[ Beatrice Magraw, author. ] Autograph Letter Signed ('(Mrs.) Beatrice I. Magraw') to the first British woman cabinet minister Margaret Bondfield, Minister of Labour, putting forward her views on bettering rural housing.

Beatrice Irene Magraw (c.1888-1970), author, wife of Charles Magraw (1884-1973), Anglican clergyman [ Margaret Bondfield (1873-1953), Labour politician]
Publication details: 
Slindon Rectory, Arundel, Sussex. 29 March 1930.
SKU: 19918

7pp., 12mo. On two bifoliums. In good condition, lightly aged. She feels she has 'two reasons for approaching' Bondfield, at the time Minister of Labour: 'I believe you are a Somerset woman, & know that you are interested in the question of housing.' She hopes that 'in any plans for bettering housing conditions that this government may make, the state of rural workers' homes may not be overlooked. You are probably as familiar as I am with the horrors of the “Country Slum”. And country workers & their wives cannot express themselves as fluently as townspeople, nor do their votes count as much as those of the voters in towns'. She deplores those who 'put up new cottages & assume that men earning 30/- a week will be able to pay away a third or more of that sum in rent'. She points out that 'every hovel that will hardly keep out the worst weather is occupied in innumerable villages all over the country'. She touches on the 'Health authorities', 'cottages standing with sound roofs & walls which could be saved for habitation by a little expenditure', the 'Rural Workers Housing Act', landlords, 'the repair of old cottages'. She explains that she and her husband 'felt so strongly about this, that we actually secured 2 old cottages ourselves, & I have had these made into one decent one, which is let to a working man & his wife at 4/6 a week (I pay rates) for this they have 3 bedrooms, parlour, kitchen, scullery (with portable copper) rain water supply & an “Elsan” closet. The place is not a palace but it is neither a pigstye nor a ruin, & what we have done perhaps other people might be induced to do too.' She concludes in the hope that Bondfield may be able to 'stir up the social conscience over these poor village folk all over England'.