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Lord Kitchener's first call for a milion men for the new armies which England is now putting in the field made an instantaneous appeal to a large class of men who wero in receipt of good wages as artisans and mechanics, and whose wives had always had the advantage of good homes in fairly comfortable circumstances, writes a London correspondent. When these men went off to their military duties their wives were left, in circumstances to which they were quitu unaccustomed. They had never known what it was to be parted fiom their husbands, and, further, in many cases, they had never been compelled to live on little per week as they drew from their husbands' allowances. It was soon evident that a now social problem had arisen on a largo scale, and that if it were not tackled there was a risk of much harm being done. Lady Henry Somerset was one of tho first to bring the matter forward, and soon the establishment of what were called "Tipperary Clubs" for the wivei and mothers of 6oldiers and sailors had been put in hand. . ,

Since then the movehient has been taken in hand by the Women's Patriotic Club, and to-day there are many dozens of these clubs in the parts of London whero t'hoy are most likely to be of use to the wives and relatives of the men who are making Kitchener's new armies. Lord Kitchener himself has warmly approved the movement, and one of its strongest, supporters is his'sister, Mrs. Parker, who lived for many years in Now Zealand. Mrs. Parker is now president of the Women's Patriotic Club, and is in daily attendance at its offices in Bucking'ham Gate, where the work of organisation, is carried on.

The wives and children of the regular soldiers are generally all looked after by the officers' wives. But the men who are joining Kitchener's armies and the Navy just now are not regulars, and their wives do not understand being parted from their husbands as soldiers' wives do. Some of the men have given up good positions, where they were earning ns mucli as from £2 to £4 per week, to tight for their country. These clubs have been formed for the purpose of giving both instruction and entertainment to the women and children. There are classes for sewing, knitting, cutting out clothes, and saving money generally. The members can get food of good quality at the cheapest possible prices, and the hours are the same as those of the public-houses. This is a wise precaution against the temptation to women to spend their evenings in the public-houses, although Mrs. Parker has explained more than once that the women are, on the whole, very sober and of excellent character. Where possible, disused public-houses have been obtained for the clubs, and comfortably, though cheaply, furnished. There are rooms for sewing, writing, reading, and merely talking, refreshment rooms, and babies' rooms, banana boxes in the last-named doing duty for cradles. The object is to have the clubs open throughout the day until closing time at night, _ but in some cases the premises are in use for other purposes during certain hours, and so the club hours have to be curtailed. Some of the London clubs have as many as 500 members, the weekly membership fee being only one penny. Soup costs a penny per bowl, and tea and bun .one penny. There ire also frequent entertainments.

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Bibliographic details

PROBLEM OF SOLDIERS WIVES, Dominion, Volume 8, Issue 2443, 23 April 1915

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PROBLEM OF SOLDIERS WIVES Dominion, Volume 8, Issue 2443, 23 April 1915