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THE NUMBER AND GRADES OF MEN EMPLOYED (OUT-DOOR STAFF) BY EACH OF THE THREE East End Dock COMPANIES HAVE BEEN ESTIMATED AS FOLLOWS:
400 457 Police ...
100 114 300 Artizans and Permanent Labourers
570 247 Total regularly employed
1,070 818 300 2,188 Irregulars : preferred for employment (" Ticket” men or“ Royals")
800 Others (maximum employed)
3,250 1,655 Total of irregularly employed
800 6,855 Maximum employed
4,770 3,173 1,100 9,043 Minimum employed
3,888 Average employed
3,270 2,129 500 5,899 Compiled from C. Booth's "Labour and Life of the People," Vol. 1.,p. 190, the large
figures being added as conjectural estimates.
These statistics (which do not include the Surrey Commercial Docks, employing probably 1500 men) are much below the estimate formed in 1886 by the Mansion House Relief Committee.
“ The total number of daily applicants for casual labour at all the (London) docks may be roughly put down at 20,000.
there would be from 7,000 to 8,000 men who, having no regular employment, daily apply, and apply in vain, for such work” (“Mansion House Report," 1886, p. 7). These estimates
are not very trustworthy, and later figures are not available. Assuming, however, that those who apply in vain for work at 6d. per hour do not exceed, on an average, 3,000, rising to a maximum of 5,000, the influence of this perpetual lottery is unquestionably evil. "In truth, the occasional employment of this class of labour by the docks, waterside and other East End industries is a gigantic system of out-door relief” (p. 202, Booth's “ Labour and Life of the People," Vol. I.) It creates a demoralized and vicious * leisure class.” “I venture to think,” says Miss Beatrice Potter, " that the existence, and, I fear, the growth of this leisure class in our great cities, notably in London, is the gravest problem of the future" (ibid. p. 204). • The conscience of the country was awakened to the iniquity of allowing the whole factory population to be deteriorated and brutalized by overstrain and absence of all moral and sanitary regulations. Why should we suffer the greater evil of a system of employment which discourages honest and persistent work, and favours the growth of a demoralised and demoralizing class of bad workers and evil livers ?"(ibid, p. 206).
This "greater evil” is perpetuated for the sake of the dividends of the dock shareholders. To organize permanent employment at the docks, and make the docker into as regular a worker as the railway porter, might cost a little more money and a little more trouble than the present happy-go-lucky anarchy. No body of shareholders will make this sacrifice, or any part of it; but why should not London take over the control and management of its own docks? The Clyde, the Mersey, the Tyne, the Wear, the Severn, and the Avon are in the hands of representative public authorities; and Liverpool, Glasgow, Dublin, Bristol, Swansea, as well as nearly all other great ports, have their docks free from private control.
There is already a public authority for the River. The Thames Conservancy Board has jurisdiction over the Thames from Cricklade to Yantlet Creek, and consists of 23 members nominated by the Corporation of London, the Trinity House, the Lord High Admiral, the Privy Council, the Board of Trade, and the owners of ships, river steamers, lighters, tugs, docks, and wharves. One party only seems unrepresented on this queerly composed body governing London's River, and that is the people of London themselves. It raised, in 1886-7, £85,530; spent £75,850; and owed £102,400 (H. C., 431, 1889, p. 39.)
The task of managing the London Docks would be great, but no greater than that already successfully undertaken by Liverpool, where the “ Mersey Docks and Harbour Board' had, in 1886-7, a capital debt of £17,006,169, with receipts of £1,405,562, and expenditure of £617,228, with £791,731 for interest and sinking fund. (H.C., 431 of 1889, p. 39.)
The substitution for the Conservancy Board of either a committee of the County Council or a representative “Dock and River Trust," with power to take over the property of the four great companies, and levy dues adequate to cover all its expenses, appears to be the best practicable means of organising the demoralised dock labourers, and so healing the spreading social ulcer of the East End.
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The Scandal of
For market accommodation the greatest city in the world has to depend on two unrepresentative and sectional public authorities, two philanthropists, and two private monopolists, feebly supplemented by a few insignificant so-called “ street markets." The City Corporation provides and controls eight markets, through which passes practically the whole meat and poultry supply, and nearly all the fish. The “ Trustees of the Borough Market," appointed by the Vestry of St. Saviour, Southwark,
obtain a large income from London's main potato market. The Baroness Burdett-Coutts and Mr. Plimsoll have attempted to provide markets at Bethnal Green and Walworth respectively. But the Duke of Bedford is still allowed to take the tolls of London's chief vegetable, fruit and flower market at Covent Garden, which was established in 1661, whilst Sir Julian Goldsmid, M.P., and the Scott family, are the proprietors of Spitalfields Market, established in 1682. These proprietors enjoy legal power to prevent any other market being established within seven miles if it diminishes their profits; and they derive their “ rights" from charters of King Charles II.
The London Riverside Fish Company, Limited, has an abortive attempt at a fish market at Shadwell; and the Great Northern Railway Company runs a potato “ depôt" at King's Cross. The Whitechapel and Cumberland (Osnaburgh Street) Hay Markets are dwindling remnants; Oxford Market has become a block of middle-class flats; whilst Newport Market and Clare Market are little more than squalid historical relics. For decent market accommodation we must go to Leeds or Bradford or to the Paris - Halles,"
Nevertheless, nearly four millions sterling has probably been already expended in attempting to supply London with markets; and at least £275,000 is annually levied for market tolls, dues, rents, stallages, fees, &c., upon London's food supply. The cost of carrying on the markets is much less than half that amount; and the balance yields about four per cent. on the total capital outlay.
The Corporation of the City is the largest owner of London's market property, levying an annualmarket revenue of about £217,000 against an expenditure of some £95,000 and a payment of £96,000 for interest on market debt. . The parish of St. Saviour, Southwark, absorbs a net annual income of over £7,000 from the Borough Market, which is virtually a subsidy levied on London's potato supply in aid of the local rates, and so of the local landlords.
Out of the total, moreover, the Duke of Bedford draws at least £15,000 a year from Covent Garden; and Sir Julian Goldsmid, M.P., a clear £ 5,000 a year net rental from his monopoly of the right to hold a market by Spital Church. This is an utterly unjustifiable tax on the food of the people.
charter or enactment, but by an old inference of the common law. What Charles II. gave to the Duke of Bedford's ancestor and Sir Julian Goldsmid's predecessor was merely the permission to hold a market : it is the lawyers who invented the doctrine that such a permission implies the prohibition of competing markets within about six miles and two-thirds. (See the latest case, Great Eastern Railway versus Horner, in which the proposed Shoreditch Market was stopped by the owners and lessee of Spitalfields Market). Now, whatever our respect for “ private property," no man can possess a vested interest in the continuance of a bad law; and no farthing of compensation must be paid for the extinction of this market monopoly.
PARTICULARS OF LONDON'S MARKETS. (See evidence in First Report of Royal Commission on Market Rights and Tolls, Vol. II., 6.-5550-1.
Capital Out. Annual Expenditure. lay (includ- Receipts. On
In'st. on ing Land).
Markets. Debt. £ £
£ £ London Central Meat, &c. City Corporation 1,384,000 82,952 23,848 45,283
(Opened 1875) London Central Fish, &c. Do.
390,000 6,006 3,905 13,339 (Opened 1886) Farringdon
150,000 2,099 1,302 Smithfield Hay
195 6+ Metropolitan Cattle (Is Do.
504,842 32,472 21,598 16 842 lington)... Leadenhall
150,400 7,768 2,806 3,562 Billingsgate
448,250 27,473 10,817 9,405 Foreign Cattle (Deptford)
351,500 58,801 30,644 7,803 (Opened 1869)
£ 3,701,212 274,504 116,671 96,224 As estimated by the Duke's Agent, excluding the value of the Land, bodoh tiga As estimated by the Lessee, including the increase derived from enlargement, acujas.