If this result only had been attained, the meetings of the Association and the labours of the sections would not have been in vain. But far more was in process of achievement when the work of the Association was interrupted by the catastrophe of the European War. The adoption in all industrial countries of the ‘English week’, with its half-holiday so much coveted by the continental worker—the establishment of a uniform working day—the gradual introduction of the eight-hours shift into such ‘continuous industries’ as steel-smelting and glass-blowing—an international agreement to eliminate the use of lead from many branches of the pottery industry and to limit and safeguard its use in all others,—these were only some among the questions which study and investigation and discussion had brought to a stage at which the Association could look upon them as fit matter for potential international conventions in August 1914. Now that its activities are, for the most part, in suspense, it is well to remember that its greatest achievement was the proof, again and again renewed, that it is possible for persons of twenty different nationalities, holding the most diverse opinions on nearly every subject under the sun, not only to act together but to find common motives of action so strong as to break down every sundering barrier of political doctrine and religious creed. Whatever of suspicion or antipathy might flourish outside the boundaries of the international association, these evil weeds have never taken root inside them. Is it Utopian to dream, when the days of peace shall have returned, of a reconciliation within its borders for those between whom at present the great gulf of division seems hopelessly fixed?
BOOKS FOR REFERENCE
History of Factory Legislation, Harrison and Hutchins. Macmillan. Revised edition.
Frederic Keeling, Child Labour in the United Kingdom. P.S. King.
Clementina Black, Sweating. Duckworth.
R.H. Tawney, Studies in the Minimum Wage: (i) Chainmaking; (ii) Tailoring. G. Bell & Sons.
J.A. Hobson, Work and Wealth. Macmillan.
Edward Howarth and Mona Wilson, West Ham: A Study. Dent.