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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, November 30, 1914, LAST EDITION, Image 10

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-11-30/ed-1/seq-10/

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QUEEN'S SWEATSHOPS SHAME OF ENGLAND!
MOTHERS SEW FOR $2.50 A WEEK!
BY MARY BOYLE O'REILLY
London, Eng., Nov,. 30. "Then I
must get work at the queen's sweat
shops if I can," said the Little
Seamstress.
"Will you take me with you?" I
asked. Her brave smile gave con
sent. Up ana down the Old Ford rd.
in Bow, East End, home workers
laden with bundles, crept through the
London fog. They were the lucky
ones, women who still had work. Un
employment caused by the war in
creases among women in London at
the rate of 1,000 a week. Working
people never want war. War stead
ily undermines their income. And it
is always the working women who
suffer most.
"Boot leather and raw wool are aw
ful costly since the government be
gan buying for the soldiers," ex
plained the Little Dressmaker. "That
means half time, reduced wages, no
work to be had, all on account of the
war. The sugar factories are closing,
the clothing factories snut down, not
a job in Pudding Lane.
Among my papers lay a .prohibited
report:
The low wage labor market is dis
located. Even starvation wages can
not be had. Approximately 60,000
women workers are unemployed in
London. Of the 66,000 dressmakers,
one-quarter are idle, six in every nine
on short time. Last year 507 women
sought jobs at the Central Unem
ployed Bureau in a given period. This
year the number was 8,310.
This at the beginning of a three
years' war and a hard winter. The
miseries of Belgium are more poig
nant, but hardly less bitter than the
coming sorrows of London.
From matches to meat all things
have gone up in price. Bread has
risen to 12 cents for a quarter loaf,
sugar from 5 cents to 12 cents, rice
(lately 4 cents) now costs 3 cents,
bacon is an unobtainable luxury in
the homes of the poor, knuckle ends
of mutton, lately 9 cents a pound, to
day cost 17 cents ana food prices
continue to rise.
To meet the inevitable misery of
war-haunted winter p'rlvate charity
has given $20,000,000 to the Prince
of Wales fund and the queen's fund
to be expended for relief through
H.71 Queen Mexrjj.
public workrooms. So terrible is the
distress already that 17 of the 29
London boroughs have already sub
mitted schemes to establish work
rooms subsidized by the queen's fund.
Only last week her majesty, Queen
Mary visited her workshop amid
paeans of praise, to investigate condi
tions, observe progress and signify
her royal approval.
The Little Dressmaker and I en
tered the narrow door of such a shop.
In a crowd of anxious, patient women
we listened while the directress its
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