SHORT LENGTHS FROM THE WELSH COUNTER. We are a shy people. Cared y doeth yr encilion" is the motto of our premier Society, but we have been nursing our wisdom to extremes, and for too many years we have been hiding our talents in back streets. It may be true, as Renan says, that the breeze blows softer once it crosses the English border, and that you feel there is an indescribable air of mystery and charm once you place your foot on Cymric soil; still, as long as we are here in London, planted amidst the coarseness and vulgarity, the pushfulness and lack of reserve of the Saxon nature, we must fully realise that the race is to the brazen faced, and that you must advertise your talents if you mean to succeed. And it is because that section of the Welsh nation, that is connected with the drapery trade, have realised this that they have been so successful of late years. They brought new ideas into an old trade, and they had the common sense to impress the fact with all the means at their disposal on the somewhat unimaginative mind of John Bull. It is a singular fact that in the two trades that are so closely connected with Welshmen in London, viz., the milk trade and the drapery trade, the pre-eminence of our countrymen has been attained (and this, in spite of the oft-repeated statement of ignorant police court magistrates), through introducing too simple and natural Cymric virtues, honesty and cleanliness. The Lancet recently stated that the dirtiest people on earth, next to the Thibetans, were the English lower classes. Fifty years ago it was impossible for any one with any ideas of cleanliness and decency to buy a glass of milk in London. This important necessity of life was re- tailed in dirty little shops where they sold petroleum, coal tar, soda and soft soap with a promiscuity that banished cleanliness, and he would be a brave man, without any of the niceties of the palate, who would venture to buy and drink a glass of milk in London in those days. It was then that a few Welsh carpenters on strike, with the sturdy independence and native shrewdness of their race, entered into the dairy business, and they supplied John Bull with his milk in a glass bright with Welsh cleanliness; and to his credit, be it said, he always appreciates a virtue or an improvement when it is at somebody else's expense and we may flatter ourselves with the fact, if we are anxious for the flattery, that it was those humble Welsh carpenters, with their tiny little shops, hidden away in mean streets, but sparkling with cleanliness, and made sweet with plenty of labour and water, that were the forerunners of the palatial halls of Messrs. Lyons and others to-day. Similarly it was a Welsh draper, with more windows than stock, who was the pioneer of modern window dressing. Twenty years ago the English public or at any rate that section of it that shops," were satisfied with the dowdy, dull and dismal exhibitions with which the English draper sought to attract his clients; but it was left to a young Welshman, with more enterprise than capital, to show the way towards the high standards of to-day that has made modern window dressing a thing of beauty and a work of art, and converted the pavements of Oxford Street into an academy of taste for the English woman. And now the Welshman is devoting his attentions to the organisation of the inside life of the shop. The latest in that direction is a pamphlet by Mr. Spencer Jones, of Cardiff, editor of the Shop Assistant, on the moral side of living in. The strongest criticism that can be passed on it is that its facts are about 15 years old. A typical item being the "latch key" charge made by the president of the Shop Assistants Union about 18 months ago. It was then stated that young ladies were engaged in a certain West End shop at very low wages, with an inducement held out to accept those low wages by telling them that they would be given a latchkey, and no notice would be taken if they were half an hour late in the morning. Unless there happened to be two such instances in the West End of London, the present writer was the means of communica- ting that fact to the press about 15 years ago. The head of that particular firm is, we believe, dead, the firm has been converted into a Limited Liability Company, and the young lady who gave the information is happily married. The mere narration of the incidents is typical of the change. The old order has changed giving place to the new. The old conditions have passed away for ever. Your Wallises and Meakins are dead and gone, and a new type of employer has taken his place, who is as human and generous as modern competition will allow him, with this addition which is still more important, that he has the sense to see that a satisfied assistant is a more efficient assistant. Welshmen can be proud of the fact that their countrymen have taken an important, if unadvertised, part in this process of humanising a great trade. Though there is friction at present between assistants and employers, those inside know that those employers were trained, here in London, and they still maintain, to too large an extent, the brutal traditions of the English employer whereas it is a known fact that a small band of the younger generation of Welsh employers, who are members of the London Draper's Chamber of Trade, though syste- matically ignored by the trade press, have in season and out of season, persistently and constantly, held up a higher standard of con- duct from employers towards their assistants and have carried their principles into prac- tice without a single exception. Next week we may have something further to say on Mr. Jones's pamphlet.
A Tribute to Mr. Lloyd= George. When the history of the present Liberal Government comes to be written," says the Draper's Record, we believe that the work of the President of the Board of Trade will take high place of honour. It is a long time since the commercial world has had so energetic and so sympathetic a statesman as Mr. Lloyd-George has already amply proved himself to be. The Government has had its failures, but the measures with which Mr. Lloyd-George has been entrusted have been signally successful. He has shown us that he is not hidebound by abstract theories, but that he is willing to initiate practical legislation to meet the needs of an imperfect world. Nothing would have been easier than for a statesman of the old laisser- faire type to state that the sanctity of con- tract must be maintained, and that the boot trade, for instance, must find its own salva- tion from its own follies; it should not expect protection by legislation. Mr. Lloyd- George has been wiser, and in the legisla- tion which he is now advocating in his Patents and Designs Bill (as well as in other legislation for which he has been responsible during his short term of office) he has shown that he has abandoned the old doctrine of non-interference, and that he regards it as the duty of the Government to adopt pro- tective measures in the general interests of the commercial world."
SOUTH WALES BUSINESS NOTES. MR. J. W. WISBEY, Shop Fitter, John Street, Cardiff, has fitted up a large number of shops in South Wales lately. Mr. Wisbey is right up-to-date, and his designs are particularly smart and effective. MR. ALLEN PEARCE, manufacturer of Surgical Appliances, 23, Charles Street, Cardiff, had a stand at the Bath and West of England show. The exhibits, beautifully arranged in a case manufactured by the firm, attracted much attention. THE study of Palmistry is very fascina- ting. Madame Regos Rie has been holding receptions at her rooms in Queen's Arcade, Cardiff, and all who have consulted her have been astonished and delighted at her veiy clever delineations.
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