Sm,—In Barbara Castle's article on the cotton crisis she imagines
that more effective factory nurseries would coax women workers back to the industry. But she misses, or ignores, one very important factor, namely, an antipathy to factory life among the younger women of the present day. It is too rough. The quieter atmosphere of the office, or classroom is preferred to the heat, damp atmosphere and noise of the weaving-shed or spinning-room. I except warping and winding. Elaborate hairdressing, a pretty frock, dainty footwear are out of place in the factory. Better education has given to young women a greater choice of how to earn a living.
I am a Lancashire woman, and when I visited my home town last May I heard on every side, from the daughters of parents who had been cotton operatives for generations back: "We don't like the mill; the life is too rough." They are right, and it is astonishing to find a woman M.P. advocating the return of mothers to mill life, if only for a half day, and with well-organised nurseries. Babies are not all strong or resistant ; the weather is not always propitious, for the Lancashire climate is damp and cold. A loom or a mill cannot be stopped at will ; it must go on, relentlessly, and the engines drive the machinery all out. What energy or patience has a mother for her baby, and perhaps an ailing one, after a hard morning at home, and a still more tiring afternoon at the mill? Evidently some of our women M.P.s would be better at home than in the