Working Class Movement Library

A blog from the Working Class Movement Library in Salford

Archive for May, 2011

Job seekers from eighty years ago…

Posted by wcmlibrary on May 25, 2011

Report in the Blackburn Times for Saturday May 2nd  1931:

Weavers as Servants

Clitheroe Association’s letter to Miss Bondfield

The executive of the Clitheroe Weavers’Association have written to the Minister of Labour (Miss Bondfield) deploring that “young girls are being compelled to take up work as domestic servants, or otherwise be deprived of their unemployment benefit”.

Miss Bondfield is asked by the executive to ascertain why employment exchanges at Salford,ManchesterandLeedsshould deem it necessary to fill vacancies in their areas from weavers at Clitheroe, when in those areas there is a total of 35,000 signing for employment and anxiously seeking work.

The letter, which is signed by Mr George Brame, secretary, proceeds: “My executive wish me to inform you that within the last few weeks several of our members have been asked if they would accept positions of domestic service at the same addresses in Salford  and Leeds, and because they refused to consent, owing to the distance from their homes, the Court of Referees has subsequently disqualified them from receiving benefit for a period of six weeks.

My executive would like to draw your attention to the fact that on the dates those young girls were asked to go to these cities there were, according to the figures published in the current Ministry of Labour Gazette, the following unemployed women in the cities mentioned: – Salford, 7,857; Manchester, 20262; Leeds, 7,840  signing on at these exchanges. It would appear from these statistics that to send a girl from Clitheroe to fill a vacancy in the places referred to is a travesty of the spirit for which the employment exchanges were established. My association await your observations with deep concern”.

Newspaper cutting found in the Library collection by volunteer Eleanor, May 2011

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Railway Review in 1941

Posted by wcmlibrary on May 10, 2011

The Library has a long run of this National Union of Railwaymen (NUR) journal – from 1880 to 1969.  Browsing the volume for 1941 in search of some family history information, Alain was interested in the huge range of the topics it was covering at that time.

Included are:

Articles by leading Indian independence activists including Mahatma Gandhi, and debate in the correspondence columns on the same issue

Debate on the Popular Front, especially given the recent entry of the Soviet Union into the War

Debate on the Labour Party, Communist Party of Great Britain and trade unions.  (The leadership of the NUR were hostile to the CP after their volte face at the time of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact).

A campaign for a minimum wage of £3000

Reports on women in ‘men’s jobs’

Reports on victims of the Blitz including railwaymen at work, and articles on rationing and food shortages

Also articles on reconstruction, evidence of thought about after the war eg nationalising the railways

Regular columns on gardening, health and sport.

Whenever you open a volume round here there’s always a surprise or two inside!

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