Victorian London - Publications - Social Investigation/Journalism - Life in West London : A Study and a Contrast, by Arthur Sherwell, 1897 - Part 2 - Industrial

[-back to main menu-]





IN attempting an analysis of the industrial conditions that prevail in Soho and its environs, one is immediately impressed by the invertebrate character of the district, and by its remarkable deficiency in what I may call local identity.

I. Foreign Population.

    The population, for the most part, is an ever-shifting one, with a large foreign element in it which has been attracted thither chiefly by the opportunities which the food and dress trades of the West offer to foreign workers; and, in a lesser degree, by the tradition which has made Soho for over two centuries the favourite resort of foreign political refugees. The importance of this foreign element as a factor in the social and industrial life of the district will he seen at once when I mention that it forms over eleven per cent. of the entire population of the district - a proportion which, as the following comparative statement [-58-]  will show, is exceeded by but two other districts in London, viz., Whitechapel and St. George's-in-the-East, which are notorious as comprising the English "Ghetto" of the Jews:

Table showing the proportion of foreigners in different districts.

Registration Districts. Proportion of Foreigners to Total Population.
Whitechapel 24%
St. George's-in-the-East 16%

SOHO (St. James and St. Anne)


St. Giles-jn-the-Fields




St. Marylebone

St. Pancras 2½%

Holborn (including Clerkenwell)

Stepney 2%

Bethnal Green

1 1/3%


1 1/3%


St. Olave, Southwark ¾%

St. Saviour's


    It is noteworthy, however, that while Whitechapel and St. George's-in-the-East have a larger foreign element than Soho, it is in those districts almost exclusively Jewish; whereas in Soho, and in the West generally, it partakes of a much more general and cosmopolitan character. This may be seen at once by a reference to the analysis of the foreign population of the West which I have given in the Tables at the end of this volume. * [-* See Appendix X.-]


II. Deficiency in Artisan Labour.

    Then, again, there is in Soho no large artisan class, nor, indeed, any predominant class of unskilled workmen, such as the dock and riverside labourers, and costermongers of the East, or the wharf labourers and others of the South. The artisan class proper forms only 10.1 per cent. of the population in Soho, as compared with
        35.4 per cent. in Shoreditch
        29.8 per cent. in Bethnal Green
        13.3 per cent. in Whitechapel, St. George's-in-the-East and Stepney
        26.1 per cent. in Poplar
        25.1 per cent. in Battersea.
    The most significant industrial fact so far as Soho and the neighbouring districts are concerned is the remarkable number of persons employed on dress. In Soho, for example, they represent 24 per cent, of the population as compared with 2½ per cent. elsewhere in Central London.* [-* This does not include St. Pancras and St. Marylebone which belong for registration purposes to North London.-] The remainder of the population represents a great variety of trades, including building, painting, French polishing, etc., not one of which (with the possible exception of the heterogeneous list of workers included under the heading of "lodging and coffee-house" keepers and employés) employs more than three per cent. of the population. The neighbouring parish of St. Giles-in-the-Fields (immediately adjoining Soho) has even less individuality. There the principal trades are building and road service, not one of which employs more than three per cent. of [-60-] the population. In another closely adjoining district (a little to the north of Soho), to which I referred in Part I of this volume, a similar state of things prevails. There, as in Soho, a large number of persons is employed on dress, but the occupations of the rest are bewilderingly varied. In a census which I took last year * [-*1895-] of a number of streets in the immediate neighbourhood of Fitzroy Square, I discovered some facts which threw a startling light on the conditions of industrial life in that district. For instance, the first eighteen persons visited (all of them, save one, heads of families) represented no fewer than sixteen different trades and occupations. The next seventeen represented thirteen different trades; a third group of nineteen persons represented fourteen trades; and a fourth group of ten persons actually represented ten different occupations or trades. Eighty-eight men who were visited in one Street represented upwards of forty different occupations!
    But the true character of the industrial conditions that prevail in Soho and the central districts of the West will he seen even more clearly in the following analysis of the trades of the districts, which I quote from the latest volume of Mr. Charles Booth's invaluable work.* [-*Life and Labour of the People, Volume VII-]
    The table, it should be noted, refers only to families, the heads of which are engaged in the trades referred to, and does not include the total number of persons employed in the trades. It should also be noticed that the percentages given represent percentages of the entire trade in London and not of the population of the district.


Table showing the Total Number of Persons (and trade percentages) represented by heads of families engaged in various trades in the Strand, Soho, and St. Giles' districts.

Trade Total No. of Persons represented by Heads of Families Percentage of entire trade in London
Tailors 8,274 9
Lodging and Coffee-house Keepers 3,349 7.8
Brewers and mineral-water manufacturers 712 5.3
Publicans 2,655 4.3
Warehousemen and messengers 3,260 4.3
Trimmings, artificial flowers, etc 826 3.7
General shopkeepers. 1,014 3.3
Costers or street-sellers 771 3.2
Boot and shoe-makers 2,892 3
Shirtmakers 384 2.2
Bakers and confectioners 1,154 2.1

General labourers 

3,958 2

Cabmen, coachmen, and busmen

2,714 1.9

Dressmakers and milliners.

787 1.8

Carmen and carters

1,698 1.5


87 1.3


2,019 1.1

While therefore the Strand, Soho, and St. Giles district has a far higher percentage of tailors (reckoning by heads of families) than any other district in London (with the [-62-] exception, of course, of the St. George's-in-the-East and Whitechapel district, where the percentage is nearly double) its general invertebrate character is shown in this: that it reaches a percentage of  5 and upwards in but two other industries, i.e., brewers and mineral-water manufacturers, and lodging and coffee-house keepers.
    If moreover, we compare it in this respect with other districts, its remarkable deficiency in what I may call industrial identity becomes conspicuously apparent:

Table showing the Number of Principal Trades (including those only which represent 5 per cent, and upwards of the entire trade in London) in various districts.

Registration District. 

No. of Trades representing 5 per cent, and upwards of Total Trade in London.
Lambeth  29
Islington  28
Wandsworth  24
Camberwell  19
St. Saviour's, Southwark  19
Mile End and Stepney  19
Hackney 17
St. Pancras  14
Greenwich 13
St. Olave, Southwark 12
Fulham  12

St. George's-in-the-East and Whitechapel 

Poplar  11
St. Marylebone, and Hampstead  10
Bethnal Green 8
Woolwich 5
Shoreditch 4
Holborn*[-* Including Clerkenwell.-] 4



    [-63-] The comparative value of the above statement is, of course, appreciably affected by differences in the size and population of the districts compared, but when the utmost allowance is made for this, it suggests a valuable and interesting clue to the general industrial characteristics of the districts referred to.
    An even more suggestive and valuable clue is offered by a comparison of the total number of persons (represented by heads of families) employed in various trades, in proportion to population, in different districts.
    In the following table (which is based upon a careful analysis of the most recent returns published by Mr. Charles Booth) I give the results of such a comparison made between typical industrial districts in different parts of London.

Table showing the Number of Persons (i.e., Proportion of Population) represented by heads of families employed in various trades in different districts. * [-* Merchants, shopkeepers, etc., are excluded from this list, and only those trades are included which represent at least ½ per cent, of the total population of the district.-]

Trades St. George's-in-the-East and Whitechapel. St. Saviour, Southwark St. Olave, Southwark. Strand, Soho and St. Giles
Perc. of Population. Perc. of Population. Perc. of Population. Perc. of Population.
Tailors 14¾ 1 1/3 ¾ 8


1 1/5

Dressmakers and milliners 

¾ 1 2/3 ¾
Shirtmakers - ½ 2/3 -

Trimmings, artificial flowers, etc. 

1 - - ¾

[-64-] Brewers and mineral-water manufacturers

- ½ - 2/3

Tobacco manufacturers

3 - - -

Bakers and Confectioners



1 2/3

Lodging and Coffee-house keepers

1 2/3 ½ 3

Costers and Street sellers

2 - ¾
Clerks 1 3 2 2/3 2

Cabmen, busmen, etc


Carmen and Carters Railway service and labour

¾ 1 -
Seamen ½ - -


1 - 3 -

Dock and wharf service and labour

5 1 6 -

Warehousemen and messengers


General labourers

5 1/3 5

Factory Labourers

- ½ - -

Engine drivers and artisans

2/3 1 1/3 2 2/3

    No more convincing proof of the invertebrate character of the Soho district could be required than that which the above comparison affords.




ANOTHER disastrous feature of the industrial life of Soho - a direct result of the unrestricted luxury, and worse than useless extravagance that characterize the wealthy neighbouring districts-is an exceptional, and quite incalculable, amount of "season" or casual work, which terribly intensifies the pressure of poverty in the district. Nearly all the trades, indeed, are "season" trades; and, to make matters worse, the "London Season" attracts to West London a vast army of casual workers for whom no adequate permanent provision is possible.
    In a previous chapter*[-*see Part I, pp.10-11-] I gave some figures bearing on this point which were the result of my own investigations in a particular district. It may be well to supplement those, which referred chiefly to men, by some figures compiled by Mr. Charles Booth, which refer exclusively to women.
    In Central London (which includes all Soho), "widows and families," whose earnings are "casual" form no less than 26.4 per cent, of the entire population, as against-
        10.7 per cent. in Bethnal Green
        8.8 per cent. in Whitechapel, St. George's-in-the-East, and Stepney, and
        8.1 per cent. in Poplar.
    [-66-] If we take the case of unmarried women who are casual earners, the difference, if not so striking, is still important. These represent- 
        8.5 per cent. of the population in Central London
        6.9 per cent. of the population in Bethnal Green
        7.6 per cent. of the population in Whitechapel, St. George's-in-the-East, and Stepney
        5.9 per cent. of the population in  Poplar.
    A considerable proportion of casual or "season" work is naturally to be expected in a district that is specially devoted to the dress trades, but West Central London suffers even more severely in this respect than other similar districts (e.g., Whitechapel, and the tailoring districts of St. George's-in-the-East) from the fact that it is so largely restricted to the highest branches of the dress trades, and these are naturally more liable to "seasonal" fluctuations than the "slop," or cheap work that is done in East London.
    The food trades of the West offer another illustration of this increased liability to "seasonal fluctuations." For example, even bakers, whose work elsewhere in London is practically constant, suffer acutely in West London from the effects of the "London Season," and are comparatively slack for three or four months in the year (e.g., from August till November). If to these we add the large army of "season hands -packers, porters, etc.- who find temporary employment in the large business houses of the West, the seriousness of the problem of casual labour in Soho, and the industrial districts which immediately adjoin it, at once becomes apparent. I am well aware that the problem of season trades is an old [-67-] and intricate problem. It bristles everywhere with difficulties that appear to be insuperable. And yet I am persuaded that the evil is remediable to a much greater extent than is commonly allowed. It often largely turns upon a question of custom, or fashion, or prejudice. In the West End, at least, this is actually the case, and it would be interesting to discover how far it is true of other districts also. Leaving dress, for example, entirely out of the question-although in the West this is by far the predominant trade, and one that would certainly admit of some measure of reform - it would be interesting to discover how much of painting and other work. that is now crowded into short and ruinously busy "seasons," could be more evenly distributed. I have not space in which to press the question, much as I should like to see it authoritatively answered: I merely suggest it as a problem in social ethics, or practical Christianity.




ANOTHER noteworthy feature of the industrial life of the West is the relatively high percentage of female heads of families. In Soho, for example, they represent a higher proportion of the population than in any other part of London: viz., 5.8 % as compared with-
    4.3 % in Shoreditch
    4.1% in Bethnal Green
    3.9% in Whitechapel, St. George's-in-the-East, and Stepney.
    3.7% in Poplar.
Of these the proportion of wage-earners is:
4.9% in Central London (which includes Soho) 
3.8% in Shoreditch
3.6% inBethnal Grecn
3.3% in Whitechapel, St. George's-in-the-East, and Stepney, and 
3.0% in Poplar. * [-* The extent to which women are family wage-earners is not generally realized. For example, of the 82,000 heads of families engaged in the dress trades of London, no less than 30,000 are females. This proportion is the more striking when it is remembered that in cases where women keep their husbands the man is nevertheless returned as head of the family.-]
    [-69-] These figures are the more remarkable in view of the interesting sociological fact that, speaking generally, women form a distinct minority of the population of industrial districts (and this despite the fact that in certain districts, e.g., Soho and Whitechapel, which are the special centres of women's trades, an entirely opposite result might be expected); whereas in wealthy districts they largely preponderate. * [-* in considering this question allowance must, of course, be made for the large number of female domestic servants employed in the wealthy districts.-]
    In the civil parish of St. Anne, Soho, for example, which is remarkable as the centre of the West End tailoring trade, there are actually 173 more males than females.
    The following tables will show the distribution of the sexes in various districts.

I. Table showing the Excess of Females over Males in various districts.

Registration District. 

Total No. of Females in excess of Males Percentage of Females in excess of Males


14,862 55½


34,874 53


20,752 42¾

St. Marylebone (The increase here is most marked in the wealthy districts)

17,660  28½

St. George's, Hanover Square 

12,414 20 2/5


18,920 18


14,766 17


17,623 11 2/3


5,015 11

St. Pancras (The increase here is chiefly in the wealthy districts, e.g., Regent's Park. In the poorer districts, e.g., Somers Town, the sexes are practically equal.) 

7,659 6 4/5
[-70-] St. Giles-in-the-Fields (Here again the increase is due to the wealthy districts, e.g., St. George's, Bloomsbury. In St. Giles South, there are nearly 700 less women than men.) 1,082 5 3/5
Shoreditch  2,429  4
Bethnal Green 2,516 4
Holborn (including Clerkenwell) 1,912
Westminster (Soho) (The sub-district of St. Anne, Soho, has 173 less women than men.) 90 (less than) ½

II. Table showing the Excess of Males over Females in various districts.

Registration District

Total No. of Males in excess of Females Percentage of Males in excess of Females




1,430 5 1/9



St. George's-in-the-East 

397 1 4/5

St. Olave, Southwark 

1,162 1 2/3

St. Saviour 

611 3/5

    It will suggest the contrast even more clearly if we compare two closely adjacent districts in the West, i.e., a wealthy district (Mayfair), and an industrial district (St. Anne, Soho):-
        Mayfair has 40 per cent, more females than males 
        St. Anne, Soho, has 3 per cent. less females than males 
    And this despite the fact that St. Anne, Soho, is the centre of the West End tailoring trade.




IN view of the foregoing facts it will be interesting to compare the condition of the population as to marriage, not only in Soho, but also in other industrial districts. It will be obvious that such a comparison is closely related to those already given. To make the comparison strictly just I select the two most overcrowded districts in East and South London. Taking the total number of persons of twenty years and upwards in each district, the following result appears:

Table showing the condition as to marriage of all Persons of 20 Years and upwards in various districts.

Registration District 

Single Married

Soho (St. James and St. Anne) 

41½% 58½%

St. Saviour, Southwark 

25 1/3% 74 2/3%

St. George's-in-the-East

23 1/3% 76 2/3%

Average for all London 

31¼% 68¾%

If we raise the age standard and compare the number of persons of 35 years and upwards in the same districts, an equally remarkable result appears:


Table showing the condition as to marriage of all persons of 35 Years and upwards in various districts.

Registration District 

Single Married

Soho (St. James and St Anne) 

20 1/3% 79 2/3%

St. Saviour, Southwark

11½% 88½%

St. George's-in-the-East

9 2/3% 90 1/3%

Average for all London

14% 86%

    The difference under both standards of comparison is certainly remarkable, and while the figures for Soho may be affected in some small degree by the more prosperous parts of the St. James's parish, this in itself is an altogether inadequate explanation of so great a discrepancy. The true explanation of the difference, I venture to suggest, is to be sought, first, in exceptional industrial conditions; and, secondly, in the influence (subtle, but powerful) of the surrounding wealthy districts, in which, as the following figures will show, an even more marked abstention from marriage prevails.

Table showing the condition as to marriage of all persons of (a) 20 years and upwards; and (b) 35 years and upwards, in St. George's, Hanover Square, and Kensington.

20 years and upwards 35 years and upwards
Single Married Single Married

St. George's, Hanover Square 

43 5/6% 56 1/6% 22 2/3% 77 1/3%


44¼% 55¾% 22¾% 77¼%

Average for all London

31¼% 68¾% 14% 86%

II. Proportion of Early Marriages.

It is gratifying to find that the proportion of early marriages (i.e., of persons under twenty years of age) is [-73-] extremely insignificant. * 

* Considerable misunderstanding appears to exist in the popular mind as to the prevalence of early marriages, especially in the industrial districts, and the number of such marriages is often greatly exaggerated. It may be interesting to supplement the above figures (which refer, it should be noted, to marriages of persons under twenty years of age) by percentages relating to the marriages of minors (i.e., persons under twenty-one years of age) in the whole of London during the last half century.

Table showing the proportion (i.e., percentage of total marriages) of marriages of minors in London daring the years 1851-'94.


Percentage of Males Percentage of Females


2.77 11.95


3.56 14.56


4.71 16.90


5.53 18.91


4.86 17.45


5.15 17.67


4.75 16.80


4.69 16.80

In this respect (as the appended table will show) London compares very favourably with the rest of England; a fact that is no doubt explained by the increased cost of living in the former.

Table showing the proportion (i.e., percentage of total marriages) of marriages of minors in England and Wales during the years 1851-'93.


Percentage of Males Percentage of Females


5.70 17.99


6.82 20.37


7.96 22.03


6.81 20.75


5.90 19.01


5.87 18.76


5.59 18.08

If these figures are compared with the percentages given above, it will at once be seen that the marriages of persons under twenty years of age, form an extremely small proportion of the total number of marriages of minors.

The following table gives the proportion in each of the foregoing districts:


Table showing the proportion of early marriages (i.e., of persons under twenty years of age) in various districts.

Total No. of persons (Married) under 20 years of age Percentage of Total Marriages

Registration District.

Males Females Total

St. George's, Hanover Square 

16 106 122 ¼


29 142 171 1/3


7 42 49 1/3

St. Saviour, Southwark 

69 321 390 ½

St. George's-in-the-East 

14 88 102 ½

Average for all London 

950 4,672 5,622 1/3

III. Proportion of Widows.

I have already referred* [-*see page 68-]  to the relatively high percentage of female heads of families in Soho. If, pushing our analysis a little further, we deal simply with "widows," it will be seen that the proportion is again higher in Soho than in the east and south of London:

Table showing the number and proportion of "widows" in various industrial districts.

Registration District.

Total No. of Widows Proportion (Percentage) of Total Married Women


1,778 23 1/3

St. George's-in-the-East

2,114 20½

St. Saviour, Southwark

8,721 19 1/5

Average for all London 

186,479 20 2/3




ANOTHER, by no means inconsiderable, factor which confronts us in an analysis of the industrial life of Soho and the immediately adjacent districts, is the strangely heterogeneous army of "touts," "loafers," and "casuals," who are attracted by the wealth of the West End, and who succeed, by almost infinite resource, in eking out a sort of parasitic existence, feeding upon the follies and vices and pleasures of wealthy West London. Included in this innumerable army are hotel theatrical, and music-hall employés (e.g., waiters, kitchen-porters, theatrical "supers," ballet-girls, chorus-singers, wig-makers, etc.); cab "touts" and "runners" (who literally swarm in the squares and other wealthy thoroughfares of the West); sandwichmen (for whom the numerous theatres, music-halls, art-galleries, exhibitions, etc. of the West End provide ready but miserable employment* [-* Of the 36 theatres in London, no fewer than 29 are in West and West Central London; while of the 16 principal music-halls in London no less than 8 are situated in the West.-]), and dossers of every description-a pitiable and parasitic host who seriously affect the moral as well as the industrial life of the district.
    [-76-] These "dossers" are drawn from all classes of society, and represent almost every conceivable type of character - from the professional man who has fallen through drink and dishonesty (sometimes, but rarely, through sheer misfortune), to the unskilled, seasoned loafer whose philosophic savagery is abundantly satisfied with the price of his "kip" and one "square" meal per day; and who, when even these fail, falls back in stoical equanimity upon a tighter clasp of his belt, and an extra "screw" of kerbstone twist.
    It will give some idea of the nondescript character of these men when I mention that 144 "homeless men" who applied, to the Soho Committee of the Charity Organization Society for assistance last winter (i.e., from October 1895 to March 1896), represented - nominally, at least - nearly 70 different professions and trades.* [-see Appendix XI-]
    Their ages also vary greatly. While there is an increasing number of young men under twenty-five, the majority average from twenty-five to forty, while there are practically none over sixty.* [-*Of the 144 men mentioned above, 17 were under 25, and 127 above 25 years of age.-] Once past sixty they pass into the work-house. It is probable that at least one half of the men admitted into work-houses in West London Unions are drawn from the common lodging-houses of the district.
    Of these common lodging-houses there are no fewer than i66 in West and West Central London alone.* [-I quote the figures for 1894-] The following table will show their distribution: 


Table showing the number and distribution of Common Lodging-houses in West and West Central London.


Total. No. of Common Lodging-houses Authorized No. of Lodgers


4 66


33 960


22 881

St. Pancras 

26 861

St. Giles-in-the-Fields

43 2,178

St. Martin's-in-the-Fields

6 225

Strand (including St. Anne, Soho)

12 711

St. James

2 142


18 725
166 6,749

In addition to the above there are also 21 in Chelsea (with authorized accommodation for 827 lodgers), and 25 in Westminster (with authorized accommodation for 1,683 lodgers).
    But these figures give an altogether inadequate idea of the actual numbers of this parasitic class in the West, inasmuch as very many of the men sleep in shelters and refuges that are not registered as common lodging-houses, and which therefore do not appear in the above list; while others, again, who infest the central districts of the \Vest by day, regularly resort to common lodging-houses in other districts at night.

II. Vagrants.

    Then, again, there must be added to these the relatively large number of vagrants who are attracted to West [-78-] London. It is noteworthy (as showing how powerfully the wealth of the West attracts this class) that of the total number of vagrants in London nearly one half are to be found in West London.
    It may be interesting if I give the figures in each case for the past five years.

Table showing the number of Vagrants admitted to Casual Wards in (a) All London, and (b) West, and West Central London (excluding Fulham and Chelsea), on the 1st of January in each of the years 1891-'5.



Total Number of Vagrants admitted

January 1st






















In some tables which appear in the Appendix to this volume I have shown the distribution of these vagrants in the different districts of West London. * [-* See Appendix XII.-]





I COME now to a consideration of the condition of the workers in the more regular trades of Soho and the immediately surrounding districts.
    I take, first, the case of women. These may be divided roughly into two general classes, viz., skilled and unskilled. The former includes the workers in the various branches of the. dress trades (e.g., tailoresses, mantle-makers, dressmakers, etc.); while the latter includes the more casual and nondescript forms of labour (e.g., charing, laundry-work, * [-* I have included all laundry workers under this head, although some branches of the trade should, perhaps, be regarded as skilled labour.-] and general factory work [-*A large number of women find temporary employment in the busy seasons at Messrs. Crosse and Blackwell's, and other factories in Soho.-]).
    The condition of the workers in each of these classes is exceedingly unsatisfactory. Work is extremely intermittent, and for the most part, badly paid; competition is severe - in the case of the older  women, disastrous - while the hours of work (in the busy seasons especially) are often excessive.
    Take, for example, the case of the women employed [-80-] in laundries. In the West (speaking generally) laundry-work is almost exclusively a workshop industry; the high rents, and absence of proper accommodation, chiefly accounting for this. This fact undoubtedly tends to an improvement in the condition of the workers, and to a better organization of the trade generally, but even then the lot of the workers is extremely unsatisfactory. The hours of work (even as sanctioned by the Factory and Workshop Act of 1895* [-* The hours allowed to women-workers in laundries by the Act of 1895 are 14 per day (exclusive of meal hours and absence from work), or 60 hours per week. But the Act does not apply to small hand-laundries.-]) are excessive, the work itself extremely arduous and carried on under conditions that seriously injure the health of the workers (the temperature of the rooms being often above 80º), while the wages (leaving out of view the loss of work through slackness, which - owing to the "London season" - is necessarily frequent) arc by no means high. In the washing branch of the trade, for example, the women get from 2/6 to 2/9 per day; while ironers earn from 3/- to 3/6. The following wages were paid in two typical West End laundries.* [-*I quote from the Report of the Royal Commission on Labour-]
    "A." In this laundry washers were paid at the rate of 2/6 per day, best ironers 3/6 per day; the "preparer," 3/- per day; while shirt ironers were paid at the rate of 1/3 to 1/6 per dozen. The wages book showed that in one week (in the beginning of April)
        1 worker had earned 25/-
        5 workers had earned 20/- to 25/-
        2 workers had earned 18/- to 20/-
        12 workers had earned 15/- to 18/-
        13 workers had earned 12/- to 15/-
        6 workers had earned 10/- to 12/-
        11 workers had earned 8/- to 10/-
        7 workers had earned 6/- to 8/-
        6 workers had earned under 6/-
    "B." In this case children were employed as sorters at 6d. per day.
        The "taker-out (i.e., at back of ironing machine) received 1/- per day
        The head-washer received 3/- per day
        Ordinary washers received 2/6 per day
        The head-drier received 2/6 per day
        Packers received 2/- to 2/6  per day
        Sorters received 2/- to 2/6  per day
        Finery ironer received 3/- per day
        Shirt ironer received 3/- per day
    The latter (i.e., shirt ironers) were required to average 3 shirts and a collar per hour, for which the price charged to customers was 1/1.
    Overtime is generally paid for at the rate of 3d. per hour, but, frequently (when less than 3/- per day is earned), at the rate of  2d. per hour.
    Very much of the overtime (which is frequently prolonged until midnight)* [-* In the Report (1893) of H.M. Inspector of Factories cases were reported of workers who were employed for three days and three nights at a stretch.-]  is due to the inconsiderateness of the public, who make the most thoughtless and cruel demands. Many of the visitors at the West End hotels, for example, are in the habit of giving out work overnight, which has to be returned, ready for use, early next morning. Some of the hotels, however (e.g., the Grand, Metropole, and First Avenue), are now furnished with [-82-] private laundries, and this may modify, to some extent, the evils of overtime. It is matter for very serious regret, however, that the Act of 1895, which brought laundries (with certain notable exceptions) for the first time under the provisions of the Workshop and Factory Acts, did not more seriously curtail the legal hours of work.
    It is also difficult to understand why the smaller laundries (ie., hand-laundries) where the conditions of work are often much more injurious to the workers, should have been exempted from the provisions of the Act.* [-* All laundries in which the only persons employed are members of the same family dwelling on the premises with not more than two other persons, are exempted from the Act.-] In this class of laundry the hours of work are often outrageously excessive, while the rooms, being small, are invariably overcrowded and full of steam. The wages in hand-laundries, however, are remarkably uniform, averaging from 2/6 to 2/9 per day, with (generally) an allowance of beer. In these laundries the workers are mostly married women, whereas in steam-laundries the women are as a rule much younger.
    Of women, again, who pick up a precarious living by charing, there are a considerable number in Soho. The supply, indeed, in this, as in all forms of unskilled labour, is far in excess of the demand, and consequently wages, although fairly uniform, are often scandalously low. One case, for example-that of a woman who had to scrub and clean from half-past five in the morning until twelve at noon, for 8/2 a week - may be quoted as fairly representing the rate of pay of many of these casual workers, a large proportion of whom are married women with a bitter knowledge of the grip of hunger and rent.




BUT by far the majority of the women workers in Soho are employed in the dress trades of the West. Of these a few* [-* It is probable that there arc not more than 500 shirt and collar makers in Soho and the immediately surrounding districts.-] are shirt and collar makers; a larger proportion dressmakers, mantlemakers, and milliners; while the great majority are tailoresses.
    Some branches of these trades (I refer to the two latter divisions only) are fairly well paid, but all are season trades, and therefore the wages are exceedingly irregular. Take the dressmaking for example. A girl who has been an apprentice or improver, and is fairly clever at her work, can, if she applies at the right time (e.g., at the end of March or the beginning of April), readily get on as a season hand at one or other of the large firms in the neighbourhood of Oxford Street, starting with wages of about eight shillings a week, In the case of a skilled work-woman the wages average fifteen or sixteen shillings per week. But the majority of them are season hands, and if they begin work, say, at the end of March, they may be kept busy until the end of August, with perhaps a few [-84-] extra weeks between October and December; but these are uncertain. The intervals of slackness must be filled up as best they can.* [-* An interesting clue to the seasonal fluctuations in the dressmaking  and millinery trades is afforded by some returns (relating to 1 2 firms) published by the Board of Trade. From these it appears that the staff of workers is reduced by over 50% in the slack seasons.-] In many of the West End houses the only permanent hands are the pupils, who pay a premium (generally about £20) to learn the trade, and who have the option of staying on as indoor hands when the apprenticeship is over, at a salary ranging from £8 to £20 a year, with board. But this system is rapidly dying out, chiefly because the excessive rents of the West make it impossible for employers to spare the room.
    The following figures (which refer to West End firms, and are quoted from the Report of the Labour Commission) may be interesting. It will be seen that they closely correspond with the figures already given.
    Of 82 dressmakers of whom evidence wvas given by one witness,
     24 received 8/- per week
        12 received 10/- per week
        7 received 12/- per week
        14 received 14/- per week
        13 received 16/- per week
        11 received 18/- per week
        1 received 20/- per week
    "Fitters," of course, are much more highly paid, the head-fitter sometimes receiving as much as £250 a year with board and lodging.
    Assistant bodice hands average from 8/- to 14/- per [-85-] week* [-* Food is rarely given in these cases, but occasionally dinner and tea are given.-] while experienced bodice hands earn from 16/- to 18/- per week.
    One firm in Regent Street (said to be "the best house in London"), pays its skirt hands from 17/- to 27/- per week. These rates, of course, apply to busy seasons only. The hours of work are generally from 8.30 to 7.30, with an hour, or an hour-and-a-half, for meals.
    Then there are the machinists. This is a large industry. Those who work for the best dressmakers can earn from sixteen to twenty-four shillings per week, while in the heavier machine work, such as cloth mantles and tailoring, wages range from eighteen to thirty shillings a week.* [-*These figures, it must be remembered, refer only to busy seasons-] This high rate of wages is naturally a powerful attraction, but the physical strain is severe, and few women can stand more than a few years of constant work without serious injury to their health.
    So far I have dealt with the better paid work only; but in Soho and the surrounding districts much of the work is miserably underpaid. One well-known firm, for instance, that formerly employed a large number of mantle-makers at. good wages, now procures many of its mantles from abroad, and employs the women chiefly in altering and fitting. This is done by piecework, and frequent deductions are made in the shape of fines. In other cases, women are paid as little as eightpence for making large ulsters, and then are required to find their own cotton.




BUT it is in the tailoring trade of the West that the most serious evils exist, and inasmuch as this is the principal trade in Soho, and represents by far the majority of the workers (male and female) I propose to give it much more detailed and searching examination, giving the results of long and careful personal investigations, and including information supplied to me from entirely reliable private sources.
    Few trades, probably, have had a darker history than the tailoring trades of London, and it may be questioned whether any have resisted more successfully the spirit of reform. That there have been great and obvious improvements in recent years - notably within the last five years- is undoubted;* [-* It is unquestionable, for example, that there is far lees drunkenness in the trade now than formerly; while the character of the workshops and the sanitary conditions under which the workers live have undergone steady improvement. How much, however, still remains to be done it will be the purpose of this chapter to show.-]  but these have been accompanied by other internal changes which have seriously affected the position of the workers: while from a variety of causes [-87-] - some of which will presently appear - both the spirit and letter of the most important of recent reforms are constantly and easily evaded.
    It is easy enough to account for this. The tailoring trade, to begin with, is sadly deficient (so far at least as the workers are concerned) in effective organization. This fact, in itself, is not surprising. The conditions of the trade are altogether unfavourable to organization. Work is extremely precarious and restricted - in the West especially - to ruinously short seasons; while the advent of the Jews has seriously aggravated the evils of competition. But whatever the explanation, the fact of  dis-organization remains. Out of 52,346 persons engaged in the tailoring trade in London (representing 18,253 males over 20 years of age) only 3,551 are members of Trade Societies.* [-*Life and Labour of the People, Vol. VII-]

Domestic Workshops.

    It must be remembered, moreover, that the tailoring trade is one of the few industries that have survived (to any considerable extent) the modern change-or revolution- in our industrial system: i.e., from domestic workshop to factory. The trade, it is true, has not been altogether unaffected by the modern spirit: clothing factories have sprung up here and there (e.g., in East London, and in several provincial towns), but these are restricted to "slop" or "contract" work. So far as the ordinary trade is concerned the only appreciable change has been a steady and widespread development which has substituted the small master, or "middleman", for the private worker. * [-*I have dealt elsewhere with the way in which the factory system of work (i.e., sub-division of labour) has affected the West End trade. See p.99-][-88-] A few West End firms, it is true, provide their own workshops, and this is undoubtedly, from every point of view, the most entirely satisfactory arrangement. But until the provision of such shops is made compulsory the number is not likely to be large, the extra accommodation needed entailing-owing to the exorbitant rents charged in the West-a very considerable additional expense.* [-* Even in cases where employers provide their own workshops much of the work is given out to "outworkers," so that the existence of such workshops is no guarantee that a particular garment has been made on the premises. In too many cases, it is to be feared, the customer is misled on this point.-]
    Private, or domestic, workshops may have certain small advantages in personal convenience to the worker, but these are a thousand times outweighed by obvious disadvantages which are almost too serious to admit of exaggeration.
    To begin with, they are often shamefully overcrowded. This will be readily realised when I mention that in the West (Soho), the tailors' workshops are frequently private tenements of one or two rooms which are used not only as workrooms (in which four, five, six, or even more persons, of both sexes, may often be found working) but also as sleeping and living rooms for the tailor and his family. I have already, in a previous chapter, given illustrations of this overcrowding, but I will supplement the eases there given with one or two others.
    One room, for example, of which the particulars are before me, was occupied by a man and his family (who used it as living and sleeping room combined) and four other persons (one man and three women) who came early each morning and worked until late in the evening. In [-89-] another case (also living, sleeping, and workroom combined) six workers were employed (two men and four women). There was absolutely no ventilation, and the steam from the pressing made the room almost unbearable. In a third case reported to me, a small back room (living, sleeping, and workroom) contained three workers. The bed was laid upon the floor, which was wretchedly dirty and looked as if it had not been scrubbed for months. In yet another instance (likewise a small back room) two men and a woman were found seated upon the bed busily sewing.
    Such cases are by no means rare, nor are they the worst that could be given. They simply represent what are frequent conditions in many of these small domestic workshops. Many of the worst cases escape detection owing to the cleverness, or cunning, of the devices adopted. In some cases, for example (one such was reported to me), a man rents, say, two rooms both of which are ostensibly workrooms, but in order to save gas, and, at the same time, secure personal supervision, he compels his workers (numbering, probably, from eight to twelve persons) to work in one room. Should the Factory Inspector call warning is at once given and half of the workers slip into the other room. It is by no means difficult to secure this warning. The people are fertile in resource, and a number of devices are systematically resorted to to escape detection. In some cases a small dog is kept simply to give warning of the approach of strangers.
    It is obvious, therefore, that the work of inspection is made, under any circumstances, extremely difficult, while, with a limited staff of inspectors, such as, unhappily, is [-90-] the case at present,* [-* Under the Public Health (London) Act, 1891, the local sanitary authority, acting through its sanitary inspectors, is solely responsible for domestic workshops, which arc thereby excluded from the provisions of the Workshop and Factory Acts. In cases of neglect or default, however, on the part of the local authority, the power of summary action is entrusted to H.M. Inspectors of Factories. In a previous chapter I gave particulars as to the number of Sanitary Inspectors in Soho and other districts. It may be useful to supplement those with figures shewing the number of Factory Inspectors in the United Kingdom. The entire staff consists of the following-
        1 Chief Inspector
        5 Superintending Inspectors
        13 1st. Class Inspectors    
        27 2nd. "       "
        1 Additional Inspector under Clause 24 of the Act of 1892 
        1 Assist.       "
        21 Junior Inspectors
        4 Lady     "
        25 Inspectors' Assistants
        Total 98
    The number of registered workshops and factories, on the other hand, is as follows- 
        Registered Factories 64,098
        "            Workshops 69,990
        Total 134,088-]
  anything like efficient inspection is out of the question. Much may be hoped, doubtless, from the effect of recent provisions of the law requiring the registration and systematic visitation of outworkers, but, nevertheless, it is open to grave question whether things can ever be satisfactorily remedied while domestic or tenement workshops are allowed to exist.
    In any case it cannot too strongly be urged that the limit of accommodation sanctioned by the law (i.e., 250 cubic feet per head) is, in the case of domestic or tenement [-91-] workshops - where the means of ventilation are necessarily imperfect - altogether insufficient. * [-*The evidence of Dr. Hamer, the Asst. Medical Officer of Health for London, confirms this. In his report of a special inspection of 200 domestic workshops in Soho, made in 1893, he declares that "it was no uncommon thing to find the air of the workrooms close and oppressive, and it cannot be too strongly insisted upon that the standard of 250 cubic feet is a low one, and when the air space per head approaches this limit, the means of ventilation should be particularly attended to. Even when the air of rooms occupied to this extent is renewed three or four times an hour, the amount of carbonic acid pollution must necessarily be considerable, and when no special means of ventilation are provided, such frequent renewal is impracticable. Under the conditions which were found to obtain in the workshops visited, it is unlikely that the air of the rooms was renewed more often than once or, at most, twice per hour, and under these circumstances, pollution to a very serious extent is quite compatible with the full allowance of 250 cubic feet of space per head."-]
    Another very serious evil arising out of the use of private tenement dwellings as workshops is that represented by the deficiency in sanitary conveniences, to which reference has already been made. * [-*see pp. 16, 38-39 etc.-]  It is a sufficiently serious matter, from a sanitary point of view alone, that a house intended originally for the accommodation of a single family, and furnished with sanitary conveniences for one family only, should be let out in small tenements to five, six, or even more families; but the evil is greatly aggravated when, as is the case in Soho, these tenements are made to serve as workshops also. Under these circumstances the supply of water- closets which, as I have already shown, is often, even under ordinary circumstances, scandalously insufficient, has to meet the requirements of an increased number [-92-] of persons, including workers of both sexes. I am perfectly well aware that this state of things is entirely contrary to the provisions of the Public Health Act, which requires* [-*Section 38, sub-sec. 1 . Public Health (London) Act, 1891-]  that "every factory, workshop, and workplace shall be provided with sufficient and suitable accommodation in the way of sanitary conveniences, regard being had to the number of persons employed in, or in attendance at such building; and also where persons of both sexes are, or are intended to be employed, or in attendance, with proper separate accommodation for persons of each sex," but the evil exists notwithstanding, and often in the most scandalous and aggravated forms. It is but another illustration of the fact of which, in this district,. one is perpetually reminded, that legislative reforms are in themselves useless in the absence of adequate and efficient administrative arrangements.
    It is here that the real and characteristic defect in our social arrangements lies, and until we frankly recognise it, and proceed earnestly to remedy it, it is useless - legislative reforms notwithstanding - to expect any great improvement in the conditions of social and industrial life.
    Another obvious evil of domestic workshops, but one to which, strangely enough, the public, who are most concerned, have been singularly indifferent, lies in the facilities they offer for the spread of disease. How great are these facilities few, perhaps, realise; but it is not difficult to estimate them when we consider the terribly crowded conditions under which tailors live, the grave sanitary defects of their tenement-workrooms, and the risks incurred in the promiscuous herding together in the fetid atmosphere of small crowded workrooms of all sorts and [-93-] conditions of people. The law, it is true, requires the speedy notification of all cases of infectious disease, and imposes a fine (not exceeding £10) upon the occupier of a workshop, or any other person, who allows work to be done "in any dwelling-house (or building occupied with a dwelling-house) in which any inmate is suffering from scarlet fever or small-pox." But (even were no loophole of escape offered in the shape of a "reasonable" plea of ignorance) the difficulty of enforcing the law is obvious; while in the case of the worker (for whom notification may mean the loss of an entire season s work), the temptation to evade the law may easily become irresistible.* [-* The Amalgamated Society of Journeymen Tailors, with commendable regard for the protection of the public (which, it is to be feared, the public does not always reciprocate), has an admirable provision to meet cases of this kind. The rule reads as follows:-
    "That in all cases where a member is prevented from following his employment by the medical authorities, in consequence of some member or members of the house in which he resides suffering from infectious disease, the Committee of the Branch shall investigate the case and medical certificate. They shall have power to grant lockout pay (i.e., 15/- a week) to the member. The Secretary shall send a full report within seven days to the Executive Council, who shall have power to grant such other payment as may meet the case, until the medical officer certifies that his family is free from infection."
    This arrangement, however, refers only to members of the Trade Society, whereas - as I have already shown - the vast majority of workers arc non-unionists. For full particulars of the various benefits conferred upon members of this Trade Society, the reader is referred to App. XIV-XV-]
If may be interesting to mention in this Connection, a case that came under my own knowledge a year or two ago, and for the truthfulness of which I can vouch. A certain worker, whom I happen to know, and who is one of the [-94-] best workers in the trade, had the misfortune some years ago to have several of his children (I think three) down at one time with fever, one of them subsequently dying from the disease. The man, however, not only failed to notify the firm for whom he was working of the fact, but actually used the work upon which he was at the time engaged as a temporary covering for the sick children, and afterwards sent it home as finished in the ordinary way. Among the garments so used was one that was being made for the late Cardinal Manning, and which, I am informed, was subsequently worn by him during a visit to Rome!
    In another instance - in this case a recent one - seven persons (viz., a tailor, his wife, three children, and two lodgers) were crowded together in one room, which, like many others, had to serve the triple purpose of living room, bedroom, and workroom. One of the children was stricken with fever, and (notice having been given, in this case, to the sanitary authorities), the family had to clear out to have the room disinfected. Iii the room at the time, however, were several coats upon which the man and his wife had been working while the child lay sick with the fever, and these when finished were sent back to the firm (a fashionable West End firm) in the ordinary way.* [-* The recent scandal in connection with the Duke of York's trousers is, perhaps, still fresh in the public mind.-] The indifference of the clothes-wearing public on this whole question is as extraordinary as it is appalling. It is probably due in great measure to ignorance, but if so, it is an unhappy and dangerous ignorance, and one that should be quickly dispelled. It can hardly be doubted that if the wealthy residents of Mayfair and Belgravia [-95-] could be induced to visit the domestic workrooms of Soho, and see for themselves the actual conditions under which their clothes are made, the result would be a rude awakening that would speedily bring about a series of healthy reforms. As it is the public seems well content to remain in ignorance of the fact that nearly 50 per cent. of those actually employed in making its clothes live under crowded and often scandalous conditions. That individuals could do much to remedy things is certain. They could at least insist upon knowing the conditions under which their clothes are made, or at all events demand adequate guarantees for the cleanliness and effective supervision of the workrooms. In America they have a system which (so long as domestic workshops are tolerated) might with advantage be adopted here. The Massachusetts Act 246 of 1893, for example, requires that all garments made in domestic or tenement-house workshops shall be marked with a special label. A similar arrangement would undoubtedly help matters in London.

Internal Changes. The Advent of the Jew.

    The question of tenement or domestic workshops is also related, more or less directly, to the various changes - many of them very serious changes - which have gradually transformed the tailoring trade in Soho in recent years. Prominent among these changes (I omit for the moment the enormous increase in the number of women workers) may be mentioned the following:- (1) Shorter seasons; (2) a cheaper class of work; and (3) less permanent work (i.e., a gradual dissolution of the informal, but more or less permanent, bond formerly existing between particular workmen and the firms for which they worked).
    [-96-] All of these changes may be traced back to two chief causes (which at bottom are one) viz., the introduction of machine work, and the advent of the Jews.
    The extraordinary manner in which the Jews (having possessed themselves already of Whitechapel and St. George's-in-the-East) have recently invaded and captured Soho, affords one of the most remarkable illustrations of industrial change that probably any district in London could offer.
    Less than ten years ago there were comparatively few Jewish tailors in Soho, and these were confined, for the most part, to one or two small streets. Now, however, the whole district is overrun with them.* [-* I have already shown (see p. 58) the large proportion of foreigners in Soho and other districts. It may, however, serve to give a clearer idea of the proportion of foreign tailors in London if I mention that out of 21,403 heads of families engaged in the tailoring trade in London, no fewer than 13,497, or 63%, wwre born out of London.-] 
    One reason for their success is found in the fact that they give far less trouble than English workers. There is less danger of trade disputes and strikes, and, moreover, they are comparatively indifferent as to the class of work they get. They will gladly take the rough (or cheap) work with the smooth, and are able (thanks to their sweating practices) to make the one pay for the other. It is the rule among many of the West End firms to give these men what are called "soft sews," and pay them something like 25% less for making.
    Then, again, they are willing to work at any time, and at all hours, and are extremely useful when (as often happens) a garment is required to be made in a few hours. A ease recently reported to me will illustrate this. A [-97-] young married Jew in Soho had been without work all day. At seven in the evening he went to his shop, and procured a job (a coat) that was wanted immediately. He took it home and started work at once, working incessantly through the night, assisted by his wife, who worked with a baby in her arms, and in this way the garment was got ready for the shop by the required time next morning.
    Against this form of competition the English worker is never safe, and its inevitable consequence has been to force long spells of night work upon him also.
    Moreover, it has practically revolutionised the trade by destroying the more or less permanent tie that formerly existed between West End firms and their out-workers. In the old days, and, indeed, up to a comparatively recent date, men worked for the same firm for fifteen or twenty years, and, in some cases even longer; while in the case of good workmen, the utmost (sometimes ruinous) license was allowed. If work was a little late no one greatly cared, while the men frequently went "on the drink" for weeks at a stretch, sometimes borrowing money for the purpose from the firms for whom they worked. I have information of one man who actually owed his firm £6, which he had borrowed in this way. ,The competition of the Jew has, however, changed all this, and while we may be thankful for some features of the change (it has certainly contributed greatly to the discouragement of the prolonged, drinking bouts that formerly disgraced the trade), it has, nevertheless, had other results of an exceedingly injurious character.
    Under the new conditions the slightest unpunctuality is frequently followed by summary dismissal. In one week, [-98-] a few months back, several cases were reported to me where workmen were summarily dismissed (i.e., refused further .work) for being half an hour late with their work, and this in the "off ", or dead season, meant six or eight weeks of enforced idleness and semi-starvation. If instead of being private journeymen tailors (i.e. ordinary outworkers) these men had been "sweaters" (i.e., had worked for a number of inferior firms, employing for this purpose a number of women at cheap rates of pay) they would have been considerably better off, and would have been secure from a risk of this kind. As it is, the merest accident, or a special difficulty in a garment, may easily make them a little late with their work.
    In other cases heavy fines are resorted to. One such case was reported to me recently. The man (who worked for a cheap firm in the West) happened through no fault of his own to be a little late with his work. Presently a messenger from the firm drove up in a hansom in quest of the work. Shortly afterwards a telegram arrived, followed, immediately afterwards, by a second messenger. At the end of the week the sum of five shillings was deducted from the man's wages to cover the cost of the telegram and cab. Against this system of deductions, or fines, the worker (owing to special conditions that prevail in this class of trade) is practically helpless.* [-*I am told that cases have occurred where the fines have actually amounted to more than the man's earnings.-]

Sweating Practices.

That the advent of the Jew has also been marked by a great increase in "sweating" will be obvious from what I [-99-] have already stated. The West End tailoring trade is peculiarly liable to degradation of this kind. * [-* In discussing the West End trade it is very necessary to keep well in view the different classes into which the trade is divided. On the one side, for example, there are the good old-fashioned shops, representing still the very best class of work, where all the workers (from the employers downwards, and including the outworkers and their wives) are thoroughly skilled and practical tailors. On the other side there are the so-called "merchant tailors," and "slop" shops generally (disguised very frequently under a brilliant show), where not only the master but even the cutter may have no practical (i.e., thorough) knowledge of the trade, and where the workers, with the exception of the leading hands, have but a partial knowledge of the manufacture of a garment (e.g., machinists, fellers, buttonholers. pressers, etc.).
    In the former case, speaking generally, good prices are paid, and ample trimmings and "sewings" are given out with the work. In the latter case prices are low and ~sweating frequent, while "sewings" have to be found by the worker. The gradual degradation of even the best class of trade through the system of outwork is, however, becoming most marked.-]
The fact that it is a "domestic" trade, liable to constant fluctuations, and carried on at all times under extremely precarious conditions, gives the "sweater" a tremendous advantage of which he is not slow to avail himself. One most disastrous result of the system (although here it is a little difficult to distinguish precisely between cause and effect), is the serious decline of the system of thorough apprenticeship, and the substitution of the factory system of minute subdivision of labour.* [-* It has been stated that there are now no fewer than twenty-five distinct sub-divisions in the tailoring trade (e,g., cutters, basters, machinists, pressers, fellers. buttonholers, etc., etc.)-]
    That this result has been accelerated by the poverty and impatience of the parents, who are, speaking generally, too poor to support their children through a long apprenticeship [-100-] is undoubtedly true; but it is much more largely true to say that the new system owes its remarkable success to the very special facilities which it offers for sweating practices, in which his scientific methods give the Jew an immense advantage over the English worker. In any case, the change is fatal to healthy pride of workmanship, and, indeed, threatens to make an entire end of the thoroughly practical tailor. Under this system the absorbing consideration is no longer a question of workmanship, but becomes instead a question of profit.
    Numerous cases of "sweating" have been reported to me from time to time. I can mention but one or two. 
    In one case a young woman (a thoroughly skilled work-woman who had frequently earned, as a weekly worker employed on the best class of work, from 22/- to 26/- a week), was compelled through slackness to accept work from a Jew who paid her piecework. At the end of the first week her wages were 7/- and during the whole time that she worked for him she never succeeded in earning more than 8/- a week.* [-* Under this system of piecework she would be there all the time but have work given to her at intervals as the necessity arose (e.g., a garment to "fell" , or a set of button-holes to work). So that she might be there for an entire day, but be idle for hours, and then be paid only for actual work.-]
    In another case a day-worker was paid 2/- per day (a shilling per day less than she had always previously received); but although paid two-thirds of a day's wage she was required to do what was virtually a day-and-a-half's work, and then was fiercely bullied for not accomplishing more. This man regularly robbed his employés of their half-hour for tea. This, however, is constantly [-101-] done. One "sweater" of whom information was given me regularly closed his front door at tea-time, and further guarded himself against the contingency of a "surprise" visit from the Factory Inspector by stationing a "scout" there to give warning. In the evening he would contrive so to "distribute" his workers as to leave his workroom clear. * [-* There are at least two distinct classes of "sweaters." First, the small man who employs few hands and whose workroom adjoins (or indeed actually is) his dwelling-room; and, secondly, the large "sweater" who employs a considerable number of "hands", and whose workrooms (in many cases large and well lighted) are apart from his living rooms.-]
    It is indeed no uncommon thing for workers, working for Jews, to be kept employed until nine, ten, and even twelve o'clock at night. One case indeed was reported some time back where a girl was persistently overworked. She went one morning to the workroom and found no work ready. She was told to come again at 2 p.m. and was then started and kept at work until 3 o'clock next morning. She went again at 8 a.m. and worked until 10.30 p.m. Next morning she began again at 8 a.m. and was kept working until 10 p.m. Happily this case was reported and the "sweater" was fined £5 and costs; but it is only occasionally that cases are discovered. It must not be forgotten that in these cases the worker is helpless and is not free to make terms with the "sweater." In the slack seasons especially, the latter can take every advantage of his workpeople, knowing that they are absolutely dependent upon him for work, and that, no matter what the conditions are on which the work is offered, they must eagerly accept it.
    [-102-] But sweating is by no means an exclusively Jewish vice.* [-*The writer has no wish to be unfair to the Jews qua Jews. There are doubtless many Jewish tailors in the West who conduct their workshops on lines that would compare favourably with the methods of English tailors. But it can hardly be doubted by anyone intimately acquainted with the trade that in recent years the Jewish "sweater" has gradually supplanted the Irish "sweater" who formerly had so large a monopoly of out-work in the West; and that, moreover, he has been greatly helped in this by his scientific methods, which have led him to take full advantage of two important factors in the modern development of the trade (of which the English worker has been much slower to avail himself), viz:- female labour and machinery.-]  It prevails to a considerable extent among English "middlemen" also; while some of the larger firms in the West are notorious "sweaters." The following may serve to illustrate this.
    A case was reported to me some time back where a man and his wife (sober, respectable, and industrious people) worked as trousers hands (finding their own workroom, and tools) for a large and well-known firm of cheap tailors in the West. They were paid, to begin with, at the rate of 2/3 per pair, but the prices were gradually cut down until the workers received but 1/6, and, finally 1/- per pair! Moreover they were compelled to find their own "sewings" (i.e., twist, etc.). * [-*A case was tried in the Lambeth County Court only a few weeks back (August 1896) in which a middleman brought an action against a tailoress for detaining nineteen coats belonging to him. The defence pleaded was that the middleman declined to pay the price for work done which his wife had offered. In the evidence given it was proved that the woman was paid at the rate of ninepence per dozen coats for working five buttonholes and sewing on four buttons on each, together with fetching and delivering the goods, finding her own sewing materials, workroom, and lighting. "It takes me," said the woman, "from 9 in the morning till 9 at night to do a dozen coats; I have to buy my own material, and [-103-] pay my fare (twopence) in fetching and carrying back work." The plaintiff (who admitted the rate of pay) urged in extenuation that some of the most fashionable West End and City tailors are making fortunes by sweating the middleman and through him the worker, and added that he himself was working for Members of Parliament. The National Average Time Log allows for this kind of work as follows:- 
    "Five holes 1¼d., buttons with tacks ½d., making a total of 1¾d."
    See The Tailor and Cutter. August 6th, 1896.-]

    [-103-] These iniquitous sweating wages cannot be justified. They are not to be justified even on a plea of economic necessity. It is possible even in the lower class trade of the West to pay fair wages, for the cost of the material used in this description of work is very small, amounting, probably, to not more than 1/6 per yard (double width), for "suitings" and less than 1/- per yard (single width) for trouserings.* [-* A suit of clothes can easily be cut out of 3¼ yards of double width material, and a pair of trousers out of 2½ yards of single width material. In the case of the latter the average cost in the class of trade referred to above would probably be as follows
        Cost of material 2/6
        Make up 1/-
    Trimmings 1/-
        Total 4/6
    When it is added that the lowest price charged for trousers (made to measure) in the West is 8/11, it will be seen that the profits are enormous.-]

    The men who take out this inferior class of work are often not tailors, but men who have learnt the pressing, and who then marry a tailoress with a knowledge of the class of work they want to do. But many of these people can only keep at it for a few years. The long hours and the incessant strain gradually, but surely, tell. The nerves become exhausted, and the general health gives way until, presently, there is nothing for it but to sell or lose the [-104-] home. The people to whom I have already referred, although perfectly sober and respectable, lost machines, and home, and everything.
    But even much of the better class work in this district is done under the "sweating" system. For example, I have information of a well-known firm of so called "fashionable" tailors in the West who regularly pay the "middleman" out-worker 7/6 for a jacket for which other firms pay from 16/- to 18/-.* [-* The actual work put into the make-up of the cheaper garment is, of course, of greatly inferior quality.-]  Out of this 7/6 no less than 2/- was given back by the "sweater" to the shop-foreman in what are called "salvages" or bribes. So keen, however, is the competition among the "sweaters" themselves, that on one occasion, I am credibly informed, a rival middleman actually offered the foreman a "salvage" of 3/- out of every 7/6, and in consequence obtained the work. This system of "salvages," or bribes, is one of the most iniquitous of the many evil results of out-working, and cannot too strongly be denounced; but that it prevails to a very considerable extent in the trade of the West is notorious, and it probably offers the best explanation of the fact that the "sweater" often takes from £40 to £70 per week in wages while the men in the employer's own workshop are earning little or nothing.*  [-* The reader will do well to study in this connection the evidence given by Mr. Edward M'Leod, the present West London District Secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Journeyman Tailors, before the Royal Commission on Sweating on July 10th, 1888. Mr. M'Leod showed conclusively that in the first ten weeks of that year (i.e., the slackest time in the whole of the year) one out-worker had taken £190, and another £75, in wages from the Army and Navy Stores, while the workmen on the premises had beep almost completely idle. A precisely [-105-] similar condition of things exists in many West End firms to-day, and will probably continue to exist so long as out-working is recognised.-]
    [-105-] The case referred to above is probably an extreme one (although in matters of this kind it is difficult to speak with assurance, inasmuch as positive evidence is exceedingly difficult to obtain), but that "salvages" of from 2/6 to 5/- in the £1 are frequently given is notorious, as also is the custom of giving Bank-holiday and Christmas "presents" to the shop-foreman.
    But the system of sweating works most successfully in the trousers branch of the trade. For example, I have before me now the name and address of a man who employs about eight women and two men, and who regularly receives work from a well-known firm of clerical tailors in the West. For trousers for which he himself gets 3/6 per pair, he pays his workpeople as follows:
        Tailoress 1/3 per pair
        Machinist -/3 per pair
        Presser -/6 per pair
        Total ... 2/- per pair.
    This leaves him a clear profit of 1/6 per pair. When I add that the women can make two pairs per day it will be seen that his profits are enormous. From the total of these, however, must be deducted the cost of rent and coke which in his case amounted to exactly 8/- per week.

Increase of Women Workers.

    From what has already been said it will probably be clear that the rapid increase of women workers has played an important part in the deterioration and disorganization of the tailoring trade in the West.
    [-106-] The enormous extent of this increase in recent years is little realised, but it is so startling as to seem at first incredible. The following Table will show at a glance the extent and rapidity of the increase in the trade as a whole:

Table showing the Increase of Women workers in the Tailoring trade (England and Wales) between the years 1871-1891. [-* Quoted from a special Parliamentary Return published in 1895.-]

Total Males Total Females
1871 111,860 38,043
1881 107,668 52,890
1891 119,496 89,224

That is to say, between 1871 and 1881 the number of men engaged in the trade decreased nearly 4 per cent.; while in the same period the number of women workers increased over 39 per cent. Between 1881 and 1891, again, the number of men increased nearly 11 per cent., while in the same period the number of women increased over 68 per cent. Taking the entire period of twenty years, (1871-91), the men have increased barely 7 per cent., while the women workers have increased over 134 per cent.!
    The increase is, of course, to be explained in part by the lightening of the work through the introduction of machinery, and, also, by other changes which have already been referred to; but there can be no doubt that in the absence of efficient organization, its general effect has been, in several directions, exceedingly injurious to the workers themselves. If the women's branch of the trade could be satisfactorily organized (a possibility that, [-107-] I confess, appears to me to be remote so long as domestic or tenement workshops exist), many of the most serious evils of the trade would instantly disappear, but, as it is, the workers are helpless. * [-* It is satisfactory to note that women are now admitted as members of the Amalgamated Society of Tailors, although the number who have joined is at present extremely small. Taking the six West Central Branches of the Society (i.e., the West End, Dragon, Hand-in-Hand, Strand, International, and Pioneer) out of a total of 1,467 members (Dec. 1895) only 18 were women.-]
    The evils of competition among women are seriously aggravated by the practice of employing what in the boot and fur trades are called "greeners", i.e., apprentices, or learners, who receive little or no remuneration for their work, and who can be easily turned adrift when the purpose of the "sweater" is served. A painful illustration of this, and of the extent of competition, generally, among women, may be seen at any time outside the shops where tailors' advertisements are shown. The women - young and old alike - stand in groups, sometimes in a great crowd, eagerly scanning the advertisements, or, as too frequently happens, exchanging coarse jokes with their neighbours.

Women's Wages.

Of course, under fair conditions, and in the busy seasons, tolerably good wages can be earned. A girl, for example, who is industrious, and who is also fairly clever at her work can earn in the busy season from 12/- to 18/-, or even £1, per week; while' a skilled workwoman can earn from 18/- to £1 10s per week: but the higher wages are exceptional, and, of course, are not regular, but [-108-] season wages. In the slack seasons even a good workwoman would probably not earn more than seven, or eight, or, perhaps, ten shillings per week, while for several weeks together she may earn absolutely nothing.
    In the following tables I am able to give particulars (taken from the workers' own "log" books) of the highest, lowest, and average earnings of three women employed on good work during the three best months of last year (i.e., April, May, and June 1895).
    In the first case the earnings were as follows:- 

No. 1
Highest weekly earnings £1 9s. 6d.
Lowest weekly earnings 14s. 3d.
Average weekly earnings (for the three best months in the year) 19s. 2d.

    In the second case the figures were as under:-

No. 2
Highest weekly earnings £1 11s. 9d.
Lowest weekly earnings 5s. 0d.
Average weekly earnings (for the three best months in the year) £1 1s. 4d.

    In the third case the following result appeared:-

No. 3
Highest weekly earnings £1 2s. 3d.
Lowest weekly earnings 12s. 3d.
Average weekly earnings (for the three best months in the year) 18s. 4d.

Men's Wages

    In turning, however, as I now propose to do, to the earnings of men engaged in the best class of work in the West, much greater difficulties present themselves. Here [-109-] the conditions vary so greatly that it is exceedingly difficult to strike an average. It is probably true, however, to say that taking the three best months in the year the average earnings of indoor workers engaged on the very best trade of the West would be from £2 10s. to £3 per week.* [-* The minimum Trade Union wage for indoor workers engaged on the best class of work is £2 2s 0d. per week of 54½ hours.-] I am authoritatively assured, however, that taking the entire year's work the earnings of such men would not average more than 30/- per week. In the case of outworkers it is much more difficult to estimate. Here, especially, the conditions vary greatly. Some firms, for example, allow far more machine work than others, while the workers themselves differ greatly in efficiency and. skill. A man, however, who is a thoroughly skilled workman, and who is assisted by his wife, can earn from £2 10s. to £5 per week during the best weeks of the season; but the higher wages are the result of extreme pressure, and to earn them a man must be able to secure a full share of work from his shop. Probably £3 per week would be a fair average for an outworker and his wife during the three busy months of the year.
    Fortunately I am able to give in the Appendix to this volume* [-*see Appendix XIII-] an entire year's earnings (i.e., from April 13th, 1895 to April 4th, 1896) of a skilled outworker and his wife (with additional help in the busy season) employed on thoroughly good work (coats) in the West. The case is probably as good an one as could be given, and it will serve to show the actual state of things in this branch of the trade under exceptionally favourable conditions. To begin with, both the man and his wife are young and [-110-] entirely respectable, while both are skilled workers. Moreover, as a glance at the figures (which are taken from the man's "log" book) will show, they have been exceptionally fortunate in securing a regular and full share of work. It will be seen that the highest sum taken in one week was £5 9s. 6d., while the lowest sum was 5/1. The entire year's earnings amounted to £175 13s. 9½d., giving an average of £3 7s. 6d. per week.* [-* A further analysis which I made of the man's earnings during the following seven months (i.e., from April 4th to October 3rd, 1896) gave a practically identical result.-]   It must be remembered, however, that these figures represent the earnings, not of one person, but of several workers. The man was regularly assisted by his wife, a thoroughly skilled workwoman, while in the busy seasons much additional help was required. For three months at a stretch, for example (i.e., from April 13th to the end of June), three persons were generally employed, and occasionally four (including of course the outworker and his wife). Further, the higher wages could only be earned by great pressure: the out- worker himself frequently working all night (on some occasions having but two hours sleep in thirty-six hours), and on Sundays also, while his wife often worked from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    For a considerable part of the year the man and his wife occupied two small rooms (living, and sleeping, and workrooms combined) on the third floor of a house in Soho at a rent of eleven shillings per week, but had to leave in consequence of the landlord's refusal to grant them a third room at less than eight shillings per week extra.* [-*Single rooms in this house are regularly let at 8/6 per week-] The man thereupon took three rooms (which [-111-] they at present occupy) in a street a little to the north of Soho, but within easy walking distance (less than a quarter of a mile) of their former address, at a rental of 14/- per week. But - and this will show how helpless the people are in their attempts to escape the pressure of exorbitant rents - the change of address was immediately followed by a loss of work, for a firm who before were willing to give the man work instantly withdrew their offer when they learned that he was living on the northern side of Oxford Street. The truth is - and it cannot be stated too strongly or too often - as things are at present, and under the existing system of outwork, the workers in Soho are absolutely powerless to escape from the crushing burden of ruinously exorbitant rents.

Some Family Budgets.

    It may not be uninteresting, at this point, to supplement the figures already given by a statement showing how the wages so precariously earned are spent. And for this purpose I have selected certain typical weeks in the domestic life of a worker of a somewhat lower class than the one just referred to, but who may be taken as a fair representative of a large number of tailors in the West - a sober, respectable man, working quietly at home and receiving occasional assistance from his wife, but unable to obtain a regular supply of work.* [-* It may be stated at the outset that many of the workers in the tailoring trade-good, bad, and indifferent alike-live for a large part of the year in a chronic state of bankruptcy, pledging one week's earnings (in the slack seasons, several weeks' earnings) to eke out another.-]
    The family consisted of the man and his wife, and four children (all of them too young to be wage-earners). At [-112-] the beginning of April 1895, following upon a winter of exceptional severity, the man found himself several pounds in debt to landlord, baker, pawnbroker, etc., while several of the children requited boots and underclothing.
    For the week ending April 20th, 1895, the entire earnings of the family amounted to £2 3s. 9d.; the household expenses were as follows:

s. d.

Rent (including 2/- off arrears)

13 0

Baker's a/c for bread (including 1/- off arrears)

3 9

Groceries for week


Paid for washing (in consequence of wife working at trade)

2 9

Joint of meat (to last three days)


Meat, for remaining 4 days

2 3

Vegetables for week

3 0

1½ cwt. coals (at 1/4 per cwt.)

2 0

Butter for the week (1 lb)

1 0

Sundry household requisites, soap, soda, etc.

1 0



Insurance and Club money

1 4

Hire of machine

1 6

Fair of boots for child

2 11

Total expenditure (for six persons) 

£2  0s.  4d.

Balance of income over expenditure

3s. 5d. 


£2  3s. 9d.

    The absence of any item of expenditure for beer or other alcoholic drinks is noteworthy. Moreover, with the exception of one item of 2/11 for boots for one of the children, there is no mention made of clothes, the cost of which, [-113-] for a family of six persons would necessarily be great.*  [-* it is said to have averaged, in this case, 7/- per week: but this is probably excessive. Judging by ascertained returns in other trades, the sum of 4/- per week would probably be a fairer estimate.-] Nor - to mark only one other omission - is there any mention made in the above list of necessary expenditure for wear and tear in household utensils, furniture, etc., and other incidental expenses which are common to all households, and inevitable where there are young children. I have tried to secure a rough estimate of such expenditure, but it is difficult to determine it with anything like accuracy, inasmuch as various sums were given to the wife at irregular intervals; such, for example, as £1 on one occasion for new bedding, and a further sum at another time for sheets, pillow-cases, etc. I shall certainly not be overestimating this source of expenditure, however, in fixing it at a minimum sum of £2 per annum.
    Now it will be interesting to compare this statement, which refers to what in this man's case was a fairly good week, with other similar statements, having reference to the same family, for certain weeks in the slack season. These statements will be of special value as showing the nature and extent of the economies that are forced upon the people in times of slackness.
    For the week ending January 5th, 1895, the wages of the family amounted to 15s. 8d. The expenditure for the same week was as follows: 

s. d.

[-114-] Rent (half a week only)

5 6

Boots for children (three pairs)

10 9

Meat (frozen mutton) lasting 4 days

2 3


2 6


2 0


1 0



Hire of machine

1 6

Insurance and club

1 4



Dinner for Thursday (six persons) 


Dinner for Friday (six persons)


Meat tea Saturday (no dinner)



1 3


£1 13s. 7½d.
Deficiency (excess of expenditure over income) 17s. 11½d.
This was met by the man pawning his best suit for £1

    For the week ending January 26th, 1895, the wages of the family were absolutely nil. This, although exceptional in the case of a good worker, is by no means uncommon among workers of a lower class.
    In this week, therefore, the expenses, of necessity, had to be cut down to the barest minimum. In the first place, nothing could be paid for rent, hire of machine, Sick Benefit Society, or Insurance. The landlord stormed, and forcibly reminded the man and his wife that he was neither a Relieving Officer, nor a relative, and had nothing to do with their troubles, but, nevertheless, the rent could not be found.
    The expenditure for the week was as follows:

[-115-] Saturday Tripe cuttings for Sunday's dinner (six persons)


Saturday Potatoes and parsley for Sunday's dinner (six persons)


Monday Dinner (2 bloaters)


Tuesday No dinner

Wednesday (pledged pair of blankets for 4/-)

Wednesday Stew for dinner


Wednesday Paid coal man 2/- owing to him (as he refused otherwise to send in any more coal, and family had no fire) 


Thursday Dinner (potatoes and dripping) 


Friday No dinner

Saturday Dinner (haddock and butter) 


Bread for week 

2s. 3d.

Tea, Sugar, and Milk for week

1s. 5½d.





Total expenditure for week 

8s. 9½d.

Of this sum 4/- (as will be seen above) was raised by pawning a pair of blankets (this in the depth of the winter!).
    Let me conclude with the particulars of one more week. I select the week ending February 9th, 1895.
    For this week the entire wages of the family amounted to 8/7. The expenditure was as follows:-

Rent (part of a week)


Meat for Sunday, etc. (3 lbs of salt beef at 2½ per lb.)


Tea, Sugar, and Milk 

1s. 7d.








2s. 6d.

Meat, vegetables, etc. for a stew (six persons) 


Soap, soda, and other sundries 


Potatoes and Lard (a "baked dinner")


Total expenditure for the week

16d. 3½d.

[-116-] Total deficiency on the week (i.e., excess of expenditure over income) 7/8½.
    For three days the family lived upon bread and tea. Nothing, it will be noticed, could be paid this week for hire of machine, Sick Benefit Club, or Insurance; nor is anything included for medical attendance incurred by the illness of one of the children. The deficiency was covered by the man pawning his overcoat. * [-* It will be noticed that in the three weeks of which I have given particulars (and which, among the class of workers referred to, are by no means so exceptional as may be supposed), the man had been compelled to pawn an overcoat (the only one he possessed), a suit of clothes, and a pair of blankets, and this in the face of the worst rigours of an exceptionally hard winter.-]
    That the winter of 1894-5 was an exceptionally severe one must, of course, be borne in mind when considering these figures, but they, nevertheless, indicate a condition of things that is sadly too common among the workers of the West in the severe weeks of winter.

General Conclusions.

In view, therefore, of all the facts now given, it will be evident that even in the busy seasons the circumstances of the average tailor are by no means enviable. The comparatively high wages earned then are the result of excessive and prolonged labour carried on under conditions that must always be more or less injurious to health; while they are heavily discounted by long intervals of slackness in which wages tend ever to the vanishing point. If rents were lower and the work could be more evenly distributed throughout the year, the circumstances of the worker would undoubtedly greatly improve; but as things are it is difficult to see how the average tailor in [-117-] Soho can have other than a precarious and, indeed, "hand- to-mouth existence, while for frequent and anxious periods - especially during the winter months-his condition must necessarily be one of acute distress.
    The problem of reform is unquestionably an exceedingly difficult one, as, indeed, all problems connected with the reform of "season" trades necessarily must be. That many of the evils connected with the trade spring from the inconsiderateness of the clothes-buying public is certain. In the best branches of the trade, for example, much inconvenience and monetary loss are entailed upon the worker through the frequent failure of the customer to keep his appointments for "trying on a garment. In many cases orders are cut and "basted" to time, and then are allowed to hang in the shop for days while the worker is kept in enforced idleness. In this way considerable time is frequently lost to the worker in the height of a busy season.
    It is equally certain, also, that a little consideration on the part of the public would do much to remedy the evils of over-pressure of work in the busy season, on the one hand, and of prolonged slackness in the "off" season on the other. In the West End of London, for example, there is naturally a very large demand for liveries, the orders for which are given in the Spring, just when the tailoring trade is at its busiest. The work is hard and badly paid, and, coming when it does, frequently destroys a good worker's chance of more remunerative work. If, however, all livery orders were given in the early months of the year (i.e., before March)- and there is absolutely no reason why this should not be done-it would not only relieve the pressure of the busy season, but also keep many a worker ot~t of debt during the slack winter weeks.
    [-118-]But, after all, these suggestions, however valuable in themselves, touch but the fringe of the problem. The real remedy for the worst evils connected with the trade lies, it can hardly be questioned, in the total abolition of out-work and the compulsory establishment of employers' workshops. In saying this I am by no means indifferent to the objections frequently brought against employers' workshops by outworkers. That they tend, as at present conducted, to limit personal freedom, and to place a worker at the mercy of his employer's caprice, is doubtless true; but that is largely the result of the present alternative system of outworking which gives the employer- especially if he be unscrupulous-a tremendous advantage over the indoor worker. Moreover, as a matter of fact, a precisely similar objection might be urged against the factory system in all other industries. Nor am I indifferent, further, to the many advantages that undoubtedly belong to the so-called "public" workshops that have recently sprung up in the West. But whatever advantages these workshops possess are sanitary and administrative advantages only, while the system of payment for "sittings" fastens even more definitely and expressly upon the worker a charge (amounting virtually to a deduction from wages) which our entire industrial system acknowledges to belong rightfully to the employer.
    Compulsory employers' workshops, on the other hand, would secure (1) uniform rates of pay, (2) full and efficient inspection of workshops (3) the abolition of excessive hours of work, and (4) improved sanitary conditions for the workers. In a word: the better regulation of the entire industry, and the abolition of "sweating" in all its forms. 
    [-119-] it is useless, however, to expect speedy legislative interference in this direction. The public is always singularly hard to convince in these matters, while the workers themselves are by no means sufficiently agreed to make immediate legislation practicable. Meantime, however, reform might well be sought in fuller and more efficient arrangements for the administration of the Factory and Public Health Acts and especially in the abolition of the present dual responsibility in the case of domestic workshops. It is not too much to say that at present many of the most useful provisions of these Acts are rendered useless by the utter inadequacy and confusion of our administrative arrangements. Administrative machinery, it is true, is costly, but where the evasions of the law are so deliberately and skilfully contrived, and, withal, are so ruinous to morality and health, as we know them to be, for example, in Soho, the efficiency and adequacy of such machinery are factors of supreme importance.
    In this district, at least, it is true that the general conditions of industry make terribly against the dignity and inspiration that rightfully belong to it, and it is difficult for the worker to escape the sense - I will not say the fact - of degradation. That this should be so is surely matter for serious concern to all who deplore the social schisms of our age. That these largely proceed from, and are considerably intensified by, the modern view of labour - a view which regards it as an irksome, and narrowing, and unlovely thing-is as unquestionable as the view itself is false. But wherein lies the remedy? simply, surely, in an honest attempt to bring back labour in all its forms to pure and healthy conditions, and in a consistent endeavour [-120-] to place it upon levels that will make it once more a joy and a delight, and impart to it somewhat of the inspiration that was associated with craftsmanship in the Middle Ages.

[----nb. grey numbers in brackets indicate page number, (ie. where new page begins), ed.----]