Letter to the editor: The Saturday half-holiday in Liverpool

Thursday, March 4 – 1880
“Gentlemen – With reference to the remark of “Progress” on the above subject in your issue of Monday, he evidently is not connected with a shipping office, or he would not compare Manchester with Liverpool. In Manchester it is an easy matter to close the mills and warehouses at a fixed hour every Saturday, as they can stop the mills at any moment and commence on Monday, where they left off, but not so with the office in Liverpool. Ships will arrive and must sail at all hours, and often enough they are reported and cleared after two o’clock on Saturday.

“An American mail streamer arriving on Friday, and sometimes Saturday, and sailing again on Tuesday, means working the steamer up to twelve o’clock on Saturday night. How would the half-holiday work in this instance? With regard to coming down at 9.30 in the morning, I think, if “Progress” was working till ten and eleven o’clock three or four nights a week, he would think 9.30 quite early enough to commence in the morning. Again, he talks of running out for drinks.

“I know for a fact a branch in Liverpool of one of the Manchester warehouses where they observe the same rules as the Manchester House, viz, commence business at 8.30 a.m. allow one hour for dinner (which means an hour and a half) close at 6 p.m. ordinary days and 1 o’clock on Saturday. What is the consequence? It means breakfast at 7.30 and a bitter and sandwich at eleven o’clock, as some don’t get dinner till 1.30.

“Then they dine at a public house, play Nap after dinner, and very often adjourn to the same place to pass Saturday afternoon. “Progress” must not suppose that because the office of Liverpool are not all closed at one o’clock on Saturday that the employers don’t get half-holiday; most of them get away at two or half-past – in fact, when their work is done they can leave.

“The banks close at one o’clock, but the clerks don’t get away till their work is finished, which is often two and half past; and so in the commercial office, when mall falls due on Saturday they must be attended to if it takes till ten o’clock at night.

“Again “Progress” says, in Manchester and most of the large towns most young man are members of football, cricket, and other athletic clubs; if this is not the case in Liverpool, how is it we always research a well-filled board at Richardson’s in Lord-Street, advertising both cricket and football matches?
Liverpool, March 2 – 1880, by Plebeian”
(Liverpool Mercury, 04-03-1880)

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