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“The Black Country.” – The Times 19.10.1875



To the editor of The Times.


Sir, - I agree with Lord Lyttelton that's the publication in the papers of the extracts from Mr Brewers report on the Black Country, and of Lord Shaftesbury letter commenting  on it, is not to be regretted semicolon and least of all of the respectable working people of the districts to which the report relates  any cause to regret it.


The letter of archdeacon Hone,  who is acquaintance with Halesowen and it's neighbourhood extends over so many years, defends, and that most properly, the inhabitants from any unjust imputations which might seem to be cast upon them. But even the archdeacon at miss enough to cause alarm and to call for interference on the part of the legislature. “ I am well aware,” he says, “ what an evil thing it is ier  is the nail trade and for the families of the nailers that women should be employed in that manufacture.”  again he says:- “ I also know that there are, many men who spend all their earnings upon themselves, leaving the wife and children to provide for the maintenance of the whole family.”  


Now, these surely are the people of whom Mr Brewer speaks in his report; for he is not necessarily speaking of the whole community. And how do they spend their money?  Mr Brewer says, in drink and in training whippets on beefsteak, &c.  Mr S.S. Lloyd, M.P> he, not long ago for similar testimony of the same people in the House of Commons; and, as far as I know, his statement was not challenged. These statements, however, are more true of the people in the heart of the Black Country than in Halesowen, which is but the fringe of it.


 nevertheless, that's there is in Cradley Halesowen, and neighbourhood an enormous amount of drunkenness and idleness, connected, as these are, with other forms of sensuality, on the part of the men, while the women and children are left to suffer, and do suffer, the consequences, cannot be denied. The ignorance of the children of these people is not easily described, and from Mr Brewer’s report it would appear that it cannot be successfully dealt with without a school board


difficulty lies here. when a nail shop is inaccessible, except through the house, work can be stopped and children secreted before the inspector can catch them at work; He Cannot, therefore, get clear evidence of their employment. If there was a school board, or better still, in cases where schools are sufficient and efficient, if Mr Brewer himself had  hour-by-hour to send all children not beneficially employed into school full-time, and children beneficially employed half-time, then no child could escape.


 I am, sir,  yours truly, An Observer.


The black country

“The Black Country.” – The Times 19.10.1875