December 3rd, 1895

Meeting of Council December 3rd, 1895

Present Hon. Mrs. Lyttleton in the chair, proposed by Mr. Forrest, seconded by Mrs. Arnold.

Mr. Forrest, Mrs. Arnold, Mr. Entwistle, Mr. Mosses, Mr. Hodge, Mr. Dickson, Mr. Horsman, Mr. Carter, Mr. Brocklehurst, Rev. T. G. Green, Hon. Rev. A. T. Lyttleton, Rev. F. Dormer Pierce, Miss Bulley, Miss. Wilson, Miss Cooke

Letters of apology for inability to attend the meeting were received from Mrs. Schwann, Father Bernard Vaughan, Miss Cox, Mrs. Redford, & Mrs. Smith.

The minutes of the Council meeting held on September 24th were read and passed.

A question was asked by Mr. Horsman arising out of the minutes, in reference to a strike which had taken place at Messrs. John Noble & Co. costume factory.

Miss Welsh reported that she had investigated the case. The girls had been offered a reduction of 4s a dozen. Twenty of them had struck work, the remainder had remonstrated and stayed in. The result was that a reduction of 2s per dozen was accepted. The twenty strikers had not been allowed to return to work but the rest of the girls had been kept on and by increased energy were contriving to bring their wages up to the same weekly level as before the reduction. Attention was called to the fact that statements were frequently made in the press to the effect that although the price of Messrs. Nobles costumes most so low (10/6d), the goods were made under thoroughly satisfactory conditions and the workers were well paid. Mr. Forrest stated that the firm had for some time past expressed a willingness to let those interested in womens labour go over their factory, and satisfy themselves as to prices paid, & the general conditions under which the work was done. Miss Ashwell was interested to avail herself of the opportunity of investigation on behalf of the Council. Miss Bulley was asked to accompany Miss Ashwell and undertook to do so.

Miss Welsh reported that since the last Council meeting two meetings of Umbrella Workers had been held. At the first the attendance was very poor. This second meeting was made more attractive by a musical programme kindly arranged by Mr. Carter. Several new members joined the union.

A meeting in connection with the Federation of Women Workers had been held on October 30th at which Mrs Marland Brodie spoke, at 66 Grosvenor St. Three thousand handbills had been distributed, but the result was a small meeting only.

It was intended to hold a meeting of shirt makers & pocket handkerchief makers finishers at Gorton on December 6th. Miss Ashwell reported that a meeting of the Upholsteresses Society had been held on November 3rd at which Mr. Mosses & herself were the speakers. A small increase in membership had resulted.

A meeting of Tailoresses at the Cooperative Wholesale Society had been held at Lower Broughton Trafalgar Street on Wednesday November 13th at which the Secretaries had been the speakers. The women had been asked to join the Federation of Women Workers. Six of them had promised to do so, but had since drawn back. Some years previously twenty of them had belonged to the Federation dropped out because the then president had not called for their weekly subscriptions. This was made a ground of complaint at the present time, but the Secretaries were of opinion that influence had been brought to bear upon them against trade unionism. It was decided to approach the women working at the Cooperative Equitable Society Downing St, & the Pendleton Cooperative, with a view to forming a nucleus of a Tailoresses Union.

A discussion then took place as to the employment of girls in india rubber factories. A request has been received for the Council to find witnesses to go before the Dangerous Trades Committee sitting in Manchester on December 16th. Several members of the Council expressed considerable doubt as to whether the work done by the women was really unhealthy in any serious sense. Miss Ashwell was instructed to make further investigations, and act upon them if she was convinced that the inhalation of naptha fumes had a bad effect on the health of the women & girls employed in the trade.

Miss Ashwell reported that a letter had been received from the General Secretary of the Women's Cooperative Guild Miss M. Llewellyn Davies, proposing that the Manchester branch of the Guild should form a joint committee with Manchester Salford & District Womens Trade Union Council, for the purpose of investigating in reference to

  1. Hours and holidays
  2. Overtime
  3. Home and out work
  4. Inspection

Among the non-textile women workers the Guild thought it would be advisable to hold meetings of shop girls, laundresses, milliners, tailoresses in order to find out particulars from them, & were willing for the Council to send speakers urging the importance of trade-unionism to such meetings (expenses to be shared.)

Mr. Lyttleton stated that the Committee of the Christian Social Union had under consideration a proposal to investigate the conditions under which women were working. They had communicated with Mr. Charles Booth. He advised to give special consideration to homework in view of the fact that the Labour Department of the Board of Trade were adequately investigating factory work. He desired them to enquire how far women were working at home for pocket money, or for the entire support of a family, and to study the life history of home-workers individually.

On the recommendation of the Executive Committee Mr. Horsman moved & Mr. Dickson seconded that in events of the Manchester Branch of the Women's Cooperative Guild being willing to cooperate with the Manchester Salford & District Womens Trade Union Council a joint Committee should be formed. This was put to the meeting and carried.

Miss Ashwell was instructed to enquire if the Pendleton branch of the Guild would take part in the investigations.

The question of forming the sub-Committee was next discussed. The names of Miss Bulley, Miss Dodd, Miss Cox & Mrs Wilson were suggested. Miss Bulley hesitated to accept nomination on account of lack of time for the work.

It was moved by Mr. Lyttleton and seconded by Mr. Mosses that Miss Ashwell be empowered to interview lady members of the Council and take steps for the formation of the sub-Committee.

This was put to the meeting and carried.

Miss Ashwell then reported in reference to the Women's Industrial News, Womens Industrial Council 12 Buckingham St, Strand, W.C. Acting on the Council's instructions she had written to Miss Black the editor. The reply was to the effect that each provincial Council taking a certain space in each number, should be, and should be plainly stated to be, solely and wholly responsible for the statements made in that space.

The paper had been issued experimentally (for a period of three months).

The Executive Committee on the motion of Mr. Forrest, seconded by Miss Hertz, had undertaken to guarantee a sale of fifty copies in Manchester, and had instructed Miss Ashwell to send notes to fill a half a column of space, commencing in December 1895.

Miss Ashwell reported that this had been done, drew attention to the copies of the paper, and asked for subscriptions.


Feb25/96 M.K. Lyttleton