by Jason Lever
Posted on Sun, 01 Dec 2013 17:28:35 GMT
Influencing Solomon to remain within the Labour fold.
Labour came to dominate many east London councils. The 1919 London County Council (LCC) elections brought strong Labour gains in Hackney, Bethnal Green and Poplar on the back of pledges to improve welfare services and living standards. This included introducing free school milk, abolished fifty years later for the over-sevens by a Conservative Education Secretary, the late Lady (Margaret) Thatcher.
When Solomon Lever was growing up an East End housing crisis saw rents rise sharply. Despite the LCC, but not the boroughs, undertaking some slum clearance, consolidation prevailed at its headquarters at County Hall and working-class, Jewish councillors like Solomon Lever demanded action on housing, inadequate air raid precautions and countering fascism (ref: Weightman and Humphries).
There were some high-profile successes, notably what became known as “Poplarism” under the leadership of George Lansbury in Poplar Council. The pioneering provision of services included baths, free libraries and paying its employees (of both sexes) a minimum wage. From 1932, Mile End Municipal Baths offered a first-class swimming pool, first and second-class slipper baths and Turkish and Russian baths (ref: Weightman and Humphries; Taylor).
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