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Welwyn Garden City
Author: Jaqueline Tyrwhitt
Published: 1939 by "The Committee" (see below)
Format: Paperback 13" by 8" with 104 pages
I purchased my copy of the report in 2009 from a bookseller who specialises in natural history books. He was selling at the time a number of books from the personal library of the late Richard Fitter. Most of these books were natural history books, but included amongst them was this report.
Mary Jaqueline Tyrwhitt (1905-1983), known as "Jacky", was born in South Africa where her father was working as an architect. She attended St Paul's Girls' School, Hammersmith, followed by the Royal Horticultural School, where she obtained a General Horticultural Diploma. She became a landscape architect and town planner doing teaching and research. In her teaching she emphasised the need for an interdisciplinary and holistic approach to planning, the use of the region as a planning unit, and the importance of social and economic factors. Sir Patrick Geddes was an important formative influence on her career and she was instrumental in bringing Geddes's town planning theories to a wider audience after his death in 1932. In World War II she became Director of Research at the School of Planning and Regional Reconstruction as well as Director of Studies at the School of Planning and Research for Regional Development. After Word War II she lectured in Canada and the USA. She was Associate Professor of Urban Design at Harvard University from 1958-1969. She acted as a United Nations consultant on housing and education programmes. When visiting India for the United Nations she met Greek architect Constantine Doxiades and became editor of his journal Ekistics when it was launched in 1955. On her retirement from Harvard in 1969 she went to live in Sparoza, Greece. There she wrote the book Making A Garden on a Greek Hillside. A short article on Jacqueline Tyrwhitt and a photograph of her can be viewed by clicking here.
There are many tables in the report which are referred to frequently in the text.
To avoid a lot of scrolling up and down, my suggestion is that you have
this webpage open in two separate windows side by side, one pointing to
the text you are reading, and the other displaying the table referred
to in the text.
|I have chosen to use the Courier typeface below to give an appearance more closely resembling the original typed document|
I - PREFACE TO WELWYN GARDEN CITY SURVEY
The material for this survey was gathered in the Spring of 1939, the report being prepared during the subsequent summer and autumn. Welwyn Garden City has always been a rapidly growing and changing town, and since the survey was undertaken the outbreak of war has brought still more rapid changes to the industrial structure and the residential composition of the town. Even more than most surveys of this type, this must therefore be regarded as an instantaneous picture of a certain aspect of the community at a given moment of time - of value if interpreted as a comparative study but almost at once out of date if treated as a static description.
The survey originated in a conference of representatives of a number of local bodies, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Trades Council, the Ratepayers' Association, the Rotary Club, Welwyn Garden City Limited (freeholders of the entire town site), the School Managers, the Educational Association, the Health Association, the Council of Christian Congregations, the British Legion and a number of other local voluntary organisations. The initiative in calling these bodies together was taken by the local Labour Party, but as they themselves desired that there should be no suggestion of political influence in the work of formulating and carrying out the survey, they took no part in the appointment of the committee, and no other political parties were invited to do so.
This meeting had been called to make an enquiry into the wages and standard of living of the Garden City workers. The results of such a survey would be of obvious value in such fields as the planning of houses, schools, public and social services and the working of all the organisations concerned in their various ways with leisure and cultural activities. Subsequently it was thought necessary to extend the survey to problems of labour supply for the industrialist so that the development of the Garden City and its organisation which is largely in the hands of one Company, could create the conditions which, while ensuring the standard of living of its people, could still leave individual companies competitive in the national market. It was this consideration which led to the investigations of the occupations of the labour force, their seasonal unemployment and their places of residence. Unfortunately funds and the outbreak of war have not permitted the compilation of comparative data which would have thrown into relief any great abnormalities, though useful conclusions can still be drawn.
The object of the survey is thus essentially practical and constructive and in order that it might be as effective as possible for this purpose, the originating conference decided that its method must be strictly objective and scientific.
A small Research Committee was appointed with full powers to raise the necessary funds and to appoint a trained investigator. Some of the Committee had research experience, but before anything was done advice was sought from and generously given, by Mr. S. R. Dennison (then of the Manchester University Economics Research Section) and Professor N. F. Hall and Mr. J. Cahan (of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research) as to the methods to be adopted. An appeal for funds was sent to all business firms and a number of local residents, and 19 subscribers responded. The amount was insufficient for the minimum amount of work required, but fortunately it was possible to obtain financial assistance from the Garden City and Town Planning Association who in turn owe a debt to the Joseph Rowntree Village Trust.
When the scope of the survey had been decided upon in the light of the resources available, Miss Jaqueline Tyrwhitt was appointed to carry out the work, under the guidance of the Committee. All the detailed information gathered was collected by Miss Tyrwhitt, who was asked to regard the information supplied, both by firms and by individuals, as confidential, only the summarised results being available even to members of the Committee.
Two questionnaire forms were prepared. The first, covering employment conditions, place of origin and districts of residence of locally employed people, was issued to 77 firms, all situated in the business areas of Welwyn Garden City. Full co-operation was given by all the firms except three small ones. A very few were not able to supply all particulars asked for. The second questionnaire, dealing with the composition of families, family earnings, cost of living and social conditions, was issued to 433 of the weekly-rented houses in Welwyn Garden City. Replies were noted down in the course of visits by nine voluntary investigators, to whom the sincere thanks of the Committee are due. These visits were made to every fourth house in streets where the houses were rented on a weekly basis. Only 8% of the families approached declined to co-operate. The replies received covered about l6% of the working-class households of the town and may be taken as typical of the living conditions at the date of the survey. In addition special enquiries were made for the purpose of Part II of the report on the cost of living in Welwyn Garden City as compared with Bristol, this work being carried out by Miss Tyrwhitt herself.
A word as to the development and character of Welwyn Garden City will assist the reader in judging the results of the survey. The town is an entirely new one, and to a high degree a self-contained community unit both in a social and in an industrial sense. It is the second new town built in this country as an experiment or demonstration of the "garden city" principle, which is briefly defined by the Garden Cities and Town Planning Association in the following words:
The whole of the land on which the town is built, including a surrounding area intended as a green belt, and in total amounting to about 3,200 acres, is owned by the developing company, Welwyn Garden City Limited. Land for industrial and business purposes, and for privately owned houses, is granted on leases, under restrictive covenants which have the effect of a strict use-zoning of all sites. The whole town has been planned in every detail, and the placing and design of all buildings is controlled. Apart from this planning restriction, which is analogous to but rather more strict than in the more advanced statutory planning schemes, manufacturing industries are carried on by private firms and companies exactly as in any other British town, no influence of any special kind being exercised either in their selection or in their policy as regards labour or any other matter.
In regard to the retail business of the town, the situation is rather more special; indeed, it is unique, because in the first Garden City (Letchworth) a perfectly normal policy was followed of leasing sites for shops to all comers and allowing competition to take its normal course. In Welwyn Garden City the view has been taken that in the long run a better or more economical shopping service can ultimately be given to the town by limiting the number of shops, and, while encouraging competition up to a certain point limiting its more wasteful manifestations. The Company also regards this method as more likely to conserve land values in the town centre, the cultivation of which is a most important factor in the economic success of the whole scheme of large-scale town development. They have pursued this idea, not only to the extent of letting shops to a limited number of private traders at rack-rents on occupation leases, thus conserving to the development finances the future increments of value on shop premises due to progressive increases of population, but also to the extent of themselves providing and managing a central departmental stores with huge modern premises in the centre of the town and branches in the residential districts. The result is that the town has one very large shop, covering a large variety of retail businesses, and absorbing with its branches much more than half the retail purchasing in the town, and alongside this shop, perhaps a score and a half of private traders, all in direct competition with their landlords. Among these traders are a few of the well known multiple shops such as Boots' and W.H. Smith & Sons. There is also a well-established Co-operative Society store.
The Stores, with its advantages and disadvantages is now so deeply embedded in the habits and economic life of Welwyn Garden City that it is almost impossible to conceive of its disappearance or even of its relegation to a minor part in the retail system. As the results of this survey confirm, however, it forms the subject of continuous and somewhat heated controversy in the town, and the findings of the survey in respect of the cost of living are likely to excite new argument. This comment does not pretend any judgement on the issue. The value of the survey is that within its field it makes a contribution to a more exact knowledge of the facts as well as recording pure opinion. That the Garden City Company itself values a knowledge of these facts is evidenced by their readiness to contribute generously to the survey funds without seeking to influence the report.
The character of the resident population in the town has changed considerably since its earliest days. It had a predominantly dormitory aspect until after 1926 when manufacturing industries began to be established. Their relative importance has since grown and the dormitory population has now numerically become of minor importance.
From this brief description it will be seen that Welwyn Garden City is perhaps unusually self-contained and possesses features, whether good or bad, which are not to be found in normal small industrial towns. It is hoped and believed that the value of such a survey is not confined entirely to towns of the Garden City type, but has rather more universal importance. The town does however make a particularly good unit for such surveys and it is hoped that the work started here may be followed up and amplified as soon as conditions permit.
II - LABOUR CONDITIONS
In April 1939 particulars were obtained from local employers of 4,985 persons employed in Welwyn Garden City who earned under £250 p.a. and from various enquiries it was estimated that some 415 additional persons also came into this wage category, making a total of about 5,400 wage earners earning under £250 p.a. The 415 unaccounted for in this Survey were distributed approximately as follows:- domestic servants, estimated at 250; private gardeners, estimated at 30; retail shops and street traders, other than those covered by the Survey, estimated at 75; employees of the three small firms that refused co-operation, known to be approximately 40. The remainder was made up of a few employees in private offices and very small businesses.
Table I shows the division of the employed and unemployed population into age and sex groups. It excludes, however, the above 414 persons of whom we had no details. It will be noticed that unemployment averaged under 4%, and was in every case below 5% - a figure that has sometimes been considered the "natural" proportion to cover normal employment changes.
It will be seen that while three-quarters of all the employees were men and boys, the number of girls under 21 employed was slightly greater than that of boys and youths of the same ages, even though domestic service employment was not included in the Survey. Moreover, many firms laid great stress on the difficulties they had in obtaining sufficient supplies of young girl labour. This slightly heavier employment of girls fell off spectacularly, however, as soon as they became adult, and it appeared that the employment of married women in Welwyn Garden City was lower than the national average of some 10% of all married women.
At the time of the Survey 9 girls were employed for every 8 youths, and, if domestic service were taken into account, the proportion would probably be about 11 to 8. The explanation lies partly in the fact that agricultural life throughout England offers very few openings indeed for girls, while it absorbs many of the youths. There is, therefore, always a considerably larger exodus of girls than youths from the rural areas. Many of these country girls become domestic servants and live in the houses of their employers. Comparatively few travel daily to and from manufacturing districts, as girls (other than clerical staff) seldom earn sufficient money to offset their travelling expenses.
It is significant that in Welwyn Garden City the great demand for young girl labour has resulted in identical average wages being paid to both boys and girls aged 14 to 16. As in many factories the work done by girls and youths under 18 (and even some of the older persons) demands very similar skill, it is possible that a general evening out of wages may tend to spread to this group and so gradually lessen the present insistence on girl labour and increase opportunities for the youths.
The distribution of the 3,652 male workers (representing 73% of the local labour force) in Welwyn Garden City was, at the time of the Survey, heavily weighted by a radio manufacturing firm that employed about a quarter of them. The building industry and 21 firms engaged in various forms of metal industry each employed further quarters of the men and boys of the town, leaving the remaining quarter to be divided between food manufacture, chemical industry, miscellaneous businesses and retail distribution.
The employment of the 1,333 women and girls (representing 27% of the local labour force) showed a wider distribution in its grouping. The radio manufacturer and groups of nine food manufacturers, eleven chemical firms and three clothing firms each employed some 200 or about 15% of the total. A rather larger proportion was engaged in retail distribution, and rather fewer in the 21 metal industry firms. The remainder were in various miscellaneous business undertakings.
For many purposes it is more important to know the numbers of workers in the various occupational groups in the town than the numbers employed by the various industrial firms. This information is of value to the manufacturer because it gives him some idea of the local supplies of labour of the grade and skill that he requires. It is of even greater value to the worker, who wishes to know what alternative employment exists in the neighbourhood for his particular skill and experience. All the workers in the surveyed group have, therefore, been classified in Table II by their occupations. The titles of the occupational groups have been taken from the Occupational Tables of the Census, so that direct comparison is possible with other districts.
The first four columns show the numbers and proportions of workers employed in the various occupational groups.
Building in Welwyn Garden City fluctuates as it does in other towns. At the time of the Survey, it absorbed as an industry some 25% of the entire male labour supply. As an occupational group the combination of the skilled building trades with the builders' labourers accounted for just under 20% of the male workers, the remaining 5% being split up between the occupational groups of clerical, electrical and transport workers.
The 21 firms engaged in the metal industry employed about 25% of the male labour supply, but the metal trades as such - including all degrees of skill - represented under 16%, the remaining difference of 9% being represented by similar groups to those in the building industry, with the addition of a considerable number of general labourers.
A striking contrast was presented by the radio firm, who employed another quarter of the labour force, for only 6% of the workers earning under £250 per annum were classified as electricians - and these were by no means all employed by this one firm. The position, of course, was that of the workers earning less than the £250 per annum comparatively few were highly skilled technicians, while there was a large force of semi-skilled and unskilled workers, and a considerable office and administrative staff. These workers, occupationally-speaking, were accordingly classed as metal workers, unskilled workers, clerical workers, warehousemen and porters, etc. etc.
The unskilled worker group included only people who were working upon genuinely unskilled jobs. Jobs, that is to say, that could be performed quite as efficiently after a few days' practice as after several years' experience. Workers on any jobs that required even a few weeks of training were considered to fall into the semi-skilled category, and were included under the heading of an occupational group.
Table II shows that nearly a fifth of the labour force of the town is occupied upon unskilled work:- 19.6% of the males and 15% of the females. Almost half of this unskilled labour is employed in the radio firm, so that, when the total employment of this firm is excluded from the reckoning, the proportion of unskilled labour is lessened, and becomes l3% of the men, 17% of the youths, 11% of the women, and 9% of the girls. Builders' Labourers were excluded from the Unskilled Worker category and their inclusion would alter the proportion of all unskilled labour in the town from 18% to 27% or, if the radio firm is excluded, from l3% to 24%.
2. WAGE GROUPINGS
The average wages paid in Welwyn Garden City at the time of the Survey can be seen in Table III. These were calculated from the employers' questionnaire which asked for the earnings over the last four weeks of workers in the different occupational categories. The general averages were:- 65/- a week for adult men, 43/- for women; 33/- for youths, and 28/- for girls. The young boys and girls from 14 to 16 years old were kept apart from this analysis. Wages varied over rather a wide range, so that the averages do not correspond at all closely with the actual wage received by the majority of the earners, except in the case of the girls, where wage rates were more uniform. This can be clearly seen in the same Table II from the columns of ten shillings wage divisions. The figures in these columns are calculated in every case on a percentage basis for easy comparison.
In the totals line at the foot of the columns referring to the adult males it can be seen that, although the average wage is 65/-, only a little more then a quarter of the men earned between 60/- and 70/-. The greatest concentrations are almost equally just above and just below this ten shilling wage-group. That is to say, slightly over 30% earned between 50/- and 60/-, and almost 30% earned from 70/- to 80/-. Of the remaining 14% however some 11% earned more than 80/- and only a short 3% earned under 50/-. This small low-paid group contained a sprinkling of members of almost every occupational group, with the very interesting exceptions of Nurserymen and Printers. The former is one of the lowest paid occupations, in which only some 6% of the men earn more than 60/- a week, but the wages are very uniform. The latter is one of the highest paid, and none of the men earned less than 60/- a week.
The highest proportion of low-paid labour occurred among furnacemen and porters, and, to a lesser extent, among warehousemen; but it should be realised that these positions are often occupied by elderly men who are in receipt of a service pension. Another high proportion of low-paid work appeared among male textile workers, but the total number of male workers in this group was so small that this proportion cannot be taken as significant.
The average wage paid to adult women was 43/- a week, but only about an eighth of the women workers in Welwyn were actually in the group earning between 40/- and 50/-. The main concentration was in the Wage-group of 30/- to 40/- and this section covered 37% of all working women. About half the total number of the women came into these two groups and earned therefore from 30/- to 50/-. A high proportIon (37%) earned over 50/-, and 13% earned under 30/-. Only 5% of the women earned over 70/- a week, and these were almost all clerical workers.
Youths (aged 16-21)
The average wages of both youths and girls aged from 16 to 21 were far nearer to the most common wage than in the case of their elders.
The average wage for the youths was 33/- and 39% of them earned between 30/- and 40/-. A further 30% earned 20/- to 30/-, and 25% earned more than 40/-. Only 5% earned less than 20/-. It was noteworthy that the youths and the adult women had similar concentrations of their earners between 30/- and 40/-. This wage-group covered 39% of the youths and 37% of the women. The average wage for all women was, however, 10/- higher than that of the youths owing to the fact that a further 37% of the women earn over 40/- a week, whereas only 25% of the youths come into this category.
Girls (aged 16-21)
Girls had an average wage of 28/-, and 60% of them earned between 20/- and 30/-. The wage-range of the girls was the shortest of all, 27% earned from 30/- to 40/-, so that there was less than 20/- difference in the wages of 87% of the girls. The remaining 13% were divided almost equally between those who earned over 40/- and those who earned under 20/-.
The low-paid group was proportionally very similar to that of the youths - rather over 6% of the girls and 5% of the youths. After this stage, however, the difference in payments was very marked. The number of youths rose fairly rapidly to between 30/- and 40/-, and one in every four earned more than 40/-. Only a third of the girls, however, could have any hope of rising above the 20/- to 30/- group before reaching the age of 21, and but a few exceptional cases were able to earn more than 40/- a week, these being almost entirely clerical workers.
3. OCCUPATION GROUPINGS
The comparative wages of men, women, youths and girls have now been discussed in very general terms. It is, however, well known that certain occupations are far more lucrative than others, and a short analysis of this position, as it appeared in Welwyn at the time of this Survey, may be of interest.
Among the most poorly paid occupations for men were, as one might expect, market gardening, builders' and general labourers, messengers and porters. These were, however, by no means the lowest paid occupations for youths. But in these occupations the "margin of advancement", or the difference between the average wage paid to the men and that paid to the youths, was, at the most, 22/- a week, whereas the average "margin of advancement" for all occupations was 32/-. It is probably significant that the occupational group "market gardeners or nurserymen" consisted in Welwyn only of adult males. The actual numbers of all horticultural and agricultural labourers have been declining for many years over most of the country, and it was not surprising that the youths of a "new town" such as Welwyn would tend towards better paid occupations.
The best paid occupational group were the printers, and after them came the skilled metal tradesmen, electrical engineers and builders' craftsmen. The difference between the average wage paid to these men and to the former group was 20/-, the difference between 76/- a week and 56/-. This, however, does not take any account of the men in the industries surveyed who have incomes above £250 a year, of whom there are, of course, many in the town, and no calculations have been made for this Survey to show what expectation men had of rising to these higher income levels. That expectation would seem to be most frequent among skilled metal tradesmen, as 15% of this occupational group fall into the 90/- to 100/- a week wage-group. Of the other trades with high average wages, 5% of the electrical engineers, 2% of the printers and but ½% of the builders' craftsmen come into this 90/- to 100/- wage-group, the highest wage-group covered by the Survey. The number of persons falling in each wage-group were naturally affected by the incidences of overtime and short time and would vary slightly from month to month.
It is not reasonable to discuss wage-rates without taking into some account the regularity of employment. Further discussion on this point will be found later on in this report, but it can here be stated that the risks of unemployment would normally be fairly evenly divided between these four lowest-paid and four highest-paid occupations. Each group contained a section of the building industry, which is notoriously unstable; each contained two trades that normally follow the general curve of trade expansion or depression; and each contained one trade (printing and market-gardening) in which most of the employees experience no periods of unemployment during the whole of their working lives.
Youths (aged 16-21)
With the exception of the printing trade, the more youthful members of the four high-paid occupations earned exactly the same as those engaged in the four low-paid ones. In the printing trade the average wage paid to youths was 22/-. This is 11/- below the general average wage, making the "margin of advancement" rise to 57/-. The average "margin of advancement" for the other three high-paid trades was 39/-. The conclusion that young men are paid very similar wages no matter what occupation they enter is interesting, as it shows the importance attached to "good prospects" of advancement.
Turning to the wages for women and girls, we find that by far the most lucrative occupation for women was clerical work. Indeed the only occupations for which the average wage was higher than the general average of 43/- a week, were clerical work (56/-) and shop assistants (45/-). There were, in addition, two women employed as electricians who earned 65/- a week each, and one as a printer who earned 75/-, but these must be considered quite exceptional cases.
Clerical workers and shop assistants together comprised nearly half the total number of women workers. Of the remaining 51% almost two-thirds earned from 30/- to 40/-, some 20% earned lass than 30/- a week, and only 6% - barely one in seventeen - earned over 50/-. On the other hand, some two-fifths of the shop assistants and as many as four-fifths of the clerical workers earned more than 50/- a week.
The lowest paid occupations were packers, scarcely distinguishable from unskilled workers, whose average wage was 30/-, and unskilled and semi-skilled chemical and metal workers, all of whom were paid an average wage of 32/- to 33/-.
The laundry and clothing workers formed a middle group who received average wages of about 38/-
Girls (aged 16-21)
The wages of the girls did not follow the same rhythm as those of the youths. Those trades that paid high wages to the women workers tended to pay high wages to the girls. The reason for this was that the girls frequently, indeed usually, left the firm to marry very shortly after they had become, in our phraseology, women, so that a knowledge that their pay would be greatly increased after the age of 21 would be, in most cases, of academic interest only. That is to say, the "good prospects" had to be quickly realisable.
Girls (aged 16 to 21) earned very similar wages no matter what their occupation might be. The highest paid were those engaged in clerical and chemical work, and these earned respectively an average wage of 34/- and 31/- a week. The lowest paid were the packers who earned 24/-. No other occupation had an average wage above 28/- or below 26/- a week.
Young boys and girls
The young boys and girls from 14 to 16 years old were kept out of the foregoing occupational analysis because most of those young people are apt to change their jobs several times during this period. Also, no matter what the technical name of the occupation may be, the actual job of the youngster is normally merely to fetch and carry. Some of the local firms would not employ young people below 15, or in some cases, 18.
Table No. IV shows the occupational position of this group at the time of the Survey. Among the boys the proportion of unskilled workers employed was very similar to that of the adult males - 20.4% of the boys and 19.6% of the adults. Other occupations, however, showed marked divergences in their proportion. Shop assistants (mainly errand-boys) and Messengers accounted for some 39% of the boys, but only 6% of the adults; whereas the building trade which employed 20% of the adults had only 2% of the boys. Another less obvious difference appeared in the metal trades. Here 29% of the boys were employed, but only 15% of the adults. This divergence can be partly explained by the requirement of cheap labour on the part of many, and particularly some of the smaller employers of labour. It appeared that in several firms where young boys were employed on metal work, low wages were paid, and little or no effort was normally made to train the boys to become skilled mechanics. Apprenticeships were extremely rare in Welwyn Garden City, and some of the older established firms refused to take on boys under 16, or, in some cases, even 18 years of age. As Welwyn Garden City at the time of this Survey possessed no technical or secondary schools, it appeared that many boys of 14 to 16 were obliged to take on a blind-alley job - more usually a series of blind-alley jobs - for the period of these two years. Those who were mechanically minded could, with a few exceptions, only find employment in the less well-established firms. These soon found their pay was lower than that of many of their contemporaries and their prospects poor, and, almost without exception, they would leave the firm at the age of 16 or 17 to try their luck in one of the other firms in Welwyn Garden City or in Hatfield that their age now enabled them to enter. This seemed to be one of the underlying causes of a certain amount of local bitterness regarding the migration of partly trained labour. On the other hand, one of the older firms that regularly accepted young boys straight from school, trained them efficiently and paid the usual scale of wages, was able to show an enviably low migration of young labour.
The young girls were found in the clerical jobs in the same proportion as their elders - 35% in both cases. Shop assistants (mainly errand-girls) were rather in excess of the adult proportion 10% compared to 6%; and unskilled workers amounted to 31% of the young girls and only 15% of the women. "Packers" should probably, however, be included with unskilled workers in making this comparison, and the figures would then become 31% of the young girls and 28% of the women. The clothing trade employed very similar proportions of juvenile and adult labour, but the chemical industry had a considerably larger proportion of young girls - 7% compared to 3% adults. For the most part, this was a new industry in Welwyn Garden City, and it is probable that, under normal conditions, these proportions would gradually tend to level out.
The wages paid both to boys and girls between 14 and 16 years old averaged 16/9d. a week, and the variations upon this average were within a very narrow compass. 86% of the boys and 54% of the girls earned between 15/-d. and 20/-d. a week, and the other wage-groups can be seem from Table V.
4. PLACE OF RESIDENCE
We received details of the place of residence of 4,527 employees. This number represented 90% of those of whom we had employment details. Rather over half the remaining 458 workers were recent employees of the radio firm about whom particulars had not yet been registered. The remainder were mostly employed at one of the older established firms in the town, the manager of which expressed conscientious objections against divulging the home places of his staff. There appeared no reason to believe that this 10% of the employed population did not follow the same trends as the 90% of which we had full information.
Table VI gives the general position. 72% of the workers lived in Welwyn Garden City itself, and 28% travelled daily to and from places as near as 2 miles and as far as 20 miles away.
Of 1,264 workers (28.3%) who travelled in daily to the factories of Welwyn Garden City, 435 (almost 10% of the total labour force) lived within 3 miles and 694 - more than half the incoming workers - lived within 7 miles of the town. All these usually bicycled in to work. Another 280, or about a fifth of the incomers, lived on bus or train routes between 7 and 9 miles away, and 137, or 11% of the incomers, came from two towns with good railway connections that were 12 and 14 miles distant. The remaining 153 came daily from Greater London - mainly from the northern suburbs. This represented about l2% of the incoming workers, but only 3% of the total labour force of Welwyn Garden City.
A representative of the London Passenger Transport Beard has stated in several lectures that, as a result of considerable experience, they have found that very few people are prepared to spend more than three-quarters of an hour upon the task of travelling to and from work (i.e. 1½ hours a day). This could be interpreted to mean about 6 to 7 miles each way by bicycle, 20 miles by train or bus, and a little more by car or motor-bicycle, and these distances might be taken to represent the limits of normal daily travel.
It is significant, therefore, that no evidence has been found of any employees bicycling into Welwyn Garden City from any town or village more than 8 miles away, while at least two-thirds of the cyclists travelled under 4 miles to their work.
From Table VI it was clear that the numbers of people who come into the town to work diminished directly with distance, though there were a few notable exceptions. Harpenden (8 miles) and Ware (8 miles) sent fewer workers to Welwyn Garden City than might be expected, the first probably because it was predominantly a middle-class residential area and already within the orbit of the Greater London labour market, and the second probably because of the difficulties of direct transport. Facilities for transport, on the other hand, had something to do with the comparatively large influx of workers from Hitchin. Workers from London were somewhat in a class to themselves. About half of them were female clerical staffs, many of whom were employed by their present firms before these moved to Welwyn Garden City. These girls, mainly because they wished to continue to live with their parents, preferred to make the half-hour train journey from Kings Cross rather than move into lodgings in Welwyn Garden City.
The ratio of men to women who travelled into the town was identical with that of men to women employed - 73% men and 27% women. These proportions, however, varied widely in detail. Of the 153 workers coming from London 50% were women, while among 259 coming from small villages in the 5 to 7 mile radius (the bicycling zone) only 15% were women. Even if the London workers are excluded, the general proportions of men and women are only slightly altered to 25% women and 75% men.
Table Val also shows that the size of the daily labour flow into Welwyn Garden City bore little or no relation to the size of the population of the town or village from which it came. Broadly speaking, the villages within the 7 mile orbit contribute a larger proportion of their population than the townships in the same area, and the most important general deduction that can be drawn along these lines is that 40% of the labour coming daily into Welwyn Garden City came from small villages, some of these being on the immediate outskirts of the town. This represented about 11% of the total labour supply of the town. It was mainly low skilled labour and contained a great proportion of the building trade. Most of this labour represented a permanent pool of workers surplus to the requirements of their immediate locality, that, but for the establishment of the garden city, would probably have had to leave their villages and emigrate to towns elsewhere.
Table VII compares the working populations that flow daily inwards and outwards from Welwyn Garden City. The proportion who left the town to work elsewhere was obtained from the "Household Questionnaire" which gave the jobs, places of work and wages of 602 inhabitants who earned under £250 p.a. While the proportions in the column that relates to these people cannot be so comprehensively accurate as those in the first column, there is no reason to believe that these 602 workers were unrepresentative of those in the Garden City who earned less than £250 p.a. The 489 of these who both lived and worked in Welwyn Garden City amounted to 15% of the total number of workers known to live and work in the town (rather over 3,363).
For clarity of comparison Table VII has been drawn up as for every 100 wage-earners, earning under £250 p.a. who lived in Welwyn Garden City at the time of the Survey. It will be seen that 81% of the Welwyn Garden City wage-earning population both lived and worked in the town and that 19% went outside the town to work. But that for every 19 persons who left the town to earn their living elsewhere 32 persons came in to work in the Garden City (e.g. 28 in proportion to 72 = 32 in proportion to 81).
At first sight it appears as though there was a constant cross traffic of wage-earners amounting to about a fifth of the total labour force, but Old Welwyn and Hatfield are so near to Welwyn Garden City that they can well be regarded as part of the same industrial district, and the figures would then be altered to 91% of the Welwyn Garden City population living and working in the district, and only 9% who sought work beyond the immediate neighbourhood. Further, for every 9 persons who left Welwyn Garden City to work outside the district, 21 came in to work in Welwyn Garden City itself. The cross-traffic from beyond the 3 mile radius is thereby reduced to 9% of the town's labour force, and it is clear that the town imports more than two workers for every one that it sends out.
The labour imports and exports from Welwyn Garden City to Old We1wyn and Hatfield roughly balanced, but the proportions were significantly different. Welwyn Garden City exported 10.4% of its wage-earners and for every ten workers 1.2 went to Old Welwyn and 9.2 to Hatfield. From the same places Welwyn Garden City imported 11.0 workers, of which 6.2 came from Old Welwyn and 4.8 from Hatfield. That is to say, Hatfield gained two workers for every one she sent to We1wyn Garden City but Old Welwyn's imports were little more than a sixth of her exported labour force.
The reason for these different proportions could be found in the difference of the workers themselves. Those who left Old Welwyn and Hatfield to work in Welwyn Garden City were mainly low skilled workers, while of those who left Welwyn Garden City for Hatfield 75% were skilled or semiskilled metal workers who all streamed into one great engineering firm, and the remaining quarter were mostly shop assistants and skilled transport workers.
Table VIII shows the workers that lived outside the town arranged according to their occupations. One of the most striking features is the large proportion of the building trade that did not live in the town. This was probably due to the fact that building was active at the time of the Survey, and that building trade workers are in the habit of taking successive jobs over a fairly wide district as local contracts come and go. Welwyn Garden City dwellers indeed supplied only half the skilled builders that the town employed at the time of the Survey, and not much more than a third (39%) of the builders' labourers. The influx of building workers accounts for 29% of all incoming labour, whereas the proportion of total employment represented by the building trade was barely 15%. Nearly a third of the clerical staffs live outside the town, but this was the only case, other than the builders, where the proportion of skilled labour coming into the town (18.7% of all incomers) was greater than the general proportion of employment in the trade (16.4% of total labour force). In every other case the imports of skilled labour were less and of unskilled labour more than the general proportions of employment in the trade would lead one to expect. The only occupations in which the town was over 90% self-supporting were chemical workers (a new industry), clothing workers (mostly young girls), and porters and messengers (often jobs that require nearby residence).
One can but draw the same conclusion as before on the general position of employment in the town. The chief industries of Welwyn Garden City were of a light character and employed a large number of low skilled workers. But the general amenities of the Garden City tended to attract a high proportion of residents who desired skilled work and high wages. This proportion was probably higher than normal, and certainly higher than could be fully employed in a young town of under 15,000. It would seem that these workers consciously chose to live in Welwyn Garden City and were prepared to put up with the inconveniences of travelling some distance to their work.
To return to the figures of inward and outward bound labour beyond the three mile limit that includes Old Welwyn and Hatfield - the outward bound traffic represented 9% of the town's workers (earning below £250 p.a.) and for every 9 of these 21 workers came into the town. If it were accepted as both desirable and practicable that no man should travel more than three miles to work in Welwyn Garden City, it would appear, therefore, that the working population of the town would have to be expanded by 19% (21:81 + 21). This would merely house those who at present travel in daily and assumes that the same 9% would continue to leave the town for work elsewhere.
Two-thirds of this 9% travel to work in London, or 6.2% of the wage-earning population. It is possible that this proportion is lower than in most other small towns, situated on a main railway line half-an-hour's journey from a central London terminus. However, for every 6 persons who left Welwyn Garden City to work in London 4 came in. This exchange was chiefly a cross-traffic of clerical workers, but whereas a large proportion of those coming into Welwyn Garden City were young girls, those leaving Welwyn Garden City for London were mostly men, many of whom were employed in branches of the civil service and as railway clerks.
One is, in fact, again led to the same conclusion that Welwyn Garden City does not house a considerable number of its lesser skilled, and therefore lower paid workers. It is probable that in general a low skilled worker living in a cheap pre-1914 house within cycling distance of Welwyn Garden City would have little incentive to move to a higher rented modern house within the town. In Welwyn Garden City itself (founded in 1920) there were obviously no pre-l9l4 houses such as affect arrangements in all other towns and normally provide accommodation for the lowest-paid labour.
5. SOURCES OF ORIGIN
Where do the workers in Welwyn come from ? What proportion are from the Depressed or "Specia1" Areas and what sort of jobs do these people get ?
Table IX provides the answers to both these questions, but, as the "sources of origin" were tabulated from unemployment cards they require a little modification. The employment card always shows the place in which its owner got his first job, and, under normal circumstances, this place tends to be his home-town. This rule is only varied if a man loses his employment card and then a new card is issued with the p1ace-name of his employment district at that time.
The employment card method of showing the "source of origin" shows that 30% of the workers in Welwyn Garden City obtained their first job there. The town was only begun in 1920 and if it were assumed that the 30% (which represented 1,500 workers) were people who had been born it the town it would have had to have a phenomenally high birthrate during its first four years of establishment. The reason for this high figure of local first jobs is partly to be to found in the immigration of parents with well-grown families, and partly in the immigration of young labour from depressed areas, who, on their arrival in Welwyn Garden City had never had any employment whatever, but it is to be regretted that it was not possible to separate out this figure from the young labour coming on to the market from the Welwyn Garden City schools.
A commentary on this position is to be found at the foot of Table IX, where are shown the proportions of the "source of origin" of the families visited by the Household Questionnaire. It will be seen that none are shown as originating in the Garden City, although in the case of a few young married couples one or other had lived in the town very nearly all their lives.
Apart from the Welwyn Garden City column, the difference in proportion between these two rows of figures is particularly striking in the case of the Northerners and the Londoners. Among the Northerners it can safely be assumed that a number had never before been in employment, but the Londoners present rather a different case.
Here it must be pointed out that the figures for the household include both the people who live and worked in Welwyn and those who worked outside. The 6.2% of the wage-earning population who worked in London was largely composed of London-bred people who had come out to live in Welwyn Garden City as a dormitory town.
It is probable that the Household Survey figures gave a more accurate impression of the general make-up of the town, and from the foot of Table IX it could be said, in the broadest possible terms, that, after nearly twenty years of existence, the working population of Welwyn Garden City consisted half of local origin (20%) and former residents of London (30%) and half of people from more or less depressed regions (34%) and elsewhere (16% including Midlands). In other words, half the population of Welwyn Garden City could be said to be due to deliberate decentralisation - Londoners who left the metropolis, and local country folk who, but for the existence of a town in the position of Welwyn Garden City would probably have been economically compelled to leave the district. To other half of the population represented a certain amount of deliberate immigration following the development of Welwyn Garden City industry, but to a large extent this part of the immigration must be considered as not due to definite choice and to be related to the depressed conditions prevailing elsewhere. That is to say, the majority of this group who came into Welwyn Garden City would have gone equally readily anywhere else where work was offered. They did not in any way choose out Welwyn Garden City for themselves.
The employment distributions of the workers from different districts shows several interesting features. The people who hailed from Hertfordshire were principally from rural homes, and, it will be noticed that they tended to concentrate upon the Building industry. This indeed absorbed almost a third of their number, while it represented only half this proportion of all workers in the Garden City. Road Transport Workers and General Labourers were also slightly above the average proportion, but the factory trades were all rather poorly represented.
A good proportion of the Londoners were in clerical occupations (25.8%) and this proportion would be even higher if the figures of all Londoners were included - that is to say, those Londoners who lived in the town but continued to work in London. Londoners also were well represented among the skilled workers, with the marked exception of the printing trade. Welwyn Garden City was situated just outside the "London area" of this trade, and therefore came into a district of lower wage-rates. The proportion of General Labourers from London was well below the average.
Workers from the depressed areas, the North-West, North, Wales and Scotland all showed similar characteristics. There was a concentration upon the metal trades, and both the proportion of skilled and unskilled workers were usually higher than the general average figure. Among Scotsmen there was a proportion of 24.0% skilled metal workers compared to the general average of 6.0%. This very great increase had, however, a special cause, for a Scottish Foundry had moved to Welwyn Garden City and brought with it a great number of its original work-people. Broadly speaking, it could be said that the metal trades, including electrical workers, covered about a quarter of the people from the depressed areas, while the general average figure was 17%. Another rather more obvious concentration occurred among the Unskilled Workers. These represented nearly a quarter of all Welwyn Garden City workers, but about a third of those from depressed areas. On the other hand, these areas seldom provided above half the general proportion of clerical workers.
For the purposes of this analysis it is convenient to take the workers from the Midlands and elsewhere together. The Midlanders were very strongly concentrated in the skilled metal trades and the electrical industry. Those from elsewhere, who were mainly country folk from the South and South-West had more than the general proportion in the skilled Building Trades, Printers, and Shop Assistants. Both these districts contributed but a small proportion of General Labourers.
6. SEASONAL EMPLOYMENT FLUCTUATIONS
The Graph on Table X shows the comparative fluctuations of employment in the town. It was derived from figures supplied by manufacturers giving the numbers employed by their firms at the end of each month over the last three years, and the figures for unemployment was obtained from the local Labour Exchange. These figures were then totalled and an average employment figure for each month over the three years, 1936, 7 and 8 was arrived at. It was considered that the combination of figures over three years would gather together most of the influence of general business expansion, and that the subsequent differences could safely be attributed mainly to seasonal conditions. The radio firm employed so large a proportion of the insured population - nearly 20% - and the fluctuations of its personnel ware so much greater than elsewhere that it was considered best to divide this firm from the main body of the workers and show it separately.
It will be noted that in the three years recorded, employment over the year tended to be slack in the early spring, fairly constant throughout the summer, rising to a peak in the autumn. It then fell rather sharply and remained at a comparatively low level until February - March.
The difference between employment at the peak month and the trough was 110 persons for the firms representing 80% of the town's employment, and 210 for the radio firm. In other words, the radio firm's employment tended to fluctuate about 20% but in the rest of the town (taken as a whole) the movement was only 2.5%.
The curve of unemployment did not follow the two employment curves very exactly, and the difference between the peak and trough of this curve was not the 300 we might expect, but only 120.
The reason for this discrepancy was twofold. First a considerable proportion (28%) of the workers in the town lived and were registered outside the town, so that when these people fell out of work in Welwyn Garden City it would not appear on the record of the Welwyn Garden City Labour Exchange. Secondly, the Labour Exchange figures covered a certain number of employees who were not included in the rest of the Survey. For example, the drop in the unemployment figures in June and increase in July cannot be accounted for by the other curves. The cause, however, was traced to building operations in the town that were being carried on by outside firms, and employing a proportion of local labour. Several such building contracts reached completion in the July of one year, and the result was reflected in the unemployment bulge shown by the graph. The slackening of unemployment over December was also due to causes outside the scope of this report, mainly temporary employment outside the Garden City.
7. FACTORY AMENITIES
In Welwyn Garden City most of the factory workers are easily able to return to their homes for their midday meal. At the time of the Survey, however, 28% of the insured workers lived outside the town, and had, therefore, to bring their dinner with them, or buy it in Welwyn Garden City.
Ten of the 74 industrial establishments in Welwyn Garden City provided canteens where hot refreshments could be bought and dinners heated up. This figure included three restaurants, the large radio firm, and six others with from 22 to 387 employees. In all, these firms employed 2,027 or 41% of the workers in the town. Twenty-one other firms provided some means by which their workers could heat their dinners or make hot tea, and these firms employed another 958 people. Thus, some sort of facilities for meals were available for 2,985 workers - or about 60% of the total number.
Of the remaining 42 firms, three were building and road-repairing undertakings, whose workpeople were normally too widely scattered over the neighbourhood for any canteen accommodation to be workable. The remainder employed altogether 1,174 people, or nearly 25% of the total. Many of these firms were very small, employing under 10 persons, and only three employed over 100 (the average size was 30). Of this total of 1,174 workpeople, it can be confidently assumed that well over 300 were unable to return to their homes for their midday dinner.
Welwyn Garden City possessed four restaurants, one of which was in the factory area and provided snacks and a cheap midday meal. It had accommodation for 94 persons and was invariable crowded out. Further extension of its premises was not possible, and the constitution of the Garden City prevented small rival cafes from establishing themselves. Although this restaurant was probably primarily intended to cater for the ordinary working man, its clientele was very largely composed of minor executives and office staff. It appears that at the time of the Survey a considerable number of workpeople in the Garden City were unable easily to obtain hot midday refreshment within their means, and that further accommodation would have been welcomed.
Mid-morning Breaks that included a free cup of tea or coffee, were given by eleven of the firms in Welwyn Garden City who employed 386 - or about 8% - of the workers. Two of these firms employed over 100 workers each, the rest were small. One of the large firms employed mainly girls and the other was a food manufacturer. Two of the smaller firms were also food manufacturers, but the others were engaged upon a variety of products including heavy engineering. In many other firms a short mid-morning break was allowed although there was no provision of free snacks.
Welwyn Garden City had a popular "Central Civic Fund" that was run through the factories and provided the insured workers' family with free hospital treatment, district nurse and ante-natal and child welfare clinics. It also enabled the worker and his family to obtain special treatments, optical and maternity services at reduced rates. It did not, however, assist towards the payment of doctor's fees or dental treatment for the family, though the insured worker himself was, of course, entitled to both those under his compulsory National Health Insurance. The payments were 2d. a week from the worker and 2d. from the firm, and 58% of the firms, employing a total of 82% of the workers belonged to the scheme. Some firms made contributions compulsory upon employment, but in most cases joining up was voluntary. It appeared that some 75% of the workers in these firms joined, representing a total membership of nearly 3,500 or some two-thirds of the total workers in the town.
About another 300 workers were covered by the Hospital Savings Association or special private schemes, and only some 9% were employed in firms where they had no opportunity to join some organisation of this sort.
When a man fell sick he was able, after a lapse of three days, to draw a limited amount of sickness pay from the National Health Insurance fund. The exact amount varied according to the particular "approved society" he had joined, and through which his insurance was paid. The amount, however, could seldom, if ever, equal his normal weekly wage.
Recognition of this fact was widespread among Welwyn Garden City employers, and only 16% of the workers were left to rely entirely upon their National Health Insurance allowances in times of sickness.
Nearly a third of the firms, covering some 46% of the workers, "made up" wages. That is to say, they paid the man the difference between his normal wage and the amount he received from his Insurance Society. Many of the smaller firms paid full wages in addition to insurance money for periods extending up to 6 weeks of illness. This covered under 400 of he workers (8%) and included only one firm employing over 100 people. In four of the larger firms and one small firm that did not pay any direct wage, Benevolent Funds were organised among the workers, upon which sick employees could draw. Emp1oyees in these firms represented 21% of the workers in the town.
Yet another small group of firms, covering 9% of the workers, had no fixed policy about sick pay but "judged each case upon its merits".
There appeared to be no discernible alignment of firms on the matter of sick pay. Large firms and small firms, heavy engineering firms, and firms employing girl labour, firms with low and high labour turnovers were all equally varied in their practices. The firms with a definite policy of payment, either part or whole, represented 51% of the firms and covered 54% of the workers. Those with an indefinite policy or reliance upon contributory Benevolent Funds represented 12% of the firms and 30% of the workers. The remainder paid nothing.
It can, therefore, be said that approximately half of the firms employing rather over half the workers believed that it was good policy to give their employees the security that they would, at any rate, not be losing wages if they were compelled to "go sick", though, in several cases, the period of payment was limited, in some cases to 6, in others to 2 weeks, On the other hand there still remained 16% of the workers who had no security beyond the National Health Insurance.
The Survey was carried out during the spring of the first year of "Holidays with Pay". This scheme, which consisted of one week's holiday on full pay, affected practically all the workers in Welwyn Garden City, so that account need only be taken of firms who gave their workers more than a week off. There were 22 of such firms employing 2,075 workpeople - 42% of the town. Most of these gave a fortnight to all their employees, who had been with the firm a year or more, others limited this to those over the age of 19, and others gave a day for every month worked with the firm up to a limit of two or three weeks.
At the other extreme, there were five firms who did not pay for Bank Holidays, although, under the new law, they were compelled to give the week's holiday with pay. These firms employed 300 people. In addition, the Railway, Post Office and Police Station were often unable to give Bank Holidays on the actual day, but substitute leave was arranged.
The many firms that gave one week's holiday to their factory employees and a fortnight to the office staff only are not included in the above figures.
Social and sports clubs
Social and Sports Clubs in firms were infrequent in Welwyn, possibly because the town itself was well supplied in this respect. Some sort of organisation existed in 11 of the largest firms and covered 2,273 of the workers - about 45%, but in only five of the firms was any outdoor accommodation provided, four had football grounds (two of them very rough) and two had tennis courts.
Of the indoor accommodations, most had dartboards, four had table-tennis tables and one a billiard table. Occasional social gatherings were arranged, but at only three of the firms did it appear that any great activity was shown on the social side.
The firms in Welwyn Garden City were mostly rather too young to have found any actual need for a pension scheme. Fourteen firms had, however, at any rate the nucleus of schemes in operation. Two of them were non-contributory, but the others were on a contributory and actuarial basis. Nearly 600 workers were able to participate in these schemes, but (with the exception of Urban District Council schemes) most were still in somewhat of an embryo condition.
A few other firms ran pension schemes covering the salaried members of their staff only. As the people participating in these schemes usually earned above £250 per annum, no particulars were obtained for this Survey.
8. GENERAL CONCLUSIONS
It could be concluded that the labour position in Welwyn Garden City would probably be improved if the town were able to attract an industry requiring skilled adult labour with a production peak from November to March. This would reduce seasonal unemployment, avoid the necessity for the migration of much skilled labour and gradually provide a labour force of young people for whom there would appear to be an ever increasing demand.
This remedy is probably too facile and it would seem more likely that a solution must need be found that would allow for a greater rather than a lesser concentration upon semi-skilled labour.
The present local demand for low-skilled labour only confirmed a general tendency which has been observed during the last twenty years over a very large part of the industry of the whole country, but especially in the South and South East. Indeed, a local investigation made about 1936/7 into the problem of unskilled labour in London and the Home Counties compared with Welwyn Garden City found that the experience of Welwyn Garden City was almost universal.
It can broadly be stated that the adaptable semi-skilled man has been fast becoming the desideratum of most manufacturers; a man who can readily be shifted from job to job and who has just enough mechanical sense to pick up new work after a modicum of training. From general observation it would appear that the demand for skilled labour has become not only more limited but, at the same time, more exacting. Few trades (other than parts of the building industry and iron founding) still prefer the "old fashioned" long term craftsman. Many more prefer the technically qualified young man who has been through a secondary school and technical institute and the dividing line between this hierarchy and the semi-skilled rank and file is becoming far more unbridgeable than that between the skilled craftsman who had "served his time" and an unskilled labourer.
III - THE STANDARD OF LIVING
This section of the Report has been designed to give as close a comparison as possible with Mr Tout's recent work in Bristol, of which the first part was published in 1938: "The Standard of Living in Bristol".
This was chosen because it was the only recent survey that had covered the same ground that was to be explored in Welwyn Garden City. There was a further advantage in that Mr. Tout had maintained a close relationship with the National Institute of Social and Economic Research, and this Institute was also taking an advisory interest in the Welwyn Garden City survey.
A word of warning is, however, necessary. Conditions of existence in a large port and in a small provincial town are far too different for any direct comparisons to be taken at their face value, quite apart from the fact that two years elapsed between the two surveys. Direct juxtapositions will frequently occur in this section, but when noticing them, the reader should bear in mind that no real comparisons are possible unless full account is taken of numerous contributing factors, such as the differences in population, occupation and geography etc.
While the general picture tends to show that costs were somewhat higher in Welwyn Garden City than in Bristol, it cannot be concluded that they were any higher than in other towns within the neighbourhood of Welwyn Garden City.
433 households were visited by nine voluntary workers during June, 1939. The investigators went to every fourth house in most of the streets where houses were rented on a weekly basis. The final figure of 433 households represented 16% of the working class households of the Town at that time.
After these preliminary statements a quotation from Mr. Tout will be the best introduction for this section:-
2. THE MINIMUM STANDARD
(a) Compulsory Expenses
In this connection it is necessary to add that the cost of travel was left out of the Welwyn Garden City calculations. The view was taken that there was no actual "need" for most of the Welwyn Garden City residents included in this Survey to have travelling expenses, and it was proved in fact that these were only incurred in families whose standard of living was well above the minimum.
The Bristol Survey used the B.M.A. minimum diet as a basis for their survey. This standard was chosen by the Bristol Survey after a careful comparison with many others, although it was recognized that it was vulnerable, especially on the low milk ration. It was set up to "determine the minimum weekly expenditure on foodstuff which must be incurred by families of varying sizes if health and working capacity are to be maintained". It is clear that many housewives would tend to be "unwise" in certain directions of their spending so that, even though their income might be well above the minimum allowance, they might in fact procure a standard of living below the minimum.
The food items in the Bristol Survey were carefully priced during May and June 1937. The same table was adopted for Welwyn Garden City and priced during May and June 1939. The Cost of Living Index (Food Items) fell 1.3 points during this interval from 88.3 to 87.0 (1929 being taken as 100), though little significance can be attached to this fact as the items on the Index bear little relation to the normal housewife's budget. The comparative costs in Table (1) show, however, that the cost of the B.M.A. minimum weekly diet for an adult male in Welwyn Garden City was about 7% above the Bristol figure: 8/0d compared to 7/4d.
The food prices in several shops in Welwyn Garden City were checked every Saturday for five weeks from the end of May to the middle of June, 1939. Saturday prices were chosen because Friday evening and Saturday morning were the most usual times for the wife of the weekly wage-earner to stock her larder for the week. During the same five weeks voluntary workers were making out a house to house questionnaire, in which several questions on food costs were included (Appendix B). While answers to this questionnaire proved a useful guide they were not sufficiently detailed or accurate for general statistical results to be obtained.
The most striking differences occurred in the prices of meat and vegetables. Cheap "Saturday" meat was unobtainable in Welwyn Garden City and while the final item "Fresh Fruit and Green Vegetables" has been raised from the arbitrary Bristol figure of 7d. to 9d. it is probable that even so it would represent a smaller amount of greengrocery. Further, although potatoes are listed at 1d. a pound many housewives told of difficulties they had in getting all they required and the alternative new potatoes cost l½d. to 2d. a pound.
It is probable that occasionally slightly cheaper goods could possibly have been obtained from itinerant greengrocers and grocers, or by travelling eight miles to the markets in St. Albans or Hertford. There was a general difference of opinion among housewives as to how far it "paid" to shop in these markets. It appeared that while some goods (in especial vegetables) were undoubtedly cheaper, it was seldom possible to buy or to carry enough home to recover the costs of the journey.
Table (2) shows the comparative cost of a man's clothing in Bristol and Welwyn Garden City, and the similarity of the two totals is highly striking after the great difference between the food costs. Comparative prices were obtained from St. Albans, but, while some slight differences were noticeable in a few items on the list, the total was identical with that obtained in Welwyn Garden City.
It is necessary to add the Bristol comment that the man following this clothing budget
(d) Light and Heat
It appeared from the Bristol Survey that the houses in the districts they had investigated were usually supplied with gas cookers and water-heaters and open coal fires in the living rooms. Electricity was only used for lighting.
In Welwyn Garden City in the majority of houses electricity was used for cooking and lighting, and coal or coke for water-heating and open fires. Both electricity and gas were generally available and some housewives used gas cookers, but it could not be seen that there was any advantage in price, although, in the case of gas users who owned their own gas stoves, there was a saving on "hire charges".
These "hire charges" bulked largely in the weekly Welwyn Garden City expenditure on light and heat. An electric cooking stove cost from 5d. to 7d. per week, a copper 3d. and a kettle ld. and a gas cooker 8d. A flat rate of 8d. a week for hire charges was allowed in the Welwyn Garden City minimum calculations.
This item should be borne in mind when comparing the two totals in Table (3) as it may in part have been overlooked by the Bristol Survey budget makers, although the cost of gas through 1d. in the slot meter was adjusted to include a certain amount of free equipment.
These differences make it extremely difficult to compare directly the conditions in Welwyn Garden City with those of Bristol. An investigation was conducted by the Welwyn Garden CIty Electricity Co. of 697 houses in the same streets covered by the Household Questionnaire. This showed that the average cost of electricity per week, from January to June, 1939 was 2/3½. This figure was rather lower than the minimum given by a householder in reply to the Questionnaire, but this was probably due to the fact that the householder ignored the complicated system of quarterly adjustments by which the Electricity Company returned to the householder a sum of money representing excess meter payments by the householder which arose because the meters were not altered when the cost of electricity varied. It seemed therefore, reasonable to take the figure of 2/3½. as a general minimum cost of electricity for light and cooking.
In the case of heating, the difference between the Bristol allowance of an "average weekly consumption" of ¾ cwt. coal at 2/1d. cwt., and the Welwyn Garden City estimate of 1 cwt. coal at 2/5d. cwt. is due to at least three causes. The first, and most important, is that water heating in Welwyn Garden City was usually done by a separate coal (or coke) boiler, which itself consumed about 1 cwt. a week, whereas it appeared that in Bristol the gas users heated their water also by gas, and the coal users had water heated from the kitchen range. A few houses in Welwyn Garden City had "double purpose" sitting-room fires, but these did not seem very popular except with the very elderly. The average consumption of coal in Welwyn Garden City appeared to be about 2 cwt. a week throughout the year, and it was considered impossible to consider anything below 1 cwt. a week to be adequate for minimum needs. The second and third reasons are that Bristol lies mainly in a hollow and near to a coalfield, while Welwyn, which lies some 400' above sea-level, has both a colder climate and heavier transport costs for coal.
The costs of soap and other standard cleaning materials differ little from one part of the country to another, and the Bristol allowances for cleaning materials have therefore been adopted as they stand.
(f) Examples of Standard Needs
Another quotation from the Bristol Survey will round off this estimate of minimum standards:-
Table (5) gives examples of the effect of the calculation, and it will at once be observed that the Welwyn Garden City figures were from 11% to 20% above those estimated in Bristol. This proportion varied, generally speaking, in inverse ratio to the size of family.
The Bristol Survey quoted an example of a man earning 88s. a week, his wife and three children ages 12, 8 and 4, living in a house costing 10s. a week for rent (including rates) and the head of the family spending ls.ld. a week on travel to work. It appeared from the calculation that apart from rent, statutory insurance and travel, this family had 75.4d. to spend and that its "needs" amounted to 37s.8d. so that this family was living at 100% above the needs standard.
A similar family living in Welwyn Garden City at the time of the Survey would probably spend about 13s. a week for rent (including rates), but the head of the family would have no travelling expenses.
The calculation for Welwyn Garden City, based on Table (4) would therefore run as follows:-
This family was living at 74% above the Needs Standard.
It will be noted that the "Needs" of this family in Welwyn Garden City would be 42.0½d. compared with 37s.8d. for the same family in Bristol, representing a difference of 4s.3½d. a week, or nearly 5% of the family income. If account is taken of the higher rent (including rates) paid in Welwyn Garden City, less the cost of travel to work that was paid in Bristol, the increased cost of living rises to 7%.
On the other hand, it is necessary to take into consideration the fact that Welwyn Garden City had never known a time of heavy unemployment and, at the time of the survey, the figure was under 4%, while in Bristol, the Survey figure (also at a time of good employment) was 10%. Further allowance should be made for the gardens and garden produce and for the modern equipment of the Welwyn Garden City houses; for the benefit to the head of the family of a daily mid-day meal in his home; and indeed for the general healthier conditions for the whole family.
3. COMPOSITION OF FAMILIES
It is widely known that the "average" family in most parts of the British Isles contains 3½ persons. This average may rise to 4 and fall to 3 in different districts, but it is not known to vary beyond these limits. Judging from the sample of 401 families in Welwyn Garden City, the average family contained 3.95 persons, but if the sample had included a proportion of families where the wage-earners earned more than £250 p.a. the result would in all probability have been rather lower. It is, however, to be expected that a recently established town such as Welwyn Garden City would have an especially large proportion of families with several young children still living at home, or with lodgers - who, for these purposes, are included within the family unit. Moreover, it is rather specially a "family" town, and workers with young children would be particularly likely to seek work there.
For all general purposes - including the social and housing policies of the town - a thing even more important than the size of the average family is how often the various sized families occur.
Table (6) shows the comparative proportion in Great Britain 1937, Bristol 1937, and Welwyn Garden City 1939. It will be seen that the proportion of one and two person families in Welwyn Garden City was 20.3% as compared with the national average of 29.8%. This large difference seems to be chiefly due to the newly established character of Welwyn Garden City and the consequent lack of elderly couples and single people. The difference was no doubt exaggerated by the absence in the sample of the well-to-do section of the community. This shortage of 9.5% in the smallest types of family was made up by a relative increase fairly evenly distributed over the others, with a notable bulge in the 6-7 person families, while there was a small shortage of the families of over 8 persons. The latter shortage is possibly accounted for by the probable continuation of a national decline in large families from 1937 to 1939, but the increase in the 6-7 person families can be safely attributed to the considerable immigration of families from the mining districts of South Wales and the North, where the incidence of larger families is considerably greater than elsewhere.
For the purpose of the Survey, it was considered advisable to divide the types of families still further, and the groupings in Table 7 were chosen after consultation with the National Institute of Social and Economic Research.
The groupings are most elaborate in the three and four person families, which together represent 44.4% of the families of Great Britain and 50.4% of the families in the Welwyn Garden City sample. After this they became increasingly simplified until Family Type 8 represents merely eight or more persons irrespective of their ages.
No representatives were found in Welwyn garden City of Family types 3a, 4a, and 5a (one adult and two, three or four children respectively), but the type names were retained in order that comparisons might later be made with other work that was being done at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
Table 8 shows the incidence of each of these family groups, and the youthful nature of Welwyn Garden City is well illustrated by the figure of 12.5% for Family Type 3b, that is to say, two adults and one child under 5 years of age. There was but one family group larger than Type 3b, and that was Type 2b which consisted of two adults with no children. Welwyn Garden City had abnormally few elderly retired couples and the 18.0% of Type 2b consisted, in the main, of young married couples who as yet had no children.
4. FAMILY EARNIGS
Table 8 also shows the pooled earnings of the families covered by the Survey. The accuracy of the earnings was checked from three sources. The original questionnaire (Appendix B) asked for the normal weekly earnings of the different members of the family, but it was understood that the person who gave the information - usually the housewife - (a) often did not know exactly how much the wage-earners received, (b) sometimes gave the figure less the compulsory insurance deductions, and (c) occasionally deliberately understated the earnings from motives of policy.
However, the questionnaire asked in addition for the name of the firm at which the wage-earners were employed and the nature of the job held by the wage-earner. Thus it was a simple matter to check the wages given on the questionnaire by the standard indicated by the firm's questionnaire (Appendix A) which gave the average wage over four weeks for each grade of employment in the firm, and any great discrepancy between the two figures could be treated with some suspicion. A third check, or partial check, was provided at the offices of the Garden City Company and the Urban District Council. Here figures were obtained of the exact rent and rates paid for each of the houses covered by the questionnaire and access was given to the forms completed by each prospective householder on which he had to fill in the name of his employer and his wage at that time.
Although the family earnings from wages are believed to be reasonably accurate, very little information was received about any other sources of income. This omission also occurred in the Bristol Survey and is there commented upon as follows:-
From the foot of Table 8 it will be observed that the Welwyn Garden City family incomes are very considerably higher than those of Bristol in 1937 - the most striking instances being that 2.5 of Welwyn Garden City families received less than 40 shillings a week, as compared with 16.5 of the Bristol families. Direct comparisons here would, however, be misleading because of the lack of the single person household in Welwyn Garden City and the rather higher costs of living in this town.
Both in Bristol and Welwyn Garden City the largest number of people fell into the income group of 60 to 80 shillings a week (but in Welwyn Garden City there were 36.7% of these, as against 26.5% in Bristol) and in both towns approximately half the families earned between 40 and 80 shillings. It may be remembered that in Section 1 under "Wage Groupings" it was shown that there was no very definite figure which could be established as "the usual wage paid to an adult male in Welwyn Garden City". It appeared that the three 10 shilling wage divisions between 50 shillings and 80 shillings together covered 87.7% of all the men, and that there were a similar number of men in each of these groups. Very broadly speaking, it can be said that most of the family incomes falling within this group are dependant upon one adult male wage earner, and that those above this group usually include additional earnings of other members of the family. In Welwyn Garden City 47.5% of the families earned more than 80 shillings but in Bristol the proportion was only 33.1%.
The Welwyn Garden City families with the larger incomes were confined to the Type Groups 3d, 4f, 5e, 5f, 6b, 7 and 8. Three of these type groups were households consisting solely of adults, and the other three each contained at least four adults. None of the families in these Type Groups earned less than 60 shillings a week - with the one exception of four families in Type 7 which consisted of two adults and five children under 14.
Further, very few surveyed families in which children predominated received incomes of over 100 shillings a week, though it must be remembered that the survey was limited to persons with individual incomes below this figure. The relationship between children and poverty will be brought out by all Tables. For it was clear (as is indeed well known and obvious) that during the whole period that the family depended upon but one wage-earner, it could not help but be less well off than it would be when the children themselves started earning. The importance of this can be simply illustrated by a glance at the progressively increasing sizes of the family incomes in the 4 person and 5 person families on Table 8. In both cases the increase is steady and continuous from the family Types 4b and 5b of two adults and 2 or 3 young children to the family Types 4f and 5f consisting of 4 and 5 adults respectively. In this case an adult means everyone over 14 years of age.
The dotted line on Table 8 refers to the income groups above which the minimum standard needs of the family can normally be met. It will be seen that, with one exception, all families of more than five persons would normally need a minimum income of over 60 shillings a week, (from Table III of the first section of the Report, it can be seen that only about a third of the men in the town earned more than 60 shillings a week).
5. FAMILY EARNINGS AND THE MINIMUM STANDARD
Table 9 relates the Family Earnings to their Minimum Standard Needs by the methods already described. Each family was separately assessed, and the results make an interesting comparison with Table 8.
Mr. Tout's tentative interpretation of the Bristol Table has been adopted by this Survey. He has divided the results into four groups:-
The result of this analysis in Bristol can be seen at the foot of Table 9 and a striking difference can be observed between these figures compared with Welwyn Garden City and the similar figures on Table 8 comparing the family incomes in both towns. In the highest group the figures are almost reversed. 11.5% of Welwyn Garden City families earned over 140 shillings a week, but only 8.25% came into the "comfortable" class when tested by the minimum needs standard. In Bristol, on the other hand, only 5.6% of the families earned over 140 shillings a week, but 12.2% were "comfortably" well off.
At the other extreme Bristol had 10.7% of its families living in real poverty, and in Welwyn Garden City, a town with scarcely any unemployment at all, the figure was still 5.5%.
Here it would be helpful again to quote Mr. Tout:-
This is the crux of the difference. Cost of food and fuel were higher in Welwyn Garden City, but then, broadly speaking, so were the wages; but no one in the survey group in Welwyn Garden City owned their own house, and only 2.7% paid less than 10/- a week in rent and rates. In Bristol, on the other hand, about 17% of the families paid only rates on their houses - a matter of about £18 per annum - and it appeared that most rents including rates, fell between 9/- and 11/- a week. Some such difference in average rents would, however, be bound to arise when comparing an old town with many rent-controlled pre-1914 houses and a post-1918 town that received housing subsidies only during the 1919-24 period.
Table 10 shows the rent and rates position in Welwyn Garden City. Half the families paid 15/- to 20/- a week and 45% paid 10/- to 15/-. The remaining 5% were almost equally divided between those who paid less than 10/- a week and those who paid more than 20/-.
It will be noticed that one of the families of Types 5b and 6a manage to pay lees than 10/- a week in rent and rates. This is due to a child allowance system that operates in We1wyn Garden City. Sixpence a week off the rent is allowed for each child under 14 and 1/- a week is added to the rent for every lodger. These alterations in the standard rents have been allowed for in Table 10.
The second part of Table 10 shows the incidence of rent and rates as a percentage of the family earnings. In 16% of the families rent and rates account for more than a quarter of their income, and in 4.3% of the families they absorb over 30%.
A glance from Table 10 to Table 9 will show that the burden of rent and rates may possibly account for such poverty and insufficiency as occurs in families of one, two or three persons, but it is not clear that this accounts for the position in the households of over five persons, although it must be important factor.
To return to Table 9. The Bristol survey found
That is to say that in Bristol rather under a third of the families had, at the best, but a struggling existence; and in Welwyn Garden City this proportion was found to be rather over a quarter - 26.0%.
While we have every reason to believe that the families interviewed for the Welwyn Garden City Survey were typical of all the families of weekly wage-earners, yet the total sample amounted to but 400 families, whereas the Bristol Survey was based upon a sample of over 4,000.
It was found in Welwyn Garden City that 5.5% of the sample families lived below the "minimum needs" standard, while in Bristol the figure was 10.7%. A further 26.0% of the Welwyn Garden City families lived below the "sufficiency" level compared with 31.5% in Bristol.
The Standard Error of difference between 10.7% and 5.5% is 1.23%, and between 26.0% and 31.5% is 2.28%. This means that in the case of the families living in "poverty" only 3 families out of 100,000 in the sample would be due to "chance", and in the case of families living in "insufficiency" the result would not be found by "chance" more often than once in 50 families.
In other words, after proper allowance has been made for the difference in size of the samples upon which the figures are based, it remains clear that about 31% of the Welwyn Garden City and 42% of the Bristol weekly wage earning population were obliged to live at a standard insufficient for health and comfort.
At first glance it would appear that the Welwyn Garden City population was in a considerably better position than Bristol, and, to some extent, this was probably the case. On the other hand several contributory factors need to be born in mind. Welwyn Garden City imported 28% of its working population; over half of these bicycled in daily from the surrounding villages, and the majority of these were low paid workers. It was commonly said that many of these workers "could not afford to move into the Garden City", and it is probable that among the families of these cyclists there would be several who were already below the "sufficiency" level, or who would be if they were not paying either "agricultural" rents, or very low rents for superannuated cottages such as Welwyn Garden City could not possess.
Another factor of difference was Unemployment. In Bristol nearly a third of the families who fell below the "needs" standard had their chief wage-earner unemployed. Only one sample family in Welwyn Garden City was in this position. This family fell into the "insufficiency" group.
When full account has been taken of these factors it would appear doubtful whether the Welwyn Garden figure of 5.5% families living in dire "poverty" is a great improvement upon the Bristol figure of 10.7%.
Besides having a larger proportion of the poorest families, Bristol had also a larger number of families living over 200% above the "minimum needs" standard, or in a position of "comfort" - 12% of the total compared with 8% in Welwyn Garden City. This difference can probably be attributed to variation in age and family composition of the two communities. Bristol had a far larger proportion of one and two person families, and almost half of all these came into the "comfortable" income group.
6. NUMBER OF EARNERS AND POVERTY
In Table 11 the number of adult male wage-earners
in each family is analysed in relation to the Minimum Needs Standard.
For this purpose only men over 21 years of age are considered "adult
males". It appears that the percentage of families living in real
Less easy to explain is the figure of 6% and 11% of the families containing one wage-earner. These constituted 60% of all the families in Welwyn Garden City and 50% of those in Bristol. In Bristol the 11% were further analysed and it was found that about half of them were unemployed at the time of the Survey. Unemployment of the principal wage-earner also accounted for about half of the poverty-stricken families with one adult male and subsidiary earners. But in Welwyn Garden City the unemployment at the time of the Survey was negligible.
The matter is probably solved by Table 12, which compares the number of wage-earners per family with the number of children per family. It is seen that 14% of the families dependent upon one wage-earner contained more than three children. It seemed probable, and was proved by further checking, that this 14% contained all the 6% who were below the minimum standard. From Table 5 it can be seen that the Minimum Needs Standard for a man, wife and three children was 42/0½d. a week. To this must be added rent and state insurances - together amounting to some 15/-d a week. It would, therefore, appear that a man with this family must receive nearly 60/-d. a week in order to live in Welwyn Garden City even at the Minimum Needs Standard, and it is probably worth repeating that even the most careful housewives would seldom be found to allow no personal preferences or minor treats or extravagances to deflect their spending from the rigid lines of the B.M.A. diet list. One third of the adult male workers in Welwyn Garden City earn less than 60/-d a week and some proportion of these were doubtless heads of families with 3 or more children.
7. NUMBER OF CHILDREN AND POVERTY
Tables 13 and 14 show the relationship between poverty and the number of children per family.
Children under 14 years of age number 29% of the surveyed population of Welwyn Garden City, but of this number only 0.4% lived in homes with a "comfortable" standard of living (three times the minimum needs standard) - two children out of the 459 included in the Survey. Those were both "only children".
At the other extreme 45% of the families of four or more children lived in rea1 poverty - unable to afford even the minimum requirements allowed by the modest Needs Standard adopted by Mr. Tout. These families alone represented 10% of the children in the town, and the total proportion of children living in poverty was 14% - almost one in seven - and if "insufficiency" is included the proportion rose to 49% or almost half of all the children of the weekly wage-earning population.
Mr. Tout shows a similar Table with somewhat similar results, and he states that:-
The We1wyn Garden City figures possibly tell less well against the Bristol figures because of the lack of all provision for school mea1s in Welwyn Garden City. These have been taken into account in the Bristol Survey but there are no figures to show exactly how far they affect the position.
Free School meals are, of course, a practical means of alleviating the worst effects of poverty upon the children, and they have the advantage of providing direct assistance to the child in a form and at a time when it is most needed, rather than general assistance to the whole family.
It is probably as well to remind the reader at this stage that families with large numbers of children do not include all "large families". Reference to Tables 8 and 9 will show that in the largest families there were none at all who fell below the Minimum Needs Standard. The distinction is between families with three or more children and but one wage-earner and the families in which one or more of the children have already started to supplement the family income.
Here again one must remember that a Survey of this nature is but an instantaneous snapshot. It is static whereas the facts are fluid. Were the Survey repeated in a few years' time it is conceivable that the proportions of the poverty-stricken families with three or more children might be similar, but they would represent few of the same families.
Reference to Tables 8 and 9 will show that in five years' time a family now classified in the Survey as 5b - 2 adults and 3 small children - may have become 5c or 6a, in which case its financial position is probably rather worse, or it may have reached 5d, in which case its income will have become augmented by the earnings of one child. From then on, unless severe unemployment or illness should intervene, its income would tend to increase steadily until it reached the position of 5f when it could normally expect to have a family income of 140 shillings a week and to be well up in the "sufficiency" category if not in the "comfortable" group.
It is probable that few families with 1arge numbers of children would ever remain below the minimum needs standard for a period longer than ten years, that is assuming that they entered upon it at the birth of their third child and left it soon after the elder children started to earn.
This again simplifies the problem and concentrates the need for assistance upon those families who are temporarily passing through a period of privation which is likely to have harmful results upon the health of their children.
The exact number of persons living in Welwyn Garden CIty who were in receipt of wages below £250 per annum was unknown, but some idea of the position can be gathered from the following facts:-
From Table 14 it can be calculated that this would represent about 470 children living in poverty and some 1,120 in insufficiency. If assistance were confined only to those families with three or more children, it would affect some 450 of the children living in poverty and about 650 (rather under half) of those living in insufficiency.
While school meals would serve a most useful purpose they would not reach all the children in the poverty group, as an extremely high proportion of the children in Welwyn Garden City were under 5 years of age. From the sample the figure worked out at 38% of all children. That is to say, half the children in the one child families, 40% of those in the two children families, 30% of those in the three children families, and 28% of those in the larger families covered by the Survey.
In round figures, it can be estimated that of Welwyn Garden City's 3,200 wage-earners children 1,200 were under 5 years of age and nearly 100 of these were living in poverty, all of whom were in families containing three or more children.
At the time of the Survey Welwyn Garden City had only one small privately run Nursery School. The Herts County Council had, however, passed the plans for the erection of an official Nursery School, and, had the war not intervened, the building would have been begun in the Autumn of 1939. There would seem to be a good case for pressing forward the establishment of a Nursery School, and for providing meals there, especially for the children from large families. Small children suffer more severely from effects of under-nourishment than other sections of the population, and some effects of the probable drop in the birth-rate during the war could be avoided by reducing as far as possible any health deficiencies in the younger children.
8. GENERAL CONCLUSIONS
Broadly speaking, we may here reach a conclusion that actual poverty in Welwyn Garden City was almost entirely confined to the families with three or more small children and to old persons forced to rely upon state assistance.
An insufficient standard of living was, however, far more widespread and it appeared that in all over a quarter of the families in Welwyn Garden City (26%) and rather less than a third in Bristol (31%), lived below the "sufficiency" level fixed at 50% above the Minimum Needs Standard. No great significance can be attached to the difference between these two figures.
The cause was doubtless the usual conflict between the normal wage of the low-skilled worker and the basic costs of 1iving. The process of mechanisation has everywhere tended to demand larger numbers of the adaptable semi-skilled man and smaller numbers of craftsmen, and the industries of Welwyn Garden City have followed this general trend. On the other hand, the town has consciously set for itself a high standard of living accommodation, and has not been able to prevent relatively high costs of foodstuffs. It is doubtless true that the 74% (almost three-quarters) of the wage-earning population who live above the "sufficiency" level have a definite advantage in healthier conditions, better houses and greater saving of leisure time than is found in most other towns, and no blame can be attached to the garden city as such in that it has not solved a problem that is common to the whole of industrial England.
This report is no place to suggest remedies or solutions, although some obviously helpful measures such as school meals and free milk have been touched upon. Only one firm in Welwyn Garden City had a fully developed scheme of family allowances at the time of the Survey, but the general level of wages in this firm was such that without such allowances none of its employees would fall below the "sufficiency" level.
The general position would seem to indicate the necessity for grappling firmly with the more manageable problem of the families living in a state of poverty, and then for the town to make every endeavour to keep costs, in particular the costs of foodstuffs, as low as possible in relation to the prevailing wage.
9. MILK, BREAD AND MEAT CONSUMPTION
Table 15 shows the weekly consumption per head of Milk, Bread and Meat in the four groups of families classified under "Poverty", "Insufficiency", "Sufficiency" and "Comfort".
It will be noticed that while the bread consumption varied only from 39 to 44 ounces a week, the cost remaining stable at 5d per head; the consumption of milk in the "comfortable" group was nearly double that in the "poverty" group, the weekly cost rising from 7½d to 1/3 per head; and the cost of meat in the "comfortable" group was more than three times that in the "poverty" group, and rose from 9d to 2/8 per head.
These figures have been compared with the British Medical Association's Minimum Diet and with the results of an elaborate Survey conducted by Sir William Crawford (The People's Food, Heinemann). In the latter Survey families were divided into five income groups:
If the results of the Crawford Survey can be taken to be typical of the country as a whole, it would appear that the Welwyn Garden City milk consumption was considerably higher than might have been expected, the bread consumption lower and the meat consumption about normal. The weekly milk bill in Welwyn Garden City cost on the average 1/- per head, compared with 6d for Crawford's Class D and 9d for Class C. This 1/- represented, however, less than half a pint a day per head and was only 56% (rather over half) the League of Nation's recommended minimum standard of 6.10 pints per head per week.
It might have been thought that the larger quantities of milk drunk in Welwyn Garden City would be due to the high proportion of young children, but an analysis of milk consumption under family group Types (Table 16) shows that the families with small children had a lower average milk consumption per head than families of adults. The general average figure of 3.43 pints per head per week fell to 1.90 pints in family group 5b (3 children under 5 years of age) and consumption was below the average in 4b, 4c, 5b, 5c, and 6a - all family groups that contained only parents and young children. The only family group that included a young child and where the milk consumption was higher than half a pint a day was Type 3b - two parents and one baby.
On the other hand, families of adults usually consumed more than the average amount, rising to three-quarters of a pint a day in the case of one person families. The only exception was family Type 5f (five adults) where the average consumption was but 2.80 pints a week.
It would appear, therefore, that milk consumption in Welwyn Garden City was related directly to spending power and only very indirectly to the proportion of small children in the household. The average consumption per head was about halfway between the Crawford Class C and Class B averages of 2.6 and 4.4 pints per head per week, although very few of the Welwyn Garden City Survey families came into the Class B income group.
Seven per cent of the surveyed families in Welwyn Garden City drank no fresh milk, and almost all of these families contained young children.
If milk is an essential part of the diet of a healthy child, there would appear to be an overwhelming case for free milk in schools, including nursery schools, bearing in mind that two children out of three tend to live in less than "sufficiency".
The average bread consumption in Welwyn Garden City (40 oz.) appeared to be some two-thirds of the Crawford figures (some 60 oz.) and hardly more than a third of the B.M.A. adult diet (116 oz.). The difference is all the more striking as the figure of 40 oz. remained almost uniform, regardless of the family income.
Table 16 may, however, be a partial explanation, for it will be noticed that the consumption in adult families was always above the average, and rose to 50 oz. and 57 oz. in the case of Types 5f and 1, while the families with young children were almost all below the average and fell to 29 oz. and 26 oz. in the case of 4b and 5b. Family Type 6a was just above the average - 42 oz. - although this group type contained 4 small children. It has, however, been shown by Table 9 that this group was the most consistently hard-up of all the family types and it will be noticed that the average milk consumption was very low. It is, therefore, possible that here we have an instance of poverty leading to an increased bread ration and reduced milk ration.
Broadly speaking, we can probably say that the low consumption of bread in Welwyn Garden City was affected by the high proportion of children, but, even if full allowance were made for this, the adult bread consumption would still be somewhat below the Crawford figures, and certainly less than half the B.M.A. minimum diet standard.
The Crawford Survey measured carefully the relation of brown and white bread consumption in the various income groups and found that this was as follows:-
It was found that the families who were in the habit of eating a proportion of brown bread were:
This gradual transition of "dark" bread from the food, of the "downtrodden poor" to the food of the "enlightened rich" is a most interesting one. Many housewives who regularly took in a brown loaf stated the fact with an air of conscious superiority, and there appeared little doubt that the "fashion" was growing and that possibly the "luxury of to-day" may become the staple diet of to-morrow. The tendency is probably mainly due to educational efforts of doctors and clinics.
Meat consumption rose steadily with income, and the families living in comfort spent rather over three times as much upon their weekly meat bill as those in poverty. Crawford's Class D average approximated to the Welwyn Garden City "Insufficiency" group and Class B to the "Sufficiency" group, the Poverty and Comfort groups were below and above these figures.
It is unknown what quantity of meat was bought per week by Welwyn Garden City families. The meat costs in Table 16, however, were notably higher than the Bristol costs, and they were also higher than various sample costings in the Crawford Survey. It can, therefore, be assumed that the Welwyn Garden City costs probably represent rather less meat than the Crawford Survey, and that the comparative meat consumption in Welwyn Garden City was low. This supposition is also borne out by the B.M.A. ration, which would amount to 2/4½ a week, a figure only reached by those few Welwyn Garden City families who live in "comfort".
From Table 16 it is clear that not only did adult families eat considerably more meat per head than families with children, but also that the larger family incomes were at once reflected in the meat supplies. It is probable that most of the surveyed families in Welwyn Garden City ate as much bread and that many drank as much milk as they desired, but probably very few reached "saturation point" in meat consumption.
The highest cost per head (3/-) was reached in 4f (four adults) a group in which 97% of the families were above the "sufficiency" level, and the lowest costs (8d and 9d) occurred in 5b and 6a, families with young children and with 14% of their members above the "sufficiency" level.
10. DECEMBER, 1939
War conditions have given prominence to the balance of wages and costs of living, and problems have arisen as to how far wages should be increased on the one hand to offset the increased costs of living and, on the other hand, how much the incomes of weekly wage-earners can be expected to contribute towards the cost of the war.
It would seem to have been sufficiently proved in this report that, in the Spring of 1939, families of four persons with an income of less than 60/- a week would be living in "insufficiency" and that families of five or more persons would be living in actual "poverty".
Table III in Section II on Labour Conditions showed that some 33% of the adult males in Welwyn Garden City earned below 60/- a week, and the majority of the families in Welwyn Garden City were entirely dependent upon one male wage-earner (60%).
The proportion of families of four persons was 24% of the total, and those of five and more persons numbered 29%. Just under half the latter contained three or more children under fourteen years of age.
It is, of course, clear that all the 33% adult male wage-earners earning below 60/- a week could not be assumed to have families of four or more persons - but it could probably be assumed that this would be the case for nearly half of them, and probably nearly a third of these earners would be the sole support of a family of four or more persons.
Table 11 shows that 30% of all the sample households that were dependent upon one male wage-earner lived below the "sufficiency" level and it is probably clear from the report that the two main classes of sufferers were elderly folk and families with small children.
A possible and practical method of approach to the problem would seem to be to test out local wages and costs (by means similar to those employed for this survey), and to accept that a wage that is only just enough to enable a family of four, two adults and two children, (say Family Group 4d) to live in "sufficiency" should be adopted as a level below which no wage reductions should be allowed.
Further, in the interests of the future generation, that all families containing three or more children under fourteen years of age should be entitled to claim free sohool-miik and school-meals for the chi1dren. It is true that such a measure would not assist the children under school age, but it can be seen from tables 4, 5 and 8 that family expenses rise steeply as soon as the children emerge from infancy.
IV GENERAL AMENITIES
1. GENERAL COMMENTS
There were three general questions on the Household Questionnaire from which we hoped to discover in what light the insured worker and his family looked upon Welwyn Garden City as a place of residence.
The questions were worded:-
These questions proved the most popular part of the questionnaire, and many a suspicious housewife who was most averse to give away particulars of her expenditure on food was willing to talk for hours on the merits and demerits of the garden city as a whole. The investigators were expressly forbidden to give any leads or make any comments upon the sentiments put forward, and there seems little reason to doubt that the analysis on Tables A, B and C was representative of the general opinion of the wage-earning residents of the town in the spring of 1939.
Most of the calls were made in the evening, after working hours, and, although the majority of the replies were given by the housewife, she was frequently joined or superseded by her husband. The tables might, therefore, be considered to be slightly biassed by the housewife's point of view, and also not sufficiently representative of the opinions of the younger people. This bias was to some extent counteracted by the practice of most investigators to ask outright for any opinions frequently expressed by other members of the family.
Tables A, B and C show, respectively, the points for and against Welwyn Garden City, and some suggested improvements. The significant feature that emerges is that, although the complaints list is nearly double the length of the praise list, yet the latter represents very nearly the same number of remarks.
It will be appreciated that while at households the people made no comments at all, or merely said that they were "satisfied", others made as many as six or eight. Tables A, B and C are calculated on a percentage of all the households visited.
It will be more illuminating to analyse the lists in conjunction, taking the complaints list first and then seeing how far these criticisms would be met by the suggestions list or are counter-balanced by the praise list.
A considerable number of complaints and suggestions were clearly made by people who did not know of existing facilities within the town. Such ignorant remarks were naturally more usual from comparative new-comers, or from people who habitually "kept themselves to themselves". The fact, therefore, that this record shows a certain number of people to have expressed a desire for some addition or alteration to the town cannot automatically be taken to mean that this was really "needed". It might be that they had not yet discovered "its" existence; that "it" had not made its existence sufficiently obvious; that "it" had been tried, and failed for lack of sufficient local support in the past; that "it" was too ambitious or expensive a project for a small town; or that "it" was actually planned or even under construction.
All remarks are recorded as they were received, and, where they appear to have bean made through ignorance, a statement of the actual position is added.
2. COST OF LIVING
The leading complaint was that food prices in Welwyn Garden City were high. This comment was made at 29.0%. of the houses visited, and was the most popular remark received, the next most popular (25.8%) being similar, i.e. that a greater variety of shops were needed. The second and third complaints also dealt with the cost of living, namely, that rents were too high (15.3%) and general complaints against "monopoly" (8.5%). While on the subject of monopoly it might be added that a higher proportion of Welsh complained of the monopolistic nature of the town, and that the proverbially independent minded Scottish made no complaints at all. It does not appear that any moral can be drawn from this.
These complaints of high costs covered between a sixth and a third of the households, and the matter is, therefore, worth careful consideration.
The Survey of Bristol, conducted by Mr. Tout, established that it was possible to obtain the B.M.A. minimum adult food ration for 7/4d. in May and June 1937.
Exactly the same items were priced in Welwyn Garden City in May and June of 1939, and it was found that the minimum cost was 8/-. This means that foodstuffs in Welwyn Garden City were 6% to 7% more expensive, although the Ministry of Labour Cost of Living Index (Food Items) during the same period actually fell about 1.5% from 88.3 to 87.0 (the year 1929 being taken as 100.0).
The proportion of the complaints was very evenly spread over the whole range of households, whether they were arranged in order of their place of origin or their size of family. In many people's minds the high cost of living was directly related to the fact that the chief stores in Welwyn was owned and managed by the Garden City Company. "More competition would bring down prices" was a favourite remark.
Significant also was the demand for a Woolworths (l2.5%) and a Marks and Spencers (8.8%). The former seemed particularly needed for "oddments" - as one man put it "if I want a special tool just to do an odd job about the house and I go to the Stores they want 1/6d. for it. I don't say it isn't a good tool and worth the money, but it's no use to me when I just want to use it once or twice and never again". Children's clothes were another favourite theme. "You can buy summer plimsolls for the children for 6d. at a Woolworths and nice little frocks ever so cheap at Marks and Spencer, while here at the Stores they're a dreadful price; and the children don't need them so good, they grow out of them too quickly". It appeared that a very large number of people belonged to "Marks and Spencer Clubs". These each consisted of 20 women who paid in 1/- a week for 20 weeks. Their names were drawn weekly by lot and the woman whose name was drawn went into St. Albans on Saturday with a pound to spend at Marks end Spencers. At several households it was 1ooked upon as "wrong" that money should be taken out of the town by these clubs, and also by the many Saturday shopping expeditions to the markets and Woolworths of St. Albans and Hertford - "but what else can one do ?".
They took a very similar point of view of the numerous street traders who hawked groceries and greengroceries from door to door. "They pay no rates and just take money out of the town. If only the Company would let them set up their shops here, things would be far better."
Despite the very many complaints about the expenses of food in Welwyn, only 4.5% thought that a local Market was necessary - roughly half the proportion that wanted a Marks and Spencer and a third of those that wanted a Woolworths. It seemed that in their minds greater competition would of itself bring prices down.
High rents was the comment of 15.3% of the households, but it was interesting to note that while nearly three-quarters of these were definitely paying rents considerably higher than before, l9% were paying almost exactly the same rent for similar or better accommodation, and 7% were paying less rent than for their former home.
These two groups were mainly composed of Londoners, and it is probable that their grievance was that they considered that rents ought to decline proportionately with the distance one lived from the metropolis. Apart from these Londoners, the complaint of high rents was heard from about a sixth of each of the other districts, though among the Northerners it rose to a quarter. Almost all of these people were accustomed to pay rents of 3/- to 7/- for agricultural cottages, or, in the case of most of the ex-miners, to pay no rent at all, and it did not appear that the complaints of high rents were justified to the same extent as those of the cost of food. Indeed, a smattering of people from all areas said that one of the chief advantages of Welwyn Garden City was the cheap rents.
Not enough entertainment was a complaint of 6.3% of the households. More constructively 16.3% asked for a second Cinema, which should be situated on the East of the Railway Line; 11.3% wanted an enclosed swimming bath; 7.8% wanted a Park - also to be on the East of the town; 5.3% wanted a Music Hall and a smaller proportion wanted a Billiard Hall, a Skating Rink, a Bandstand, Open Tennis Courts, a Bowling Green and a Sailing and Paddling Pool - in this order.
Apart from the numerous Clubs, Societies, Amateur Dramatic performances, sports, etc. the existing public "entertainment" in Welwyn Garden City was limited to one Cinema on the West of the town - at least ¾ mile from the largest concentrations of the weekly wage-earners' districts, and as much as 1¼ miles from the outskirts of these districts. There was an hourly bus service that had usually gone before the late evening performance was terminated. At the time of the Survey, it was estimated that the population of the town had reached 15,000 and negotiations were proceeding for a second cinema. The national proportion of population to cinema in towns was then about 8,500 per cinema, so that it would appear that the erection of a second house would be well justified.
(b) Music Hall
On the other hand, the demand of some 5.3% of the households for a Music Hall might be taken as symptomatic of a gradual change of taste. "We've got a cinema already. What we need here now is a bit of variety - something that you really see, like". This swing-over has probably been fostered, if not caused, by the B.B.C. variety programmes, and it would seem reasonable to suppose that the demand will grow rather than decline.
The existing cinema was built with a stage suitable for Music Hall turns, and it was said that variety shows had occasionally been given. It is possible that the time was ripe for a re-introduction of occasional variety programmes.
The demand for a second cinema did not vary very much according to the home places of the householders. It was rather higher in the case of Londoners, Midlanders and Scots; and among the small families - i.e. mainly adults - but the variation was only between 1 in 6 and 1 in 4 of the population.
(c) Swimming Bath
One of the most significant lights on the trend of modern leisure occupation was the very large demand for a Swimming Bath. Welwyn Garden City already possessed an open air swimming pool, but this both unheated and on the outskirts of the town. Many of the households visited were quite unaware of its existence, and those who were felt that it was by no means sufficient for their needs. The 11.3% demand for a Swimming Bath came fifth in the list of all suggestions and tenth on the list of all the 72 comments. Among the people, Hertfordshire, London and elsewhere (mainly the South of England) the demand was almost exactly equal to that for another cinema, and from the N.W. it was higher. The general percentage was mainly brought down by the absence of any demand from the Welsh or Scots.
Among the middle group of families - which usually contained two of three children - again the demand was very nearly equal to that for a second cinema.
It should be borne in mind, when weighing this evidence, that the Survey was made at the very beginning of the Summer, and that the weather was, on the whole, both cold and wet. A Survey conducted during a heat-wave might be expected to show an unreliably high demand for Swimming Baths.
A Survey of Leisure Pursuits conducted by the national Institute of Industrial Psychology in 1938 showed that some 4% of the population of a town might be expected to use a Swimming Bath every week from May till the end of September. In the case of Welwyn this would work out at 600 entries each week - including the usual regular visits of parties of schoolchildren arranged by the schools themselves.
(d) Skating Rink
The actual demand for a Skating Rink was small - 2.3%.
It was somewhat surprising to find in a garden city so large a demand for a Park (7.8%), but this is again due to the unfortunate split caused in the town by the main railway line. On the North West there already existed a magnificent stretch of semi-wild woodland which served as a fine natural park for this area. However, not only was this wood at least a mile distant from the nearest houses on the East of the town, but it was also quite unsuitable for the two adult classes that tend to make most use of park grounds, namely women pushing prams and elderly people. It was disconcerting to hear from these people that there was "nowhere to walk except between rows of houses". They did not add that the houses all had front gardens, and the road was bordered by green verge and flowering trees, but some of them probably reached the crux of the problem when they said "there's nowhere to sit down when you go for a walk. What we want is more seats, especially on the East side". Until the Garden City is grown sufficiently for the Company to feel justified in laying out a good recreational park, the grievance would probably be best met by a generous supply of seats at strategic points round the town. This could at best be only a temporary make-shift, and no solution of the real need.
That the desire for a park was by no means confined to one section of the community is clear from the following specific demands:- Sports Club and ground 2.8%, Bandstand 2%, Open Tennis Courts 1.8%, Bowling Green 1.0%, Sailing and Paddling Pool 0.5%. This array of separate items totals to 8.1% and if this is then added to the demands for a Park and for Seats, we reach the impressive total of 17.4% - higher than the demand for a second cinema.
Three of the items on the above list were in process of being completed when the Survey was made. That is to say, a good Sports Ground was already prepared and in use and a Bowling Green was nearing completion on the same site. The ground when finished would be completely equipped with a pavilion and several hard and grass tennis courts. The provision of a bandstand and recreation park had also received the attention of the Urban Council and some work had already begun before it was checked by the outbreak of War.
On the West of the town there already existed three privately run Tennis Clubs with a total membership of some 180 and on the East there was one with a membership of about 60. The subscription to these Clubs was between 25/- and 42/- and membership was necessarily limited by the number of courts available.
There were several football and cricket teams and two hockey clubs, but, although the town was continually expanding two of these Clubs stated that their membership was declining and only a small ladies' hockey club could register an increase.
It was later learnt that some new teams had been formed of which no records had been received. In a constantly growing town of young people it wou1d be expected that there should be an ever increasing demand for sports fields, and any evidences of a stable or declining membership probably show that Welwyn Garden City was following the general trend all over the country established in a report of the National Institute of Industrial Psychology. Namely, that organised team games were everywhere tending to decrease in popularity, but that this was balanced by a far greater compensating increase in the more individual sports, such as tennis, swimming and cycling.
It can probably be concluded that while the growth of the town will necessitate increasing provision for team games, yet proportionately far more provision should be prepared for swimming and tennis and for golf (which is no longer a game confined to the "1eisured classes", as the great popularity of "Town Links" with their 1/- or 2/6 fees testify), and consideration might well be given to the provision of a cycle track.
The following 20 social clubs and societies existed in Welwyn Garden City at the time of the Survey and held regular weekly meetings:
It is known that others existed, but it could be assumed that they were not very active as they did not reply to a questionnaire that was twice circulated to all "Clubs" in the local directory. Organizations with monthly meetings are expressly excluded here as the proportionate amount of leisure time that they employ is necessarily small.
A certain number of the above organisations catered mainly for the school-age child, but none were confined to this group. Some met once a week, some twice, and two - The Club and the Peartree Boys' Club, were open six times a week. The subscriptions ranged from l/6d. to l0/-d. per annum, a very usual charge being 2d. a week, which could be calculated as about 7/6d. per annum (allowing for holiday breaks). The total membership of these clubs, excluding the school-age membership, was almost 2,000 - probably about 18% of the population of the town over 14 years of ago, although it must be borne in mind that one man may belong to several clubs, and, a more reliable proportion might be about 15%.
The Clubs and Societies themselves are obviously of widely differing characters, and, as the Survey was solely concerned with the insured worker and his family, it was necessary to exclude these organisations that catered exclusively for the more well-to-do (in fact if not in theory). This reduced the list of Clubs by 4 and brought the membership down to somewhere about 1,500. Of this number 800 - (more than half) - were members of "The Club", a working man's club which was open every day and provided a clubroom, a billiard-table, wireless, books and daily papers. The premises were not licensed, and card games were forbidden. The subscription was 1d. a week. No other organisation for adults provided more than a regular meeting place.
The average attendance at the Clubs often bore little relation to the membership figures. Figures were taken over a week, so that a club that met twice a week with an average attendance of some 30 members would be calculated with a weekly average attendance of 60. On this basis the total average weekly attendance was about 1,250, or, for the Clubs open to the insured worker, rather over 1,000. This figure could be taken to represent that about two-thirds of the Club members in the town tend to enter their Club premises once a week.
No mention has been made here of the many Clubs in the town that meet monthly. These were most valuable to general social life in Welwyn Garden City, but could not be said to meet the day-to-day Club needs of the population. They also played an infinitely larger part in the lives of the better-to-do.
From Section 11. (General Conclusions) [I think this should read: From Section III-8. (General Conclusions)] it can be assumed that Welwyn Garden City at the time of the Survey had an adult population of some 7,500 who earned less than £250 per annum. While this figure cannot be assumed to be at all accurate, it was probably a rough approximation of the position.
It would then appear that some 20% of this population tended to belong to some form or "Club" and that about 13% attend some sort of Club meeting every week.
The demand for Clubs registered by the replies to the Household Questionnaire was not nearly so great as for other forms of leisure occupation.
2.5% wanted a Working Men's Club: 1.0% a Girls Club: 0.8% a Mixed Club, and two people asked for an old people's club and a women's a club respectively. The total "club demand" amounted therefore to under 5.0%.
On the other hand, complaints were received from 3.3% of the households that there was "nothing for the young people to do". This was often coupled with the remark that the place was "lovely for the children but there's nothing after they leave school. The boys go to the Peartree Club for a bit, but they grow out of it after they've been working for a while, and then they just hang about. They can't go to the pictures more than twice a week and there are too many pubs about for my liking, it gets the young fellows into bad ways". (5.3% thought the place ideal for children and 2.5% thought there were too many public houses). Actually there were only two licensed premises in Welwyn Garden City itself, but two others lay just beyond its boundaries.
Yet another 1.3% complained that there was nothing in the town for adults to do in the evening. This complaint was made principally by families without children who had only recently moved into the town.
The leisure time of the girls and youths from about 16 to rather over 20 appeared a far more important problem, but, although a well-run mixed club might be very successful it was more probable that the real solution of the matter would be a series of open dances at the so-called Community Hall, (as opposed to private club dances) cycle clubs, a swimming bath, and, finally, the completion of the Sports Ground, and the organisation there of a general Sports Club based on the pavilion.
The "youth problem" in Welwyn was most unlikely to disappear of itself. The town was continually importing young labour with no home ties, and the children of families established in the town would increasingly be entering this age-group. At the time of the Survey the town had an abnormal proportion of young couples with children just entering the schools. This condition was natural to a young town, but it meant that every preparation should be made well in advance for the wealth of young labour that would be coming on the market - and growing out of school-child pastimes - within five to ten years.
A considerable proportion of the households visited told of their appreciation of their houses. "Very nice houses here" - was a remark made by some 11.5% - particularly by Londoners and Herts people. On the other hand, 2.3% complained that the interior decoration was either poor in quality or left too long before re-doing. Many of these people objected strongly to the distempered walls - which were universal in Welwyn Garden City. They liked "a bit of paper to make the place look bright. Gets you down living with all these plain walls around". The regulations were that paper could be supplied free of charge from a special pattern-book, and the householder was then responsible for putting it up - but this arrangement was not agreeable to everyone.
Another grievance related to the electricity supply. 2.5% complained, sometimes very bitterly, of the compulsory standing charge of l/4d per week. The system was that this l/4d was collected every week plus certain hire charges - for stove, kettle, copper etc. the total standing charge usually amounting to 2/-d. Apart from this, the householder obtained his electricity at the very favourable rate of 0.48d. - just under ½d. a unit. This they paid in a slot meter at the rate of 1/-d for 25 units; there was no meter charge. The normal weekly account for most families was about 5/- all in. This included light and cooking, and usually washing in an electric copper, ironing, at least one electric fire, a "mains" wire1ess set, and a small water heater beside the kitchen sink as well. Some families paid as much as 5/- a week in the meter apart from the 2/- hire and standing charge, while a few paid as little as l/6d. It was on these latter that the 2/- overhead charge told so greatly, and it appeared that many of them would have preferred a flat unit rate, so that they felt they were "getting their money's worth" every week. A few households - mainly from the North - longed for coal ranges, and it was said that bread and cakes in particular did not "taste the same on the electric".
Gardens were another subject of comment. 2.5% praised their "nice gardens". These were principally people from London and the Northern towns - the possession of a garden was taken for granted by most of the others. Keen gardeners in several houses complained hard about the lack of fencing. This did not apply to all houses, so that the proportion of complaints - 1.8% - would have been much higher were it related only to the houses with unfenced gardens. A corollary of this complaint was the number of dogs in Welwyn. They indeed appeared to be very numerous and it was probably true that the owners of unfenced gardens suffered a considerable amount of damage from them.
A final plea came from three households for more of the small type of house to be built - 2 bedrooms and 1 sitting-room. The reason was twofold, first that the rent would be cheaper and easier for a couple "just starting"; secondly, that there would be less need for outlay on the furniture that, bought necessarily on the hire purchase system, often becomes such a heavy burden around the necks of a young coup1e.
6. GENERAL PLANNING
The pleasantness of Welwyn Garden City was one of the most frequent remarks. In order of priority it came third, following the high cost of living and the need for a greater variety of shops. Indeed, at 21.8% of the houses statements were made to the effect that Welwyn Garden City was a very pretty place, a lovely place to live in or that everything was so beautifully laid out.
The healthiness of Welwyn Garden City also came in for a lot of notice - l7.0%; the "good air" obtained a quota of 10.5%; the pleasant countryside, "lots of pretty walks near" 8.0% and the fact that Welwyn Garden City was a "nice clean place" 5.0%.
An addition of all these praises would show that almost two-thirds of the population felt an appreciation of the general siting and lay-out of the Garden City.
Most of the criticisms that were made on this score also showed a sense of local pride. For example, 2.5% complained of the number of people who walked on the grass verges that are planted along almost all the roads, another 2.0% were anxious that the Company should be checked from building over the woodlands to the North-West of the town. "Stop spoiling the woods"; and 1.5% thought the roads were too narrow.
Only 2.0% put forward a demand for another Railway Bridge, though many complained either directly or by implication, about the great social cleavage caused by the railway line, which could be crossed only by two bridges situated at the two extremities of the town. The result of this state of affairs was that the East side of the railway was highly inaccessible from the shopping and entertainment district that had been placed centrally upon the West side. In consequence, "better-class" houses built upon the East side could only be let or sold with great difficulty, and that district became, in fact, almost wholly a working-class area, well separated from the concentration of middle-class houses upon the "other side".
Direct complaints about this state of affairs were rare but were implied by frequent statements that "they put everything on the West", and the demand for a Cinema, Park, Shopping Centre, etc. "of our own".
This desire to accentuate the geographical gap between the two parts of the town could not be said to be in the interests of the best town-planning, and the gradual erection, as the town expands, of duplicate facilities upon the East side might serve to accentuate rather than overcome the difficulty.
At the time of the Survey it was necessary for the resident population of the East side to cross over to the West on many occasions, but, except for the workers going to their factories, there was practically no traffic in the other direction. It might, therefore, be a step forward in unifying the little township if a new centre of universal attraction, for example, a Swimming Bath, were to be placed on the East side and not in one of the "obvious positions" upon the West. The effect of thus bringing about a cross traffic of the population might be expected to lead to a gradual raising of land values upon the East and the possibility of a general more healthy "mixed" development of the town as a whole.
7. SOCIAL PLANNING
"It's easy to get good work here" was said at 5.3% of the households; but 3.3% more complained that the rapid influx of people from the Depressed Areas had made it more difficult for local men to get good jobs, and had also altered the social tone of the town. "People should take the work to them and not bring them here to spoil our place" was the tone of several comments.
1.5% liked Welwyn Garden City because they found such pleasant neighbours there, but rather more - 2.0% - found the place terribly unsociable. The latter were not, as might be expected, entirely from the Depressed Areas, but included a similar proportion of people from London and the South. The only thing that they probably had in common was that this 2.0% were almost entirely large-town folk whereas the 1.5% that found pleasant neighbours were from many different parts of the country.
The education of the town came in for praise from 2.0% though 2.5% wanted to see it improved by the establishment of a Nursery School on the East of the Railway Line. This was a project that had been under consideration for some time and it was hoped that work might shortly be begun upon it.
The Social Services of the town, though excellent, came in for scant direct praise; more people felt the need for a local Health Centre - 1.8% - and a local Hospital (1.5%). This latter was already planned and would probably shortly be built.
To sum up, there seemed to be a very general pride in and appreciation of the Garden City, and the only two outstanding criticisms were the relatively high cost of perishable foodstuffs and the paucity of leisure time occupation for the young adult.
8. WELWYN GARDEN CITY OR ST. ALBANS
The last question on the Household Questionnaire read:
"If you had your choice of working and living in St. Albans or Welwyn at the same wages, which would you choose ?"
The town of St. Albans was chosen for this question because it lay only 8 miles away and was far larger than Welwyn Garden City (1937: St. Albans 35,840. Welwyn Garden City 11,370). It was also well known that every Saturday a large number of local people went there by bus and bicycle for marketing and pleasure.
More than a third (37.2%) of the replies expressed no definite preference and among these were many which stated that the "questionee" "did not know St. Albans", or indeed any other town in the locality. This unadventurous nature was not confined to those who had only been in Welwyn Garden City for a short time, but was found among families that had been established in the town for more than 7 years.
Of the two-thirds (62.8%) who did reply to this question, 70% preferred Welwyn Garden City, and 30% would rather live in St. Albans. These proportions varied very considerably according to the former home places of the residents. For instance, 83% of the Londoners preferred Welwyn Garden City, but only 50% of the North Country people. The Welsh and Scots were also below the average of 70%; these people were largely immigrants from depressed areas, and it would appear that the largest proportion of those who wished to leave Welwyn Garden City were to be found among the poorest section of the population, and that there the proportion might rise to 50%.
A further analysis by family size seems to confirm this supposition, for while 74% of all families of one, two or three persons preferred Welwyn Garden City, this proportion declined to 50% of the families of 6 and more persons.
A considerable number of people who chose St. Albans
gave their reasons. These fell almost invariably into one of two groups,
better and cheaper shopping (63%) and more amusements or a livelier atmosphere
(27%). A very few people added that they thought rents were cheaper in
St. Albans; many more stated that they would only like to move if they
could take their present house with them.
OBSERVATIONS BY P. K. O'BRIEN
1. Any report of this nature, as very largely the work leading to it, must be conceived and executed by one person, if the dull compromise of individually conflicting opinions is to be avoided. For that reason it was agreed that the report in its presentation and detail should ultimately be the responsibility of Miss Tyrwhitt, and that individual members of the committee should be allowed a few small observations by way of appendices.
2. The function of statistical enquiry must be to answer certain specific questions already posed and to provide the information which will answer others likely to be posed in the future. In as far as it pursues the former the results should be eminently readable since the objects and conclusions can be clearly stated. Pursuit of knowledge for no obvious ends merely produces a work of reference, not to be digested by any except the enthusiastic statistician. Most statistical surveys fall into this latter category, with the result that few will bother to read them, nor will be able if they do to see the purpose served. Frequently allied to these apparent irrelevances is the inherent difficulty of reaching scientifically valid conclusions, so that a certain suspicion of ambiguity attaches to the results. There are, they say, three kinds of liars; plain liars, -- liars, and statisticians.
3. This enquiry, however, should not be liable to these shortcomings since it was born from a genuine desire for information. In the far-off days of peace certain bodies in the Garden City became concerned to know whether the conditions of life, wages, hours of work, and standard of living of the Garden Citizens compared ill or favourably with other towns. Later the investigation took on a wider and more significant appearance. Studies on factors governing the location and agglomeration of industries were, in the pre-war days, assuming new importance, as it came to be realised that there are problems of community organisation which private enterprise does not solve. It was therefore thought that the enquiry might point the way to changes in the industrial structure of the town, and in its social life, which would in effect raise the standard of living of its people. In as far, of course, as any malaise revealed was a national rather than a local problem no limited organisation could attempt to remove it.
4. For both these objects the enquiry was heavily dependent on comparative statistics of other towns for a similar period, and the collection the them was alas! rendered impossible by the war. Fortunately, however, there was data available in the cost of living section and even in isolation the other results have a considerable value.
5. The first part "Labour Conditions" show the age and occupational distribution of the workers, the sources from which they are drawn, the resulting effect on wages, with additional information on factory amenities, and the combined seasonal fluctuation of demand. Its main purpose was to show how far the group of industries in Welwyn Garden City showed an abnormal type of demand in terms of sex, age and skill or seasonal variation, and how far that was reflected in abnormal wages or pronounced occupational unemployment, or in migration to and from long distances. It is a little fortunate that the figures of wages are unaccompanied by an indication of the amount of overtime, and that the Ministry of Labour returns do not show occupational unemployment. Further as has been said the lack of comparable wage statistics is a great disadvantage. Broadly, however, it can be said that the Garden City was demanding at this time a primarily unskilled population, possibly even beyond the normal tendencies in this direction and that the introduction of another trade demanding a number of skilled adult males with a peak output from November to March would, as Miss Tyrwhitt says, have provided more girl labour a reservoir of skilled men and possibly reduced seasonal unemployment. Expansion of industries already established was on the other hand likely to lead to a shortage of girl labour.
This section also appeared to indicate the need for an additional restaurant for factory workers.
6. Certain detail observations fall to be made in this section.
7. The second and third parts were designed to show how far the somewhat unusual unified control of amenities and developments affected the worth of a given wage. They were in fact equivalent to a monopolist's market research.
The comparison of costs of living in different places is bound to be a hazardous operation. Ultimately a standard of living is a certain measure of satisfaction. The relative cost of obtaining it in two different places will depend on the income and tastes, and will be different for each individual. In this enquiry the quantities were taken on a minimum consumption. Further the B.M.A. food standard is an arbitrary subdivision of essential food values and both in Welwyn Garden City and Bristol the cost of procuring these values might be lower than the figures given, since people would look for the cheapest method of satisfying their wants according to the prices in each place.
There does, however, emerge the broad conclusion, supported by the beliefs of the people, that the cost of a given standard was higher in Welwyn than in Bristol. This, however, was more than offset by higher earnings, the final relation to poverty standard being roughly the same in view of the greater number of young mouths to feed in Welwyn.
The possible improvements in administrative and selling policy suggested by these results to the lay mind are:
Mr. Eccles in his notes has many interesting and informative things to say on the practicability of these and other measures.
8. There are on this section also certain detail comments.
9. The third section of the report was designed to obtain the impressions of the residents, and discover unsatisfied wants. It makes interesting and light reading after the other sections. Who, for instance, would have suspected that the Scotch and Welsh have no desire for a swimming bath and that a town with one public house could be held to have too many ?
The impression of a high cost of living seems commonly held, and even were it not true, educative action would seem indicated. The answer to the question comparing Welwyn with St. Albans is like all such subjective questions difficult of interpretation, but it appears that all except the poorest are prepared to put up with an apparently higher cost of living to obtain the amenities of garden city life.
10. It is a little difficult now to consider dispassionately results which can have significance only in a post-war world. The main effects of the transition to a war economy on a small industrial town are:
The labour problems of Welwyn garden City have therefore completely altered in nature; the general rise in the cost of living has made regional differences of small significance; and the provision of new amenities is temporarily impossible. The basic fact, however, are still relevant, and the problems will be raised anew in the post-war world. The enquiry has perhaps laid a minute fragment of the foundations of a new constructive order.
OBSERVATIONS BY JOHN F. ECCLES
Member of the Research Committee
A reader of a work such as the Welwyn Garden City Survey is generally faced with two difficulties:
It is with these two points in mind that I think a few brief personal observations may be helpful. They are of course limited in scope since a large subject such as the development of Welwyn Garden City would require a special treatise to do it justice.
A good deal of the background of Welwyn Garden City is revealed in the preface and in many parts of the main survey itself, but in view of the widespread responsibilities and activities of the development company, Welwyn Garden City Limited and its associated undertakings, it will I think be of assistance to set out certain general views of one who has a fairly complete knowledge from the inside of the general policy of these companies.
The fact that the development company owns practically the entire land on which the Town is being built means the existence of a special kind of monopoly. Monopolies themselves are not inherently bad. Very few of us in some capacity or another are not in great or small degree monopolists.
It seems to me that there are two special considerations on which monopolies should be judged; first, the general motives of those who have or control the monopoly and, second, granted that these motives are broadly speaking reasonable, the effectiveness and efficiency with which the monopoly is operated.
Dealing first with the question of motives, as Welwyn garden City Limited and its associated undertakings are public or private companies, they form part of the ordinary present day system of private enterprise and are in consequence tied up to the various virtues and defects of that system. It may, however, be clearly stated that the dominant motive of all those connected with the development organisation is that of producing the best town possible under present conditions. By this I mean the creation of environment and physical conditions which not only permit but directly encourage, with the minimum of hampering, the development by the inhabitants of the best things in life, the onus of making use of the advantages of those conditions of course largely remaining with the individuals within the town unit.
Many other questions naturally have to be reconciled with this dominant motive but three are outstanding, namely,
The maintenance of the delicate balance between these important factors and a number of relatively minor considerations is a perpetually recurring problem.
In the circumstances it is therefore not unnatural that from time to time doubts may arise in the minds of individuals concerning the merits of some of the manifestations of the policy of the development organisation, particularly when the individual concerned may not have the opportunity of understanding the many conflicting claims which have to be assessed. Suffice it to say that the motives at work in the affairs of these companies are marked by an almost entire absence of pure capriciousness or mere self-interest.
Apart from the exceptional character of the town itself, the most striking evidence of unusual policy arises in connection with the retail business of the town, a very large part of which flows through the Stores and its branches. The company owning the Stores is a subsidiary undertaking of Welwyn Garden City Limited and is subject to the same general control. Again in the conduct of this business the same three primary factors, namely, fairness to the staff and to the customers and the necessity for earning reasonable profits, dominate the policy.
It should be mentioned that the main survey was carried out before the large new premises in the centre of the Town were open to the public. How far the opening of these important new premises may have in any degree varied the views expressed on the whole question of retail business in the Town is unknown, but it is I think quite clear that the service to the general community in the Town has been vastly improved by these new premises. Not only is there now a much wider variety of merchandise of all kinds, but the improved condition in which the business is operated are steadily leading to increased efficiency not only by way of service but also in a general ability to compete with retail businesses elsewhere. It would, of course, be absurd to make any claim to perfection whilst it is not part of the policy of those responsible for the Stores to engage in "militant" competition such as is practiced in many spheres of retail business. Militant competition is all too often carried on at the expense of the employees in retail business and although the Stores would not claim to have in any way reached the ideal in the treatment of the staff, it refuses to bind itself to any policy which may make any future improvement in the conditions of that staff difficult if not impossible of attainment. At the same time this factor must be associated with fairness to the customer. It would be idle to pretend that the Stores has achieved the ideal of completely satisfying everybody at all times, but any failure is largely attributable to ordinary human failings which are not necessarily confined to the management and staff of the business.
As to the profit factor, whilst given due consideration, this does not in the least dominate the situation. It is worth noting that the profit factor was relegated to a very minor position in connection with the building of the new Stores, since if it had not been so the ambitious character of the new development would have been substantially reduced.
Despite complaints, both justified and unjustified, and frankly admitting that perfection has not been reached, it can nevertheless I think be claimed that the Stores provides a very high standard of retail service which it is doubtful would be forthcoming under any other conditions in a town of the present size of Welwyn Garden City. It is also probable that a large proportion of inhabitants would regret its disappearance and the substitution of a number of individual businesses for it.
Finally I think it would be admitted that the Stores is a more effective and efficient unit to-day than it was even at the time the survey was made.
Having endeavoured in the foregoing remarks to fill in a little more of the background of Welwyn Garden City and its development, I should like to add observations on some of the general conclusions contained in the Survey which may enable the reader to understand more adequately the significance of a number of the points.
In the first place it is necessary to point out that the outbreak of War has substantially changed many of the circumstances. Not only has the population increased by the reception of businesses, workers and children transferred from other areas but there is evidence that some changes have taken place in the general constitution of the labour force in the Town.
The widespread fixation of prices and rationing has led to a considerable standardisation of costs of living. On the other hand as a result of war restrictions, the development of the Town has for all practical purposes come to an end and many projects under active consideration in August 1939 have perforce been abandoned. The remarks which follow, however, ignore special war factors and are designed to throw a little more light on the various questions as they existed prior to the outbreak of War.
Taking first the general conclusions regarding labour conditions it is frankly admitted that the appropriate development of the industry of a new town such as Welwyn Garden City is one of considerable difficulty.
The general trend of the last few years in the direction of the greater use of unskilled and semi-skilled labour has had substantial repercussions in Welwyn Garden City and at times there has been an appreciable shortage of this class of labour, particularly amongst the juveniles. This trend is more a National than a local problem, particularly as, if industrial development is to be pursued on any reasonable basis, there is not much opportunity for the selection of new industries to be accommodated in the Town. A number of basic industries employing skilled labour would not be likely to come to Welwyn Garden City for a variety of reasons, many of them legitimate. On the other hand it is an ideal location for many of the new light industries which to an appreciable extent make use of the semi-skilled and un-skilled types of labour. There is therefore a natural "market bias" in the direction of a greater expansion of industries employing semi-skilled labour in preference to those employing skilled labour.
The development Company has on several occasions had to throw its weight against the attraction of certain classes of industry by reason of the large preponderance of semi-skilled operatives which would be demanded by them. On the other hand extensive efforts have always been made to attract industries employing skilled labour. The measure of success in achieving the right balance is, however, not merely governed by the general market conditions applying to industries likely to establish themselves in Welwyn Garden City, but also by the general trend of many industries formerly employing skilled labour tending to make use of increasing numbers of the semi-skilled type.
The main point which I should like to establish is that the development Company does not proceed in any casual manner to attract industries irrespective of the type of employee likely to be required, whilst it is concerned to take appropriate steps to alleviate any undue shortage of particular classes of labour when they arise. There is, however, no simple solution to this problem which is not only likely to be perpetual but is also likely to change in character from year to year.
The general conclusions regarding the standard of living are much more difficult to interpret adequately.
As regards food it is unfortunate that the comparisons with Bristol differ by two years in time whilst the fact that it has not been possible as a result of the shortage of funds and the outbreak of war to make careful comparisons with neighbouring towns, leaves the position very uncertain. It is, however, quite clear that a number of inhabitants hold the view that the cost of food at the time of the investigation was rather higher than in neighbouring towns, although how far this might be due to psychological reactions against the ubiquity of the Stores cannot be estimated.
It is worth noting that the sampling of prices was not by any means confined to the Stores but included the important Co-operative Society branch in the town which has a substantial membership and also the other retailers with established businesses in the town.
The completion of the new Stores has facilitated the better supervision of prices generally, since soon after it was opened a new department was created which concerns itself with price comparisons between goods sold at the Stores and similar goods sold elsewhere in London and the neighbouring towns.
In present conditions further speculations on this point appear profitless and it is probably sufficient to say that the development Company and the Stores are both concerned from many points of view to ensure that the town secures the best value in terms of standards of living which the circumstances from time to time permit.
As regards the cost of lighting and heating, the following observations must suffice.
The Electricity Company is controlled by the development Company and has been operated substantially with a view to providing the town with the best and most economical electricity supply. This is borne out by the known facts that the Welwyn Garden City Electricity Supply Company is regarded in electricity circles as one of the most progressive undertakings in the Country and that the rates of charges, particularly for the two-part tariff which is now approaching universal adoption, are amongst the lowest in the whole of the area of London and the Home Counties. Even prior to the outbreak of War the prospect of more than relatively small future reductions in charges was rather remote. The fact is that the benefits of cheap electricity are felt in proportion to the amount used and it is natural therefore to find that those residents who use it for cooking, washing and water heating regard the costs with greater favour than those whose use of electricity is confined to lighting only.
The gas supply is controlled by the Watford and St. Albans Gas Company which operates over a large area. I am not in a position to express direct views on the cost of gas in the town but it is worth noting that some three or four years ago a special enquiry into the price of gas was held at the instigation of a number of residents in the town as a result of which the opinion was given that the charges in the district were reasonable.
Even before the War the price of coal was subject to a considerable measure of control and little opportunity presented itself for achieving any appreciable reduction in its costs, particularly in view of the town's geographical situation.
As regards the general question of housing in the town and the standard of rents, the Local Authority and the development Company jointly undertake responsibility for the entire programme. Both bodies working in co-operation have, in my view, quite rightly laid down the general policy that there is a minimum standard of housing accommodation below which it is undesirable to go. In consequence, while within the terms of this policy there has been a continuous effort to keep the costs of housing, and in consequence the rental values, as low as possible, no action has been taken in the direction of lowering the standard below the agreed desirable minimum in order to achieve arbitrarily low rentals. On the other hand in the last few months before the War broke out both the Company and the Council were dealing with the problem of providing less expensive accommodation, particularly for those setting up house for the first time, and it was proposed to follow two methods as a solution to that problem. First to provide a greater number of small two-bedroom non-parlour houses, and second, to build a certain number of small flatlets in groups. The outbreak of War has led to the suspension of both of these new developments.
Finally there is the subject of general amenities.
As was to be expected many of the comments cancel each other out, whilst a number of the suggestions would be impracticable for a town of the present size of Welwyn Garden City. On the other hand it is surprising how many of the suggestions were, in fact, on the point of being carried out or were under active consideration when War broke out and brought all of them temporarily to an end. For example, the building of two new blocks of shops was due to commence in the Autumn of 1939, one in the main centre and the other in the South Eastern area. A second cinema in the town would have been provided by the Summer of 1940. The question of a new swimming bath was actively being discussed between the Local Authority and the development Company. Two small parks on the East of the railway had been planned. Provisional agreement had been reached for the construction of premises for a billiard hall. There was every expectation that the County Council would at an early date provide a Nursery School, East of the railway. Designs had been prepared on a provisional basis for a bandstand. Agreement had been reached with the County Council for the provision of a special health centre East of the railway. Despite the War the Local Authority has been able to complete a number of tennis courts for public use. The Local Authority has practically completed arrangements for the erection of a new local hospital. A Girls Club was on the point of being actively developed. I have already referred to the programme of increasing the supply of small houses and flats. These are only a few of the many projects which the War has interrupted.
They go to show, however, that those responsible for the development of the town, and in particular the Local Authority and the development Company, are by no means oblivious to the many desirable amenities which the town still lacks and that they are concerned to add to them as rapidly and as adequately as circumstances allow.
In conclusion, and as I hope I have suggested in these observations, the development Company does not in the least resent constructive criticism, particularly as there is little doubt that civic concern for the proper development of the town arises from the direct personal interest of many of the residents in its future. As the chief concern of the Company is the full and adequate development of the town in all its manifestations there is room for the suggestions of everyone with pride in the town. It should, however, be realised that the development organisation is only one of the important units engaged in the work of building the new town. The Local Urban District Council and the County Council also have important and widespread responsibilities and it is very satisfactory that really harmonious relations exist between these three groups which produce many examples of extensive co-operation.
In the end, however, the real success of the town from the human point of view depends on the spirit and work of the inhabitants themselves on whom to a considerable extent devolves the responsibility of developing and maintaining the social services and amenities of the town, many of which have attained a high order of efficiency. It is, therefore, not sufficient merely to suggest or criticize however constructively unless the inhabitants are equally prepared to add their quota of work and effort towards securing the improvements that are desired. Fortunately Welwyn Garden City has never been lacking in enthusiastic workers in these spheres and there is every reason to expect a continuous increase in their numbers and a substantial expansion in effectiveness.
A town is not a collection of buildings more or less sensibly put together; it is a group of individual minds and, on the collective attitude of those minds and their basic motives, as expressed directly by work and effort, depends the real value to all concerned of the human unit.