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Archiver > LONDON > 2004-07 > 1091053765

From: "Songbird" <>
Subject: Re: [Lon] Round about a pound a week
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 23:29:26 +0100
References: <001301c474d1$5b94ecd0$97e40050@homelzcd746962>

I was told by my mother, who is, sadly, no longer living so I
can't double check, that her father earned 18/- a week.
He was a postal letter sorter, he had seven children, his wife
and two of her siblings to look after.
The children didn't go hungry and they were always clean & tidily
dressed. When they went to Mass on Sunday they were always told
"Hold hands, and don't go near the railings!" They lived in
Rosebery Avenue, Islington, two doors from Sadlers Wells Theatre.
Strangely enough I became an opera singer, but never at Sadlers
Wells. My grandfather was a chorister in a City Church for fifty
years as was his brother and nephew, who sang at Covent Garden at
12 years old with Gigli in Tosca.
My grandfather was a strict disciplinarian, what a pity that
times have changed!
An example of a working class family who kept their heads held
high on less than a pound a week.

----- Original Message -----
From: "David Dixon" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 7:33 PM
Subject: [Lon] Round about a pound a week

: Hi Listers
: I know that many of you who are researching the lives of your
London ancestors like to read contemporary reports, a couple of
which have been mentioned on this list recently. Any improvement
in our understanding of the historical context of our ancestor's
lives helps to put "flesh on the bones".
: "Round about a Pound a Week" is a fascinating study which I
would recommend to anybody.
: I feel though, that I must comment on a couple of points which
have been made by another lister who wrote:
: "and her report is simple fact."
: I feel that this does a disservice to Maud Pember-Reeves and
her colleagues. It is far from that! It is a carefully
constructed argument full of incisive, innovative political
thinking, with criticism of the system at the time, giving
recommendations for such things as Child Benefit, Social
Services, Free School Meals etc. etc. All aimed at alleviating
the poverty which she witnessed.
: also:
: "Her selected families are really lower middle, above the worst
of the poverty then around"
: Whilst I agree wholeheartedly that the families in her study
are definitely above the worst poverty then around, I really
cannot agree that they are representative of the lower-middle
class. The occupations of some of the Heads of Households are
shown below, and as far as I'm concerned they can only be
described as working class.
: Railway Carriage Washer
: Printer's Labourer
: Pottery Packer
: Painter's Labourer
: Postal Van Driver (Night Work)
: Carman
: Plumber's Labourer
: Horse Keeper
: Carter
: I didn't want anybody to be misled into thinking that this book
is not worth reading.
: All the best
: Dave Dixon
: .
: .
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