more than a year ago when I waxed enthusiastic about a book called Our Towns As far as I can remember it was a two-shilling book and was a very disturbing survey of out urban civilisation as it existed ,up to the outbreak of this war. I know thin some people did get the book on my recommendation and if they read it they will now be sadder and wiser people. But it's been a busy time for all of its and not everyone can settle down at the end ea gruelling day in the queues, over the stove and the kitchen sink, in factory or office, and begin to study. Now, the Women's Group on Public Welfare who were responsible for the publication of OW' Towns has • issued a pamphlet, Study Outlines Based on " Our Towns," which is so attractively and intelligently compiled that even the most jaded can take it up and read it through in half-an-hour. .
Here, in swift tabulation, is what the pamphlet deals with and there is not a housewife in. the land who can afford to ignore any part of it. The Family Partnership; living wage, what constitutes a good house; what constitutes good housekeeping. health, education: how should leisure be used and what is meant by good neighbourline5s. The idea is that all these subjects should form bases of discussions at meetings. and in the case of women—and theie must be thousands of Catholic women who belong to one national organisation or another—the main groups would be the local branch of the National Council of Women ; the Women's Institute : the Townswomen's Guild ; the Co-operative Society. Among the Catholic women's organisations. apart from the parochial ones, would be the Catholic Women's League and the Union of Catholic Mothers. If every group of women in every town and villager acquainted themselves with the conditions only in their immediate neighbourhood. there would be no more
living like ositiches. What is more,
local authorities really would be spurred on to get things moving and there would be no more of the attitude, " Why do you want to worry your pretty little head about such things ? That's a man's job !" Just to give you an idea of the lines on which the pRmphlet is compiled, here is an excerpt from the section on " A
Living Wage '': " Ask someone," it says, to bring one of the rate demand forms of your local authority. On the back of this form you will find the amount spent by your authority on education, maternity and child welfare,
public health, etc. On which service do they spend most ? Do you approve of the way your Council spends your money ? What action have you taken to show you are interested?" (Italics mine.) And here is an extremely important set of questions in the housing section: " Is there any overcrowding and bad housing in your district ? Which are the blackest spots ? Can you find out why they are still black and how the people are affected ? Who owns the houses?" (Italics again mine.) This is the day of the specialist and with that in mind, after reading the pamphlet through, I suggest that .you should select the subject that appeals to you most, get hold of as many of the books suggested in the useful bibliography at the end of each section from your library. and make yourself a specialist. That means that when the subject is brought up for discussion at your own particular organisation, you will have something useful and COEstructive to contribute to the discussion.
I'm sorry to have taken up so much space on this. but I really do regard this as one of the most useful and important publications to he put on sale for a long time. It's price is a shilling and you can get it either through a bookseller or by applying to the National Council of Social Service, 26, Bedford Square, London, W.C.1.