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PART III - MORAL
IN estimating the moral problem of West London a much more
careful analysis is required than would be necessary, probably, in any other
district in Europe. While there are here all the ordinary conditions that
determine the moral atmosphere of a district, there are also present other
conditions which, so far as England at least is concerned, are peculiar to West
London. In this district evil ceases to be a theory, and is subtler and deeper
than fact. It surrounds one ever as a subtle and penetrating atmosphere.
Life in West London, for example, is marked by the same conditions of sterile and hopeless artificiality that are to be found in other parts of the metropolis, and, indeed, in all large cities, but aggravated by other conditions which make the artificiality even more hopeless. The people have no direct and personal contact with nature. They live their lives surrounded by artificial objects, and at the mercy of wholly artificial conditions which are fatal to moral life. This, it seems to me, is the special difficulty of religious work in large cities. The inevitable effect of artificial sur-[-122-]roundings is to breed secularism, in one or other of its forms, in the soul, and the greater or less refinement of the form will be determined largely by the people's physical surroundings. This fact alone constitutes a powerful plea for those wider agencies which the Churches are beginning to employ. It is the real, if unrecognised, raison d'ętre of much of the religious and educational work that is now being attempted.
Then again, here as elsewhere, full allowance must be made for the demoralising effect of the physical struggle for existence which is created by the pressure of poverty. How severe that pressure is in Soho and the immediately surrounding districts, I have already shown. In estimating the misery which those figures suggested it is necessary to keep in view the almost incredible luxury and wealth to which it offers so startling a contrast. That the two are closely, and, indeed, inevitably related is certain. Unbridled luxury must always be a vicious and disintegrating influence in the life of a community, especially where, as here, one considerable portion of the population lives merely to minister to and maintain it; and it cannot be doubted that the vicious excesses and selfish extravagances of the richer districts of West London have left an unmistakable mark in the degradation and misery of the poorer districts. It is in this direction, as I shall presently show, that we have to turn for the true explanation of many of the darkest and most painful problems of life in West London.
It has been already remarked that one immediate effect of the unrestricted extravagance in the wealthy districts of the West is an exceptional amount of "season," or casual work, which greatly intensifies the pressure of poverty in Soho and other industrial districts. Now the effect of this upon the moral life of these districts is more serious than may at [-123-] first be supposed. Casual work, even if it be highly paid, is invariably a greater evil than regular work where the wages are low, for it undermines character and begets a fatalism that is too often blind and reckless. Life tends more and more to become a scramble, with no order or philosophy in it, and the people's moral ideas suffer in consequence. Hence it is that these districts offer so difficult a religious problem.
The same consideration undoubtedly applies to the entire problem of poverty in the district. The precise relation of poverty statistics to the moral problem of a district may not at first seem very obvious, but it is none the less real and indisputable. Poverty in itself may not seriously affect the problem of morals, but destitution undoubtedly does, and while it is easy to exaggerate its - influence, it is folly, and worse than folly, to ignore it. Aristotle claimed that it is "needful first to have a maintenance and then to practise virtue," and while we should protest that this is not so absolutely, yet historically and practically the statement has in it a large measure of truth. The general law of progress, or civilization - call it what you will - is an ascent from physical to moral. It is not; a question of the intrinsic superiority of the one over the other, but of natural order, and any analysis of moral facts which ignores this order must by so much be inconclusive and misleading. Physical destitution intensifies, if it does not actually create, moral obliquity and weakness, and; hence religious work among the most destitute classes must; always be judged by its own standards. Its results will be relative rather than absolute, although the ideal which inspires it will still be, as always, unconditioned and free.
How terribly and tragically deep this moral deteriora-[-124-]tion may go is shown by the fact that in one district known to me young children have sometimes been sold by their own mothers for immoral purposes. Such infamy seems almost incredible, but I am informed on entirely reliable authority that in the district referred to these horrible transactions have actually occurred.
But that tragedies equally serious, and perhaps even more revolting, do actually result from the conditions under which the people live is unhappily too certain. It is impossible, for example, to estimate the disastrous moral effects of the overcrowding which is so notable a feature of life in Soho. It is an equal outrage upon all ideas both of sanitary and moral purity, and goes far to make the commonest decencies of life impossible. It is no wonder if sometimes the children's moral ideas become as fetid as the air of the crowded rooms in which the people work and sleep and live.* [-* The statistics of incest, for example, among the overcrowded poor, and also of juvenile prostitution, would, if published, be appalling. It is terribly significant that taking 100 consecutive "rescue" cases admitted into the homes of the Salvation Army, no fewer than 45 of the girls (or nearly one half) had fallen at, or under, the age of sixteen. The full particulars were as follows:-
3 were 11 years of age
2 were 12 years of age
5 were 13 years of age
7 were 14 years of age
17 were 15 years of age
11 were 16 years of age
12 were 17 years of age
15 were 18 years of age
5 were 19 years of age
8 were 20 years of age
6 were 21 years of age
2 were 22 years of age
3 were 24 years of age
1 were 25 years of age
2 were 33 years of age
1 were 34 years of age-]
[-125-] Another important factor in the moral life of West London is the large foreign element which crowds its industrial districts. This is largely and avowedly irreligious, and its influence cannot be ignored. It plays an important part in the creation of a moral atmosphere the elements of which are more subtle than we have yet allowed ourselves to realise.
GAMBLING AND INTEMPERANCE
So far I have dealt with facts which, important as I believe
them to be in their relation to the whole problem of morals in West London, are,
nevertheless, less obtrusively demoralising than certain other facts which it
will be necessary to consider. For example, there is probably no district in
London where the evils of gambling prevail to a greater or more disastrous
extent. Men, women, and children are alike its victims. Many bookmakers have
"touts" or "runners," who visit the work-shops and collect the
bets, which range from sixpence upwards.
Many of the lads who hang about the street-corners serve in this capacity, and are rewarded by a few coppers and an occasional drink. In some cases barbers act as betting agents, while in others betting transactions have been known to be regularly carried on in small coal shops and other similar places. One such shop was pointed out to me a few months since as a well-known resort of bookmakers, where the various sporting papers could always be seen. Among the tailors of Soho, especially, the evil has spread to an enormous extent, and there is [-127-] hardly a workshop now in the district that is clear of the curse. Even the young women have caught the infection, while many of the "masters" devote a considerable portion of their time to gambling at one or other of the numerous clubs which curse the West End, or else to bookmaking at the street-corner.
The Drink Problem.
Then, again, there is probably no district
in Europe where temperance work is more needed, or where it is beset with
difficulties at once so intricate, and manifold, and widespread as here. In the
West End of London indeed, the drink problem is part of a much deeper and more
difficult problem, and the entire district is honeycombed with clubs,
wine-rooms, restaurants and saloons, whose atmosphere is indescribably vicious.
In the industrial districts of the West the evils of intemperance are seen in
their coarsest and most obvious forms, but these are hardly so deadly as the
subtle and more outwardly refined viciousness of Clubland. The noisy and drunken
brawler who haunts the public-houses and beer shops in Soho, is merely
expressing in a coarser but probably less serious form the vicious spirit of the
idle and well-dressed lounger in Piccadilly.
The widespread extent of intemperance in the industrial districts of the West is, however, itself a most serious fact, although it is easy of explanation. To begin with, the facilities for drinking are appalling. For example, in a small group of eighteen streets in Soho, most of which are exceedingly short, there are no fewer than seventy-six public-houses - an average of more than four per [-128-] street. Several of the streets have as many as eight licensed houses, in addition to restaurants and clubs, and one street has no fewer than eleven. If to these figures were to be added the innumerable clubs and restaurants which crowd the neighbourhood - concerning which I shall have more to say presently - the result would be almost incredibly appalling. * [-*Taking the area covered by the "C" (St. James's) Police Division (which happens to be the smallest division in London), the number of licensed houses, of all kinds, is as follows:-
No. of Public Houses 357
No. of Beer Houses with on, or off, licenses 7
No. of Refreshment Houses with wine licenses on 73
No. of Houses for sale of Wines in Shops with off licences 34
No. of Houses for sale of Wines and Spirits with off licences 74
Total number of Licensed Houses (for an area of less than a mile (0.70) 545
The number of persons apprehended for drunkenness in this division in 1894 (the latest date for which returns are published) was 2,440: a number exceeded (and that but slightly) by but two other divisions (i.e., Lambeth and Bow) in all London, and this despite the fact already mentioned that it is the smallest division in the metropolis. Its area, for example, is less than a mile (0.70), whereas that of Lambeth is over two miles (2.59); while that of Bow is actually over 35 miles (35.71). If we compare the West End with East and South London the result as will be seen below, is greatly to the discredit of the West:-
|Police Division.||Area in miles.||Total No. of Licensed Houses.||Total number of persons apprehended for Drunkenness in 1894.|
|St. James (including Soho and Piccadilly)||0.70||545||2,440|
|Whitechapel (including St. George's-in-the-East and Stepney)||2.08||713||2,330|
If allowance be made for the difference in
the size of the areas compared the full extent of the discredit attaching to
West London will at once be seen.-]
[-129-] In another district (in the immediate neighbourhood of Fitzroy Square) to which I have already several times referred, a similar state of things exists. In an area which comprises, roughly, a quarter of a square mile, there are no fewer than seventy-seven licensed houses, in addition to clubs and restaurants which crowd this district also.
But this statement gives no adequate idea of the extent of the evil, for while the endeavour of temperance workers has been to reduce the number of licensed houses, the steady and consistent policy of the publicans has been to increase their size, so that one house may sometimes be approached on three sides, and by five, or six, or even more separate entrances, each of these entrances in turn admitting to numerous smaller compartments or bars. Sometimes a single entrance will lead to as many as eight or even ten separate compartments or bars. For example, of forty-seven public-houses in a neighbouring district which were examined quite recently
11 had 2 entrances
15 had 3 entrances
7 had 4 entrances
8 had 5 entrances
3 had 6 entrances
1 had 8 entrances
2 had 9 entrances
making a total for the forty-seven houses of no fewer than 179 separate entrances. How many compartments or "bars," this total represented, it is altogether impossible to compute.
It may be well, however, in the interests of this investigation, to examine somewhat closely the extent to which these public-houses are used. For this purpose I have [-130-] selected four typical public-houses in a thoroughly representative street in one of the districts already referred to.* [-* In the immediate neighbourhood of Fitzroy Square.-] The dtreet is in all important respects a perfectly typical one-narrow (and certainly not over clean), in close proximity to the principal thoroughfares of the district, and consisting, for the most part, of small shops with three storeys of single and double room tenements overhead. The character of the street is reflected in the size and character of the public-houses in it. These are in no case large, but represent very fairly the average public-house in the neighbourhood.
My object in watching these houses was threefold. First, to ascertain the extent to which they were used, i.e, the number of persons entering; secondly, the hours at which they were fullest and busiest; and, thirdly, the character of the trade done. Two of the houses, A, and B, were watched on a Saturday in June. The first of them was watched for three and a half hours, i.e., from 12.30 p.m. to 4.0 p.m. During this time some 344 persons entered, representing an average of 98 2/7 per hour. Of these, seventy-nine, or less than one fourth, went in with jugs and cans, and this despite the fact that part of the time covered by these figures, i.e., from 12.30 p.m to 2 p.m., includes the ordinary dinner hour of the working classes, so that the extent to which the ordinary public-house is a "house of call ", or a centre for social drinking becomes at least approximately apparent. The extent to which the custom of "treating" still prevails among the working classes was shown by the number of couples and larger groups who entered. In the course of three and a half hours no less than 54 couples entered (47 men and 7 [-131-] women), in addition to three groups of three persons each, and one of five, so that more than a third of the total number of persons who entered the house during the time covered by our investigations presumably illustrated the custom of "treating." There were also twenty-six "return" visits, all, with the exception of three, being men. I append a table which will show at a glance the proportion of men, women, and children, and also the times when trade was busiest -
Table "A ".
|Hours||Men||Women||Children||Total No. entering|
|12.30 to 1pm||41||4||17||62|
|1 to 2 pm||95||18||20||133|
|2 to 3 pm||57||17||8||82|
|3 to 4 pm||42||19||6||67|
Total in 3˝ hours, 344. Average per hour 98 2/7
It should be noticed that the number of
children given above, and in the following tables, does not include those taken
in by parents and other adults, but refers simply to those ,who entered with
jugs and cans. In many cases, almost in the majority, they were exceedingly
young, while in some they were little more than infants.
The following table, "B" , refers to another house which was watched on the same day (Saturday) but for a longer period, i.e., from 12 noon to 12 midnight, with the exception of a short interval from 3 to 4 p.m. During this time no fewer than 1,467 persons entered (excluding children taken in by parents, etc.), viz., 776 men, almost all of whom went in to drink on the premises; 576 women, about one third of whom had jugs, etc., and 115 [-132-] children, all of whom, of course, had jugs. This total does not include some thirty volunteers, whose corps was drilling in a neighbouring square, and who, from the point of view of this enquiry, were justly regarded as "exceptional" cases.
A detailed analysis of the results of this prolonged watch shows that during the hours from 12 to 1 p.m. and from 4 to 5 p.m. trade was comparatively quiet; while, on the other hand, the hours from 1 to 3 p.m. and from 5 to 6 p.m. were increasingly busy. During the next hour, i.e., from 6 to 7 p.m. the numbers again fell off somewhat, but from 7 o'clock onwards there was an uninterrupted flow of busy trade. In the appended Table will be found a detailed analysis of the results for a period of eleven hours:-
|Hours||Men||Women||Children||Total No. entering|
|12 to 1 pm||46||28||11||85|
|1 to 2 pm||75||23||16||114|
|2 to 3 pm||67||35||16||118|
|3 to 4 pm* [-* No particulars were taken for this hour.-]||-||-||-||-|
|4 to 5 pm||53||32||6||91|
|5 to 6 pm||109||25||5||139|
|6 to 7 pm||68||33||3||104|
|7 to 8 pm||56||46||15||117|
|8 to 9 pm||64||65||15||144|
|9 to 10 pm||88||70||14||172|
|10 to 11 pm||95||106||12||213|
|11 to 12 pm||55||113||2||170|
|Average per hour||70.6||52.6||10.5||133.7|
[-133-] The increase in the number of men
from 5 to 6 p.m. is remarkable.
Even more remarkable is the preponderance of women from 10 to 12 p.m. It is partly explained by the fact that much of the supper and Sunday beer is fetched during these hours, by women rather than by children, but this is hardly a sufficient explanation of so sudden and remarkable an increase. Several times during the day, notably between 9 p.m. and 12 p.m. the accommodation of the house was altogether inadequate, and the result was frequent confusion and serious crushing.
But I am well aware that statistics of Saturday trading, although exceedingly important and suggestive, are nevertheless inconclusive when taken by themselves, and I propose, therefore, to give in the following Tables certain supplementary statistics which will show the more normal and regular conditions of the liquor traffic in this district. The following Table "C", gives the result of fifteen and a half hours' continuous watching of a smaller public-house in the same street, on Monday, July 1st (two days after the previous investigation). During this time - i.e., from 9 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.- some 817 persons entered, of whom 420 were men, 315 women, and 82 children, the busiest time being from 9 to 10 p.m., when no fewer than 120 persons, or more than a seventh of the total number for the fifteen and a half hours, sought admittance.
The following Table will show the full and detailed figures:-
Table "C ".
|Hours||Men||Women||Children||Total No. entering|
|9 to 10 am||16||19||4||39|
|10 to 11 am||31||23||9||63|
|11 to 12 am||32||24||4||60|
|12 to 1 pm||34||23||12||69|
|1 to 2 pm||25||27||11||63|
|2 to 3 pm||11||10||3||24|
|3 to 4 pm||8||16||3||27|
|4 to 5 pm||20||13||3||36|
|5 to 6 pm||22||11||3||36|
|6 to 7 pm||13||18||1||32|
|7 to 8 pm||25||19||1||45|
|8 to 9 pm||37||24||14||75|
|9 to 10 pm||80||37||3||120|
|10 to 11 pm||41||27||1||69|
|11 to 12 pm||16||13||9||38|
|12 to 12.30 am||9||11||1||21|
|Average per hour||27||20||5||52|
It will be interesting to compare the above those that precede it. It should,
however, be noted that the house to which Table "C" refers is more
distinctly a place of resort for "steady" and "social" drinkers than a regular
"house of call." Most of those who entered after 8 p.m. stayed until very
late. There was also more distinct and definite drunkenness here than in either
of the former houses, and at least one person - a woman who entered more than
eight times during the day - was served while in a state of intoxication.
The result of subsequent investigations was to show that [-135-] the fluctuations of the liquor traffic on the middle days of the week are far less important than is commonly supposed. Indeed, the following Table "D" , which refers to a slightly larger house only a few yards distant from "C" , seems to suggest that in this district, at least, there is no very important fluctuation. The investigations in this case were made on the following day (Tuesday), and cover a period of 14˝ hours. During this time 1,071 persons entered (578 men, 320 women, and 173 children), or 254 more than on the previous day, although the period of investigation was one hour less. The busiest parts of the day were from 12 to 2 p.m. and from 8 to 11 p.m., the afternoon, as usual, being comparatively quiet. Here again it was noticeable that those who went in after 10 p.m. stayed until closing time.
The following Table will show the actual figures:-
Table "D ".
|Hours||Men||Women||Children||Total No. entering|
|10 to 11 am||40||18||10||68|
|11 to 12 am||36||25||11||72|
|12 to 1 pm||72||26||23||121|
|1 to 2 pm||52||29||27||108|
|2 to 3 pm||39||19||4||62|
|3 to 4 pm||26||17||4||47|
|4 to 5 pm||22||15||1||38|
|5 to 6 pm||22||7||4||33|
|6 to 7 pm||38||19||23||80|
|7 to 8 pm||43||13||10||66|
|8 to 9 pm||57||30||29||116|
|9 to 10 pm||46||55||12||113|
|10 to 11 pm||54||31||12||97|
|11 to 12 pm||22||13||3||38|
|12 to 12.30 am||9||3||0||12|
|Average per hour||40||22||12||74|
[-136-] The following Table "E", which relates to the house
referred to in Table "A", will be of value as a further evidence of the
normal or mid-week condition of things. In this case the census was taken on the
following day (Wednesday), and covers two periods of three hours each, including
the busiest hours of the day, viz:- 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and 7.30 p.m. to
10.30 p.m. In the course of the six hours some 580 persons entered, or an
average of 96.4 per hour-a number which, when judged comparatively, is
surprisingly high, and which seems to be conclusive as to the normal state of
the liquor traffic in this district.
The actual figures were as follows:
Table "E ."
|Hours||Men||Women||Children||Total No. entering|
|1 to 2 pm||53||21||8||82|
|2 to 3pm||32||16||8||56|
|3 to 4 pm||38||14||1||53|
|7.30 to 8.30 pm||73||28||23||124|
|8.30 to 9.30 pm||96||29||17||152|
|9.30 to 10.30 pm||51||42||20||113|
|Average per hour||57.1||26.4||12.5||96.4|
In this case it will be seen that the busiest hour was from 8.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.
CLUBS AND SALOONS
BUT no statement of the liquor traffic in this district would
be complete that dealt merely with the number of public-houses, and left out of
account the enormous number of social clubs and private drinking saloons that
are to be found in every part of the district.
The number of these, as I shall proceed to show, is far in excess of the number to be found in any other district in London, and is accounted for partly by the large foreign element in the population, and partly, and, perhaps, chiefly, by the utter artificiality which colours so deeply the entire life of West London, and the anarchic state of social life in the district generally. They really express the susceptibility of industrial classes, demoralised by utterly precarious conditions of existence, to the influence and vices of idle and luxurious Clubland.
According to a special Parliamentary Return - issued in 1892* [-* The changes since then have been slight, and do not appreciably affect the comparison.-] there are altogether 414 of these licensed clubs in London (i.e., in the whole of the licensing divisions included [-138-] in the County of London).* [-* Taking the entire area covered by the Metropolitan Police District (which extends outside what is technically called the County of London) there are 573 of these clubs.-] Of these, 214, or more than one half, are situated in West and West Central London. In the St. James's (Soho) licensing division there are 59, or more than any other division in London; while in the area covered by the "C" Police Division (comprising the Strand, Soho, and St. George's, Hanover Square divisions), there are no fewer than 101; as against 51 in the "V" Division; 38 in the "W" Division; and 37 in the "P" Division - the three next highest in the list.
These figures, of course, include the wealthy and fashionable clubs of the West, which form a large proportion of the whole. There are, for example, no less than 14 in Pall Mall; 6 in Whitehall; and 35 in St. George's, Hanover Square; while in the streets lying just outside the area of St. George's, Hanover Square (e.g., St. James's Street, and St. James's Square) there are between twenty and thirty more.
If, however, we confine ourselves to the industrial districts of the West we find that in a small area in Soho there are no fewer than eighteen of these clubs; while in another small district a little to the north of Soho (i.e., in the vicinity of Fitzroy Square), there are no less than twenty-one. In some cases three or four of these clubs may be found in a single street.
Many of them (practically one half) are frequented almost exclusively by foreigners, and although some exist nominally as employment and exchange agencies, there is very little doubt that nearly all of them are in reality drinking, and gambling, and dancing saloons of the worst description.
[-139-] Robberies are frequent- bullies being deliberately employed, in many cases, for the purpose-but they are rarely reported, simply because the well-dressed victims shrink from the disgrace of public exposure.
Admission to some of these clubs is comparatively easy, and depends entirely upon introduction by an existing member; in other cases, however, and these, of course, the worst, it is much more difficult, and is attended by considerable risk. The members know that they are constantly liable to a raid by the police, and are therefore naturally suspicious of all strangers, even when introduced by an apparently reliable member. The clubs are open practically all the evening - in some cases during the day as well - but they are rarely crowded until near, or after, midnight, but at that time, and for two or three hours afterwards, they are exceedingly busy-card playing, billiards, dancing, and drinking rule supreme, and the moral mischief reaches its highest and most disastrous measure.
I am informed that in one of the clubs that I visited during some recent investigations, considerably over one hundred persons - men and women both - frequently assemble after midnight for dancing and drinking and gambling. It is, perhaps, unnecessary to add that in the great majority of cases the licensing laws are shamefully evaded. Only "members," it is true, are allowed to order the drinks, but the "visitors" invariably pay for them. In certain cases - one of which I visited-the so-called "clubs" are little more than private drinking saloons of which a " visitor" becomes a "member" (i.e., a "legal" , and authorised customer), by merely signing his name in a register. This is done without proposition of any kind.
Now, it will be evident that the existence in large num-[-140-]bers of clubs of this description is a most disastrous fact in the moral life of a community, and one that calls for serious attention. Things, however, will never be remedied until all clubs - rich and poor alike - are properly licensed, and made subject to stringent regulations and effective supervision.
SO-CALLED RESTAURANTS AND HOTELS
as I have already stated, the drink problem in West London is still further
complicated by the unusual number of restaurants, coffee and dining rooms, and
"hotels" which are to be found in the district. In all of these drink is
easily obtainable, and it cannot be doubted that in many of them (the
restaurants especially), the sale of intoxicants yields a very considerable -
probably chief - share of the entire profits. In one district to which I have already several
times referred, and which comprises an area of roughly a quarter of a square
mile, there are no fewer than 39 restaurants, 19 "hotels," and 35 coffee
or dining rooms, in addition, as I have already explained, to upwards of 70
public-houses. These figures do not include a large number of what are called
"private hotels" - a house, in this district at least, of a very
indeterminate character. In one or two cases there are as many as five
restaurants, besides "hotels" and coffeehouses, in one short street, while
in those portions of the principal thoroughfares included in this area the
proportion is even greater. When it is remembered that in all the restaurants
and "hotels" drink is sold on the premises, [-142-] and that in the case of what I have called "coffee and
dining rooms" it is always fetched to order, the importance of these places in
any examination of the local facilities for drinking will be apparent. In point
of fact many of the so-called "restaurants" included in this list are simply
drinking saloons under another name.
But they are more than this. They are also, many of them, as I shall proceed to show, "houses of accommodation" of a most deliberate and shameless kind. For this assertion the most complete and overwhelming proofs could easily be furnished. I have already in my possession, as the result of Continuous observation of many of these houses in a particular district, important, and indeed, irresistible evidence. My suspicions were first aroused some three or four years ago by noticing the unusual and, indeed, extraordinary number of these "restaurants" and "hotels" in quiet and retired streets, where there was apparently no sufficient demand for them; and a closer examination of their structural arrangements confirmed me in suspicions which recent investigations have, unhappily, abundantly justified. For example, while a casual observer sees only one entrance, which apparently leads directly into the restaurant itself, a closer observation reveals the fact that there are really two, one, a private door, which is always kept locked, admitting to rooms upstairs; and the other, a public one, admitting into the restaurant proper, but both covered by the general entrance. In this way the real object for which, in many cases, the premises are visited, is effectually disguised, and the true character of the house concealed. Some months ago I had a number of these supposed "restaurants" and "hotels" carefully and systematically watched between [-143-] the hours of 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., and the result left no doubt in my mind as to their true character. It would probably serve no useful purpose to give the actual evidence that is now in my possession. It will suffice to say that in several cases the same house was watched on more than one occasion, and always with the same result. In many cases the women were easily recognisable as the regular frequenters of the principal thoroughfares of the district, while in others it was observed that the couples came direct from the neighbouring clubs, to which they shortly afterwards returned. It will be sufficient to add that one woman was seen to visit the same "restaurant" four times on one night, each time accompanied by a different man.
Another result of this close observation was to confirm a previous impression that many of these "restaurants" and "coffee-houses" are frequently used for gambling purposes.
It speedily becomes obvious to anyone who watches them that there is no sufficient amount of legitimate trade, even in so invertebrate a district as this, to support them.
OF course such facts as I have already mentioned arc
comparatively unnoteworthy in a district like West London, which has become
infamous throughout Europe as a recognised rendezvous for the most vicious and
Here prostitution is a deliberate and organised trade, accepted and protected by real, if unofficial, social sanctions, and assuming dimensions that only a very few who are closely intimate with the life of the district realise. In certain districts there are streets that consist very largely-I had almost said exclusively-of "disorderly houses", and brothels; while - to show the extent to which this infamous "trade" is organised - I may mention that it has been estimated that in the St. James's and St. Anne's parishes alone there are at least one thousand "bullies" who live on the earnings of prostitutes. * [-* It is also estimated that there are 2000 persons engaged in this hideous traffic in the area covered by the Charing Cross Vigilance Committee. The St. Anne's Vestry has, however, recently adopted vigorous measures of suppression which it is to be hoped will largely reduce the [-145-] number of disorderly houses in that district. But, meanwhile, the scandal, so far as the principal thoroughfares of the West are concerned, continues to grow. -] That [-145-] the comparatively recent, and now organised, immigration of foreign prostitutes has seriously aggravated the problem in West London cannot be doubted, and it is becoming every year a much more serious and menacing fact. It has already assumed proportions that call for urgent and resolute attention.
Apart from this and similar schemes for the deliberate organisation of prostitution in West London, it will probably never be easy to satisfactorily explain it; and the closer one's observation, and the wider one's experience of the problem become, the more difficult of adequate explanation does it appear. In attempting-even in a preliminary way-an analysis of the problem in the West End, it is necessary to keep carefully in mind, as a closely related fact, the remarkable disinclination for marriage which, as I have already shown,* [-* See Part II, p. 72.-] so specially characterises the districts of the West. That this is an important moral fact, and one that is directly related to the question of prostitution, is as certain as it is, apparently, unfamiliar.
Then, again, the temptations to the life are often skilfully and deeply contrived. It is notorious, for example, that many of the large business houses of the West, and especially refreshment bars, are systematically visited by procuresses, who cultivate the acquaintance of the young women assistants and invite them to visit them. When they succeed they treat them with the utmost liberality and consideration until they have either won the girls [-146-] over to their plans, or compromised them irretrievably with their employers. But the result in either case is the same. The girls are left completely in their power, and sacrificed to a life of unspeakable misery and degradation. That time awful and helpless loneliness of London is also an important factor in the problem is too evident to need discussion, but it may be noted as perhaps the most irresistibly tragic of all the causes of this dark social evil.* [-* It is a suggestive fact, in this connection, that out of 100 consecutive cases taken from one of the London "Rescue" Home Registers of the Salvation Army no fewer than sixty of the girls and women were born in the provinces.-]
How far the problem is at root an economic one is matter for grave consideration. That it is so to a serious extent few who know at all intimately the industrial and economic conditions of the district, can doubt. The low rates of wages and the excessive rents would, under any circumstances, create apparent necessities which few of us have hitherto had courage or charity enough to face; but when to these is added the awful precariousness of work in what are almost exclusively "season" trades, the danger is enormously increased. It is at present a notorious fact that, in the West End of London at least, milliners, and dressmakers, and tailoresses are frequently driven upon the streets in the slack season, returning to their shops with the advent of the new season's trade. In other words, morals fluctuate with trade. It may be difficult to fix wages by ethical standards, just as it is alleged to be difficult to modify the evils of "season" trades; but to prove, as some are trying to do, its impossibility, may be [-147-] to compel an infinitely more serious revision of accepted moral standards. * [-* The danger is, also, painfully real in the case of a large number of young women who are employed temporarily, as "season" hands, in the large drapery and other establishments of the West; and who are summarily dismissed, with only a week or nine days "deferred" wages, at the close of the short season. The circumstances of such girls, if self-dependent and friendless, are perilous in the extreme.-]
But here, again, serious as I know these facts to be, I am convinced that we are dealing only with partial and inadequate causes of a problem that lies much deeper, and which, more perhaps than any other problem, demands the utmost intellectual and moral honesty in those who try to investigate it. It is, for example, a suggestive and, in every way, impressive fact, that so many of the girls who regularly frequent Piccadilly, and Regent Street, and the other thoroughfares of the West are drawn from domestic service, where the rigours of the economic struggle are certainly not so severely felt.* [-*Out of 100 consecutive cases received into the "Rescue" Homes of the Salvation Army, and drawn from all parts of London, no less than 88 had previously been in service. This is a remarkable confirmation of what is suggested above.-]
This fact at least confirms a belief, for which there is ample other evidence, that, after all, the roots of the problem lie deep down in spiritual facts; and that the problem itself represents what is at bottom a mad, and irresistible craving for excitement, stimulated by the excitements and vicious luxury of West End life:- a serious and wilful revolt against the monotony of commonplace ideals, and the uninspired drudgery of every-day life. It at lease should be remembered that it is in no sense an accident that prostitution has its recognised centre in the [-148-] West End. It is rather the inevitable consequence of the conditions of life that prevail there. Prostitution is a symptom: an outward and visible sign of a hidden moral disease induced by false habits and corrupt ideals of life. It is the pathetic but hideous "supply of a corrupt "demand coming for the most part-in West London at least-from men whose every ideal is impoverished, whose every habit is anti-social, and whose lives are vicious in their very uselessness. It cannot too often be insisted upon, that the effect-the logical, inevitable effect-of the idleness and extravagance of the West is entirely demoralising, and those who are concerned to discover the ultimate cause of the miserable, but pathetic, infamy of Piccadilly, should begin to look for it in the idle luxury and vicious irresponsibility of West End life.
PHILANTHROPIC AGENCIES: ECCLESIASTICAL AND GENERAL
IN bringing to a close this analysis of the conditions of
life-social, industrial, and moral-in a particular district, it may be well to
state very briefly, first, what is being done; and, secondly, what remains to
be done, to mitigate existing evils, and generally to improve the lot of the
people. So far as ordinary Christian and other philanthropic agencies are
concerned, the West End of London is, probably, at least as effectively served
as any other district in the metropolis.
To begin with, there is a larger proportion of clergy and Christian workers in the district than is to be found in any other part of London. Taking the whole of the registration districts of the West, for example, (i.e., Soho, St. George's, Hanover Square, Paddington, Kensington, Fulham, and Chelsea) there are no fewer than 1,713 official Christian workers of various orders, including the following:
Clergymen (Church of England)
Roman Catholic Priests
Ministers of other Religious Bodies
Missionaries, Scripture Readers, Itinerant Preachers
Nuns, Sisters of Charity
[-150-] A proportion, that is to say, so far as West London is concerned, of one
official Christian worker to every 432 persons; as compared with
1 to every 462 persons in North London
1 to every 520 persons in Central London
1 to every 723 persons in South London
1 to every 878 persons in East London
If, following the line of previous investigations, we confine ourselves to Soho, the condition of things in this respect is still satisfactory. It may be questioned indeed, whether any other industrial district in London is more adequately furnished in respect of ecclesiastical and general philanthropic arrangements than the area included within the parishes of St Anne, and St. Luke, Soho. The accommodation provided for public religious worship, is, it is true, not large,* [-* St. Anne's parish church provides accommodation for 920 persons, and that of St. Luke has accommodation for 700; while - if we except the West London Mission (a large and influential Nonconformist organisation founded nine or ten years ago by the Revs. Hugh Price Hughes and Mark Guy Pearse) whose social and religious work is done very largely within the borders of these parishes-the provision made by the Nonconformist Churches is comparatively small.
The total population of the two parishes is 13,445.-] but the parochial arrangements of the local clergy are remarkably thorough and comprehensive, while the district is further served by the various social and religious agencies of the West London Mission, which includes among its agencies a large trained nursing and general Sisterhood.
Moreover, the district is well furnished with general and non-ecclesiastical philanthropic agencies. The Charity Organization Society, for example, whatever may be its [-151-] popular defects, has for many years past done admirable work in Soho, and, with a larger staff of responsible volunteer workers, which the district itself cannot furnish, would probably be equal to all the ordinary charitable requirements of the district. Somewhat of this deficiency, however, may be met by the Association of "Friendly Workers Amongst the Poor" which has recently established a centre in Soho, and whose ideal at least - much as we question the wisdom of separate and independent organisation - is admirable.
But however satisfactory these things in themselves may be, it will be apparent from the analysis of facts already given that they barely touch the fringe of the grave problems-social, industrial, and moral-that exist in the district. To deal effectually with these, important and widespread reforms are needed, but to make these possible the public conscience (especially in the wealthy West End districts) must first be awakened to a solemn and deep-felt sense of responsibility. While, for example, at least forty per cent. of the people in Soho live under the most scandalous physical conditions, no less than 26,222 persons in West London are returned as "living on their own means" and 7,477 others as "retired from business"; and even these form but a small part of the wealthy unoccupied classes in this district. If these, or any considerable proportion of them, could be aroused to an intelligent and practical sympathy with the just and legitimate aspirations of the poor (as distinct from the unawakened ignorance that so often lurks in the very sympathy of those who watch the problem from afar), the day of the true social reformation would have dawned.
THE PROBLEM OF REFORM
IF we turn, however-as it may now be well to do-to a more
detailed consideration of the reforms that are needed, certain obvious facts at
once present themselves. In the first place, it cannot too strongly be urged
that what is imperatively needed in the over-crowded and poverty-stricken
districts of the West is not fresh charitable enterprise, but enthusiastic and
intelligent personal service, working, for the most part, along the lines of
existing agencies, but supplementing these, where necessary, by other careful
and well-approved forms of social help. To multiply the number of more or less
irresponsible dole- distributing agencies, or to provide a vent for earnest
sympathy in the organization, on a large scale, of free meals, is simply to
divert attention from radical facts to superficial ones. It is, indeed, to do
more than this: it is to waste resources which, used along other lines, would at
least point the way to effective reforms.
That philanthropy has often aggravated the evil it has sought to remedy is unquestionable, and it has done so largely because it has been ignorant and ill-devised, for help, however well-intentioned, that acts in ignorance [-153-] of the radical facts of distress can only intensify the disease it seeks to remove. To attend to the symptom and to neglect the cause is to inflict a cruel injury upon those we wish to relieve. There is great need that this should be remembered at the present time, and especially in presence of facts such as are disclosed in the foregoing chapters. We are, happily, experiencing a great re-action from the unimaginative spirit of forty or fifty years ago. Then there were few social enthusiasms flow life is overrun with them. But there is a danger lest this wave of imaginative and finely-sensitive emotionalism should betray us into hasty and ill-considered methods of help which can only give us results of a temporary and superficial kind. The most significant fact of modern times is undoubtedly what Mr. Kidd has recently called the "great fund of altruistic feeling which is gradually saturating out entire social life", but it would be interesting to enquire how far this fund of altruistic feeling has taken the forms of general and, beyond a certain point, ineffective philanthropic enterprise, rather than led to an actual and important diminution of the severities of the life struggle. The important thing is always to guide altruistic feeling into its true channels, and, especially to direct its energies toward the radical improvement of the conditions of life - the modification of causes rather than the temporary relief of symptoms. It is not clear that in the haste and eagerness with which philanthropic enterprises ate nowadays too often undertaken, this is sufficiently recognized. The true significance of the modern fund of altruistic feeling is surely this, that it is the factor required to. modify the effects of an otherwise disastrous law of competition. Short of fulfilling this radical function it may [-154-] easily become, what it often has been, a great and serious evil. This much, at least, must be insisted upon: that neither in West London nor elsewhere will the most strenuous efforts of an uninformed and unintelligent philanthropy avail to remove, or modify, the painful facts that darken social life. Philanthropy is a science, and the highest of all the sciences, inasmuch as it touches most intimately the facts of moral, as well as of physical, life, and while its methods can never, perhaps, have the precision which belongs to those of an exact science, they demand, equally with the methods of other sciences, all the forces of imagination, patience, faith, and knowledge.
To say this is by no means to suggest that such forms of philanthropic enterprise as ate represented by ecclesiastical and other well-accredited charitable agencies should at once be stopped. That would be an entirely mistaken and inadequate conclusion. The true conclusion would seem to be this that the relief should be administered, or at least directed, by those who are intelligently acquainted with the social and economic aspects of the question, and that the facts of distress should be used to swell those forces of moral indignation in which the worker's hope ultimately lies. It cannot too often be remembered in this connection that we are only just awaking out of the pessimistic fatalism by which Malthus, arguing upon utterly insufficient data, bound the minds of his contemporaries and followers, and that its effects are still largely with us. The "natural" laws of Malthus, and the biological laws of Darwin, gave, or seemed to give, a scientific sanction to the harshest demands of competitive industrialism. Now, however, there ate unmistakable signs of the inevitable re-action, which, once established, will [-155-] considerably limit, though it can never wholly destroy, the work of the ordinary philanthropist. That there will always remain occasions for the exercise of philanthropy is certain, but it must not be called upon to fritter away its resources in buttressing ii~ social and economic abuses. If it be asked what ate the true and proper occasions for the exercise of voluntary philanthropy the answer is clear: they are to be found in the relief of exceptional and temporary distress or - in some cases - permanent physical unfitness; in short, in meeting those familiar and obvious conditions of need which can never be met by economic reform. It is possible, indeed, to go further, and to agree, fully and frankly, that in the industrial districts of West London where, as I have shown, the conditions of life are in some important respects entirely exceptional, well-equipped and wisely-directed voluntary agencies, and especially religious agencies, are absolutely indispensable, inasmuch as they are qualified to give attention, as municipal or state agency can, to the moral causes which often underlie the physical facts of distress, and thus are able to supplement the necessary material help by those forces of sympathy and moral helpfulness without which it is impossible to secure the greater and permanent result. But, as 11 have already pointed out, and as I would repeat with all possible emphasis, the number of charitable agencies in the districts referred to is already fully sufficient to meet existing needs. All that is necessary in this direction is that the present agencies should be more adequately furnished with trained and properly qualified voluntary workers for whom, everywhere in the district, there is a most urgent need.
It has been necessary to deal at some length with this point [-156-] because it is one which, apparently, most readily suggests itself to the public mind in any discussion of problems such as are dealt with in this enquiry, and, furthermore, because it is one that at present is often most unfortunately, and even mischievously, misconceived. The true and necessary methods of reform, however, in West London as elsewhere, certainly do not lie in that direction, but rather along the lines of sanitary and industrial improvements. If, for example, one half of the large sums that are annually spent in free meals and other charitable doles to the by no means most deserving classes, could be devoted for a few years, first, to thorough and expert investigation of the actual conditions under which the people in particular districts work and live; secondly, to the collection of reliable evidence concerning the weak points in the working of our administrative machinery; and, thirdly, to the organization of efficient vigilance work (such, for example, as that already carried on in sanitary matters by the Man5ion House Council on the Dwellings of the Poor), that would aim at the rigorous enforcement of powers already conferred upon local and other authorities, a greater step would have been taken in the direction of social progress than any that our various forms of ordinary philanthropic enterprise have yet achieved.
I by no means am of opinion that existing powers and arrangements are sufficient to meet existing needs. I am too well aware that our Public Health Acts, Factory Acts, Building Acts, Truck Acts, etc., are either stultified at the outset by unfortunate concessions and loop-holes, or made ineffective by the utter inadequacy of our administrative arrangements; but, despite this, very much more might be accomplished through the agency of existing Acts than is generally supposed. It is indeed, un-[-157-]questionable that what is imperatively needed for the removal of many of the most serious of our social evils is not new legislative proposals, but an enlightened public opinion that will strengthen the hands of the local authorities and prepare the way for more adequate administrative arrangements. Hitherto the seriousness of the social situation has been that local opinion has never fully responded to legislative proposals, and in this fact probably, lies the true explanation of existing social evils. Take, for example, the history of legislation on the housing question, which furnishes, perhaps, the most remarkable illustration of what I refer to. As far back as 1851 the Labouring Classes Lodging Houses Act conferred upon local authorities the power to borrow money on the mortgage of the rates, and apply it to the erection of lodging-houses for the working classes. No one who studies the question can doubt that the confidence which Lord Shaftesbury reposed in that Act was well-grounded, and that had it been freely adopted by local authorities it would have remedied the greater part of the evils now existing. But as a matter of simple history we find a Royal Commission, nearly forty years later, reporting that so far as regards local authorities the Act had been "an absolute dead letter"; one authoritative witness (Mr. Owen, the Permanent Secretary of the Local Government Board) going so far as to say that he did not know of a single case of its having been adopted in any place, nor even of any effort on the part of philanthropic persons to get it adopted. Nothing, indeed, could better illustrate the characteristic defect in our social arrangements than the conclusion reached by the Royal Commissioners at the very outset of their enquiry into the evils of overcrowding in 1884; [-158-] namely, that while 'there was much legislation designed to meet these evils, yet that the existing laws were not put into force, some of them having remained a dead letter from the date when they first found place in the statute book'. That the municipal conscience has been quickened in this respect since the publication of that Report is undoubted, but probably not even the least progressive person would allege that our efforts in this direction have been, or are, at all proportionate to the gravity of the need.
Let me give another illustration. The Public Health (London) Act of 1891 contains a number of admirable provisions which, if they could only be systematically enforced, would unquestionably do much to diminish the evils complained of.
It provides, for example, among other things, (1) That any house, or part of a house, so overcrowded as to be injurious or dangerous to the health of the inmates, whether or not members of the same family, shall be a nuisance liable to be dealt with summarily. (2) That where two convictions for offences relating to the overcrowding of a house, or part of a house, have taken place within a period of three months (whether the persons convicted were or were not the same) a closing order may be obtained. (3) That any factory, workshop, or workplace which is not a factory subject to the provisions of the Factory and Workshop Act (and the 'domestic' workshops of Soho and the neighbouring parishes are not so subject) may also be dealt with summarily as a nuisance if (a) it is not kept in a cleanly state and free from effiuvia arising from a drain, closet, etc., or (b), is not properly ventilated, or (c) is so overcrowded while work is carried on as to be injurious [-159-] or dangerous to the health of those employed therein. The Act further provides that information of a nuisance liable to be dealt with summarily may be given to the sanitary authority by any person.
Now it will be obvious that if these and other equally admirable provisions could be properly enforced, a considerable proportion of the evils dealt with in this volume would at once be removed. To suggest, however (what, indeed, can hardly be controverted), that hitherto the provisions of the Act have not been sufficiently enforced is not, necessarily, to reflect upon the earnestness or zeal of the local sanitary authorities. It is simply to arouse attention to matters of fact which may be, and often are, quite beyond the control of the officers concerned. No one, for example, who considers the figures given in a previous chapter* [-*see pp.53-4-] can escape the conclusion that, not in one district only, but throughout London, it is physically impossible for the present staff of inspectors to meet at all efficiently the actual requirements of the work, and until more satisfactory arrangements can be made for sanitary inspection it is difficult to see how the necessary reforms can be achieved. That somewhat of this deficiency might be met by expert voluntary workers acting in friendly cooperation with the sanitary officials is, I think, certain, and it is a form of social service which might well appeal to members of the wealthy leisured classes. To come to definite proposals, I would suggest the formation in every overcrowded district of a small but thoroughly influential and expert "Watch" committee that should strengthen the hands of the local authorities, (1) By collecting reliable and well-authenticated information concerning evasions and in-[-160-]fringements of existing Acts; (2) By stimulating and developing a healthy public opinion on all questions of sanitary reform; (3) By spreading useful information concerning existing powers, especially in reference to clearance and improvement schemes; and (4) By occasional conferences of local philanthropic workers, district-visitors, etc., whose opportunities for collecting reliable information on sanitary matters, especially, are quite exceptional, and whose help might therefore easily become invaluable. If such a committee could be established its work would probably do much to remedy the present serious defects in our social arrangements.
It will, however, be clear to all who have studied the facts and figures given in the earlier chapters of this volume that the problem of overcrowding in Soho and the adjoining districts is primarily one of prohibitive rents, and that unless something can be done to modify these there is small chance of substantial improvement. It is important, therefore, to consider at once how far, and in what ways, this rent problem can be dealt with. To begin with, it is necessary to keep carefully in view the chief causes of the present excessive rents. Foremost among these must, of course, be put the enormous increase in ground values brought about by local improvements and, especially, by that displacement of dwelling-houses by large business premises to which I have already referred. Next in importance, probably, must be reckoned certain changes in the tailoring trade which have resulted from the immigration of the Jews, whose successful demand for tenement work-rooms has given an arbitrary and altogether exorbitant value to tenements in the district. While, thirdly, and lastly, must be mentioned the large number of 'disorderly houses' [-161-] whose iniquitous profits allow their occupiers to pay quite easily what otherwise would be prohibitive rents, and which therefore at once become extremely important factors in the artificial increase of rents.
The first of these causes is obviously the most difficult to meet. It is closely related to questions which are extremely intricate and concerning which public opinion is, at best, only in process of education. It would therefore be unwise in an enquiry such as the present, which aims at immediately practicable reforms, to attempt to discuss it at length. Apart altogether, however, from those aspects of the question which are open to dispute, it may well be questioned whether even under existing conditions much could not be done to improve matters-as indeed has already been suggested* [-*see pp.55-6-] by the erection, either by the London County Council, or private philanthropic enterprise, of well-equipped blocks of 'model' dwellings which could be let out in small tenements at moderate but remunerative rents? Certainly, so far as these districts are concerned, the best possibilities of such experiments have never been put to the test, and until they have been the problem even of ground values cannot be said to be insoluble.
So far as the second of the three causes referred to above is concerned the issue is at once simpler and dearer. It turns entirely upon a question of industrial procedure. So long as we tolerate domestic, or tenement, workshops so long will rents in Soho continue to be excessive. The fault lies not at the door of the Jew, but rather with the system of out-work which makes it profitable for him to pay even the most wildly exorbitant rents for his tenement-workroom.
[-162-] In the case of the third factor referred to, namely, that represented by "disorderly houses", reform is not only possible but comparatively easy. It lies, of course, in prompt and rigorous measures of suppression. It is, I know (to deal for a moment with the moral side of the question), a plausible objection to say that such efforts simply result in driving the hideous traffic from one district into another, but it is surely a sufficient answer to this to say that the onus of responsibility for that result lies with the local authority that indifferently permits it. If every local authority in London would adopt similar measures of suppression the evil, as a whole, might be combated far more successfully than at present is possible. In any case, however, there is good ground for believing that, thanks in great measure to the recent efforts of the St. Anne's Vestry, the evil itself will henceforward be a constantly diminishing fact in the life of that part of Soho, and, it is to be hoped, in the neighbouring districts also, although there, it must be confessed, there is less apparent ground for hope.
The industrial problems disclosed in the second section of this volume necessarily open up questions of far-reaching importance and considerable complexity, which cannot be adequately discussed in a mere statement of urgent reforms. But no one, probably, who reads that section can fail to see how urgent a matter it is that reform should be sought in two directions; namely, first, in the abolition of out-work; and, secondly, in some modification of the evils of "season" trades. The importance of the first of these has already been sufficiently suggested, and I will not therefore discuss it further, except, indeed, to repeat that apart from it I see little hope of great improvement in the tailoring trades of the West.
[-163-] The second reform referred to is much less simple, and requires for its discussion, not only considerable intellectual honesty, but also a high sense of moral responsibility. Hitherto in the discussion of this problem of "season" trades the public has adopted an entirely non possumus attitude. It has always assumed (not always, it is true, unsympathetically) that the fashion, the caprice, which, as I have shown, is largely (at least in West London) at the bottom of this question, is an inevitable and unalterable thing. But is it? Is is not, rather, true to say that "fashion" is a wholly capricious and artificial thing; often, indeed, a foolish tyranny which, once resolutely faced (especially morally, and from the point of view of the workers), would speedily be resisted? In this matter, as in others, what is urgently needed is an increased sense of moral responsibility, a more serious view of the social effects of hitherto unregarded conventions and habits.
In turning, finally, to the group of problems which are discussed in the third part of this volume it is probably not necessary to give more than a brief outline of the reforms that are needed. Among these I would include (1) a diminution in the number of public-houses; (2) effective supervision of all clubs, private "hotels", etc.; (3) rigorous suppression of "disorderly houses"; and (4) a resolute and determined attempt to deal with the evils of public prostitution. Hitherto the scandal in the principal thoroughfares of the West has been protected by real, if unofficial, social sanctions. How real those sanctions actually are may easily be seen by comparing the attitude of the police before, and after, 12.30 a.m.
But while urging these reforms it must be pointed out that they by no means meet all the necessities of the [-164-] case, nor can they, at the best, have other than a limited result. The true and ultimate methods of reform lie not along the negative lines of prohibition, but rather along the positive lines of intellectual and moral progress. What, therefore, is needed above all else in these districts is what I may call -using the term in its broadest sense- moral enlightenment; and this, it is obvious, can only be achieved by the highest forms of educational service. That several of the districts referred to in this investigation are already well served in respect of ordinary ecclesiastical and educational agencies, will be evident from what I have said in a previous chapter, nor are there wanting other voluntary agencies of an extremely useful kind. * [-* In this connection mention should certainly be made of (1) the Soho Club and Home for Working Girls in Greek Street, which was founded some seventeen years ago by the Hon. Maude Stanley (to whose long-continued devotion to the social needs of Soho too high a tribute cannot be paid), and which now possesses one hundred and thirty bona fide members; and (2) the West Central Jewish Girls' Club in Dean Street, Soho, which, starting in a small way some ten years ago under the sponsorship of Lady Battersea, has since been re-organized by Miss Lily Montagu, and now numbers over two hundred members. Both of these clubs are most admirably conducted, and the educational and moral value of their work cannot be exaggerated.-] But, it is needless to say, when all allowance is made for these, much still remains to be attempted (especially in districts such as that in the neighbourhood of Fitzroy Square) in the way of social and educational work. The clubs and drinking-saloons, for example, which at present exercise so vicious an influence upon the life of the community, undoubtedly appeal to what is a real need in these invertebrate and overcrowded districts, and every attempt to combat them will fail which stops short of the provision [-165-] of well-equipped and well-conducted temperance clubs. Another deficiency in the social arrangements of the districts would also be met by the establishment of Social Institutes, "People's Drawing-rooms", etc., and also of additional recreative clubs for the young.
But how are these things to be effected? To that I would say that the ideal method, probably, in such districts as are here referred to is not that of the ordinary University Settlement, but rather an informal and unofficial grouping together in a district of properly qualified workers who, while free to live out their own lives and to follow the main lines of their personal interests as private individuals, would, nevertheless, be in sufficiently close and neighbourly contact with the people to be able to minister to them, as occasion arose, in the best and most needed forms of social service. The final appeal therefore, it will be evident, must be to that body of enlightened sympathy which, indifferent to class distinctions am? traditional habits, is everywhere responding to the new social feeling which is the capital fact of our time. The deepest significance of that feeling undoubtedly lies in its approximation to a spiritual idea - a new human relationship- a union of all classes of society in a fellowship of mutual service.
That the reforms that are needed cannot be instantly effected will be evident to all who have dispassionately considered the question, and certainly there is no wish on the part of those who at present are working among the people to put forward hasty and ill-considered schemes. But that something can be done and, moreover, must be done to remedy existing evils has become a passionate conviction in the minds of all who know the facts. Happily, the non possumus attitude that hitherto has paralyzed [-166-] effort and hindered faith is everywhere breaking down before the idea-the passionate intuition and faith-of social progress, and with this will go the greatest barrier to reform. The end, it is true, is not yet, but nevertheless, if progress be, as Mazzini said, the consciousness of progress, it cannot be so impossible of attainment as we have hitherto allowed ourselves to believe. In any case, as against all - apparently invincible arguments of philosophical pessimism the social worker may well put a steadfast belief in the undeveloped capacities of average human nature, and keep faith in the measureless power of new waves of moral and social enthusiasm, begotten, here and there, in a single soul, to conquer and transform systems, and nations, and worlds.
"I heard an angel singing
When the day was springing,
'Mercy, pity, and peace,
Are the world's release.'
So he sang all day
Over the new-mown hay,
Till the sun went down,
And haycocks looked brown.
I heard a devil curse
Over the heath and the furse:
'Mercy could be no more
If there were nobody poor,
And pity no more could be
If all were as happy as ye;
And mutual fear brings peace.
Are mercy, pity, peace.'
At his curse the sun went down,
And the heavens gave a frown.
[---nb. grey numbers in brackets indicate page number, (ie. where new page begins), ed.---]