Thursday, 6 July 2017

Snapshots of the Great War nu 1 ..... “If a farmer or milk dealer was selling milk at 4d per quart on Nov 15 1914 is he entitled to charge 6d per qt now?”......

During 1915 and into 1916 the cost of living continued to rise while some foods became in even shorter supply.

In the February of 1916 the National Women’s Labour League expressed their concerns at the restrictions on the import of fruit “it is the cheap fruits that will be chiefly affected, since other food stuff have become so dear, children in poor districts have been fed more than ever on oranges, dried figs and dates.”*

While the Spen Valley Trades & Labour Council in December of the same year reported that Landlords had increased the rent 6d per week “Rates are the same & no repairs etc.  The tenants have refused the increase , but the landlords are entering it in the arrears col” 

These and many other observations and reports were sent in to the  War Emergency Workers National Committee which had been established at beginning of war to protect interests of working classes on matters of everything from employment,  wages, conditions of service and supply of essential commodities.

In turn they gave advice and helped co-ordinate local campaigns against price rises, exploitation and a whole range of issues raising these and many other concerns with the Government.

Sadly in answer to the question of whether a farmer or milk dealer could increase the cost of milk the answer was yes, but the Committee gave practical advice on the rights of both those angered at the price rises and also to tenants facing rent rises while continuing to put the case to the Government and to the general public of the need for greater state intervention in all aspects of the production distribution and pricing of food.

But that is for another snapshot.

Picture; leaflet announcing a Mass Meeting organised against the rising cost of living at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, February 1915, courtesy of the Archives & Study Centre,  at the People’s History Museum

*Minutes of War Emergency Workers National Committee 1915-1916, courtesy of the Archives & Study Centre,  at the People’s History Museum, Manchester,

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