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Doctor's prescription for family life




Spalding doctor, Ed Cragg JP, wrote the Free Press with his concerns about the pressure being put on married women and their role in society...

Sir,

I wonder if anyone quite realises the hardship the labouring man’s wife has to face?

The constant anxiety, the strain , never relaxed, of making both ends meet.

Can Billy have a new pair of shoes this week or had the money better be put away against the expense of the new arrival?

It was a wonder to me, before the blessing of the maternity benefit came, how the poor mothers scraped together the doctor’s fee.

Often, the mother had it ready under her pillow. And though I have earned the guinea three times over, I have, sometimes, felt ashamed to take it, knowing, as I did, the privation to which the family had been put to scrape so large a sum together.

I remember, once, telling a woman that mothers would, one day, be given £5 for each baby. How her eyes glittered! The prolonged ‘ooooooh’ told how, beyond all her dreams of wealth, was the possession of such a large sum, all at once.

The women think of the children first, they want more for them, more to feed them on, to clothe them with, to pay for proper nursingwhen they arrive; food and care for baby and mother. The women want that.

And they want the schools a little nearer, or else the cottages nearer the schools.

They hate to start their little ones on a rainy day a two -or three-mile journey, often through the mud to school. Something must be done in this direction in country places.

The women want another thing - somewhere to go on Saturday night after the shopping is done. Their men gravitate to the public house - such places are not respectable for women, so they have to hang about the streets.

Above all, the women long, with a burning desire, for a home - a real home - where they can live, year by year, amid surroundings to which many loving memories cling.



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