صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

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. Samuel Plimsoll have provided markets at Bethnal Green and Walworth respectively. But the Duke of Bedford is still allowed to monopolize the market tolls on London's chief vegetable, fruit and flower market at Covent Garden (established 1661), whilst Sir Julian Goldsmid, M.P. (with the Scott family), is the “proprietor” of Spitalfields Market (established 1682). Both these proprietors enjoy legal power to prevent any other market being established within seven miles if it diminishes their profits; and both 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 Company Railway runs a potato “depôt” at King's Cross. The Whitechapel and Cumberland (Osnaburgh Street) Hay Markets are dwindling remnants; Oxford Market, on Lord Portman's estate, has almost disappeared ; 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 annual market 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 fifteen thousand pounds a year from Covent Garden; and Sir Julian Goldsmid, M.P., a clear five thousand pounds a year net rental from his monopoly of the right to hold a market in Spital Square.

These monopoly rights are derived, not from any express 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 have invented the doctrine that such a per

ול

*Many other “markets" in London have gradually disappeared. In the City there were Eastcheap, “ Westcheap” (Cheapside), Bartholomew, Queenhithe, the “Stocks," the Fleet, Newgate, Honey Lane and others. In other parts of London, the “ Haymarket,” Mayfair, Hungerford, Mortimer, and the Bloomsbury Manorial Market are instances.

mission 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 Stratford 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., c.- --5550-1. Price 35. 4d.)

[blocks in formation]

£

£ £ £ 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..

Do.

150,000 2,099 1,302 Smithfield Hay

Do.

195 64 Metropolitan Cattle (Is- Do.

504,842 32,472 21,598 16,842 lington) Leadenhall..

Do.
150,400

2,806 3,552 Billingsgate

Do.

448,250 27,473 10,817 9,405 Foreign Cattle (Deptford),

) Do.

351,500 58,801

30.544

7,803 (Opened 1869)

Total, City Markets. £ 3,378.992 217,766 94,884 96,224

7,768

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

£ 3,701,212 274,504 116,671 96,224

* As estimated by the Duke's Agent, excluding the value of the land.
+ As estimated by the Lessee, including the increase derived from enlargement, &c.

What London needs is the creation of a central “ market authority," charged with the erection, supervision and control of suitable markets wherever needed. The County Council appears to be the authority best suited for this work. The sectional jealousies and private interests which hinder the growth of local fish markets, stop the enlargement of the Borough Market, cramp Covent Garden, and obstruct the creation of new East End markets, must be merged in one broad, central control.

No tax on London's food supply should be permitted-market dues should be levyable only by the public market authorities, and be limited strictly to the amount necessary for market expenses. Concentration in wholesale markets needs to be supplemented by local distribution of retail markets. The huge metropolis needs not only good central, but also abundant local, distributing agencies.

THE RIVER AND THE DOCKS.

THE careless individualism which allowed the control of London's riverside accommodation to pass uncontrolled into private hands has brought its own punishment. “The Docks” have as their product the casual dock-laborer of the East End; and the persistent refusal of the gigantic dock companies to take any steps to organize this labor or to systematize its employment is the despair of every East End philanthropist. "The Docks” offer a potent attraction to the shiftless casual. No questions are asked; no " character” is needed; habits of decent regular work are rather in the way than otherwise. The ever-present chance of a job of this kind furnishes a perpetual addition of strength to the temptations whereby industrial character is lost.

The London “Docks” are now, by successive amalgamations, in the hands of four huge companies (the largest two of which have further combined under a Joint Committee), having an aggregate nominal capital of over twenty million pounds sterling. Particulars of this capital are given below; and it will be seen that although the companies have been competing ruinously among each other, and with the wharfingers, a net revenue of over £550,000 is yielded annually, being about 24 per cent. on the whole nominal capital. It is to save this income from jeopardy that the directors refuse every request and neglect every suggestion made to them to diminish the evil caused by their manner of employment.

The scandal of the Docks is not so much the low wages to be earned as the uncertain nature of the employment. In order to avoid the expense of a permanent staff, labor is engaged for an hour or two at a time, and left to loaf and starve when not wanted. The Dock Companies recognise absolutely no duties towards those they employ; and a cruel system of sub-contracting intensifies the economic rigor and petty tyranny of the arrangement. The “Joint Committee of the two main companies is now probably the largest individual employer of labor in London, and there can be no doubt that, for magnitude of evil effect, this chartered industrial Leviathan is the worst.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

£20,218,580

£582,013 (Compiled from “Stock Exchange Year Book," 1889: the East and West India Dock Company, in 1888, suspended temporarily the payment of their interest).

THE NUMBER AND GRADES OF MEN EMPLOYED (OUT-DOOR STAFF)

BY EACH OF THE THREE EAST END DOCK COMPANIES

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Average employed

500

3,270

2,129

5,899

Compiled from C. Booth's “Life and Labour in East London,” p. 190, the figures in italics 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 labor 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 Relief Committee Report," 1886, p. 7). Assuming, however, that those who apply in vain for work at 4d. 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 labor by the docks, waterside and other East End industries is a gigantic system of out-door relief” (p. 202, Booth's “ Life and Labor in East London ”). 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 favors the growth of a demoralized and demoralizing class of bad workers and evil livers ?(ibid,

p. 206). This "o

greater evil” is perpetuated for the sake of the dividends of the dock shareholders. To organize permanent employment for the average 3,000 excluded would cost, at most, £150,000 a year out of the £550,000 annually taken in dividends, without deducting what value the extra labor thus employed produced. 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 most other great ports, have their docks free from private control.

There is already a public authority for the River. The "Thames Conservancy Board," formed by 21 and 22 Vic., c. 104, and 27 and 28 Vic., c. 113, 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, i.e., the people of London. It raised, in 1886-7, £85,530; spent £75,850; and owed £102,400 (H. C., 431, 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

« السابقةمتابعة »