Tuesday, 10 January 2012

10th January 1812: “Address of the Plain Silk Hands, to the Gentlemen Hosiers," Nottingham

In the Manufacturing of Plain Silk Hose and Gloves.

GENTLEMEN—Urged by the pressure of the Times, and the Encouragement of some of you, we beg leave to state the Grievances which many of us are labouring under; at the same time hope and you will call a Meeting of yourselves, to take into your most serious Consideration the great Evils of which we complain—Evils not only grievous to ourselves, but highly injurious to the fair and upright Hosier; a statement of plain Facts need but little glossary to explain them, as the making what is termed inferior Work on fine gauged frames, has destroyed the comforts of our Families, is a fact too well known to be denied. By making such Work on those frames, we are compelled to have finer Silk, and then if set on the regulated number of Jacks, the Hose become too Small for the Size intended; to remedy this, we are ordered to widen our Frames by some four Jacks, others eight, giving us 1d. for four, and 2d. for eight Jacks, as supposed Remuneration for extra labour. Here then let us examine the case as it really is, beginning with Women's 24 Work, which by your own Regulation, bearing Date the 14th November, 1809, is to be set on 120 jacks. This work made from too fine a Gauge as above stated, if ordered to widen eight Jack, we receive 2d. extra, and then become the exact number of Jacks, with the same sized Silk and Quality, in every shape, (BUT PRICE,) as for Women’s 26 Work, for which, when Chevened, the difference between 24 and 26 Work, is 10d. per pair extra; here our loss is 8d. per Pair, and in finer Work still more; and permit us to say, that in the case of Plain Silk Gloves, the Evil is not less grievous. Thus, while every Necessary of Life has been advancing to a great Amount, and all other Manufacturers have been raising their Wages, we are suffering a shameful Abatement.

Gentlemen, these Evils do exist, and loudly call for your interference. The distressed State of many of our Families, compels us to call upon you to rescue them from a State of little better than Starvation, well knowing without your aid, all our efforts will prove unavailing.

If, at your Meeting, you will condescend to listen to our Proposals to remedy the above Evils, by a Deputation from the Trade, or by Writing, we shall be ever thankful, and pledge ourselves to cease complaining, if we do not prove the existence of these and other Impositions.

By Order of the Committee,

WM. LOCK, Chairman.
WM. CRUMP, Secretary.

Nottingham, January 10th, 1812.

This address was published in the Nottingham Review of 10th January 1812, and followed one published on 27th November 1811, clearly indicating there had been little effect.

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