SUNCAT updated

SUNCAT has been updated. Updates from the following libraries were loaded into the service in the last week. The dates displayed indicate when files were received by SUNCAT.

  • British Library (19 Oct 18)
  • CONSER (Not UK Holdings) (24 Oct 18)
  • Cranfield University (21 Oct 18)
  • De Montfort University (23 Oct 18)
  • Manchester Metropolitan University (16 Oct 18)
  • Oxford University (23 Oct 18)
  • Scottish National Portrait Gallery (19 Oct 18)
  • Southampton University (21 Oct 18)
  • University of the West of England (24 Oct 18)

To check on the currency of other libraries on SUNCAT please check the updates page for further details.

SUNCAT updated

SUNCAT has been updated. Updates from the following libraries were loaded into the service in the last week. The dates displayed indicate when files were received by SUNCAT.

  • British Library (11 Oct 18)
  • CONSER (Not UK Holdings) (17 Oct 18)
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (18 Oct 18)
  • King’s College London (12 Oct 18)
  • Royal College of Music (16 Oct 18)
  • Southampton University (14 Oct 18)

To check on the currency of other libraries on SUNCAT please check the updates page for further details.

Enjoy the fashion show in SUNCAT!

SUNCAT contains details of a vast array of journals and magazines on fashion. We thought that some of these might be of use to @NLS_Business: they are to give a talk to Heriot-Watt University students of fashion communication. We’ve put together a list of a very few of the weird, wonderful and interesting fashion-themed titles; a small selection to illustrate the wealth of material that all researchers (not just universities!) can find from the many UK institutions contributing to SUNCAT.

A photograph showing a model on a cat walk. From Spring/Summer 2010 runway show Toronto.

Photo from Spring/Summer 2010 runway show Toronto. Taken on the 24th November 2009. By Lover of fashion (Frame photo gallery) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

  • Press the fashion.
  • Flair with Fashion.
  • Franks’ Fashion Guide : A review of the world’s leading fashion journals.
  • Fashion flash.
  • Vogue. More dash than cash.
  • Supermarket Fashion: A Growing Phenomenon.
  • mode sans la mode / Fashion without fashion.
  • Lujon magazine : a magazine about fantasies in fashion.
  • Waist and wrapper album.
  • Scoop on Scoop.
  • SNOB Fashion.
  • Gurlz : express your own style.
  • World of fashion and continental feuilletons.
  • Spirit & flesh.
  • Molecule/Practice/Woman.
  • Pigeons & peacocks.
  • Re-bel.
  • The Coombs report on-target fashion forecasting.
  • Because : animated fashion magazine & app combo.
  • Plastique : explosive fashion.
  • Power Undressing.
  • Retrospectacular!
  • Bon Ton Magazine or, microscope of fashion and folly …
  • High street fashion retailers: Survival of the fittest.
  • “No substance”
  • Address : journal for fashion writing and criticism.

For more weird and wonderful titles on fashion, and indeed any topic you are interested in, take a look in SUNCAT!

Women in Scotland: the poor and women’s health

We continue with the theme of women in Scotland, this time focusing on poor women and what society did to help them, and women’s health.

Poor women

Many parishes reported a high number of poor women, especially older women or widows, who were unable, or even unwilling, to work.

Here are some figures given in the parish report for Campsie, County of Stirling:

No. of paupers on our list, 25
Of these there are females, 16
Males, 9
Above sixty years of age, 19
The average of the years of their receiving charity, 8
Of this number of paupers, there are no less than five facile in their mind, 5
The higher sum given is per month, 64
It would appear that it is only the hundredth part of the whole inhabitants who require public charity, of these twenty five paupers, eight are unmarried women.

(OSA, Vol. XV, 1795, p. 364)

The lack of work available to women was a big factor in the high percentage of poor women. In Laurencekirk, County of Kincardine, “about one-fourth of the regular paupers are males, the others being chiefly aged women. The class of destitute women is rapidly increasing from the discontinuance of employments, by which females advancing in life were wont to earn some livelihood; yet such is the inevitable result of the extensive use of machinery.” (NSA, Vol. XI, 1845, p. 151) It was a very similar situation in Kings Kettle, County of Fife where “elder women and widows are generally employed in winding pirns; but for these there is a great want of employment since the lint-wheel failed them.” (NSA, Vol. IX, 1845, p. 109) and in Huntly, County of Aberdeen, where “employment in weaving worsted and in knitting stockings was got for many of the old women in the parish; but the former is entirely extinct, and the latter has also been withdrawn.” (NSA, Vol. XII, 1845, p. 1041)

Lack of employment sometimes meant women having to re-locate to try and find work, as reported in the parish report of Yetholm, County of Roxburgh.

“Single women unfit for farmers service, or an old widow with a daughter or two, most of them equally unfit, took refuge in these villages [of the parish], and earned their livelihood by spinning, perhaps someone of the family by hoeing turnips by the day, and hiring themselves in harvest; whilst the males hired themselves for herds, hinds, and farmers servants, and were in other parishes. This is not mere conjecture, for a great part of the paupers upon the list consist of such women, and I know of many more who still subsist by their own labour. Besides, some single women, or widows, after obtaining a settlement in other parishes, come to reside in these villages; because stout women, fit to be employed the whole season in every kind of out-work, are so scarce in proportion to the demand, that no farmer will let a cottage, but upon the condition of being furnished with a worker, for whom, even in the turnip-season, they pay 8 d. or 9 d. per day, without victuals.” (OSA, Vol. XIX, 1797, p. 612)

A painting called 'Little Beggar Girl and Woman Spinning' by the artist Giacomom Ceruti. Painted in the 1720s.

Little Beggar Girl and Woman Spinning, 1720s. Giacomo Ceruti [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

It is very interesting to read the parish report of Ayr, County of Ayrshire, in which is noted its good provision for the poor, the resulting influx of poor women from neighbouring parishes and its negative affects. (OSA, Vol. XXI, 1799, p. 44)

The lack of employment was not the only reason given for the existence of poor women. In some cases, women were able to work, but chose to be beggars. In Auchindoir, County of Aberdeen, “there is no strolling beggar belonging to the parish; but we have great numbers of them from other parishes. Some of these, particularly the women, are young and healthy; and they are usually attended by several children of different ages, whom they train up to the same habits with themselves. If there be laws for remedying these and similar abuses, it is a pity they are not put in execution.” (OSA, Vol. XII, 1794, p. 500) In Glenshiel, County of Ross and Cromarty, “the swarm of sturdy beggars with which this country is infested is considered as no small disadvantage. They consist chiefly of stout able women, who, rather than engage in service are content to go about from house to house; but there is every reason to believe, the introduction of manufactures would effectually relieve the public of this burden.” (OSA, Vol. VII, 1793, p. 131)

It was pointed out in the parish report of Stirling, County of Stirling, that many women decided not to work rather than earn a pittance. “The low rate of female labour in Stirling, is another source of poverty. The utmost a woman can earn by spinning wool, is 3 d. a-day. With this they cannot maintain themselves, pay the rent of a house, and get other necessaries. Such small encouragement destroys industry. A female having so little prospect of advantage from her labour, is at no pains to be expert in it.” It then goes on to say that “the chief cause of the numerous poor in Stirling is the castle”! Find out why here: (OSA, Vol. VIII, 1793, p. 291).

So how did society try to help these disadvantaged, destitute women? As mentioned in the parish report of Wiston and Roberton, County of Lanark, there were poor women who did indeed try to help themselves. “It is sometimes necessary to press aid on the necessitous, such is their modesty. Sometimes two widows, or single women, join in one cottage, to save house-rent and fuel; and many, even such as are advanced in life, support themselves by spinning flax, and working in harvest, and at other times. The rent of a cottage is about 12 s. a year.” (OSA, Vol. VI, 1793, p. 309)

However, these women still needed help from society. In the report for Caputh, County of Perth, it was suggested that a philanthropist consider improving the situation of poor women as “the very fact that, of the 39 paupers supported by the kirk-session, 32 are old women, is sufficient to shew that the weaker sex, do what they will, if depending upon their own efforts for subsistence, must anticipate old age with feelings of the most painful solicitude! This is a sight for pity to peruse,

Till she resemble faintly what she views,
Till sympathy contract a kindred pain,
Pierc’d with the woes “these females feel in vain.”

Cowper” (NSA, Vol. X, 1845, p. 670)

Here are some ways in which society came to the aid of poor women.

  • Creation of houses

In several parishes establishments were set up in which to house poor women, such as St Leonard’s Hospital and Pitreavie’s Hospital in Dunfermline, County of Fife, which took care of widows. (NSA, Vol. IX, 1845, p. 904) In Tinwald and Trailflat, County of Dumfries, “the Duke of Quensberry allows six free cottages to poor old women.” (NSA, Vol. IV, 1845, p. 50) and in Edinburgh, County of Edinburgh there was the House of Industry and Servants’ Home where “about 30 indigent females [were] received into this institution, where work is provided for them.” (NSA, Vol. I, 1845, p. 738)

  • Societies set up to aid women

There are mentions of female societies in several parish reports, including that of Glasgow, County of Lanark (NSA, Vol. VI, 1845, p. 185), Aberdeen, County of Aberdeen, where the society derived its funds for the relief of aged and indigent females “from the subscriptions of its members, and occasional donations and bequests” (NSA, Vol. XII, 1845, p62), Markinch, County of Fife, where “the principal ladies connected with the parish patronize it” (NSA, Vol. IX, 1845, p. 687) and Stirling, County of Stirling (NSA, Vol. VIII, 1845, p. 440).

In Dalkeith, County of Edinburgh, “various other societies have been formed for the relief of the poor. The Indigent Sick Society was formed in 1808; the Old Women’s Society in 1814: the Clothing Society, for supplying work to industrious poor women, in 1837.” (NSA, Vol. I, 1845, p. 531)

In Kinross, County of Kinross, there was the Ladies’ Society, members of which “meet together monthly, when they distribute a certain quantity of oatmeal to each of those destitute women, whom they shall determine upon as the most suitable objects of relief. Their funds arise from a small subscription from each member of 5s. on her entrance; and of a penny a-week or 4s. 4d. a year; from occasional public collections; from the donations of individuals, &c. No small addition was made, two years ago, by the proceeds of a musical festival in Kinross mansion-house.” (NSA, Vol. IX, 1845, p. 23)

The effectiveness of these societies was not lost on the parish reporter for Dowally, County of Perth. “A Female Friendly Society should be established, on the same principle with the Cordiners and Weavers Society. Destitute women have always formed the most numerous lift of claimants on the public charitable funds. In 1755, when 14 persons were supplied weekly by the session, there were 10 women in the number; and there was no less a proportion than 40 women, out of 52 persons, supplied at an occasional distribution, in 1790.” (OSA, Vol. XX, 1798, p. 446)

  • Parochial Funds

Parishes collected funds in order to support the poor. In Keig, County of Aberdeen, “the average number of persons on the poor roll for the last six years has been 9, mostly infirm old women without near relations able to support them, besides whom others in similar circumstances have been occasionally assisted.” (NSA, Vol. XII, 1845, p. 956) In Denny, County of Stirling, “there are a number of house-keepers in indigent circumstances, who receive occasional supplies from the collections, made at the church-doors on Sunday.” (OSA, Vol. II, 1792, p 421)

Figures are provided in the report for Cleish, County of Kinross. ” The number of persons at present receiving parochial aid is 6, at 1s. per week, one at 2s., and two orphan children at 1s. each per week. There is also a woman receiving 2s. 6d. as a temporary assistance, in consequence of her not being able to prove the father of her illegitimate child. The funds for their support are, the church collections, L. 21, 6s. 10d.; interest of L. 265, L. 10, 12s.; and mortcloth dues, which, since the parish procured a hearse by subscription, are merely nominal: these, at an average of seven years, amount to L. 31, 18s. 10d.” (NSA, Vol. IX, 1845, p. 51)

It is particularly interesting to read how the parish of St Mungo, County of Dumfries, offered various methods of support to the poor, including provision of employment and the putting in place of regulations to ensure that an individual or family did not become a burden to the parish. “The means of support collected under the direction of the session are applied to the support of the distressed. The session have also been in the habit of at times giving work to poor women in place of money, paying a house rent on condition their relatives shall in all other respects provide for them; or maintaining a poor person’s family at school, to prevent their becoming a burden on the parish. But, unless driven to it by necessity, direct payment of money from the sessional funds, except to the diseased and aged, has always been avoided… Poor women are also by the trustees employed in gathering stones and filling carts on the roads, at a fixed rate.” To find out more about the regulations established by the session look at NSA, Vol. IV, 1845, p. 216.

There is a great story found in the parish report of Gargunnock, County of Stirling. “An addition was made to the funds of the poor in 1784, by a very singular circumstance. Two old women, sisters, who lived in the village of Gargunnock, had for many years, every appearance of extreme indigence; though without making any application for assistance from the parish. One of them at last, applied to be received on the poor’s list; and as no doubt was entertained of her poverty, she received four shillings per month. ..”. Discover what happened next in OSA, Vol. XVIII, 1796, p. 113.

Women’s health

In several parish reports a direct link between women’s employment and ill health was observed. This included both work involving sitting for long periods of time and being out in all weathers.

  • Leading a sedentary life

Here are some examples found in the Statistical Accounts of Scotland of the negative effects to women of undertaking jobs such as weaving and spinning. These include a couple of very interesting comments on the effect on health of wasting saliva when wetting thread!

Elgin, County of Elgin – “the women lead sedentary lives in spinning, from which arise obstructions, etc. that often terminate fatally; and from the same causes, difficult labours are more common than formerly.” (OSA, Vol. V, 1793, p. 17)

Nigg, County of Kincardine – “from the more sedentary life of women now, at knitting stockings, hysteric complaints are thought frequent.” (OSA, Vol. VII, 1793, p. 198)

Carmylie, County of Forfar – “This new employment [spinning flax] for young women cannot be so conducive to health, as the ordinary labours of female servants; and in the event of their becoming wives, forms no good training for their management of household affairs.” (NSA, Vol. XI, 1845, p. 371)

Engraving by F. Engleheart, 1838, after Sir D. Wilkie, called 'A bedridden sick young woman being examined by a doctor'

A bedridden sick young woman being examined by a doctor, acc. Engraving by F. Engleheart, 1838, after Sir D. Wilkie. [CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Kirkintilloch, County of Dumbarton – “Some, indeed, particularly the females, are not a little subjects to hysterics; a disease, the prevalence of which in this place, has, with some shew of probability, been attributed, partly to the dampness of our carthen floors, and partly, to the effects of spinning, for which, the women in this neighbourhood are deservedly famous*.

*The women, when engaged in spinning, especially in winter, sit by-the fire-side, and keeping, as their custom is, always the same station, the one side side is exposed to the chilling cold of the season, and the other is relaxed by the warm influence of the fire. Besides, in turning her lint-wheel, the person who spins, commonly employs but one foot, and uses chiefly the hand of the
same side, in making the thread. Thus the labour is very unequally divided, by which the health of the body must naturally be affected. Lastly, the waste of saliva in wetting the thread, must
deprive the stomach of a substance essential to its operations, whence, all the fatal consequences of crudities, and indigestion, may be expected.” (OSA, Vol. II, 1792, p. 282)

Forgan, County of Fife – “… the constant sitting at the wheel, and the immoderate waste of saliva, was by no means favourable to their health. Many of these people are employed in cutting down the corns in harvest. During this season they are uncommonly cheerful and healthy; but as this exercise in the field is an extreme entirely opposite to the sedentary life they generally lead through the rest of the year, disagreeable effects are sometimes felt after the harvest; however, the danger of this is not a little abated by their present manner of living during this season, which is upon oat bread and ale, which, when fresh and good, is a most wholesome diet.” (OSA, Vol. XVI, 1795, p. 95)

Auchtermuchty, County of Fife – “Comsumptions are the most prevalent distemper, particularly among young women, which perhaps may be attributed to their staying at home, spinning at two-handed wheels, and not enjoying that comfortable diet, and moderate exercise, the result of being in service.” (OSA, Vol. VI, 1793, p. 339)

Dron, County of Perth – “Many young women, who used to go into service, find it more advantageous to stay at home and spin for the manufacturer, or to purchase lint and dispose of the yarn. By this mode of life, they feel themselves independent, and more at their own disposal, which is no doubt an additional motive for preferring it. But they overlook the ill consequence of their choice to health and vigour of constitution, which is more than a balance for all their advantages. Their sedentary life, and want of proper exercise ; their eager application and scanty provision, are all circumstances which conspire to enfeeble the constitution, produce nervous disorders, and bring on sexual infirmities, which render life uncomfortable, and hurry them into premature old age.” (OSA, Vol. IX, 1793, p. 476)

Riccarton, County of Ayrshire – “A great proportion of the females in the parish are employed in sewing and embroidering muslin… The employment, we believe, is very injurious to the general health of those employed, but especially to, their chest and eyes.” (NSA, Vol. V, 1845, p. 612)

In the parish report of Avondale, County of Lanark, the effects of sedentary employment on the health of children was also commented on. “The great wages made by weaving, induces many parents to put their boys too early to that business, which stints their growth, occasions swellings about their legs, and hurts their morals, by rendering them too soon independent of their parents. The same temptation is presented to the girls by the flowering of muslin, which, by confining them too soon to a sedentary life, makes them pale and sickly, and is likely to subject them to nervous complaint all their lives.” (OSA, Vol. IX, 1793, p. 387)

  • Working on the land

Women also experienced health issues from undertaking agricultural work, i.e. hard labour, or generally being outside.

Tillicoultry, County of Clackmannan – “The dysentery was unknown here for many years. It has, however, appeared of late three different times, and carried off a good many persons, chiefly women. As this alarming malady always broke out in the end of harvest, some have been apt to imagine, that, if it was not caught by infection, it arose from the colds and damps to which the people were exposed in reaping, or to a frequent use of potatoes not brought to a proper state of maturity.” (OSA, Vol. XV, 1795, p. 202)

Old or West Monkland, County of Lanark – “Several young women of this parish have fallen into consumptions by sitting too long on the damp ground at tent preachings.” (OSA, Vol. VII, 1793, p. 380)

Edzell, County of Forfar – “The most prevailing complaints are, asthma amongst the men, and hysterical disorders amongst the women, rheumatism in both sexes. These may, in part, be caused, or nor a little heightened, by poor diet, hard labour, and sorry lodging.” (OSA, Vol. X, 1794, p. 102)

All this being said, it must be noted that several parish reports mention both men and women who have lived to a ripe old-age, in some cases over a hundred! Examples include the parishes of Northmaving, County of Shetland (NSA, Vol. XV, 1845, p. 73), Castletown, County of Roxburgh (OSA, Vol. XVI, 1795, p. 64) and Crimond, County of Aberdeen (NSA, Vol. XII, 1845, p. 703).

In Halkirk, County of Caithness, even though the climate “often goes to extremes in the space of 24 hours; for it is not unusual to be visited here with all the coldness and rigours of winter, and the fervour and heat of a summer-day, in the space of 12 hours… There is no disease that can be called peculiar to it; neither are the distempers by which we are visited more frequent, or more fatal and violent, than in other countries, that are esteemed very healthy and salubrious.” (OSA, Vol. XIX, 1797, p. 12) In the Section on the county of Shetland from volume 15 in account 2 it was reported that “the women usually live to a greater age, and preserve their faculties better, than the men, it may be from having been less exposed to excessive and desultory labour.” (NSA, Vol. XV, 1845, p. 147)

Women and childbirth

Some parishes reported poor care for women giving birth as there were either no skilled midwives or no midwives at all. In Kiltearn, County of Ross and Cromarty, “another disadvantage which the poor women labour under here, which is, that they seldom have proper assistance when in child-bed, as there is no regularly bred midwife in the parish. This often proves of fatal consequence to women in that situation, which, of all others, require the most tender care, as well as skill.” (OSA, Vol. I, 1791, p. 288)

Fossoway, County of Perth – “Though the two parishes taken together, form a large and populous district, there is not a physician, nor a surgeon, nor a midwife in either. Women in child-bed have, however, good assistance at no great distance; and they are, in general, very fortunate. Good medical aid is also to be had from all the neighbouring towns. It is also reasonable to acknowledge with gratitude, that the united parishes lie under peculiar obligations to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.” (OSA, Vol. XVIII, 1796, p. 453)

Jura, County of Argyle – “A great proportion of children die in infancy, and many of the mothers, though of a strong constitution, recover slowly in child-bed. Both these circumstances seem to be owing to unskillful treatment, for there is not a single bred midwife in the island.” (OSA, Vol. XII, 1794, p. 320)

Kilmorie, County of Bute – “The diseases here [include]… a great death of new-born infants, by the falling down of the jaws; and some women die in childbed, both which last two are attributed to the unskillfulness of midwives, who venture upon the practice from natural courage, without necessary and proper knowledge, there being none duly qualified in the island.” (OSA, Vol. IX, 1793, p. 166)

Incidentally, the fatal illness of new-borns, mentioned above, was also known as “the eight-day sickness’. It was reported in Kilbride, County of Bute, that “there is a disorder, no less fatal to children, which seems to be peculiar to this island, as it is seldom known any where else, called the eight-day sickness. Infants are seized with it the 8th day after birth, by the falling down of the jaw, attended with violent convulsions.” (OSA, Vol. VIII, 1793, p. 579) Thankfully, in the New Statistical Accounts report for the same parish this disease “which a few generations ago was so fatal to infants and children, is now never heard of, having disappeared along with its cause,– unskillful treatment on the part of self-taught midwives.” (NSA, Vol. V, 1845, p. 6)

Conclusion

It has been very interesting to find out both about the existence of poor women, its causes and what society did to help them, and about women’s health in 18th and 19th century Scotland. The parish reports are an important source of information not only of actual figures and descriptions of situations faced, but also opinions on causes and suggestions for solutions. This allows you to get an insight into how people thought and felt about what was going on around them. There are plenty more extracts you can find on these subjects in the Statistical Accounts of Scotland. We welcome you to take a look and make comments on our blog posts or to our twitter account.

Watch out for other posts on women in the future, or revisit our past posts on such topics as the influence of Scotland on the world, music and dance, and Scotland’s languages!

 

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SUNCAT updated

SUNCAT has been updated. Updates from the following libraries were loaded into the service in the last week. The dates displayed indicate when files were received by SUNCAT.

  • Aberdeen University (02 Oct 18)
  • Bristol University (03 Oct 18)
  • British Library (05 Oct 18)
  • CONSER (Not UK Holdings) (10 Oct 18)
  • Durham University (04 Oct 18)
  • Edinburgh Napier University (01 Oct 18)
  • Glasgow University (11 Oct 18)
  • Manchester University (01 Oct 18)
  • National Archives (01 Oct 18)
  • National Library of Scotland (06 Oct 18)
  • National Library of Wales (01 Oct 18)
  • Natural History Museum (01 Oct 18)
  • Nottingham University (02 Oct 18)
  • Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (05 Oct 18)
  • Queen’s University, Belfast (02 Oct 18)
  • Senate House Libraries, University of London (01 Oct 18)
  • Southampton University (07 Oct 18)
  • Warwick University (03 Oct 18)

To check on the currency of other libraries on SUNCAT please check the updates page for further details.

SUNCAT updated

SUNCAT has been updated. Updates from the following libraries were loaded into the service in the last week. The dates displayed indicate when files were received by SUNCAT.

  • Aberystwyth University (01 Oct 18)
  • Bath University (01 Oct 18)
  • Cardiff University (01 Oct 18)
  • CONSER (Not UK Holdings) (01 Oct 18)
  • Dundee University (01 Oct 18)
  • Edinburgh University (01 Oct 18)
  • Imperial College London (01 Oct 18)
  • Kingston University (01 Oct 18)
  • Lancaster University (01 Oct 18)
  • Leicester University (01 Oct 18)
  • London Library (29 Sep 18)
  • London School of Economics and Political Science (01 Oct 18)
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (01 Oct 18)
  • Northumbria University (01 Oct 18)
  • Open University (01 Sep 18)
  • Robert Gordon University (17 Sep 18)
  • School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) (21 Sep 18)
  • Sheffield Hallam University (01 Oct 18)
  • Sheffield University (01 Oct 18)
  • Southampton University (30 Sep 18)
  • Strathclyde University (01 Oct 18)
  • Sussex University (01 Oct 18)
  • Swansea University (01 Oct 18)
  • University of Wales Trinity Saint David (01 Oct 18)
  • York University (01 Oct 18)

To check on the currency of other libraries on SUNCAT please check the updates page for further details.

SUNCAT updated

SUNCAT has been updated. Updates from the following libraries were loaded into the service in the last week. The dates displayed indicate when files were received by SUNCAT.

  • British Library (27 Sep 18)
  • Brunel University London (27 Sep 18)
  • CONSER (Not UK Holdings) (26 Sep 18)
  • Cranfield University (20 Sep 18)
  • De Montfort University (21 Sep 18)
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (26 Sep 18)
  • Glasgow University (20 Sep 18)
  • Leeds University (15 Sep 18)
  • London Metropolitan University (26 Sep 18)
  • National Museums Scotland (18 Sep 18)
  • Oxford University (23 Sep 18)
  • Reading University (12 Sep 18)
  • Royal College of Music (16 Sep 18)
  • Royal Society of Medicine (19 Sep 18)
  • Southampton University (23 Sep 18)
  • University of the West of England (24 Sep 18)

To check on the currency of other libraries on SUNCAT please check the updates page for further details.

Sunsetting SUNCAT

SUNCAT will end as a service on the 31st July 2019.  The rationale for retiring SUNCAT comes from a lengthy consultation with the academic library community that resulted in a requirement for a new service that was capable of working at much greater scale to deliver a comprehensive view onto the bibliographic and holdings data of all UK academic libraries.  A new national service is in development that will supersede both the SUNCAT service and its sister service, Copac. The Jisc National Bibliographic Knowledgebase (NBK) will be a national-scale aggregated bibliographic database which will facilitate resource discovery, collection management and cataloguing.

It is business as usual for now for SUNCAT, please continue to send data.  EDINA and Jisc will co-host a webinar later in the year with a fuller update and time line on the process of retiring SUNCAT.  EDINA will also send out regular updates to keep you informed.

To achieve the goal of comprehensive coverage, Jisc would like to encourage current SUNCAT contributors to start submitting their data to the NBK as soon as possible in order that the transition between services is as smooth as possible. The intention is to launch the NBK ‘live’ service in February 2019. It will then run in parallel with SUNCAT until its retirement at the end of July 2019.  If you’d like to send your data, discuss the benefits of joining the NBK, or have any other questions about the NBK, please contact nbk.copac@jisc.ac.uk

Should you have queries regarding SUNCAT service retirement, please contact edina@ed.ac.uk.  If you have any queries regarding the NBK, please contact nbk.copac@jisc.ac.uk

Women in Scotland: Women in work

In the last three of posts on women in Scotland we have discovered that women worked in many sectors, including manufacturing (spinning, weaving, needlework,etc), and the farming and fishing industries. In this post we look more generally at the impact society had on women and their work.

Multi-tasking!

In many instances, women had to work as well as look after the family – as they do now! In Northmaving, County of Shetland, “the women look after domestic concerns, bring up their children, cook the victuals, look after the cattle, spin, and knit stockings; they also assist, and are no less laborious then the men in manuring and labouring the grounds, reaping the harvest, and manufacturing their crop.” (OSA, Vol. XII, 1794, p. 358) They also undertook not just one type of work, but several, depending on the time of year and the wages they received. In Nigg, County of Kincardine, “the whole female part of the parish, when not occupied by these engagements [kelp production], or harvest, the most, and domestic affairs, work at knitting woolen stockings, the materials of which they generally receive from manufacturers in Aberdeen.” (OSA, Vol. VII, 1793, p. 207) In Clackmannan, County of Clackmannan, “during a considerable part of the year, some of the women in the parish continue to sew for the Glasgow manufacturers, but the earnings from this source are now most lamentably small. Most of the females to which the writer has been referring, derive the greater part of their annual subsistence from field-labour, the preparing of bark, &c.” (NSA, Vol. VIII, 1845, p. 129)

No time for housework!

Although women had to multi-task, it was sometimes remarked in the parish reports that, due to women working, the state of the home suffered! Here is what was written in the parish report of Cross and Burness, County of Orkney:

“But there is a great want of neatness and cleanliness in the management of household matters, so that their condition has nothing of the tidy and comfortable appearance of what is now to be met with in houses of a like description in the south. And for any effectual improvement in this respect, there are two formidable barriers in the way, which are not likely soon to be overcome. The women have much work to do out of doors, a species of work, too, which peculiarly unfits them for neat management of house-hold concerns, such as cutting sea-weed for kelp, carrying up ware for manure on their backs, and spreading it on the land; and besides, the construction of their houses is very unfavourable, which are not only not plastered but not even built with lime, and seldom have any semblance of a chimney even upon the roof, while, for the sake of having each part of the house supplied with an equal share of heat, the fire-place is most commonly planted in the middle of the floor. The smoke consequently finds its way in every direction, and to keep either the walls or the utensils in a state of proper cleanliness, is next to impossible. Yet the present form of houses is much superior to what was possessed by the last generation; and this form may soon perhaps give way to another in a higher state of improvement.” (NSA, Vol. XV, 1845, p. 106)

A painting called 'A Cottage Interior' by Alfred A. Provis, dated 1869.

Provis, Alfred; A Cottage Interior, 1869. Picture credit: Atkinson Art Gallery Collection.

In the parish report for Carmylie, County of Forfar, it was noted that weaving, the new type of employment for young women at that time, “forms no good training for their management of household affairs” in the event of them getting married. (NSA, Vol. XI, 1845, p. 371) It was an even worse situation for colliers families in Tranent, County of Haddington! “The injurious practice of women working in the pits as bearers (now happily on the decline with the married females), tends to render the houses of colliers most uncomfortable on their return from their labours, and to foster many evils which a neat cleanly home would go far to lessen.” (NSA, Vol. II, 1845, p. 295). However, spinning, in particular, was considered a job which married women could do and still be able to run a household, as alluded to in the parish report for Moulin, County of Perth. (OSA, Vol. V, 1793, p. 63)

The need for women (and children) to work

In several parishes it was noted that there were many more females than males residing there, mostly due to men working elsewhere, particularly in the army or navy. This obviously had an effect on who undertook the work in that parish. In Stenton, County of Haddington, “the disparity in the number of males and females probably arises from a number of young men leaving the parish in search of employment; and the young women remaining as outworkers, in which occupation a good many single women, householders, are employed, who receive 9d. every day they are called upon to work, with 600 yards of potatoes planted, coals driven, &c. for their yearly service.” (NSA, Vol. II, 1845, p. 58) Whereas, in Rathven, County of Banff, the disparity between males and females residing there was attributed to losses sustained at sea and an influx of poor women from the Highlands, who wanted to live more comfortably. (OSA, Vol. XIII, 1794, p. 417)

It was noted in the parish report of Nigg, County of Kincardine, that “during some later months of winter, the subsistence of the family has depended much on the work of the females. Since the commencement of the American and French war 1778, 24 men have been impressed or entered to serve their country in the fleet from the fisher families. In these late armaments, their fishing has been interrupted from fear of their young men being seized; and to procure 10 men, instead of one from each boat, who have been demanded from them, the crews have paid 106 L. 14 s. which exhausted the substance of some families, and hung long a debt on others.” (OSA, Vol. VII, 1793, p. 207)

In Aberdeen, County of Aberdeen, a very interesting observation and explanation was reported in the Old Statistical Accounts with regards to the employment of men and women. “Most of our manufactures, especially the bleaching and thread-making businesses, employ a much greater number of women than of men; and the great manufacture of the place, the knitting of stockings, is carried on almost entirely by females. Accordingly, while most of our women remain at home, many of our young men emigrate to other places, in quest of more lucrative employment than they can find in this part of the country… Besides, the temptations of cheap and commodious houses, of easy access to fuel, and to all the necessaries and comforts of life, from our vicinity to the port and market of Aberdeen, and of the high probability of finding employment from some of the many manufactures carried on in the neighbourhood, induce many old women, and many of the widows and daughters of farmers and tradesmen, to leave the country, and reside in this parish, while their sons have either settled as farmers in their native place, or gone abroad, or entered into the army or navy. If to these observations we add, that in all parishes, in which there are several large towns and villages, most families need more female than male servants, the majority of females in this parish, great as it is, will be sufficiently accounted for.” (OSA, Vol. XIX, 1797, p. 178)

The need to work also extended to children. In Nigg, County of Kincardine, “the male children of the land people, from 9 and 10 years old, often herd cattle in summer, and those of all attend school in winter. The female children learn still earlier to knit and to read.” (OSA, Vol. VII, 1793, p. 207) In fact, in most cases children worked in the same areas of employment as women. Examples include: the mining and farming industries; the weaving industry, in particular preparing the yarn for the loom (see our post on ‘Women in Scotland: Manufacturing‘ for more information) and in the mills (as mentioned in one of our earlier posts and in the parish report for Dundee, County of Forfar, where “more than one-half of those employed in the mills are boys and girls from ten to eighteen years of age; the remainder are partly men and partly women of all ages.” (NSA, Vol. XI, 1845, p. 26))

In many parish reports, the hard-work and fortitude of women and children, is clearly displayed. However, in some parishes, there was no work available for them. In Kiltearn, County of Ross and Cromarty, it was noted that “considering the great number of women in the parish, it would be desirable that some manufacture should be introduced to employ the females, and children of both sexes; for it is a hard case, when a labouring man is unable to work by age or sickness, that his family has no means of earning a subsistence, however unwilling to work.” (OSA, Vol. I, 1791, p. 288)

Wages

All parish reports in both the Old and New Statistical Accounts of Scotland give the typical wages of workers. Of course, women were paid much less than men. In Houston and Killallan, County of Renfrew, “men servants from L. 7 to L. 10 a year, if they are good ploughmen; women-servants, from L. 1 : 10 : 0 or L. 2 the half year, and upwards.” (OSA, Vol. I, 1791, p. 325)

There are plenty more examples of this, including:

Keig, County of Aberdeen – “The wages of farm-servants were, of men, from L.4, 10s. to L.6, 10s. or L.7; of women, from L.2 to L.3 per annum; of day labourers, 6d. with maintenance. Reapers were hired for the harvest, the men at L.2 and the women at L.1.” (NSA, Vol. XII, 1845, p. 957)

Dollar, County of Clackmannan – “The wages of men labourers are from 10 d. to 1 s. per day; in harvest, they receive 13 d. or 14 d. per day; and for cutting hay, 1 s. 6 d. The wages of women who work without doors, at hay-making, weeding potatoes, etc. are 6 d. per day; except in harvest, when they receive 10 d. per day: out of which wages, both men and women furnish their own provisions.” (OSA, Vol. XV, 1795, p. 164)

Auchtertool, County of Fife – “Men servants used to get 6 L. Sterling for the year; and women, 2 L. 10 s.: But a man servant, now, receives 8L.; and a woman 3 L., for the year.” (OSA, Vol. VIII, 1793, p. 119)

Dundee, County of Forfar – “The following are the average wages at present paid at the mills, and generally in the linen manufacture in Dundee, viz. to flax-dressers from 10s. to 12s. weekly; girls and boys, 3s. to 6s.; women, 5s. to 8s.; weavers, 7s. to 10s.” (NSA, Vol. XI, 1845, p. 26)

Kingussie, County of Inverness – “A shilling per day is reckoned but very ordinary wages. Many receive 15 d. and 16 d. and some refuse to work under 18 d. The wages of women, however, is not in proportion; during harvest, and when employed at peats, they receive 8 d. a day, and at every other season of the year only 6 d.” (OSA, Vol. III, 1792, p. 39)

Painting showing two men, a woman and girl working in a field harvesting turnips.

Clausen, George; Winter Work, 1883-84. Picture credit:Tate.

The unfair nature of this disparity in wages was highlighted by the Rev. Mr. Joseph Taylor, who wrote in the parish report for Watten, County of Caithness:

“Women, qualified for tending cattle throughout the winter, driving the plough, and filling the dung cart in spring, had only about 8 s. Sterling, with just half the subsistence allowed the man. Why so little subsistence was and still is allowed to women, no good reason can be assigned. Established customs cannot always be accounted for, nor are they easily or suddenly overturned. This article of wages, however, has of late risen, and still continues to increase.” (OSA, Vol. XI, 1794, p. 274)

There are some very interesting descriptions and comments on wages in the Statistical Accounts. In Colinton, County of Edinburgh, it was reported that women and boys were paid the same amount of money (9d. per day) working in the fields and that “in the time of harvest and of lifting potatoes, their wages are regulated by the hiring market, which is held in Edinburgh every Monday morning during, the season.” (NSA, Vol. I, 1845, p. 124)

Weavers in Cults, County of Fife, “while in winding the smaller bobbins for the wool… usually employ their wives or children. At this latter employment, if done for hire, from 2s. 6d. to 3s. may be made per week.” (NSA, Vol. IX, 1845, p. 573)

Another interesting comment, this time on the relationship between technology and wages, can be found in the parish report of Moulin, County of Perth:

“The consequence of yarn selling high is an immediate rise in the wages of women servants. Should the machines for spinning linen yarn come to be much and successfully used, so as to reduce the price of spinning, that effect will be severely felt in this country. Single women may, perhaps, find employment in some other branches of manufacture; but it does not appear in what other way married women, who must fit always at home with their children, can contribute any thing to the support of their families.” (OSA, Vol. V, 1793, p. 63)

In St Vigeans, County of Forfar, the correlation between wages and skill, as well as conditions of employment, are highlighted:

“with respect to the wages of those employed in the factories here, though considerably lower than they have been, we should say, that, looking to age and the preponderance of females, they are perhaps the best paid class employed in the linen trade, with the exception of hacklers. Spinners, who are all girls of fifteen to about twenty-five years of age, earn from 5s. 4d. to 6s. 6d. per week; reelers, from 5s. to 6s.; and those in the preparing departments, from 3s. to 6s., according to the nature of the work assigned to each. The department requiring early and indispensable previous training is the spinning. It consists in expertness and facility in uniting broken threads, and which can only be efficiently acquired by the young. In the present improved state of machinery, the labour is by no means irksome; and hence it is that it is no uncommon thing, in passing through the spinning-flat of a well-conducted mill, to find many of the girls employed in reading. Spreaders, feeders, and reelers have a more laborious work to perform; but the persons employed in these capacities are, for the most part, full-grown women; and, generally speaking, they are allowed a longer time for meals and relaxation than the rest of the hands. The whole of the workers, men, women, and children are at liberty to leave their employment on giving four weeks; notice, in some cases even one week being held sufficient. Hacklers are paid at the rate of 2s. for every hundred weight of rough flax which they dress; and it is no unusual thing for a steady hand, with the assistance of an apprentice, whom he allows 3s. 6d. to 5s. 6d., to earn L. 1, 4s. per week. The average wages, however, of this class, including those who have no apprentices, does not perhaps exceed from 10s. to 12s. per week.*

* In the interview between the writing of this article, in January l842, and the correcting of the proof-sheet in October following, a farther reduction in wages has taken place of five to ten per cent.” (NSA, Vol. XI, 1845, p. 506)

In the parish report of Forfar, County of Forfar, a comparison is made between wages at that time and formerly. “About 60 years ago, a principal farm servant might have been had for 35 s. or 40 s. the half year, and a woman for 40 d. besides her harvest fee. Now many men servants receive L. 12 Sterling per annum, and few or none less than L. 7; and women servants have from L. 3 to L. 4 a year with a lippie of lint ground, or some equivalent called bounties. A man for the harvest demanded formerly half a guinea, now he asks from 30 s. to 40 s, and is sometimes intreated to take more. A female shearer formerly received from 8 s. to 10 s. now 20 s and upwards. Male servants in agriculture, besides their wages, get victuals, or two pecks of meal a-week in lieu thereof, with milk which they call sap. Cottars generally receives from L. 3 to L. 7 a year, with a house and garden, and maintenance of a cow throughout the year. On this scanty provision they live comfortably, and raise numerous families without burdening the public. A family of nine children has been reared by a labourer of this description without any public aid. The cottar eats at his master’s table, or has meal in lieu of this advantage. From 20 to 30 s a year are given to a boy, from 10 to 14 years of age, to tend the cattle or to drive the plough.” (OSA, Vol. VI, 1793, p. 532)

Conclusion

As can be gathered from above, the Statistical Accounts of Scotland contains a lot of information on wages, providing us with examples of differences between both jobs and those employed, whether it be men, women or children. It would be very interesting to make comparisons across parishes! The parish reports are also a great source of comment from the ministers who wrote them, illustrating people’s views on such things as the effect women working had on the community, and the discrepancy between men’s and women’s wages.

In our next post, we will continue to look at the effects society had on women in Scotland, including the existence of poor women and the establishment of female societies; women’s civil status; and women’s health.

 

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