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Archive -> Autobiography -> ‘As a Tale That is Told’ Extract 19 Page 62

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‘As a Tale That is Told’ Extract 19 Page 62

1895 (or?? She doesn’t meet EPL til 1891, so she is out of sequence here….)
A cold winter..

In 1895 came the climax of misery for the people who came to our relief office. A long frost when there were standpipes in the road to supply frozen-out householders with water. Unemployment which meant starvation, bitter cold with no coal or warm clothing. We had to keep hot coffee or soup in our office and had to give it to our applicants before they were able to tell their story, so frozen and stiff were they. I have had to take a child on my knee and feed and warm her before she could tell the story perhaps a bed-ridden mother had sent her to tell.

There were, in those days, no old-age pensions, no widows’ pensions, no unemployment insurance, no workman’s compensation for accident, no public assistance except out-relief, inadequate and often cruelly administered with more often than not a threat of the workhouse, a broken-up home and separation from all family ties.
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‘As a Tale That is Told’ Extract 19 Page 62