakened health and pressure of other duties, is obliged to give it up. Her example had been invaluable in inspiring her pupils with energy and accuracy. .
SUFFRAGE. A meeting was held at Gloucester on May 3rd, in the Corn Exchange, Mr. S. Bowley presided, and there was an influential gathering of ladies and gentlemen. The meeting was addressed among others, by Mrs. McIlquham, who said that no more suitable time than the present could have been chosen for discussing this question at Gloucester, when her electoral fate was trembling in the balance. The threatened disfranchisement of Gloucester would make it sympathise with women who had always been a disfranchised class. Why did Gloucester fear disfranchisement? Because, besides being a mark of degradation, it meant an inability to press claims and grievances on the attention of Parliament.
FOOD PRODUCTION SOCIETY. A meeting of the Committee of the above was held on May 9th, at 9, Upper Phillimore Gardens, Kensingson. It was announced that the lectures at South Kentington on Poultry-keeping, the Dairy and Bee-keeping, although the attendance at the two latter courses were not very numerous, had been so satisfactory that they would be repeated next year. An agricultural exhibition in connection with these lectures had been designed, but at the last moment when all preparations had been made, the Commissioners of the Exhibition found there would be a difficulty in procuring the buildings belonging to the Horticultural gardens, and the scheme was necessarily abandoned. The lectures next year will be given in the large lecture hall.
It was suggested as one means of extending the use