My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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London, England—Space didn't allow me to tell you yesterday of our visit to the Weir factories on Wednesday evening. I am, of course, not an expert on machinery, but it looked as though everything was remarkably well organized and working at top speed. My real interest lay in the people, particularly the women, who were at work. I wanted to know the working conditions and the way they organized their lives. When a woman is unmarried and has no home responsibilities, there seems to be no problem whether she works seven and a half hours a day or ten or eleven hours, either by night or by day. It is the married women who constitute a problem.

In spite of government nurseries, I should say that the women here are not yet educated up to the point of using them to the full extent, but the school lunches are perhaps the biggest help in keeping children well and in relieving mothers of anxiety during the day. Relatives and friends who "have an eye to them" are still counted upon. A second element which seems to vastly increase the ability of people to work, is the shop canteen where good meals can be obtained at such low prices. Curiously enough, the old skilled worker, still prefers to bring his "piece" with him and sit and eat it, but they are trying to educate them to eat a good hot meal which is far healthier.

We ended our day in the Rolls factory at eleven-thirty p.m., talking to all the women workers on the night shift, between seven and eight hundred, I should think. We went back with Lord and Lady Weir to their house for the night. My feet felt as though I had walked at least 500 miles on concrete floors, but in spite of that it was a most interesting day . Lord Rosebery, who is the Scottish Civil Defense Commissioner, had planned our time in Scotland and apologized for rather full days, but assured us that our Ambassador said we could "take it" and to go right ahead. So we did!

At eight-forty yesterday morning we started out again, visited a mixed-battery which was most interesting to me as the "ATS" girls work side by side with the men and than we went down the Clyde a little man-made river in which some of the biggest ships of the world have been launched, and on which a good part of Glasgow's wellbeing depends.

At our landing place, there was a big gathering of workers and Sir Harry Lauder added greatly to the popularity of the party. After a few words from Sir Stephen Piggott and from me, he wound up the meeting by getting the whole crowd to sing with him: "At The End of the Road ."

We lunched with the Lord Provost, Mr. Biggar and his wife, in the City Chambers. Then we started on our drive to Edinburgh, stopping at a Scottish Royal Institute on the way. The work is much the same as that done by all the other Institutes I have seen though the food produced is Scotch food. They asked me to carry back to America their thanks for the help which has been sent from here, and they sent the President a box of shortbread which he will appreciate, for the ingredients were secured from their rations. Then we stopped just outside Edinburgh at an exhibit of the Women's Voluntary Services. This was designed to show the value of the scrap collection and what the various things can be turned into for war use. It was extremely well done.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • London (England, United Kingdom) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 14, 1942

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a draft version of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. My Day column draft dated November 13, 1942, FDR Library, Hyde Park, NY
TMsd, 13 November 1942, AERP, FDRL