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1927: Fierce debate about Cuckfield girls 'On the dole'

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

Mid Sussex Times July 5th 1927

Young girls on the dole.

To the editor of the MID SUSSEX TIMES.

Dear Sir, will you spare me a small space in your paper to voice a complaint? I think it a most disgraceful thing to see so many young girls walking about the streets, dressed to death and living on the dole!

The Labour Exchange should wake up and make these girls take whatever comes first, and, if they refused, strike them off! No young girl should be allowed to take the dole as there is plenty of work for girls everywhere. Whatever work a girl does she is a paid servant. I have seen girls go off to sign on the for the dole, and if people did not know them, they might take them for girls of means.

They go off in the morning with a towel over their shoulders - for bathing, I suppose. And they go to dances, too, while taking the dole. Why should ratepayers pay for these lazy bits of girls to walk about the streets? It is shameful and lowering!

Yours faithfully,


Girls in London Lane c1920 (photograph courtesy of Cuckfield Museum)

MID SUSSEX TIMES July 12th 1927

Young girls on the dole.

To the editor of the MID SUSSEX TIMES.

Dear Sir, I should like to ask whether “A Cuckfield Mother” who wrote you last week is aware that two of the three girls who regularly bathe have never been on the dole in their lives?

Yours faithfully, Cuckfield ONE IN THE KNOW.

Dear Sir, will you grant me a space to refute the statements of a “Cuckfield Mother”? The ratepayers do not pay the dole. Both employer and employee contribute weekly to the unemployment fund, and every employee is as much entitled to the benefits as a contributor to the National Health Insurance.

Evidently a “Cuckfield Mother” thinks cleanliness a sin and to be decently dressed a crime. No girl would keep one place of employment for six years were she “lazy” or “dressed to death”. Surely one is entitled to draw benefit for a few weeks of compulsory unemployment when one has been contributor for years?

Yours faithfully, (Mrs.) E.M. BRIGDEN.


To the editor of THE MID SUSSEX TIMES.

Dear Sir, if "A Cuckfield Mother" who wrote you last week about young girls on the dole is not a “Mrs Nosey Parker” I'll eat my hat! What if girls are drawing the dole? Have they not got that benefit by paying for it when in a work and by losing their jobs through no fault of their own? The letter of “A Cuckfield Mother” is a serious reflection on the head of the Unemployment Exchange.

I wonder how he likes it? A little knowledge is truly a dangerous thing and it will pay “A Cuckfield Mother” (I am glad I am not one of her belongings) to make sure of her facts before she airs her views in print. When a girl is out of work is she to sit in sackcloth and ashes?

Does moping make one happy? Isn't it bad enough to be out of work, without having the finger of scorn pointed at one because one presents a smiling face, a carefree attitude, to the world. Has “A Cuckfield Mother”, never heard of the saying “there's many a heart heavy beneath a smiling face”? It is often because a girl has been thrifty when at work that she can afford to take a little pleasure when out of work. Let “A Cuckfield Mother” visit her Parish Church and pray hard for a little more Christian charity. Then, Mr Editor, she will never write you in the strain that she wrote in your last issue.

Yours faithfully

Haywards Heath. ON THE DOLE.



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