Monday, July 21, 2014

Poverty 100 years ago

The Otago Daily Times has a piece written 100 years ago.

Note the difference in tenor:

It is well that cases of pitiable poverty and want, such as one which came under the notice of a Christchurch Star representative on Wednesday morning, are rare, extremely rare.
In a small cottage in Milne Street, Spreydon, live a woman and her three children, whose ages range from two to six years. The house has four rooms, but the family occupy only two of them. Three old chairs, a tiny table, and a few pictures on the wall comprise the furniture of the kitchen, while two small stretchers are the sole contents of the bedroom. The woman and the three children were neatly but poorly dressed, and it was evident that they were having a hard struggle to make ends meet.
In the course of a conversation, the woman said that her husband was at present in a mental hospital at Porirua, Wellington, and that there was very little chance that he would ever be discharged. During the late strike, when her husband was out of work, she went out washing, and had kept herself, her husband, and five children, the two oldest of whom were now in the charge of her sister in Wellington. It was now 11 weeks since her husband had been sent to Porirua, and ever since then she had been the sole support of herself and the three children.
She earned 12s a week, and 7s went in rent, so that the family had practically been living on 5s a week for two months. Two days in the week the woman goes out washing, two days she takes in washing, and for the rest of the week she is unemployed. She has now applied for charitable aid, and is also making application for a widow's pension. The neighbours have been very kind, and but for their help she would not have been able to live.
Two of the children have been moved where they can be supported by family, and her neighbours are making it possible for her to get by.

Imagine today's coverage of the same situation. The Greens would be hopping mad that the woman wasn't getting state support. They would be laying victim hood all over the unfortunate mother and bemoaning that neighbours had to put a hand in their own pocket to help her get by. The woman is being stigmatised through no fault of her own, they would say.

When in fact her plight had appealed to people's compassionate instincts.


Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Well of course, those were the days before the Left marched through and took over our institutions.

Anonymous said...

the poor of today have it easy compared to this.
That sounds harsh, I guess, but what a tough woman, and what a hellsh life, no money, endless washing and a housefull of kids, with no husband in sight.

no whinging about no mod cons either. Wuch moral courage, she helped herself.