U.G.S.M Settlement – Summer Term 1917

You are so splendid lots and lots of you-in the work you are doing now, that the Magazine with its news of you carries a thrill, of which perhaps even the Commem, thrill was only a premonition, to those of us who are stay-at-homes (we humbly hope not slackers).
Salaam to every one of you, and more strength to your elbows!
I think that we understand how very difficult it must be in the midst of such hard and pressing; work to give much thought to anything not immediately connected with the war. But will you please try to spare a minute to listen to our tale of woe?
I’ve had a bad fright. You will remember that at Commem, 1912 we agreed to guarantee £45 annually to our Settlement, and hoped that we might very soon increase the amount? Well, at the close of last year I only had £45 19s. 1d. to send in, so we had a very narrow escape, and I wondered how on earth I was to get at you all in time if we ever fell below our guarantee-instead of increasing it, as we hoped.
And then came a second shock. I have been trying to carry on as treasurer until we could meet to elect a new one, but last autumn I had so much other secretarial work to do that I wrote to various members of the finance committee to see if one would take my place. But all were too much engaged in war work, so I am ready to do my best again for a time.
But a phrase in one of the letters sent a “grue” down my spine: “I feel that the Mission has become something very remote, if I am to be quite honest over it.” Now I don’t believe that was anything more than a passing mood, because if our Mission, or anything Godolphin, were indeed “remote” I really don’t know what the “leal” in our motto means.
But it did make me feel that this time is a real test-a chance to show that we have not only loyal hearts, but loyal heads which will take the trouble to be prompt and business-like, and so tighten up the bearings of our O.G.A. organisation, which seem to be running a bit loose. Subscribers, and even in one or two cases group secretaries, vanish into air, and repeated letters bring no answer.
So please everyone will you send your subscription to your group secretary at once, if you have not already done so. And please make it as large as possible, for our Settlement has all the additional claims of war work (they badly need more workers for whole or part time)­ and increased expenses, and needs our backing as never before.
Please, group secretaries, will you send your group subscriptions to me (not direct to the Mission Treasurer), as soon as possible, and at the latest before the end of October, so that we may make quite sure of our guaranteed sum before the end of the year. Last year two groups sent direct, instead of to me, and another did not arrive until the middle of January, so our total was not quite so bad as I feared, though more than 31, less than last year, and 81, below 1914. But neither the Mission Treasurer nor I can trace any subscription from one group, and I am uncertain about the names or addresses of some secretaries. Will the secretaries of Groups 4, 12, 13, 14 kindly communicate with me.
And if anyone is obliged to resign, please let me know, and tell me the name of your successor.
And lastly, forgive this lengthy wail from your humble treasurer.


War Work at the UGS Settlement – Christmas 1915

I wonder how many of the Old Girls have realised what a lot of extra work we have had to do at the Settlement since the outbreak of War. Our ordinary work has had to go on in the same way, and on the top of this we have had two new branches of work, and have just started a third.

We had been working the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Help Society from the Settlement for a year or two before War broke out, but, of course, the work entailed in peace time was very little compared to the work it entails now. Discharged soldiers core up for help till they can get work, and thanks to the co-operation of the Manager of the local Labour Exchange we have had no difficulty in finding these men work. Others want help pending discharge; others who have come out of Hospital want help to get their pay through, and so on. Of course, many of them are frauds, and go from one place to another with pitiful stories of all they have been through, &c. One man has been up here under two different names, and was much upset when he was recognised. Another man who had been discharged some months before and had been helped by us then came up again for help, as he had slipped on the train lines and injured his arm. We refused help, but nothing daunted he went on to his late employer and stupidly said he had been helped here. The employer wrote to us to ask if the case was a genuine one, and he told us that this man had said he could not work, as he was attending the Hospital for a wound in the arm! There are, I am afraid, many such cases, and unless the funds are properly administered there will be many more of them. Fortunately they are not by any means all frauds. We have lately had one very interesting case. A young man who had been wounded early in the War was taken prisoner by the Germans, and last month was returned to England as hopelessly wounded, after having been in a German Hospital for over a year. He is paralyzed from the waist downwards; and has been tied to his bed. His sister wrote to us to ask us if we could help to get him an invalid chair, and through the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Help Society this has been procured. The man is now able to push himself about, and we hope to be able to arrange for someone to teach him carving or carpentry, so as to help to fill up what must be a very weary day for him. We have already had 252 applications during this past year, and, of course, the work will increase enormously as the War goes on.

When War broke out Miss Hodge was asked if she would work the Camberwell and Peckham Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association from the Settlement. She consented to do this, and we all waited patiently to be told what it would mean. On the Monday after the declaration of War we were doing our usual work, when suddenly the small garden in front of No. 17 was besieged by a mob of women i They were all Reservists’ wives, who had expected their separation allowances a week after their husbands had been called up, and on failing to get it had gone in a body to the Town Hall. The Town Hall authorities, with great alacrity, drove them down the road to the Settlement, and left us to cope with it all. Those were awful weeks! We spent morning after morning taking down particulars as hard as we could, and afternoon after afternoon rushing round with money to relieve the women. Some of the women were seven or eight weeks before their money came through, and all that time we had to keep them going. We were often interviewing the women up to 3 and 4 in the afternoon, and we frequently had our lunch at 3 or 3.30. Then there were the visitors to be dealt with. They had to be advised as to how much the women should be given and what questions to ask and what to look out for. In the evenings there were letters to write, so as to help the harassed people who had been writing steadily since 9 a.m., and visits to be gone through. Also every afternoon one would see groups of people all over the garden wading through case after case, deciding what was to be done on this one or not done on the other one. This feverish rush has, of course, died down now, but we still have a great deal to get through every day. We have at the present time 7687 cases on our books. We were very well supported by helpers at the beginning, when everything was somewhat of a novelty, but now it is more difficult to get helpers. People think this is much too humdrum as compared with driving ambulances, &c., &c.!

The newest branch of work which is really an outcome of the War is the School for Mothers. A new building has been erected at the end of No. 19 garden, and the cost of this has been defrayed by some money given to Miss Hodge for any special purpose. The School is already a most flourishing concern, and we hope by means of this School to make some, at any rate, of the future generation more healthy and useful members of the community. The next generation is a very important one, particularly so at the present moment, and it was felt that the Settlement could not do a more useful piece of work in this district than start one of these Schools; appeals for which so often appear in our daily papers.

But please do not think that we have allowed our other work to suffer. The I.C.A.A. Care Committees and Clubs still go on, and their work is now even more important than ever, for here again we are working amongst the next generation. We want more residents and more workers to help us. The strain on the Settlement has been very great for this past year, and now we are faced with a possible lack of funds and a falling off of workers. Surely it is up to us Old Girls to see that this does not happen. Workers and money have already begun to fall off, and unless we put our backs into it we may have to face the problem as to whether the Settlement can go on as it has been going.


United Girls’ School Settlement


I must begin by apologising to all the subscribers, and still more to the Group Secretaries, for the fact that no reminder of the date (May 1st), by which all subscriptions should be paid, appeared in the last number of the Magazine. I stupidly sent it about two days too late for insertion.

But, please, will anyone who has not yet paid lay the reminder all the more earnestly to heart because it is so late, and act on it at once.

I have had sad tales from one or two of the Group Secretaries of “old members who have quite dropped their subscriptions, appeals seeming, to be useless.” So far I have only had the subscriptions of six groups, of which two have increased, and four decreased in amount, so it is too soon to judge of the total prospects.

This time of war is necessarily one of great financial anxiety to our Mission and Settlement, as to other organisations. Last year, thanks especially to the splendid “special efforts” of three groups, our total was £1 more than in 1913, but one fears that this year “the tug’s to come.”

So just because it is a time of difficulty, let us give even more loyal and energetic support than ever.

The accounts for last year were rather complicated, partly because the General Treasurer had to be changed three times owing to the war, and partly because a few Group Secretaries still sent direct to the Treasurer. It really saves a good deal of trouble if we can pay the whole O.G.A. subscriptions together. So will all Secretaries please, send their Group subscriptions to me as soon as possible.

Edith E. Blach (Treasurer)