Letter from Alexander McDowell (d. 1918), Ministry of Munitions, to E. A. Aston, inspector for the Local Government Board (LGB), Dublin, in reply to Aston's letter on 11 March 1916. McDowell states he is not aware of any distress in the Belfast area regarding female workers from the local linen industry. McDowell also states that only one Belfast firm employs women on munitions work and believes the company's recruitment process to be fair and equal.

Alexander McDowell, Esq., was the joint director of Ireland for the Ministry of Munitions.


  • Business
  • Official Documents
  • City and Town Life


Institution: National Archives of Ireland
Collection: NAI, CSORP/1916/7443/10

Citation & Contributors

Alexander McDowell. "Letter from Alexander McDowell to E. A. Aston, 17 March 1916". Letters of 1916. Schreibman, Susan, Ed. Maynooth University: 2016. Website.

The following people contributed to this letter:

  • Delmacarroll
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From: Alexander McDowell
To: EAAston
Date Sent: 17 March 1916

Subject: Letter from Alexander McDowell to E. A. Aston, 17 March 1916
Coates Buildings
Castle Street
E.A. Aston Esq.
Local Govt Board Inspector.
Dear Sir

Captain Kelly has sent me your letter of the 11th and has asked me to reply to it.

I, personally, was not aware that there was any distress here such as one would gather from your letter had been represented: but I thought it best to speak to the President of the Flax Spinners' Association as well as the Chairman of the Power Loom Weavers' Association. These two Associations represent practically the great bulk of our textile manufacturers, and they both tell me that while there may be some indiviual cases of hardship — as in a large community it is impossible at all times to avoid — they are not aware of any general state of hardship such as is suggested.

There is only one firm here, so far, employing women on munition work. The firm chose the women on their merits from a long list of applicants and the question of birth or position had I believe nothing to do with the selection. Several at least of those selected had been taking lessons elsewhere on how to use the machinery. I fear the account which has been given you is an exaggerated one.

I have not seen any advertisement for women for munitions in this part of the country, and I have not heard of anyone who has seen such an advertisement.

Yours truly
Alex McDowell