Page 17, 9th December 1938

9th December 1938
Page 17
Page 17, 9th December 1938 — MODERN MERSEYSIDE

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Locations: Worktown, Liverpool, Bootle


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There has been from the University Press of Liverpool a spate of books and pamphlets about trade, employment, poor relief, town planning, social services, migration, local government, public health administration,

elementary education, domestic service, and other things called " social factors " affecting the life of Merseyside.

This self-consciousness is useful for the rest of the English community, which should, but doesn't, take advantage of the surveys to see the plain realities of Worktown, 1938.

Borough Liverpool Bootle ... Birkenhead Wallasey ... 1901-5 1911-5 1921-5 1981-5 1937

12.4 • 10.7 11.0 6.9 6.1

13.7 12.4 • 11.9 8.2 9.2 13.5 12.6 10.5 5.1 3.4 14.5 9.4 5.1 1.0 0.1 Like all tables it is dull. But that small piece of dullness is causing men and women, who feel some responsibility for the future of their country, quite a lot of worry.

Caradog Jones, who has compiled the handbook, asks: " Has the serious effect of a decline upon the need for houses, schools, transport, social services, been fully appreciated by the Local Authorities?"

The same questions might be asked of the Local Authorities in a good many other Worktowns.


" There Is not much chance," says Caradog Jones, "of making up for the decline in the birth rate by still further lowering the death rate. In no area la there sign of vast improvement in the general death rate during the last fifteen years. The fact is that births can be prevented; but no one can slay the hand of death." •

In 1938, such a truth, obvious to the Hottentot, must be publicly and solemnly stated for the instruction of the inhabitant of Worktown.

Walla eey is the. meat aterile of Merseyside's boroughs, Excess of births over deaths is 0.1 per thousand. Bootle is the most prolific, yvith an excess of 9.2. Bootle has also the highest proportion of Catholic school children; Wallasey the lowest.

It is bad luck on Bootle inhabitants that they don't enjoy the " clean salt air" of Wallasey; bad luck on the community also, for much of Bootle's vigorous fertility must be wasted. The 'Type of School Liverpool Bootle Birkenhead Wallasey Council ...

Church of England Roman Catholic ... ... 54.8 50.9 61.0 83.3 ... 12.8 • 13.5 15.3 3.6 ... 32.0 35.6 22.5 13.1 .. 0.4 1.1 _ ... 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 Total ...

Nearly._half of the elementary school childrep of Liverpool and Bootle attend, non-provided schools.

CHILDREN MUST EARN FOOD Catholic schools have a higher percentage of classes with more then forty pupils than any other kind of school; and are proportionately farthest behind in the reorganization of schools on the lines of policy laid down in the Hadow Report, that is by the building of separate schools for pupils over eleven.

All over England the percentage of children remaining at school after they have become legally exempt is minute, on an average 9.3. But that is tremendous in comparison with the 3.5 in Bootle, the borough with the higheat percentage of Catholic school children.

Liverpool, which also has a high attendance figure at Catholic schools, is a good deal better. 8.7 per cent of its pupils remain at school after becoming legally exempt.

Some of these realities are conveniently summed up in the latest publication of the University Press, A Einar/book. of Social Statistics.

First reality is the decline In population.

'There were, in the four boroughs of Merseyside-Liverpool. Bootle, Birkenhead,. Wallasey-during 1937, 22,025 live blithe and 15,565 deaths. The rate per thousand of population of natural increase was 5.4.

GOING DOWN The decline is not yet catastrophic. Probably the large Catholic population does quite a lot to maintain virility and fertility. But there is a decline. Examine this table of natural increase.

percentage of deaths from diseases of the respiratory system is twice as high In Bootle as in Wallasey.


All of Meeseysideas 1,182,000 people are concerned in the statistics about birth and death; even the richest cannot escape state supervision at the entrance and exit to life. But for the rest the social statistics refer to the poor only.

How the poor eat, where they eat, how many they sleep to a room, how many hours they work. where they work an how much they are paid for working, the number of times they visit the doctor or dentist, the price they pay for their food. and clothes, the nurnber of jobs they have ever hadall these things are frequently :set down in rows of figures and commented upon.

But of the activities of the rich we learn little, for the State officials know their places, know that privacy is one of the rights of the wealthy. Therefore it is likely that any social survey of Merseyside or any other Worktown will remain seriously incomplete. •

About the 172,785 children who, according to the registers on March 31, 1938, attend Merseyside elementary schools the statistics are exceptionally interesting. In the boroughs of Liverpool and.Bootle one child in every three attends a Catholic school.

Here, perhaps, another of these dull but most efficient little tables is the best way of making clear the position of the schools in Merseyside. The figures are of the proportion of children on the registers of the various schools.

The children in Bootle are needed to earn food for their families, needed more urgently than the children in the other boroughs, for Bootle has in proportion by far the largest number Of

unemployed. •

During the last year. however, Bootle took a good share of what revival of prosperity there has been in Merseyside. Of the borough's 75,000 inhabitants there were 665 fewer unemployed, whereas in Birkenhead, where the population Is 145,000, the unemployed . decreased by only 546, and Wallasey, with 95,000 people, increased its unemployed by 116. .

Of trade, and housing, and rates the handbook has statistics also. If there is sufficient demand, it is intended to bring out the handbook each year, with statistics brought up to date where necessary

Peter Thompson

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