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Text of the Winter Distress League's review for 1934-5, originals loaned by Christine Weiss

Winter Distress League's
Review 1934-5

"A Real Effort to help the Unemployed" A report booklet published by The Winter Distress League
The booklet published in 1935 by
The Winter Distress League

Note: the copy seems to have some sections
missing at the end, when compared with the 1935-6 review

For quick reference, the section
mentioning Annie Potter
and Burton Latimer
is presented below in blue text

The Winter Distress League Review


In spite of the definite and very welcome improvement in the industrial situation, there are still


Registered Unemployed

(Official figures—September, 1935)

Please help us to give work to as many of these as possible.

A promise to pay the wage of one man for as many days or weeks as you can undertake will give you a personal link with someone who needs your help.


During the past 14 Winter Seasons the League has GIVEN WORK to 2,301 MEN and enabled 15,211 to take up work.

1,437 "underfed" Children have been sent to the Country for a prolonged stay.



For  New  Friends  Only

The League's object is to enable men not only to exist, but to regain the peace of mind and self respect of which they are robbed by the aimlessness and futility of their lives when they are without work and often without hope. Therefore it expends the largest part of its funds in setting men on useful jobs which do not divert work from normal market channels. The men are paid Trade Union rates of wages and are guaranteed security for at least 13 weeks, subject of course to satisfactory work and conduct. Details of the kind of work done are given in this Report. Then again those whose resources have been drained through long unemployment often need to get tools out of pawn, procure decent clothing, or pay travelling expenses until the first week's wages are due if they are to take up a definite job when at long last their chance presents itself. We do whatever is necessary in such cases, and they are many.

Our principal activities may be tabulated thus: —

1.    Hospital Employment scheme.

2.    Public Works scheme.

3.    Waste Lands  Cultivation scheme.

4.    Provision of help to enable men to take up definite jobs.

5.    Boarding-out of Children in the Country.

The Winter Distress League has always attached the greatest importance to the element of human interest and comradeship in rebuilding broken homes and lives, and, as our regular subscribers know, has for several years endeavoured to bring those who love to help and those who so desperately need help into closer touch by arranging for the temporary " adoption " of a man by individual supporters able to shoulder such responsibility. Details of various families are sent, and the subscriber chooses the one he or she would most like to assist, and becomes responsible for the man's wages for a definite period of time. Often clothes, or a holiday-, or some other special gift is added, because the adopter becomes so interested in the family, regular reports being sent both of the man's progress and of any specific need or difficulty that has arisen. How true it is that

Knowledge is sympathy, kindliness, charity; Ignorance only is maker of hell.

We think everyone would like to hear a few of the many instances of how constructive this method has proved. Initials have been altered in pursuance of the League's principle of keeping the men's confidence inviolate, but every other detail is exact.

M.J., married with 6 dependent children; an ex-service man who had served from 1912-1919 in the South Wales Borderers. He was out of work for a very long time, except for a short spell with the Borough Council. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children had been asked to visit the home, but reported that the apparent neglect was really the result of sheer poverty, the general opinion being that the couple had done their utmost to manage on their meagre income, and were keen to keep their home and children well. A subscriber " adopted " this man, and he proved very satisfactory, and it is fine to add that he obtained other work when he finished at the W.D.L.

S.A. , unlike most of the men we employ, had no dependent children, but his wife was a semi-invalid, always under treat­ment, and the man was desperately anxious to get a job. The only income was Unemployment Benefit of 26/-; rent was 10/-and insurance amounted to 2/-. S.A. had had no work since November 1933, except for odd jobs at Christmas. Previous to that he had been two years with one employer and had only been put off because of slackness of trade. When the British Legion suggested that there might be a chance of work with us, he rushed off at dawn next morning to obtain a recommen­dation to show us. One of our subscribers chose S.A. to " adopt," so that we were able to employ him as a labourer on waste lands for 18 weeks, and he did very well.

C.B., married, with 4 dependent children. This man was strongly recommended to us by the Chairman of a Public Assist­ance Committee, who had known him for a long time and had also visited his home. He had had a very long period of un­employment, and the lady in question said the way he and his wife had kept up the standard of their home was really splendid. He voluntarily stayed at Belmont (a Residential Training Centre run by the L.C.C.) for two years in order to learn brushmaking thoroughly, though he was warned it might be difficult to find a job, as, alas, it proved. His children won scholarships, and his wife was a most competent woman. A subscriber "adopted" the family, and thanks to her we were able to keep him in work throughout the winter on waste lands. He proved a most ex­cellent worker. His fairy godmother helped the whole family with clothes, and has recently sent a cheque to enable the wife and all the children to go to the country .for a long holiday. C.B. and his family have indeed found a friend in our generous subscriber.

O.P., married, with 6 dependent children under 13 and one aged 15, also dependent, as he is partially paralysed and has to wear leg-irons. Rent was 10/- a week, and was 33/- in arrears; there were many expired pawntickets, and the home was poorly and barely furnished. O.P. was doing his best to manage without applying to charity, and the whole family was existing on his Unemployment Benefit of 40/-. He had not even asked for school dinners or milk for the children, and did not wish to do so. We are glad he was also "adopted " by a subscriber and kept in work for 13 weeks as a painter.

B.H.—This story is somewhat out of the ordinary for us! The man, aged 37, married, two children, had just come over from Canada , where he had been for fifteen years. He had a small fish-and-chips shop in Toronto , which flourished for seven years until 1932, when trade depression led to failure and lie" was then out of work for two years. His wife's sister saved the fares for the family to come over, so B.H. sold up his home and came to live with the sister-in-law until he could find work. The brother-in-law is a night worker, and the arrangement was that one family got into bed as the other got out. The only income was 15,'- from the British Legion. B.H. was formerly in the Navy and had excellent discharge papers. We employed him and enabled the family to get established here. We feel that the help given was of deserved and real value to the very-unselfish relatives as well as to B.H. and his family.

V.M., married with four dependent children. For seven years this man had worked as door-keeper and door-man, and only lost the job through slackness of trade. He obtained work as a part-time postman, and though he only earned 3o/- a week, whereas his Unemployment Benefit was 34/-, preferred to work for the lower sum rather than be unemployed. Unfortunately this job was only temporary. The home was well kept and showed a real effort on the part of the parents to maintain a decent self-respecting standard. The rent was 12/6 a week.

B.S., married, with 3 dependent children. We received the following letter from another Society:—

"This family came to us in a rather unusual way. We re­ceived a letter from Master Arthur asking if we could instruct Santa Claus to send some toys to him and his sisters as Daddie was out of work and could not afford to buy them.

"When we visited the man told us he was thinking of writing to ask if you could give him work, but denied knowledge of the boy's letter. We advised him to make application to us first and after consideration yesterday, my Committee decided to recommend you to employ the man if possible.

"He worked as painter's labourer for 3 years on and off up to November, 1933; he was ' a good worker, sober and reliable,' put off only through slackness of trade and would be re-employed if business improved. Since then he has done six months' work for a man in Mitcham who writes similarly.

"The home is well kept and of good standard.

" ' Master Arthur ' is said at school to be a quaint, dear little boy with a flair for letter writing. We hope you will be able to employ his father. Incidentally a worker has arranged for Santa Claus to deliver toys!"


There are many who cannot afford to undertake such responsibility, but even a palace is built of many individual bricks and stones, and every sixpence sent to us plays its part in restoring first hope, then opportunity, and finally achievement to those who had often thought never to find any of these again. So here are a few men who were co-operatively adopted, so to speak.

G.W., married, 3 children, had once attempted suicide, the result of depression and anxiety owing to prolonged unemployment. We gave him work and he proved very satisfactory. Through the kindly zeal of one of our foremen he has obtained a permanent post as chauffeur at £4 l0s. a week. -A Care Com­mittee worker wrote to us :—

"As the Winter Distress League has been the means of setting G.W. on his feet, I think it should be a great satisfac­tion to you to know how well the man looks. I have seen him constantly during the last year, and was amazed to see the change in his appearance since he has been given this regular work as chauffeur. He has obviously put on weight and speaks happily and contentedly now—so different from the utterly depressed air he had a few months ago. . . Please accept the thanks of all of us who have been trying to keep this family from going under."

H.B., married, with 4 dependent children. This man had been going steadily downhill physically and mentally for some time. He had worked practically all his life for a mineral water fac­tory, but had had to give it up owing to constant rheumatism. The firm had treated him very generously, but unfortunately they could not find him another job, owing to slackness of trade. H.B., although fit for any work which was not too strenuous, could get nothing at all anywhere. We put him into work, and he proved very satisfactory. The Relieving Officer, who had also been interested in him, told us he could not have believed a man could improve so quickly.

F.J.—An ex-service man, married, with 5 dependent children, two of whom are cripples. This man.had worked for many years as porter at a shop which, owing to bad trade conditions, had to close down. When he came to us he had been unem­ployed for 18 months, and was terribly despondent. He had two children over school age, one of whom was earning a small wage apprenticed to a good firm, and the other had been out of work for some time, owing to ill-health. The family were existing on unemployment benefit, with a rent of 17/-. We gave this man work as a painter's labourer, and he got on very well and very soon recovered his courage and self-respect.


Every season we have the immense satisfaction of helping men and women to translate opportunities into achievement. Those who send us what they deprecatingly call " small amounts " would rejoice indeed if they knew what great deeds these little messengers of kindliness and sympathy perform. Often it is only a question of redeeming necessary tools out of pawn ; very often it is decent clothes or boots; sometimes a matter of equipment or materials. It hardly seems possible that such things can stand as unsurmountable obstacles between an eager man and his long desired "job," yet were it not for the help the League can offer because of your support, the chance of becoming self supporting would be lost.


One man who had moved into the country with his large "small" family had sufficient offers of work as a jobbing gardener to meet their needs provided he could get to the different places, and he had a bicycle, but it needed new tyres and various repairs, which were arranged. Another man in a country district had got work as a labourer eleven miles from home. His bicycle gave out altogether. He was trying to tramp the distance, twenty-two miles a day, sooner than be thrown out of work again, when one of our Committee heard of it. A new bicycle was put in the shed for him to find on his return from work, and his wife told us he broke down and cried when in reply to his question as to whom it belonged, she told him it was his own. Another man, married, with four children, had worked up a green-grocer " round " by means of which he was supporting his family of six. His pony fell ill and died, and all his hard work was in danger of ruin. The League co­operated with another Society in providing a new pony and all is well. Another man had a similar but smaller " round " he had worked with a barrow. A long illness exhausted his small resources and he was obliged to apply for Public Assistance. He was eager to get going again, and a small grant to start his stock has enabled him to be independent once more. In another instance 14s. 6d. redeemed a man's tools and sent him on his way rejoicing to take up a proffered job.

Did 14s. 6d. ever earn a richer dividend than that, we wonder ? We quote one letter.


 Dear  Miss Nevell,

I am thanking you from the bottom of my heart for the kindness you have given me. I have laid it out in leather and etc. I now will take great care to keep my self going and hopeing I can help the League as it has helped me.

I am, Miss Nevell,

Yours faithfully,

(Signed)  W. B.

Generally speaking, the men who come to us have done nothing to bring about their own tragedy. There are so many thousands of whom this is true that we cannot deal with more than a fraction of the applicants who ' bring good testimonials of character and work. But we have always fought shy of rules and regulations, because the world is peopled by individuals, and just as no two faces are identical, so no two life stories tally, and unless method is linked with understanding, it will surely sometime break some "bruised reed."

In many previous reports we have tried to pay tribute to the patience, sympathy, perseverance and good sense of our staff, and we know that we can safely leave dis­crimination to them and agree to "exceptions" urged by them. We think you will like to hear how really worth while one such departure from precedent has been.


Another Society asked us to try and find work for a man who had held a good job as a lorry driver with a big firm for fifteen years. One day a friend asked him to carry some stolen goods in his lorry, and he most foolishly did so. He was caught in the act, of course dismissed and sent to prison for four months. When he came out he found it impossible to get a job and was rapidly sinking into utter despondency, feeling that his " past " could never be lived down. He had been stupid and weak rather than deliberately criminal, and he paid many times over for his folly. He was still a young man (in the early thirties), strong and willing to do anything, and he had a family. We placed all the facts before a subscriber and she decided to '' adopt'' him for four months. His gratitude was beyond words, and he has worked splendidly and his self respect has been restored, for someone has trusted him. We can give him a very good character and feel confident that with this help behind him, he will go steadily forward again.


The Institutions for whom we did jobs this season (of course jobs that would otherwise not have been done, for we never touch any other) are as follows.    In all cases materials are paid for by the Institutions.

All Saints' Hospital. Metropolitan District Nurses' Association.
Barclay Workshops for the Blind. N o tting Hill Nursery School .
Bethel Homes for Aged Women.   Royal Waterloo Hospital
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson  Hospital St. Francis House.
Invalid and Crippled Children's Hospital. St. Mary's Hospital.
King's College Hospital . University College Hospital .
London Hospital . Willesden General Hospital .

Sometimes we are asked in somewhat incredulous tones whether we find our men "really work well." We hope with almost passionate fervour that some of the ''doubt­ing Thomases" may read the letters that follow.

London Children's Gardens Fund.

Dear Madam,

I am writing on behalf of the Committee to thank you most gratefully for the help we have received from you, in connection with our two new gardens, at Camden Town . The men have now completed the work, and have done it most satisfactorily. We greatly appreciate the real interest that they have all taken in it.

You will also, I am sure, be pleased to know that the gardener we engaged through the League is doing his work exceedingly \yell: we are more than pleased with him.

It may give you pleasure to know that when the League men were working at our Camden Crescent Garden, a lady living opposite came over on purpose to tell the Teacher that she had never seen any men work as hard or as well as they did; they never seemed to waste one minute.

Your Foreman, too, has been most helpful and obliging.

Yours truly,

(Signed)  A. JOHNSTON, Secretary.

The Notting Hill Nursery School .

Dear Sir,

My Committee has asked me to convey to the Winter Dis­tress League their very grateful thanks for the redecoration of our house by your men.

The work is excellent, and the men were wonderful—we hardly knew they were in the place—in spite of the fact that many of the children were in the school whilst the men were working.

Yours truly,

(Signed)  CHRISTINA LOVELAND , Secretary.

University College Hospital .

April 11th,  1935. Dear Madam,

On behalf of the Committee, I wish to express our most grateful thanks to the Winter Distress League for supplying labour for the internal decoration of our Old Nurses' Home.

You will be glad to hear that the behaviour of the painters and labourers who were employed was excellent, and the stan­dard of their work very satisfactory. In particular I should like to thank Captain Evans for all that he has done to make the arrangement a complete success.

Yours faithfully,                                              

(Signed) J. G. T. BUCKLE, Secretary.

London Hospital ,

28th March, 1935.

Dear Miss Neville,

Sir William Goschen has asked me to convey to you and your Committee an expression of our heartfelt thanks for the splendid help again afforded by the League in paving the Fore­court and gravelling the path at the Hospital.

Had it not been for your welcome assistance these much needed renovations could not have been carried out. We are indeed most grateful.

Yours very truly,

(Signed)  H. MILSOM, Secretary.

The Royal Waterloo Hospital for Children and Women,


7th March, 1935. Dear Madam,

The League workmen have now finished their work at this Hospital and I write on behalf of the Board of Governors to express our great appreciation of its value and quality; it is really excellent.

The work was badly needed, and it would have been quite
impossible to undertake it without your help.

With our very sincere thanks,
Yours truly,

(Signed) WALTER S. TALBOT, Hon. Treasurer.

It would be difficult to speak more highly either of the men's behaviour or of the quality of their work, would it not? And please remember that these tributes apply to different gangs of workers, so if ever you hear anyone saying that the unemployed "don't want work" (a libel we are thankful to note is far less frequent than of yore), please give that person this report to read.


That is one side of the picture; here is another, sketched in letters from the men employed. There are dozens of them, all so sincere, so vivid in their simplicity and directness, that it is very difficult to select the few which are all space allows us to include.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am Writing to thank you for the assistance you gave in finding me A Job.  I am now Please  to tell you I have step into Another Job and I have not so much debt to start with which is through your Kindness.

I Remain,

Yours Faithfully,

(Signed) R. O.

Waterloo .

Dear Sir,

I am writing to thank you for the fourteen weeks work you gave me it was a great help to my wife and Five children! I am not employed yet but I hope to make another start shortly and I also wish to thank Mr. B. it was a pleasure to work under him. Hoping I gave every satisfaction,

I remain.


(Signed)  S. W.

Just a few lines to let you know how very Thankfull I am he way you have helped me and my family, and I was very satisfied with the work.

And I like it very much.

Well Miss Neville there is not much I can say. My Wife thanks you very much.

Yours Truly,

(Signed) H. D.

(Thank You  Very Much.)

4. XI. 34.

Dear Miss Neville,

It is with intense joy that I write, first to inform you of my new appointment, and secondly to say " thank You " for all that you have done for me.

With regard to the first, I have been appointed by Rev. 0. H. H. and the Church Trustees to be Assistant Hall-keeper if their magnificent new building.

I am deeply conscious of my indebtedness to you, for having given me the opportunity of proving myself worthy of such a position. It is indeed amazing. Three years ago after having almost wrecked my chances, and most certainly disrupted the harmony of my home, I approached you for work. Very willingly you gave me a chance, and with the exception of just a few months I have continued to work under the League for almost three years. As I reflect as to what I was when I started, and now, I thank God that I am a changed man.

Merely to say thank you, would not express my gratitude. 1 have tried to express it in my work, but I feel sure that you will quite know how very very sincere my "Thank You" is. So grateful am I that I am sure that I could never entangle myself again, because I am determined to respect the confidence that both you and Mr. H. have placed in me, and work as hard and well as it is possible to. Thank you, for having brought sunshine where darkness and bitterness existed.

I trust that I have given every satisfaction.

May I too thank all those of your staff who I have come in contact with. . . Their cheery word has always meant much.

Please  excuse  my  letter   writing,  but  do  accept  my  very humble gratitude.

Thank you, very much.

Yours respectfully,

(Signed)  F. R. F.


Well, so much for the Institutions. Now about our Waste Lands schemes. What a satisfying thing it is to take over a derelict bit of land, uneven, hideous with rubbish, rank growths, stagnant pools and the like and transform it into an acreage of gardens, whether for recreational purposes or as allotments ! We greatly desire to develop this method of work, letting the land and the men reclaim each other, not only in the London area, but in those sad districts where unemployment is the normal experience of the population, for though it is true that unemployment is an individual tragedy, yet to live in areas where the percentage of unemployment is or has been very high, adds both to the individual's difficulties and to the general atmosphere of depression and hopelessness.

Our first big piece of land reclamation work at Abbey Wood, where 31 acres of utter uselessness and swamps have been transformed into 550 allotments is really finished. Our men began work on it in December 1931 and in November last year we received the following generous and appreciative letters : —

Woolwich Council of Social Service,
71, Rectory Place , Woolwich, S.E.18.
November 10th, 1934.

Dear Miss Neville,

The Executive Committee of the Council received this week the report of the termination of the League's three years' work in conditioning our allotments field at Abbey Wood, and in­structed me to offer the League its deepest thanks for this assistance. The hand digging of the thirty-one acres of very rough grass land, the reclamation of the very considerable patches of swampy ground, and the preparation of the whole area as neatly laid out allotment gardens ready for planting, has been a tremendous task accomplished by the unemployed men engaged by the League. Apart from the assistance to the men employed and to their families, the actual work accomplished has been of the greatest value; it is no exaggeration to say that it has been the making of the unemployed allotments scheme ; of the 550 plots in the field (some 480 of these having been pre­pared by the League) we have during the three years already been able to let 500, the great majority to men themselves un­employed, and we expect the remainder to be taken up during this winter. In expressing my Committee's appreciation, I am sure that I am also voicing the feelings of the local unemployed who hold the allotments.

I trust that the League will be able to carry out equally fine pieces of work in other areas now that Abbey Wood scheme is completed.

Yours faithfully,

(Signed) C. H. L. GRINLING, Hon. Secretary.


Wickham Lane and Harrow Manorway Allotments and Gardens Society, Ltd, 71, Rectory Lane , Woolwich, S.E18.
18th March, 1935.

Dear Miss Neville,

At the Annual Meeting of this Society on Saturday last, March i6th, a report was presented of the completion of the Winter Distress League's task of digging practically all of our land for us. The meeting unanimously passed a vote of thanks recording its appreciation of the very valuable work, extending over practically three years, in preparing the allotments for the Society.

I am very pleased indeed to pass this vote of thanks on to you, and assure you that it represents the general feelings of

the tenants of the plots.

Yours faithfully,

(Signed)  H. R. ECROYD, Hon. Secretary.

Now isn't that something to be really happy about? "Really constructive work." We've already told you several times that comment made by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales when lie visited the scheme, but it's the sort of remark that bears repetition.

Our next big piece of work has been started near Tipton in Staffs. The Directors of The National Coke & Oil Co., Ltd., generously offered a considerable area of waste land round their factory for allotments, with security of tenure. The land was covered with the dump heaps of a disused mine and would have been beyond the powers of unorganised individuals to clear, and the League therefore undertook the preparatory work. The Manager of the Local Employment Exchange picked the men for us, and the Directors and Executives of the factory have taken a great interest in our work,—so great that as level ground took the place of the unsightly clumps, they decided to contribute half the labour costs, on the grounds that our work was dignifying the approach to the factory. Their Works Manager has acted as our paymaster, and Mr. Robson, to whose vision and energy the whole scheme is due, has visited the place regularly, so that in spite of geographical distance, we have been able to keep in close touch with the workers.

We have also had the advantage of the help and tech­nical advice of Mr. Proudlock, Divisional Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, and of Mr. John Stoney, Horti­cultural Instructor for the Staffordshire County Council. Both these gentlemen have frequently visited the Scheme, and their advice has been of great service.

It may interest subscribers to know what is involved in this land reclamation work, even when the area is
very small, so we give you one or two of the reports sent in by our Works Supervisor:

London Children's Gardens.—A Crescent of about three-quarters of an acre, apparently neglected for years and over­grown with trees, shrubs and grass; gardens re-dug 400 feet by S feet, whole site turned and thoroughly dug, marked and set out for a-total of 256 children's plots, main pathway constructed 50 feet by 6 feet and filled in with brick rubble and ashes, new entrance formed by cutting away portion of railing and forming new gate entrance, cementing in two posts. Materials used, i cwt. cement, quarter yard sand, half ton brick rubble. Com­menced November 26th, 1934, completed January 4th, 1935.

London Children's Gardens.—Another plot of land approxi­mately three-quarters acre formerly used as a rubbish.dump - About 30 tons of rubbish, cleared, sifted, and the surplus buried. 64 children's plots 12 feet by 8 feet, and 13 flower beds of various sizes dug, weeded and set out; also one large flower bed 500 feet by 4 feet 6 inches dug, weeded and set out. All plots bordered with 6 inch timber creosoted, 100 yards of barbed wire fixed, also 100 yards of small mesh wire fixed to railings. Pathways made throughout, by digging and setting in ballast, and rolled. Commenced March 11th, 1935, completed April 12th, 1935

Congregational Church, S.E. (Headquarters of a Social Service Centre).—The ground in front of this Church was in a very neglected state, and neither useful nor ornamental. It was decided to make it into a Garden of Rest with flower beds, etc.; 3 large notice boards removed, 80 feet of iron railings raised and cleaned, and reset on retaining wall So feet by i foot by g inches, 5 inches of cement laid; 40 square yards of garden thoroughly dug to a depth of 2 feet, removing two courses of brickwork from 6 vaults; 2 trees felled and converted into logs for Church use; 2 tons of old tombstones removed and set as kerb stones to pathway of church; new pathway constructed, excavated to depth of 1 foot, filled and punned in with 9 inches of hard core and finished off with 3 inches of tarmac; 16 cubic yards of garden soil loaded, spread on site and levelled. Materials used: 16 yards soil, 4 cwt. cement, 1.5 yards sand, 1 ton Tarmac and 16 yards hardcore. Commenced December 31st, 1934, completed January 18th, 1935.

Christian Community Children's Home.—Fifty children are given a week's free holiday at this Home from early May to late September. The grounds, about three quarters of an acre in extent, were in a very bad state and dangerous for children, being overgrown with thick coarse grass (matted), nettles and weeds. The grounds were laid out in two terraces on rising ground, but not levelled, and a dangerous drop from one terrace to another; the approach and pathways were very rough and filled with water in wet weather. About a quarter of an acre was dug, levelled and rolled to form a playground for the children; 48 feet square was dug, weeded and prepared for growing vegetables for the use of the Home. Another portion of the land was dug, levelled and formed into a gradual slope to render it safer for the children; large sewage tank dismantled and filled in with brick rubble; 6 swings erected; 20 trees felled and grubbed; hedges trimmed; the frontage and side approach of the Home excavated to a depth of 7 inches, filled in to a depth of 4 inches with hard core, punned and rolled, and finished off with 3 inches floating of Thames ballast and cement; drain laid leading to sump hole. Commenced April 22nd, 1935, completed June 14th, 1935.

We think these reports bring home to one very vividly that this type of work is not often (if ever) as simple as it sounds.


Abbey Wood, S.E.
All Saints Hospital, Southwark.
Deptford Congregational Church (Land in front of).
High Beech, Essex (Poor Children's Holiday Home).
London Children's Gardens  ( Camden Crescent ).
London Children's Gardens  ( Camden Gardens ).
London Hospital , Whitechapel Road .
Prince of Wales Hospital , Tottenham.

Our good friends and collaborators of H.M. Office of Works again found work for some of our men in public parks, work which definitely improved old or provided new amenities for the users of the parks which would not have been sanctioned in the ordinary estimates.

The Bailiff of the Royal Parks writes as follows :

"The men are doing very useful work and I am to express the Department's appreciation of the Winter Distress League's services in this connection.

"We shall be happy to afford similar facilities in the future should they be required."


We have continued to provide "Stewards" for occupational Clubs for unemployed men, a particularly satis­factory avenue of employment, for not only do these posts enable us to give picked men responsible and con­structive work, but through so doing we are indirectly helping the large numbers who gratefully find in these clubs shelter, occupation, and companionship for the long empty hours, and to whom they stand often as the only proof of human sympathy and desire to help. The following clubs were helped in this way : —

Archway Unemployed Fellowship, Highgate.
Crossways Club, New Kent Road .
Deptford Social Service Club.
Fleming Hut, Hammersmith.
Holy Cross Club, St. Pancras.
Kelly Street Centre, Kentish Town .
Kingsley Hall Occupational Club, Bow.
Millwall Fellowship, Isle of Dogs.
North Southwark Club, Southwark.
Quest Club, Clarendon Road .
St. Clement's Centre, Liverpool Road .
St. Mary Magdalene Club, Paddington.
St. Pancras Club, Highgate Road .
Whitfields Club, Tottenham Court Road.
Two Clubs in West Kensington .

And here is a letter showing what such help means : —

Kentish, Town Congregational Church,
Kelly  Street,  N.W.
October 23rd, 1934.

Dear Miss Neville,

I really find it very difficult to say how much your help has meant to me in the work I am trying to do for the unemployed men of the Kentish Town district. The Club has required a full time superintendent from the commencement of the work, and in paying the salary of the superintendent, the Winter Distress League has made it possible for the good work to function. As you know, we have such a struggle to raise funds to keep our Church open for its ordinary work and worship, and it would have been absolutely impossible to cater for the unemployed as we have been doing, were it not for such good friends as the Winter Distress League and quite recently the London Council for Voluntary Occupation.

With kindest regards, Yours sincerely,



This department has continued to supply essential wardrobe needs, frequently thereby pushing the door of employment open.

We received 637 parcels, more than a third of which were sent in response to Mr. Sheppard's wireless appeal. Miss Sandford, who has charge of this section of our work, has been helped throughout the season by Mrs. Cutler and Miss Murray, for whose splendid and efficient voluntary work we want to express our appreciative thanks; while Miss Nettlefold and Miss Macintosh still allow us to use a cellar in Gray's Inn as a store place, and most valuable it is.

20. 2. 35.

Dear Miss Neville,

I called at 120, Theobalds Road , in response to a letter I received from your Clothing Secretary and I am very thankful for the suit of clothes which, was a god-send to me, as I have only what I have been walking out in. I would also like to add that I deeply appreciate the courteous treatment which I received from the young man at your clothing centre. He was very helpful in his endeavours to get a good fit for me as possible. I would like to mention again in conclusion that should an opportunity arise re any employment I shall be most happy to do it.

Again thanking you,

I have the honour to remain, Madam,

Yours faithfully,

(Signed)  D. F.


Dear Miss Nevill,

I am very sorry I have not written before to thank you very much for the parcel of Clothing which I received quite safely. I am very pleased with them and I hope you will accept both my Husband and myself earnest thanks for your kindness to both us and the children it as relieved us of a lot of worry and ex­pense and will help us to tide over until something comes along for Mr. P.

I remain,

Yours sincerly,

(Signed)  MRS. J. R. P.


Dear Miss Sandford,

Will you please convey to Miss Neville my most heartfelt thanks for the parcel. I don't think anyone could realize what a difference it makes, these are so cosy and since my illness 1 feel the cold terribly. I was so ill, in fact I nearly passed out— a complete breakdown. But thank goodness I am better now though I get tired very easily. I often think of you all and your kindness to me and mine in the old days. I should love to see you all again, some day I shall.

Thank you again so much for the beautiful parcel, every­thing in it was just what I needed. Thank you also for the care you took in selecting.

Yours very sincerely,

(Signed)  B. N. H.

Time and Talents Occupational Club,
71, East Lane, S.E.16.

20, Gilston Road , S.W.10.
February 2ist, 1935.

Dear Miss Neville,

I cannot say how grateful I am to you and the Winter Distress League for the gift of clothes for the two unemployed men in Bermondsey. I appreciate not only the gift, but the marvellous way it was all done up ready in two parcels, and not only that but someone was waiting in Theobalds Road with tin panels when I drove up! Such things seldom happen to one. Please thank those concerned.

Yours very sincerely,

(Signed)  MAUD PELHAM.


Work for the fathers is the best help one can offer to the mothers, but the children need special care. In spite of the beautiful unselfishness of which one sees so many examples, parents cannot protect the little people from the inevitable results of insufficient everything. Practically all the children we send away are medically certified to be suffering as a result of unavoidable hardships.

Mrs. Potter and those who make room for little guests, command our respect as well as our gratitude. After all it is no small thing for a cottage woman to accept the care and responsibility of a weakly child in addition to her own home duties, and how much more they give than could ever be paid for in terms of money is evidenced by the parents' gratitude and approval.

161 children have been away for periods long enough really to build them up physically, often three or four months being necessary,—and oh ! the joy most of them get out of their holiday, and the strange parcels that return home with them, varying from eggs and spinach to live poultry and fuchsia plants. A brown paper parcel has been known to quack loudly on top of a bus !

Read what the parents say : —

8. 4. 35

Sir or Madam,

Just a note thanking you all for your great kindness in building up and making such fine lads of my two boys that vou sent away. I don't know how to keep up to them in food, they cannot understand why I cannot give it to them, they' both want to go back, especially the eldest one, he was very happy there. . .

Well we all thank you very much,

Yours truly,

(Signed) MR. and MRS. B.

December 10th, 1934.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I must thank you for sending Grace away I think it has done her the World of Good and She looks Much Fatter and Better thanking you Very Much

Yours truly,   (Signed) MR. and MRS. P.


Dear Miss Nevill,

I wish to express my gratitude and thanks for your kind­ness to my children during their stay at Burton Latimer. They were treated wonderfully well and their health has greatly improved. Again thanking you for sending my children to tin: country.

I remain,

Yours faithfully,

(Signed)  G. J. M.

Dear Miss Neville,

Just a Line, to Thank you Very much For my Little Boy's Holiday . I must Really say he Look the Picture of Health and it has done him Good. For he Look so thin before he went. We Realy cannot Express our Thank to Highly to you For your Kindness and allso to Mrs. Potter and Mrs. Ridgway. I think Both Lady are Wonderfull Kind to the children

So now I must close Thanking you again For your Kind­ness and Trusting yon are quite Well with Best Respects and Kind Wishes,

Yours faithfully,

(Signed) T. L. P.

The Regent Advertising Club again gave our kiddies a Christmas Party that even the most -talented “copy writer" would find it hard to describe adequately. Every little guest took away six gifts, including a scarf (woollen for mere boys, silk for the girls) and a book chosen according to age, as well as toys.

The tea is modestly described as "lavish"; well, restraint is a great literary virtue. We think it is splen­did of these young people (for the R.A.C. is for the juniors of the profession) many of whom have heavy responsibilities of their own to meet, to give with such glorious abandon of their time, thought and money. Their reward is not in our recognition and gratitude, but in the joy that is only obtained by giving. Fifty-five parents were entertained more sedately and modestly by members of the Committee in a near-by hall, where rest and refreshment 'prepared them for the task of conveying their exhausted youngsters, laden with the largesse of the R.A.C., home.


Only those who have been in close touch with homes in the dark shadows of unemployment can realise what a Christmas parcel means. The Hampstead Girl Guides, the St. Pancras Girl Guides and a very kind-hearted subscriber took a special interest in our Christmas effort and sent really wonderful collections of food, clothing and toys. To' be able to give clothes and toys and sometimes coal in addition to the dinner made it much more "Christmassy," and added so much to the joy of the distributors as well as to that of the recipients. 1,450 people had a real Christmas through the League's friends, and the letters show so clearly that it isn't by any means the material gifts only that are appreciated.

Dear Miss Nevill,

Just a line thanking you for this Christmas parcel in wich i received from you. and i can assure you my family also send you there greatest thanks as it made things look like Christmas and lets hope that next coming year things will look brighter not only for myself but for plenty more like myself, that is all for now wishing you and also your staff a Happy New Year.


(Signed) MR.  N.

3ist Dec. 1934.

Dear Miss Neville,

I feel I must write to you once again thanking you for recommending us to the kind lady of the 1st Castor and Sutton company of girl Guides of Lady Amies House, Stamford , Lines.

We received a lovely bumper hamper containing food, some beautiful woollen clothing and toys fruit and sweets for the children, and which we all enjoyed very much.

It enabled us to enjoy a better Christmas than we should have done otherwise.

I might add that I think it is very kind and generous of you in devoting your time and pleasure in the interests of many poor families such as ourselves, and I wish you both good health and strength to carry on your good work. I have wrote a letter of thanks to the very kind lady who was able to make our Christmas a happy one.

Thanking you once   again  and  wishing you  a  very  happy New Year.

I am,

Yours faithfully,

(Signed) MRS. M. F.

28th Dec. 1934.

Dear Miss Neville,

I am writing, to thank you for your kindness towards my wife and children during the Christmas season.

I must say things were made much happier through your generosity and thoughtfulness.

We all send our sincere wishes to you for a happy and pros­perous New Year.

(Signed) MR. and MRS. W.

Dear Miss Neville,

Mr. P. and myself thank you ever so much for the Christmas parcel, everything was splendid and the children were delighted with the toys. I can assure you we both feel very grateful for what you have done.

Wishing you a very happy New Year,

Yours Thankfully,

(Signed) MRS. P.

Dec. 27th, 1934.

Dear Sir,

I beg to acknowledge receipt of Xmas parcel which I received at Theobalds Road . I am sure it was very acceptable for us especially at such hard times with a_ large family and I appreciate your kindness very much indeed. It really brought that little ray of sunshine-into a poor family. The children were very pleased with little gifts and I am sure the food was very-good and wholesome.

Thanking you once again for your great kindness.

I remain,
Yours sincerely,

(Signed)  F. H.


All these activities call for £.s.d., and in common with all social activities we suffer from chronic avariciousness. We have very great cause for gratitude, and we really and truly are grateful,—only we always need more than we've got in the way of funds. Hardened suppliants as we are, we honestly do feel apologetic when the pressing needs of our applicants drive us to appeal a second time to those who have already generously supported us. In May, however, we sent 1,500 such letters from the office and received in response the munificent sum of £1,795 1s., which enabled us to keep 63 men in work, some of whom are still employed.

Words really do fail us to express our appreciation of such kindness, but as you know, your kindness is really given to some man who needs it desperately, and we know that is exactly why you give it.

The Report of what had been done the previous winter again proved our best pleader and brought in £8,706 4s. 11d. The appeal sent out by the Organiser whom we have employed for several years was responsible for £2,203 8s. 3d. Our splendid and most effective list of subscribers has been largely built up by means of this gentleman's work in former years.

We were fortunate indeed in having Mr. Sheppard to do our broadcast. Mr. Sheppard is both greatly beloved and greatly trusted, and when he urges a cause, there are many anxious to respond. Our grateful thanks are offered to the B.B.C. for this great opportunity and to Mr. Sheppard for making the most of it for us. It resulted in the splendid total of £2,337 12s. 9d.

The Glendower School pupils gave a Matinee last December, and generously promised ''part proceeds'' to us. Imagine our stupefaction on receiving £102 19s. 8d. We all thought it quite wonderful and look on the staff and pupils of Glendower School with almost awestruck respect. Other kind benefactors were Miss Rosemary Hammond and the St. Mary Abbotts' Singers, who gave a recital on our behalf, result £7 10s. 0d. ; and the group of young people who work as "Incognito," who organised one of their Motor Treasure Hunts for us. We have also been fortunate enough to be placed on the list of organisations approved by the L.C.C. for grants from Sunday Cinemas.


We were greatly encouraged by receiving gracious gifts of £50 from H.M. The King and of ^10 each from H.M. The Queen and H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.

Through the kindness of one of our subscribers a sum of £100 was sent by a small Co-operative Company which voluntarily wound up.

We appreciate deeply Lady Riddell's lovely promise of £143 a year for the next seven years, in memory of the late Lord Riddell, whose heart and purse were ever open to help the sad and sorrowful.

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