Making Ends Meet in 1935

The following is from a special report in the Wallasey News, dated 6th April, 1935. It shows how an unemployed family made ends meet on 32 shillings a week.

The almost impossible task of making ends meet, which faces the wives of the unemployed each week, is clearly shown in the following article. It was written and signed by four Wallasey wives whose husbands are out of work.

“We have been asked to write a budget on how to use our small income of 32s. per week, being the allowance for a family of five persons, including husband, wife and three children.  Quite a number of us are tenants of Corporation houses, the rents of which range from 16/7 per week.  There is electric light, gas and coke, which, when added to the rent, totals £1, which we place on one side as soon as the weekly allowance is received. This leaves a matter of 12s. which we sometimes have to think well over before trying to make it spin out. There are numerous little things on which we have to try to save a few pence with which to account for insurance and general sundries, such as polishes, blacklead and washing material. Although on the “dole” we like to keep our surroundings clean and tidy. There are times when the feeling of poverty is more noticeable, when perhaps one’s children are sick and need extras to help them to pick up again, but we are not able to obtain them, and this is the time when a mother would feel it most. We all try to make our own happiness as being unable to afford outside amusements, we keep on smiling and always hoping for better times.

The Budget
  s. d.
Rent 16 7
Light 1 0
Fuel and Gas 2 9

Sugar 10
Margarine 8
Quaker Oates

Tea 9
Cheese 3
Jam and Marmalade
  4 1½
Potatoes and Vegetables 1 3
Bread 2 0½
Milk 2 0
Coal 0.9
  7 9½
Total £1.11.11

It can be seen by the above table that there is no allowance whatever for clothing, doctor’s fees, or insurance, and it will be seen also that one bag of coal only can be bought every two weeks. No doubt one can realise therefore that this is a pure existence continually from hand to mouth during which we must be ever on the scratch and scraps to be able to meet any unforeseen circumstance.

No Money for Clothing

As the writers remark there is no money for clothing and boots and as a result there is often great hardship and sickness. The Wallasey Central Clothing Committee has attempted to meet this need, and as a result of the Mayoress’ Appeal over 100 families have been helped, but there are over 300 unemployed in Wallasey.

An Appeal

It is heartbreaking to hear mothers, themselves in thin worn out clothes, but oblivious to their own need, asking for clothes for their children or suits and under clothing for their husbands. It is especially hard to have to refuse these requests but the shelves are now empty and the Committee is in urgent need of further gifts of men’s, women’s’ and children’s clothing and shoes.

Please send whatever you can spare to the Wallasey Central Clothing Committee, 14 Wallasey Road, opposite the new Electric Showrooms, on Wednesday or Friday afternoons, when the depot is open from 2.30 to 5.00 pm, or your parcel will be collected on receipt of a postcard.