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glazed tiles, the floors are of blockwood; the only furniture-long tables and rows of chairs, a clock and House Rules. The menu for a day is as follows: Breakfast-bread and butter, tea or coffee. Dinnera choice of meats, one or two vegetables, a second course every other day, cheese, and a cup of tea. Tea-bread and butter, occasionally cake, biscuits or jam, and tea. Supper-bread and cheese, with occasionally salad, cake or biscuits, ale or milk. Special diet as described in A, can be had by applying to the House steward. Meals are provided for assistants on Sunday. Assistants spend from 2s. 6d. to 5s. per week in extras for breakfasts and suppers. The cost to the employer of “ living in " is estimated at 6s. per week per head. Extras, as fried bacon, eggs, fish, could be bought in the dining-rooms at café prices, during the breakfast hour. N.B.—This arrangement caused many assistants to spend more money on “extras” than they other, wise would.

There is one sitting-room for every fourteen persons, situated in the basement of the sleeping apartments. These rooms are dismal, and are seldom used by the assistants. A bedroom on the fourth floor measuring 665 cubic feet for each person, contains four single beds, two windows 4 feet square, fireplace boarded up, one washstand, one chest of drawers, one looking glass to each person, strips of carpet at side of beds, venetian blinds, but no curtains at windows, bare walls painted green. All the bedrooms provided by this firm are furnished like the one described, the only difference being that the rooms on the floor above are smaller and therefore more crowded, while those on the floors below are larger and have greater cubic space per person. One or two rooms have still the objectionable double beds, but as these wear out they are replaced by single beds. Assistants have the use of their bedrooms on Sundays.

Twenty-six assistants gave trustworthy information on wages. Of these:

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.............., 2d. , This firm enforces a peculiar system of commission. A certain sum is first deducted from the wage contracted for, and then given back in the form of 14 percentage on “ takings,” i.e., the amount of money the assistant takes from customers during the day. When assistants are engaged, the engager repeats to them the following formula :—"Now we board you and lodge you, we close at 7 p.m. in the evenings and 2 p.m. on Saturday; there are no fines or deductions, no premiums or extras of any kind. What is the very lowest salary you will take?” At the end of two months, the buyer of the department tells the assistant that, in future, his or her salary “ will be so much less, and 14 on takings as commission will be substituted,” and the assistant has either

to accept the new arrangement, or leave. The following are a few of the deductions made when assistants are put “on com.”: Amount of salary contracted for, £30, £28, £35, $20; amount deducted when put “on com.", £15, £8, $23, £14 respectively.

There are 159 rules, the majority of which are necessary instructions for the proper conduct of business. The most objectionable rule is as follows:

“All employés are liable to be searched any or every time of leaving the premises, the doorkeeper having full authority for that purpose.”

There are no fines, but 6d. per month is deducted for “ House Doctor," and 6d. for “ Library."

N.B.--House doctors are invariably disliked. Assistants who really need medical aid, prefer to consult a doctor who has "no connection with the firm," and will pay a fee they can ill afford rather than consult the House doctor.

Shop C. is a middle-class drapery and outfitting business, employing 45 assistants, viz., 41 women, 4 girls. The nominal hours of business are 651 per week in summer (5 months), and 68 per week in winter (7 months). The actual number of hours worked by assistants average 674 per week in summer and 70 per week in winter. The time to be deducted for meals is 1 hour 35 minutes. The dining-room is situated in the basement of the business premises and is lit with gas. The walls are papered and greatly discoloured by damp; the floor is of stone. The contents—the usual chairs, tables, clock and House Rules.

The menu for a day is as follows:

Breakfast.--Bread and butter, marmalade, porridge, or cold meat. Tea or coffee. Dinner-One joint, one vegetable, butter, occasionally a second course, ale or water. Tea.—Bread and butter, tea. Supper. Bread and butter, cheese, ale or water.

The food is well cooked, but the atmosphere of the dining-room makes it impossible for even well-cooked food to be eaten with any relish.

Assistants who cannot eat the food placed before them have the alternative of going without food, unless they can smuggle in eatables at their own expense from the nearest pastry-cook's!

The amount necessarily spent by assistants in “extras" is from 2s. to 3s. per week.

The estimated cost to the employer of living in is 58. per head per

week.

The assistants have the use of a delightfully pleasant sitting-room containing a good piano, newspapers, magazines, and books for the use of subscribers to the library fund.

A bedroom measuring 505 cubic feet per person contains 1 double bed, 1 single bed, 1 window 4 ft. x 5 ft. Fireplace blocked. The walls and furniture of this room have a dirty, dilapidated appearance.

Another room measuring 771 cubic feet per person contains 3 single beds, and is a pleasant, well-furnished room.

A third room, larger than either, contains 2 double beds and 1 single bed. In addition, there are sets of rooms that can only be reached by pass. ing through other rooms. The occupants of the “passage” rooms are greatly annoyed by the increase of publicity it entails; and, in case of fire, the occupants of the inner rooms run the risk of being cut off from the main staircase. This arrangement is the result of the adaptation of two or more houses, for the extension of business; the dividing walls of the ground floors are removed to enlarge the shops or showrooms ; with one exception, the staircases leading to the sleeping apartments are blocked at the first floor, and doorways are made in the dividing walls of the third or fourth floors.

I believe this arrangement is not uncommon in the older business houses.

Six assistants gave trustworthy information on wages; of these

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The amount possible to be made in premiums is from 3s. to 7s. per week.

There are 77 rules, with fines attached varying from 1d. to 2s. 6d. Fines are enforced only when carelessness or negligence is the cause of a rule being infringed, and are given to the library fund. At this establishment there are no seats provided for the assistants, and the absence of this necessary accommodation, added to the long day's toil, has a most injurious effect upon the health of the women and girl workers.

Shop D. is a middle class outfitting business in the North-West of London, employing 5 women and 2 girls. The nominal hours of business are 66 per week, the actual hours worked by assistants average 674 for the women and 731 for the girls. The time to be deducted for meals is 45 minutes per day for women, and 1 hour 15 minutes for girls. The dining-room is at the top of the house, and is used by the employer and family as well as assistants; it is well furnished, clean, and bright.

The menu is as follows:

Breakfast-bread and butter, porridge, bacon, eggs or fish, tea or coffee. Dinner-one joint, one or two vegetables, and second course three times each week. Tea-bread and butter, tea. Supper-bread and butter, cheese, water.

The dinners are well cooked and nicely served, and although there is no alternative to the fare on the table, it is seldom that an assistant leaves any food or fails to eat her dinner with a relish. Assistants are allowed meals on Sundays, but as the family obviously prefer the house to themselves on that day, no assistant will stay in who can

afford to buy food elsewhere. The cost of “living in ” to the employer is estimated at 5s. per head per week.

After business hours the assistants use the dining-room or sittingroom. The assistants and the employer and family sleep over the business premises. One bedroom, measuring 565 cubic feet per person, contains 4 single beds, 1 window 4x5 feet : fireplace blocked. This room is prettily furnished and—if shared by two persons instead of four-would be most comfortable. Of the five women employed 3 earn 11d. per. hour.

1 1 11d. ,
1 2d.

The amount possible to be made in premiums is from 2s. 6d. to 4s. per week. Assistants spent from 1s. to 1s. 6d. per week in food chiefly for Sunday meals. There are no fines, rules, or deductions.

Shop E. is a small business in the East End where the goods sold are manufactured on the premises ; 5 women assistants are employed. The nominal hours of business are 69 per week. The actual number of hours worked by assistants is 69 per week. The time to be deducted for meals is 50 minutes per day. The dining-room is on the second floor, and is used as dining-room in ordinary, workroom occasionally, and bedroom when required!

The menu is as follows:-

Breakfast-bread and butter, tea. Dinner-one joint (almost invariably beef), one vegetable, and very occasionally a second course. Tea—bread and butter, tea. Supper-bread and butter, cheese, cocoa or coffee.

Here also is no choice of food and the greater portion of the food provided is unpalatable. Assistants are allowed breakfast on Sundays and are then expected to leave the premises for the rest of the day. : The cost of “living in ” to the employer is estimated at 4s. per head per week. As at “D.,” the employer, family, and assistants live over the business premises. One bedroom occupied by assistants measures 773 cubic feet per person, and contains, 1 double bed, two windows 3 x 3 feet, fireplace blocked. This room is grimy and the scanty furniture dilapidated. The earnings are as follows:-1 assistant earns 0 d. per hour.

1 , , 2d.
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There are no premiums or commission; no rules, fines, or deductions. Assistants necessarily spend from 28. 6d. to 3s. per week in food.

Shop F. is a large general drapery and furnishing business in the East End of London, employing 76 assistants, viz., 42 men, 26 women, 7 boys and 1 girl. The nominal hours of business are 76} per week. The actual number of hours worked by assistants average for men, 78}, women 711, apprentices 74 per week.

The time to be deducted for meals is for men and apprentices 1 hour 30 minutes, for women 1 hour per day. The dining-room, situated on the second floor, is light and airy, barely furnished in the usual way, but thoroughly clean and healthy.

Menu for a day is as follows:

Breakfast—bread and butter, or dripping, tea or coffee. Dinnermeat, one vegetable, pudding twice each week. Tea—bread and butter, tea. Supper-bread and butter, cheese, ale or water.

The food supplied is badly cooked and extremely monotonous. Assistants are provided with meals on Sundays. The cost of “living in ” to the employer is estimated at 4s. per head per week.

Assistants have the unrestricted use of their bedrooms on Sundays; the majority of bedrooms are situated over the business premises. One room, measuring 532 cubic feet per person, contains 1 double bed and two single beds, two windows 6 x 31 feet, fireplace blocked. Furniture old and worn. There are several sets of “passage” rooms as described in C., with only one staircase leading to the ground floor. A small, cosy sitting-room, and a piano, are for the women assistants ; the men use the dining-room as sitting-room, and they also have the use of a piano. The ascertained earnings are as follows :2 assistants earn 0{d. per hour.

1d. 1 , 11d. ,,

, 11d. , The amount possible to be made in premiums is from 1s. 6d. to 4s. per week.

Assistants spend from 6d, to 9d. per week in extras for breakfasts and suppers.

There are 98 rules with fines attached varying from 1d. to 2s.6d. Most of the rules are directions for the proper conduct of business ; others are ridiculous and quite out of place in the printed regulations, and the penalties for their infraction unfair.

For instance :

“Young men must dress as respectably as when engaged, black coats and vests.

“Young men with dirty boots, soiled shirts or collars, &c., and young ladies with soiled collars and cuffs on; otherwise appearing in business in an untidy manner. Fine 3d.

“Rings and other showy adornments must not be worn in business.

“ Conversation at meal times must be conducted as quietly as possible ; shouting and loud laughing at table does not indicate good breeding and cannot be allowed.

“Young men must not stand behind the counter (after closing excepted) or speak to customers with their coats off. Fine 6d.

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