Registration raises its ugly head … and fears over the Thames

March 1896

Quality mark problems

A mass meeting of plumbers was held on Wednesday at the town hall, High Street, Kensington, to protest against the Registration of Plumbers' Bill, introduced by the Worshipful Company of Plumbers, and now down for second reading in the House of Commons.

Mr PJ Davies read a paper giving a history of the registration movement and criticising in detail the bill of the plumbers' company. He said that the bill was a one-sided affair and did not in any sense represent the feelings of the trade.

They were not opposed to registration but they did not desire registration to be compulsory; what they desired was a scheme of registration that would really come from masters and journeymen plumbers. If the bill, which had been framed by an outside body, was rejected it was hoped that the master plumbers and journeymen would start a registration scheme of their own.

Mr A Cordell also read a paper criticising the clauses of the bill, after which the following resolution was submitted to the meeting: "That in the opinion of this mass meeting of Operative Plumbers of London and district, the Plumbers' Company Registration Bill for plumbers now before the House of Commons will tend to create a monopoly in the hands of master builders and so-called sanitary engineers. Also that we consider it to be an unwarranted interference with the rights of the non-registered plumber obtaining his living at the trade of plumber by compelling him from necessity to become registered under the scheme.

Moreover we do not consider, from a practical knowledge of the conditions of the trade, that the passing of the bill will afford any additional safeguards to the public health and can but result in an increased competition in the ranks of operative plumbers, to the detriment of the trade. This meeting therefore calls upon the House of Commons to reject the bill."

The resolution was then agreed to and after some discussion the meeting terminated.

The threat from the Thames

There is no doubt that the prevention of floods in the Thames valley is very important. It is obvious, however, from what passed between Mr Ritchie and the deputation that waited on him last week that there are difficulties in the way of effective remedial measures. The Thames Conservancy appears to be unable or unwilling to take any steps in the matter; it regards itself as responsible for navigation and not for drainage.

If however, it is justified in these scruples they should be at once removed by legislation; and what is more this body should be strengthened by the addition of more representatives from the Upper Thames.