Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Workrooms for Unemployed Women

From The Times, 10th September 1914.




[The article begins by reporting that the Queen's 'Work for Women' Fund has already reached over £33,000 (in only a week).]

In London the Central Committee on Women's Employment for England and Wales will work in two directions:— Numerous occupiers of factories and workshops whose business is at a standstill have offered the free use of their premises and plant if employment can be found for their workers.  The Central Committee propose to take over a number of workrooms, paying, in special cases, a small amount to the proprietor for supervision, and to employ the workers in making garments to be distributed ... in cases of distress among our own people, and also among the refugees who are flocking to the country.

This policy... will not, however, meet the problem of the 45,000 women and girls already unemployed in London, and it is proposed that workrooms should be opened in different districts in London.... , to include training and instruction in certain skilled trades to semi-skilled or unskilled women.

The first articles to be produced under those schemes should, it is considered, be for the use of expectant mothers, a great number of whom are at present in the direst distress.  The Matron of the East London Lying-in Home states that 500 maternity outfits could be allocated in Stepney alone between now and Christmas, and she is prepared to guarantee that in every such case the child would otherwise be actually without sufficient covering to maintain it in a healthy condition.

[It is worth remembering that in at a time when there was no State support for the unemployed, and many of the poor did not earn enough at the best of times to have any savings, a month with no work would have left many families in a desperate plight.]

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