Monday, 27 October 2014

Never Marry a Foreigner!

Luton Town Hall [Z1306/75/10/23/16]

27th October 1914: At a meeting of the Luton War Relief Committee this evening the subject of aliens’ wives was raised. Two cases have arisen in the town where the arrest of alien men has left their families in distress. One wife has been left with three small children, all under school age. She herself is British, has no idea where her husband is, and has barely enough money to last the week. One member of the committee pointed out that these families could not be left to starve. Another believed that a fund had been started in London for this type of case and the women should be referred there. Dr Sworder felt “they ought to tap the big German millionaires in London”. The Town Clerk believed that “if a British woman was foolish enough to marry a foreigner she must put up with the consequences” and that “there were plenty of good Englishmen”, but he accepted that the children were British, could not live on principles and must have something to eat. He therefore felt the committee should help them. Another member agreed that a grant should be made, but disagreed that there were enough British men to go round. He expressed sympathy with the thousands of people who had become aliens through a technicality and pointed out that it was quite possible that the womens’ husbands were blameless. One of the women was paying a high rent and it was felt that it was not reasonable for her to receive relief from the committee and still live in an expensive house. In response to a suggestion that some of the rooms in the house could be used by Belgian refugees Dr Sworder pointed out that  it would be “rather rough to put Belgians with Germans”. One of the “German” husbands, it transpired, was in fact Hungarian. It was decided that the District Committee should attend to the families’ needs until the committee next met.

Source: Luton News 29 October 1914

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