11 FEBRUARY 1938, Page 17

The Vanishing Labourer

Some very contradictory verdicts have been pronounced by learned people as to the question of the supply of farm labourers. The facts, so far as my direct experience goes, are that the disappearance of workers is much more sharply pronounced in the West of England than in the East, though the contrast is unexpected. The loss of labourers is certainly felt in Herefordshire and a further decrease is gloomily prophesied. In the new and excellent county magazine for Gloucestershire regrets are expressed for the steadily decreasing supply of the famous Gloucestershire cheeses ; and the deficiency is attributed wholly to the difficulty of getting suitable labour. This is the more remarkable as we have seen in some districts an increase of prosperity in the cheese making industry. Cheeses, of course, were chiefly made in olden days by women, often by the farmer's wife and daughters. This, too, is a source of labour that has very nearly dried up. though some of the very best cheeses are made at Studley and other agricultural colleges for women students.

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