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Text of the Winter Distress League's review for 1935-6, originals loaned by Christine Weiss

Winter Distress League's
Review 1935-6

"A Real Effort to help the Unemployed" A report booklet published by The Winter Distress League
The booklet published in 1936 by
The Winter Distress League

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

The Winter Distress League Review


There are still


Registered Unemployed

(Official figures—August, 1936)

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.


A letter from the wife of a man employed by the League whom we had also provided with a Christmas Dinner :—

10.2.36. Dear Sir.

I received your letter with the greatest of joy and thankfulness, I hardly know how to thank you for your utmost kindness to me and mine, I can assure you it will make a great difference to us, I also wish to thank you sir, for giving my husband the prospect of a job. No one can ever really quite know what this wonderful good fortune has done for us, I always believed there was a Cod above, but believe me sir, sometimes it's been hard to keep on believing, but it seems to me that I do not believe in vain to think that my dear husband will be able to work for a time and take some of the worry off his face and to know that he is earning our keep, will be a glorious thing, I have two dear babies and another little one shortly, and I am sure if they were old enough, would put their thanks with mine and my husband's for your kindness. I cannot say any more I am too full, so I simply say again thank-you, and all the people who enabled us to have our Christmas dinner without worry, and may I wish you a "Merry Christmas" and a happy and prosperous New Year in all your ventures, and my little family would also like to join me in my wishes,

Yours gratefully and respectfully,

Mrs.   I.  A


HAVE you ever tried to imagine what it would be like to have nothing, literally nothing to do and nowhere to go for weeks, months, years on end ? To get up every morning with a day empty of occupation of any kind, devoid of hope or interest, stretching ahead of you and to know that to-morrow and to-morrow and to­morrow would almost certainly bring the same dreary, monotonous nothingness ? Add to that insufficient food, a home going steadily downhill, a wife whose health and spirits are being drained out of her, and children who are of necessity deprived of much that they should have, and one has, alas! mentally sketched the lot of a very large section of one's fellow countrymen and women. Mentally sketched it, yes, but how far removed that is from having to live it, and only those who have done that really know the drab dull horror of prolonged unemploy­ment, and their silence is perhaps the measure of its unspeakable misery.

It is men who have had to live it that the Winter Distress League exists to help, and this Report is the fourteenth record of what our subscribers have enabled us to do. It's always a nice record to write because there always seems to be so much gratitude and happiness and genuinely effective work to tell about.

For instance, last year we told you about B.H., an ex-naval man who had been in Canada for many years. Well, lie proved such a satisfactory worker for us that when a subscriber told us lie had a permanent job going, B.H. was among those sent for interview and he was successful in getting the post. This employer has since written : "We are very satisfied with him. I think he is happy at his work." There's a nice happy ending!


We have, as our regular subscribers know, three main types of employment.

1.   Undertaking jobs that would otherwise remain undone, for various public institutions and societies who have to provide the materials, while we pro­vide the labour.

2.   The clearing and preparation of waste land  for use as allotments, gardens, and recreation grounds.

3.   The provision of stewards for clubs for the un­employed.

In all cases the rates of pay are those laid down by the Ministry of Labour.

The Waste Land schemes are peculiarly helpful, both because all types and kinds of men can be put to work on them, and because the outdoor life and exercise is very beneficial to the men and gets them fit and well for other work that may be obtainable afterwards. Be­sides, everybody finds satisfaction in turning a hideous derelict bit of ground into something pleasant and useful.

Most of these schemes are in or around London , but the Committee felt anxious again to do something in one of the areas on which the burden of unemployment falls most crushingly, and knew that many subscribers shared that desire.

The Tipton scheme, the beginnings of which were reported in last year's record of work, was finished by September. Meanwhile we had been consulting authorities and investigating various suggestions, and finally decided on a land reclamation scheme at St. Helens in Lancashire , where there were 12,000 unemployed, of whom 7,000 were unlikely ever to be actively employed again. The Local Authorities greatly desired to demolish a huge dump of chemical waste, 25 feet high, 290 feet wide, 700 feet long, which twined its horrible bulk over a level piece of land and prevented its use as a playground. Though slightly appalled at the size of the job, we decided that faint hearts never got anything done, and allocated a sufficient sum to keep 26 men going for 3 months, provided the Borough Council felt able to undertake the administrative responsibilities. Well, if anybody wants to know what generous, efficient, quiet, hundred per cent, co-operation means, we advise them to arrange to do something in
The Dump at St Helens - the bite
collaboration with the St. Helens Borough Council ! Not only did they inter­view, select and supervise the men, but they rummaged in old stores and produced all sorts of equipment, and, largely because they felt it would be an encouragement to the men, even provided a mechanical excavator (you know, one of those monstrous machines which take little bites of about a ton of earth at a time) and paid its driver. We wish you could have talked with those 26 men as some of us did on a bitterly cold day in February when the job commenced and seen their keenness and joy. "How long have you been unemployed?" "Ten years— six years—five years—ten years—three years," came the replies, and mind you, not from old men. The two men who had endured ten years of uselessness were only 42 and 47 years old respectively, and not one had been out of a job for less than three years. One realised how sore their hands would get, how their bodies would ache with the unaccustomed swinging and hauling and digging, how difficult the routine tasks would seem after that long inertia, but when some of us went again in June only one man had changed, no, they'd all "changed", but only one had not made good. "Was he one of the ten years unemployed?" we asked rather anxiously. Oh no, both those men were there and doing fine work. And oh, how the dump had shrunk ! There is a row of cottages just across the road, from which the monster had practically shut out daylight, and the windows of which had always to be kept closed when there was any wind, by reason of the fine grey dust.

Recently the Town Clerk sent us a copy of the following letter : —

"We, the undersigned Residents of Parr Stocks Road, would like to convey to you our best thanks for the part you have played in removing the waste heap at the rear of our homes. Dare we further trespass upon your kindness in asking you to kindly inform the Society and friends responsible for the financing of same, how deeply we appreciate their thoughtfulness, and trust they may reap the reward of their generous action. Hoping the good work will continue until the heap is only a memory."

and his own comment is : —

"I feel sure that your Committee will lie gratified by knowing that, in addition to giving useful work to unemployed men, the work in question besides providing additional playing fields accommodation has so materiallv improved the amenities of the area for these particular residents that they have of their own volition felt it incumbent upon them to communicate their thanks in this wav."

(Miss Neville says all this really belongs to next year's Report because our season ends with May — but we don't care. We think it's much too nice not to tell you at ONCE, and there will be something else nice for next year's anyway !)

Here is the list of institutional jobs, waste land schemes and club stewardships undertaken last season.


All Saints Hospital Royal Waterloo Hospital
Cheyne Hospital for Children St. Columba's Hospital (twice during season)
King's College Hospital St. Mary's Hospital
London Hospital Stepney Infant Welfare Centre
Metropolitan District Nurses' Association Stowe Club for Unemployed
Open Air Nurseries University College Hospital
Princess Beatrice Hospital Willesde n General Hospital
Royal Free Hospital


Arlington Square , Islington ( London Children's Gardens). Charlinch, Rectory Place , Woolwich  ( St. Francis House). East London Hospital , Shadwell ( London Gardens Society), Holy Trinity Church , Hoxton,  Land  at ( London Gardens Society).

Isle of Dogs, Millwall  ( London Children's Gardens), Prince of Wales Hospital , Tottenham. Regent's Park (Office of Works). St. Bartholomew's Church, Bethnal Green  ( London Gardens Society).

St. John's Church , Bethnal Green ( London Gardens Society). St. Jude's Church, Bethnal Green ( London Gardens Society). St. Peter's Church Club, Dagenham. Valence Avenue , Dagenham  ( London Gardens Society).


Land at Tipton,  Staffs   (through, the summer of 10.35, completed September, 1935).

Land at St. Helens, Lancs, (begun Feb.1936, still proceeding).

St Helens - getting rid of the bite.


Archway Unemployed Fellowship, Highgate.

Crossways Club, New Kent Road .

Deptford Social Service Club).

Downham Occupational Club, Downham Estate.

Fleming Hut, Hammersmith.

Holy Cross Club, St. Pancras.

Islington Central Hall Club.

Kelly Street Club, Kentish Town .

Kingsley Hall Occupational Club, Bow.

Millwall Fellowship, Isle of Dogs.

North Southwark Club, Southwark.

St. Clement's Centre, Liverpool Road, N.

St. Mary Magdalene Club, Paddington.

St. Pancras Club, Highgate Road, N.

Stoke Newington Club, Stoke Newington .

West Kensington Occupational Club, Castletown Road, W.

West Kensington Occupational Club, Fulham Road, S.W.

Whitfield's Central Mission Club, Tottenham Court Road.

Woolwich Fellowship, Woolwich.


And here are just a few letters. We wish we could afford to print all we receive because they are really written to every subscriber, since without the subscrip­tions there would be nothing to record.

Old libels are as hard to kill as the proverbial "old soldier," and the statement that the unemployed don't want work still crops up much too often; how we wish the letters we get from the men to whom we give work could be read to everyone disturbed or troubled by that particularly cruel inaccuracy. There is also the witness of the men's high standard of work and conduct, often spoken of by the institutions for which we work.

This letter might legitimately be headed " From One Who Knows " !

Public Assistance Local Office,
East Greenwich , S.E.10.
3rd January,  1936.

Dear Sir/Madam,

During the past year I have from time to time approached you on behalf of some deserving and needy person whose case was beyond the scope of public assistance, and I desire to thank you for the many forms of assistance rendered.

In no single instance have I appealed in \;mi and the assistance which you have given has not only been generous but prompt, a factor which is often of the greatest importance.

I desire to express to you my grateful appreciation of all that you have done to assist the work of this department, and that the recipients are also appreciative is evidenced by the letters and expressions of thanks .which have reached me from them.

For my part, I can assure you that every care will continue to be taken to establish real and urgent need before any case is referred to you, and 1 am confident that the same ungrudging help will be forthcoming from you in the future as in the past.

Thanking you again,

Yours faithfully,

          (Signed) G. WARD,

Chief Relieving Officer.

St.  Mary's  Hospital.
19th. March,1936

Dear Miss Neville,

May 1 on behalf of the Board of Management take this opportunity to thank the Winter Distress League for the most valuable help they have been so good as to give to the St. Mary's Hospital this year by the allocation of four painters and four labourers for thirteen weeks to do most urgent work at this Institution, which could not have been done without the help of your Committee.

St. Mary's will ever be under a deep debt of gratitude to the Winter Distress League for all the kind assistance they have given to St. Mary's for so many years. I cannot conceive of any better organisation, or more charitable effort than that which is being made year in and year out by the Winter Distress League, and I send you all my best wishes for its continued success.

Yours sincerely,


St. Columba's  Hospital,
London , N.W.3.
27th March,1936.

Dear Madam,

The Council of this Hospital desire me to convey to the Winter Distress League their sincere gratitude for the very-valuable help given with the interior decorations during the winter, and recently completed.

We cannot rate too highly the value, to the Hospital, of the services of skilled and efficient labour you have given us free of all cost to ourselves, thus enabling us to have necessary painting done which we should have been unable to afford without this help.

With grateful and sincere thanks, Yours faithfully,


Chairman and Treasurer.


Dear Captain Evans,

.... I cannot refrain from adding a personal note, to tell you that the new paint which has altered the appearance of the place, and has changed drab shabbiness into an appearance of freshness, makes such a difference to all of us who work here.

The men were all so obliging and quick and considerate, and we are so very grateful to them all and to the Winter Dis­tress League. It changed a negative appearance into something really positive and attractive, which was so worth while.

Yours sincerely,

(Signed) A. A. ANTHONY, Matron.

The Princess Beatrice Hospital ,
Earl's Court, S.W.10.
17th April, 1936.

Dear Captain Evans,

I am personally writing to thank you for having come to our rescue and helping us to paint a large portion of the Hospital which, without your assistance, could not have been done, owing to our unfortunate financial position at the moment. I would also like to mention the excellent behaviour of the men sent and the courtesy of the Foreman in meeting the many difficulties encountered in completing the work.

Yours sincerely,

(Signed) O. E. ARGLES,


The Princess Beatrice Hospital .

Dear Sir,

I should be glad if you would convey to the Chairman of the Winter Distress League my thanks and those of the. Nursing Staff for the consideration shewn by the workmen when on duty at the Hospital, and for the quiet and orderly way in which they went about their work.

Their task was a somewhat difficult one as they had to fit in with the convenience of the many and varied Departments.

Yours truly,

(Signed) M. BLOOR,


Stepney Infant Welfare Centre and Babies' Nursing Home.
February 28th, 1936.

Dear Miss Neville,

I am writing on behalf of my Committee to thank you and the Winter Distress League for so kindly carrying rut our redecorations.

We are very pleased with our four fresh clean rooms: the work has been well done and the men were so quiet and obliging and seemed really interested in making the rooms look their very best. The little new Ward, which was rather a dismal room now looks most attractive.

We are truly grateful to you, Captain Evans, and the Com­mittee of the League. Thank you so much.

Yours sincerely,



St. Francis House,
Woolwich, S.E.18.

Dear Miss Neville,

Your men have done the garden beautifully and tomorrow I will take some photographs which I hear Major Ireland wanted But, when they brought the tools back and keys I was out and so unfortunately could not say a word to the “ganger." I wonder if I could have his name and address. He took a lot of trouble.

We are delighted with the whole thing and though the Committee will write to you, I felt I must send my thanks.

Yours sincerely


The London Gardens Society, 47, Whitehall , London , S.W.1.
28th April, 1936.

Dear Sir,

At the end of the winter I am taking this opportunity of writing to say how very deeply this Society appreciates the manner in which the Winter Distress League has co-operated with them in their efforts to tidy up waste places connected with, Churches and other Institutions unable to do the work them­selves. During the winter you have helped us with:—

Holy Trinity Church , Hoxton. The ground was dug and cleared. We have secured the help of the Townswomen's Guild who are now responsible for the plot. The Society provided bulbs for the Spring.

St. Jude's Church, Bethnal Green. We have been given a greenhouse for this plot so that the work you have done here has not only enabled seven men to have allotments, but has enabled the Society to use it as a centre for distribution of seed­lings, etc., to those in the neighbourhood.

Princess Elizabeth of York Hospital , Shadwell. I enclose an appreciative letter from the Chairman, who had given these two plots up in despair and could hardly believe what a trans­formation could be effected. I enclose photographs of the site before you started work.

St. Bartholomew's Church, Bethnal Green. The ground round the Church and new Hall has been put in order, much, to the appreciation of the vicar and the parishioners. This is a particularly poor parish which has made a splendid effort during the past year building this new hall. They were most grateful for the help you gave and we have since been able to send plants and shrubs.

St. John's on the Green, Bethnal Green. The Church stands at the corner of two main roads and the Church, Committee have been much encouraged by the help you have given and hope to make the ground a joy to the passers-by.

The Church Council wrote:—"Will you please thank the men who did the work and tell them how very grateful we are to them for removing what has for so long been an eye-sore to St. John's ."

Valence Club, Dagenham. Finally there is the Valence Girls' Club at Dagenham which has been far the biggest job you have tackled for us and in which you are still engaged. You are transforming the site round the Club and are laving a running track and preparing the ground for the hard tennis courts. The Club caters for 800 girls in the week. The Committee could not possibly have put the ground in order without your help and are most grateful to you for enabling them to make a garden and put the ground tidy generally. They also hope that as a result of the preparation of the ground the Essex Playing Fields may be willing to give a grant for laying the tennis courts.

Yours faithfully.


Hon. Secretary, General Purposes Committee.

St. Peter's Vicarage,
Warrington Road ,
Becontree, Essex.
July 4th, 1936.

Dear Miss Neville,

I am requested by the foreman to write and let you know that the men have finished their work in setting our ground in order.

May 1 express our very warm thanks for the way in which your organisation has done this long-wanted piece of work for us and done it so splendidly ?

We have long been worried about the state of the field and had not the means or the labour to have it levelled and cleared. May I add a word of appreciation of the good behaviour and work of the men.

With many thanks,

Yours very truly,

(Signed) C. W. NYE,

Vicar, St. Peter's, Becontree.

Crossway Central Mission ,
27th April, 1936.

Dear Miss Neville,

Many thanks for your letter of the 27th inst., informing us that your Society will be unable to pay the wages of the Super­visor of our Unemployed Men's Centre after the 29th May. May we take this opportunity of expressing our deep gratitude for your kindness in undertaking this liability for us during the past six months ? If it were not for your generous help it would have been impossible for us to keep the Centre going and we shall be glad if you will please accept and convey to your Com­mittee our heartfelt thanks.

Yours sincerely,

(Signed) TOM W. ROFF.

St. Mary Magdalene. Paddington. The Church House,
146, Clarendon Street , W.2.
28. 4- 36.

Dear Miss Neville,

I have been expecting to receive your letter! It is extremely good of you to go on paying for our Supervisor for so long. I am sure" it is money well spent. The L.C.C. inspector assures me that our Unemployed Club is a good one and has a good tone. This is almost entirely due to Gatward (the steward).

Yours sincerely,

(Signed) C. GAULT.


Dear Sir,

I want to thank you, also the League, for these few months work they found me, Sir it has been a great help to me, also my wife and children, this is the first Christmas for, or, about 10 or 12 year I have had in work, so you can see how thankfull I was, of your great help, Sir I do not know how to thank the League, and you Sir for your kindness, which I think was a God send to me.

I remain, your Truly,

M. C.

Dear Miss Neville,

I take this opportunity to thank you and your fellow-com­mittee members for the help given to me during the past winter.

I also appreciate the kindness shown to me by Capt. Evans and Mr. Beech.

It may interest you to know that I was fortunate to obtain employment within a few days of leaving you.

Hoping that if I should ever need help in the future you will come to my aid again.

Yours sincerely,

E. G.

19. 4. 36.

Dear Miss Neville,

I would like to thank you for the work you gave to me, after my illness, I feel very much improved, and feel I can now take a position, without any fear, and I can assure you, I appre­ciate very much your kindness for giving me that chance, which would have been very difficult for me, else where, my Wife sends you her thanks also, in closing I again thank you sincerely.

Yours faithfully, (Signed) T. J

1. 2. 36.
Dear Madam.

I am writing to you as my time for employment is drawing to a close for which I must thank you very much as it has been a great help to me after being out of work so long. It has enabled me to straighten things up a little at home.

I remain,

Yours faithfully,

H. A.

June 5,  1936.
Dear Madam,

I write to you to express my gratitude to you for such a real effort to help me to live.

I have been employed at the Royal Waterloo Hospital as Clerical Assistant since March. 6th. and have completed that which was required of me.

For this real help, from you and the Society which you represent you have the gratitude of my Wife and the Children who are dependent on us.

Wishing you God Speed in your work, for the Distressed.

I remain yours Sincerely,

R.  W.


Dear Madam,

Just a few lines thanking you for the employment that you found for me at the Prince of Wales Hospital Tottenham. I cannot tell in writing how much I appreciate your kindness and trust that I gave full satisfaction in the way I carried out my labour whilst employed by yon.

I am Madam,

Yours faithfully,

Miss Neville  

Dear Lady,

It is with great pleasure I am forwarding this letter thanking you extremely for the extension of work, which, you so kindly granted me, and only hope my service has been beneficial to you. I am the man who rode from Stafford to London on cycle, in search of work, which, with your kindness and the recom­mendation of Captain Evans, I was able to obtain such.

Yours truly,

Mr. P.


The League will always help a man who has a definite job in view to take it. It seems almost incredible that a few shillings will often stand between a man and the job he has sought so persistently, but we are constantly find­ing men who, were it not for the League, would have to watch their chance fade away.

For instance : —

Toc H recommended a man to us who had pawned and sold everything before at long last a job appeared on his horizon but—it required a spirit level and he neither had one nor the money to buy one. We provided it and he got his job.

A home for destitute men told us one of their men had got work as an assistant cook provided he had the regulation white coat and apron. We bought them and the destitute man became a working citizen.

Another man came to us through a well-known lady to whom he had written. He had found a job a long way out of London and hadn't the travelling money. We sent him there and later, when he had made good, helped to transport the home.


There is another aspect of unemployment which must touch every heart,—the suffering from which no amount of unselfish endeavour on the part of the parents can wholly shield the children. The recent official reports on malnutrition which have made the matter a national issue, have put into graphic and scientific form facts which have long been patent to those familiar with social conditions. Simple calculations based on the life circumstances given on pages 9 and 10 in this report will show how impossible it is for the children to be anything but undernourished, under everything material. For instance, in W.D.'s case, you will see there is 23/6 to feed, clothe and warm eight people, after rent and other inevitable expenses have been met, i.e., 2/11 a head a week. For many years we have sent children away to supervised cottage homes, for three mouths or longer, where they are welcomed with that large-hearted charity of which those whose worldly resources are very limited seem to have such inexhaustible stores. They attend the village school, are "vetted" by the local doctor, and return rosy, plump and full of vim.

Here is one boy's own letter : —

Dear Madam,

I am very Happy and I like living here very much. I should like to live down here all the summer but I should like to see my Mother and father. I go and play in the fields with my friends and have a grand time.

I want to thank you for helping to send me to the country.


And here are two from delighted parents : —

Dear Miss Neville,

I am now thanking the League very much indeed for their kindness towards my children and I.

Well I must say the t, children had a most lovely time at Kettering and they look quite fat and well, especially my little girl Violet who is on the delicate side of health. 1 can assure you it helped me also them being away. I am please to say Mrs. Potter was very kind to them. Dear Miss Neville I am also thanking you very much for your Christmas Dinner which I was very please to receive. This dinner came a great gift to me. Dear Miss Neville I think this is all. Thanking you and the League once again. So I will now close. Wishing you and all the League The Best of Luck.

I remain,

Yours Truly,

Mrs. A. E-

June 23rd, 1936.

Dear Miss Neville,

Just a few lines to hoping that they will find you in. the best of health & hope that you will excuse me in not writting sooner to vou. Well Miss I must tell you that we owe you and your committee a tremendous lot in regards to sending my three children away to Burton Latimer I had no Idea that they would return to us so brown and bonny and the way you clothe and cared for them I really cannot express to you how greatfull my wife and self for your Love and kindness you showed to them it as built them up for the next winter may God richly bless you in all you undertake I am sure that you will be greatly rewarded in the end and you may use this letter if you wish at any time and you can rest assured that as long as 1 live I will never forget you and your wonderful! organization. I must tell you that at present I am still unemployed & must now close

R. T.


At the end of the year we indulge in special efforts to make Christmas a real day of joy in as many homes as possible. Special funds are collected, and several Companies of Girl Guides have become a sort of Corps of Santa Clauses for us, sending toys, clothing, books, etc. We are so very grateful to the Enfield Brownies, and the Hampstead, St. Pancras, Stamford ( Lincolnshire ) and Guyhirn (Cambridgeshire) Girl Guides. The last named sent us some home-made toys, and books they had re-covered and even re-bound, which were quite a show exhibit in the office, before we could bring ourselves to give them away. Nearly 1,500 people were given a Happy Christmas of the traditional style, with a real good dinner, fuel for a good fire, and parcels of clothes and more frivolous things for the youngsters. This Christmas making means a- lot of extra work for the office, but the staff love it. Probably lots of people feel like a friend who says he'd so much rather make people happy than do them good — though of course to be happy docs do people good; and the blessedness of giving is made manifest in the happiness of those who receive, most of whom are keenly sensible of the human warmth that prompted the giving and arc beyond   words comforted and encouraged and enriched by it.

Dear Miss Neville,

I feel as I must write and give you all our sincere thanks for helping us in the way you have this Xmas in sending to that kind Lady. If you could have seen all my little ones faces as we were unpacking the box, you would have been glad that the Lady sent it, it is wonderful to feel that people have such a good heart.

Every thing they have sent is lovely most of all the warm clothes for Ilahy Pat and all the little ones. Mr. N. cannot express enough his thankfulness to you for it all.

We all wish you and yours a happy and healthy New Year and we will all be thinking of you.

Bye Bye Lady and Thank you.

(Signed) Mr. and Mrs. N.

The Secretary,
The Winter Distress League.
23, Bedford Row, London , W.C.1

Dear friends,

Just a few lines of thanks for your Christmas gift, which we received from you on the 24th/12/1935- I really don't know how to thank you as I am still out of work and when we received your letter it was really a god send as I only got my money from the Labour exchange and we could not have wished for a better Dinner than we had With the joint of beef you gave us. Sending our thanks and best wishes for the New Year,

from yours,

faithfully, Mr. and Mrs. H.

Dear Miss Neville,

We thank you and your Subscribers for our nice Xmas parcel which we received and we all had a very nice Xmas hoping you had the same, and we thank you once again for your kindness show to us, in our trying times.

Yours truley.

Mr. & Mrs. N. T.

The following brings rather a lump to one's throat, doesn't it ?

Dear Sir,

I writing you from the Infirmary where I was taken on Friday having collapsed on the way to the dole.

The children are being cared for by my mother till things are right again, she has received parcel quite safe, the children are delighted with its contents, though not being able myself to view them I've had a good description which made me very pleased.

Excuse me Sir I'm tired. Thanking you,

(Signed) W. P. Good luck.

A Merry Xmas.


Now for a few of those statistics without which no self-respecting Report is complete. We have directly employed 279 men and helped 673 others to take up jobs; while 2,103 men were interviewed at our offices, exclusive of applicants for employment. That involves more than a few formal questions; it means that a real effort is made to find out if there is any way in which we can help, and not infrequently a way of easing, part of the burden can be suggested; but even talking over difficulties with someone who is obviously sincere in their interest is often a relief to a depressed and worried man.

Here is a list of the occupations followed by the men helped this season, which shows how far-reaching are the effects of economic depression and trade dislocation.

Asphalter Motor Driver
Barman Motor Mechanic
Bakers' Salesman Marble Sawyer
Butler (Under) Marble Mason
Baker Metal Window Fixer
Bookbinder Market Porter
Butchers' Assistant Ostler
Carman Painter
Coffee Bar Manager Porter
Clerk Plumber
Dairyman Packer
Engineer Pastrycook
Engine Tester Photographic Chemical Worker
Export Packer Printers' Assistant
Egg Chandler Railway Porter
Foundry Worker Storekeeper
Farrier Stoker
Furniture Porter Street Trader
Fishmonger Silverman (Hotel)
Gardener Taxi Driver
Garage Hand Tortoise Shell Worker
Greengrocer Valet
Handyman Wheelwrights' Labourer
Hat Blocker Warehouseman
Leather Dresser Wood Machinist
Milk Roundsman

Wine Cellarman

Some of our subscribers like to "adopt" a man for a given period, and it is a method we very much favour, for on both sides it fosters a sense of human relationship which is of great value. Details of several cases are given, the subscriber selects one and undertakes to pay the wages for a period of weeks or months, receiving regular reports of the family's hopes, needs and so forth, the man on his side being aware that he has a special friend. This year 15 men were "adopted" in this way.

Here arc the facts about a few of the men employed last season, initials being altered to safeguard the confidential nature of our work.

J.E. had been for 20 years with one firm as woodwork machinist, but the firm was sold up in 1922, and he had been unable to get any work, for alas! a very long reference often proves the worst kind of reference to have. He had five depen­dent children and one boy earning 16/-. There was a rent of 15/3 and their income was £1. 19s. from the Unemployment Assistance Board. J.E. proved a most excellent worker, one of the best we have employed this year, and that is very high praise, for our standard is always high.

H.S. served throughout the War in France ; then he had a job with Carter Paterson, earning £2. 15. a week, but since slack trade ended that he had been unable to find another post. Everybody,— neighbours, the school, the Relieving Officer, and all other references spoke extremely well of the whole family, and the home, though very poverty-stricken, was clean and well kept. We took H.S. on and he has been very satisfactory.

A.G. had formerly been a South Wales miner and came to London to look for work. He had had various odd jobs since 1930, hut nothing at all lasting. He had two children, one very delicate, a rent of 14/-, and was receiving 32/- U.A.H We gave him work as a painter's labourer and he did so well that the Hospital retained him after we had closed down there.

B.F. was a young fellow, aged 19, with a wife and a few months' old baby. Since leaving school he had worked as a butcher's assistant, earning 35/- a week, a very inadequate sum on which to keep a wife and child. The result was a tragic one. F. embezzled some money and was dismissed. He applied to the Relieving Officer for relief and told his story quite frankly. When asked if he had stolen much money he replied: " Yes, a very large sum." It turned out to be £2 16s. The story was verified and it appeared he had collected some customers' accounts and kept the money. The employer refused to give him another chance. One of our subscribers "adopted" him for four months; he did exceedingly well, and was most grateful for the chance given him.

W.D. was aged 46, married, with 5 dependent children and a boy of 16 who had been out of work for a month. The total income of the family was 36/- unemployment allowance to the parents, and 10/- to the boy, out of which a rent of 16/-, 4/6 insurance, and two small debts which were being paid at 1/- a week each had to be paid, leaving 23/6 to feed, warm and clothe 8 people. W.D. had been employed by one firm for ten years until 1931 and was only discharged owing to slackness of trade. The family had had a terrible struggle for four years, but they had never asked anyone for help, and their circum­stances were only discovered by the Secretary of a School Care Committee being interested in the children. W.D. was "adopted" and did very well.

H.A., aged 40, married with two dependent children and one girl of 15, earning 14/- weekly. This man was known to our Secretary through her Public Assistance Committee. The Reliev­ing Officer and the Committee had a very good opinion of him, in spite of the fact that he had had practically no work since 1926. Previous to that, he had worked as a ship-repairer at the docks for twelve years. No one could understand how it was that he bad had no work for so long, for he undoubtedly wanted it and went out seeking it from morning till night. It was thought that probably one reason was that he had got into a very depressed state, and perhaps therefore did not give an impres­sion of energy, which is so necessary when seeking work in the labour market. This man was also " adopted " by a subscriber, who generously paid his wages for four months. He proved a most excellent worker and absolutely justified our belief that he would make good, so much so that he was made a ganger. (See letter of appreciation under initials "H.A." on p. 7).

D.F., married, aged 41, with 6 dependent children and two boys at work. The eldest dependent child, Annie, was a cripple aged 15, attending a P.D. school. Rent £1 0s. 3d. per week for a Council house. The C.O.S. wrote to us as follows:—" The case is rather an interesting one, as the family were at one time very low down, but Annie aspired to higher things, and insisted on haying the front door kept shut and inspired her parents prac­tically to force the Borough Council into giving them a house, and they have actually risen from a slum to their present heights. There is only one week's rent owing, which they have been paying off by instalments. D.F. does not mind what he turns his hand to. He was pleased to earn 2/6 and his tea by carrying round a sandwich board recently." Such a family is well worth helping, don't you think ? Certainly a subscriber felt that way, for she kindly "adopted " the man, and we were able to keep him in work chiefly through her help for three months.


Our beloved and revered King George V. sent us, as he so often did, a contribution of £50. How many good causes are grieving, not only for the passing of a noble King, but for the loss of one whose heart was ever open to all that benefited his people, and whose interest was never bestowed carelessly.

Her Majesty Queen Mary, and our present King, then Prince of Wales, also encouraged us by a renewal of their patronage.


As usual our most successful collector was the 1934-35 Report. We are so unspeakably grateful for the en­couragement that brings us. Probably every social worker has moments of utter depression, when the size of the problems and the inadequacy of his or her efforts seem crushing, but when our subscribers in effect say "This is worth while," one turns away from the giant Despair, and remembers that to individuals numerical totals are not momentous. Their tragedy is as great whether it is an unusual or a general one, and every man snatched out of the slough of despond by the League brings with him a wife and little ones, so that even the statistical record means much more than the figures indicate. The average is 4-58 dependents per man — it sounds like a Solomon's judgement executed, doesn't it? but that's how statistics work. So thank you, subscribers, not only for your much-coveted pence, shillings and pounds, but for your interest and responsiveness and understanding of what the League's work means in terms of human salvage.

Last April we were faced with the stern fact that we must either find some way of replenishing our funds or close down our schemes, including the employment of those men at St. Helens whose confidence in our ability to keep them going it would have been hard indeed to shatter. In spite of twinges of conscience, we decided to repeat the sending out of a special appeal by the office, an effort which had proved so helpful last season. It really did seem rather awful to ask for more from those who had already been so generous to us, but the alternative was more awful, so the conscience twinges suffered the fate they so often do and were firmly, if rather ashamedly, repressed. The result of that appeal leaves us beggared in thanks : 700 letters brought in £2,034 3s. 0d., which meant that we were able to keep on several of the Waste Lands schemes throughout the summer, and to do better than we'd undertaken for St. Helens .

(Miss Neville is again remonstrating that nothing which happened after May 31st has any right in this report. We can't help it, such nice news must just gate­crash, only of course those financial autocrats, our Auditors, will ignore June, July, etc., contributions, and they won't appear in the accounts. Well, we shall just repeat our jubilations next season, so, in spite of the End of the Financial Year, and Miss Neville, and the Auditors, Hurrah, Hurrah, Hurrah !)

Our other income bringers (before May 31st, of course) were : (a) our usual organised appeal; (b) a Christmas (press) appeal sponsored by Canon Sheppard, whose un­failing kindness to us is one of our most precious posses­sions; (c) a Carol Party organised and given by the St. Mary Abbott's Singers, and (d) our annual Jumble Sale. This Sale has a twofold object, for the wives of our men find in it opportunity to replenish the families' wardrobes and to obtain some badly needed household goods at a cost they can afford, and they are very appreciative.

(e) We received £557 5s. 3d. from Sunday cinema performances : 12 Cinemas now help us in this way and we are hoping to be successful in enlisting the help of yet more.

(f) Then we organised an Amateur Concert. At least it was called that, hut the musical standard was first class professional, as you'll realise by this wonderful list of artistes :

Nicola Blake Michal Hambourg
The Hon. William Brownlow Greta Morrice
Gladys Corlett Margaret Wills

We are most grateful to Mrs.J.Benskin, C.B.E., who lent us her lovely house in Belgrave Square and hospitably added a most delicious tea to her generosities to us; to Miss Ridley who so ably organised the concert, to the artistes who sent everyone away wanting to stay for more, and to the audience who made the occasion so profitable as well as pleasant.

(g) The Clothing Department received 429 parcels, exclusive of special Christmas gifts; expressed financially, those parcels mean £321 15s. 0d.

(h) Miss Bushby most gallantly continued to organise and control the sale of matches in restaurants, etc., and gained several new and promising centres. She asked to be relieved of this work last year, and we are very graceful for her goodness in carrying on for so long. The excellent work initiated by her will be run in future from the office and it is nice to be able to record a good expansion of the work, which is valuable as a means of making the League and its work known, as well as for the actual monetary results.

So much help is given to us in so many ways, that the best method seems to be to issue an immense and heartfelt


and ask everybody concerned to multiply it and multiply it and believe that even then they won't have brought it up to what is in our hearts and minds.

To The Press. The value of editorial notice is pretty generally realised nowadays, and we know that we are fortunate indeed in having gained the interest of Fleet Street without which we should he so handicapped in making the League's work known, for rightly or wrongly, we have never felt it would be justifiable to use the funds given us for purposes of speculative advertising.

To Miss Nettlefold and Miss Mclntosh for the con­tinued loan of their nice dry cellar as a clothing store.

To the 12 Cinemas which have included the Winter Distress League in their list of institutions which benefit from their Sunday performances. We will gladly tell subscribers which Cinemas they are, for they deserve our practical support as well as our verbal thanks.

To The Regent Advertising Club for asking 20 of our children to the party they gave for the National Advertis­ing Benevolent Society Children.

To Voluntary helpers in the office: Mrs. Dashwood, Mrs. Cecil Eaton, Mrs. Holt, Miss Lea, Miss Morison and Mrs. Tree, and to Mrs. Cutler and Miss Murray in the Clothing Department. We feel we must add an extra and special word of gratitude to Mrs. Eaton, who has given us regular help, week after week ever since 1925, and who has now gone to live out of town—a great loss to us. And special mention of Miss Morison is surely admissable, for she works whole time and regularly in the office, wholly refuting the diatribes so often levelled at the "voluntary worker."

To Mr. H. Pollitt, the Town Clerk of St. Helens , and the many kind friends who have made the scheme there such a marked success.

To Messrs. Cadbury Pratt & Co. Ltd. for their very useful gift of bacon, much appreciated by all who received some of it.

To our kind though stern Hon. Auditors and to our ever helpful Hon. Solicitor.


Two of our Patrons have died since the issuing of the last Report, Admiral Lord Beatty and Susan, Duchess of Somerset. Both had helped us in definite ways and we remember them gratefully.

Executive Committee. Long association had bound us with ties of affection and admiration to Miss Ranken, who died last Spring. She not only served on the Com­mittee but had worked regularly in the office ever since the League started, and the staff and voluntary workers as well as her colleagues on the Executive Committee have lost a friend and comrade. She gave quietly and unobtrusively but lavishly of all she had to give, including herself, and she will be greatly missed and lovingly held in memory in the League's offices.

(Signed on behalf of the Council)

Chairman of Council.

Chairman of Executive Committee.

FRANCIS GOODENOUGH, Honorary Treasurer.


Patrons :















Council :






THE LADY MOIR. O.B.E.       

*MISS BOMPAS.                              



























*MRS. E. M. WOOD, C.B.E. (Chairman of Executive Committee).

THE LORD LUKE (Chairman of Council).

Hon. Auditors :

MESSRS. L. R. STEVENS & CO., Chartered Accountants, 5, Guildhall Chambers, Basinghall Street , E.G.2.

Bankers :

BARCLAYS BANK, LIMITED, Bedford Row Branch, W.C.I.


MISS NEVILLE, 2.1, Bedford Row, W.C.i.    Telephone: Chancery 7140.

*Members of Executive Committee

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