Friday, 7 September 2018

Missions to Seamen

From the North Wales Chronicle, 6th September 1918.


The annual report for the North Wales Station of the Missions to Seamen, just issued, states that the past year has been full of interest, and not the most confirmed "grouser" could complain of monotony or lack of opportunity.  Both at Bangor and Holyhead the work presented many new problems.

At Bangor the work on the T.S. [Training Ship] "Clio" had gone on under the happiest conditions, and the chaplain (Rev. C. W. Barlow) states that the ship has provided him with many a happy hour and oft-times proved a veritable tonic.  To meet an unusual demand, a Sailors' Club has been established in Bangor, under the auspices of the Missions.  The club is housed in a building admirably adapted for the purpose and lent rent free by the Dean and his committee, while for the usual accessories they thanked willing and generous friends.  All the men on the mine-sweepers were supplied with woollen comforts by the Bangor Women's Patriotic Guild.

Holyhead had provided much scope for, as the naval base grew, so the work of the chaplain (now appointed by the Admiralty as hon. naval chaplain) increased in like ratio.  It had been made possible by friends of the Missions to meet several of the more pressing material needs of the sailors, and, during the Christmas period, some seven to eight hundred warm articles were distributed to them, as well as some sixty plum-puddings.  In addition, a circulating library of five hundred to six hundred books had been established, and a number of gramophones loaned out to the ships in turn. The Stanley Sailors' Home at Holyhead had proved a great boon to many a sailor whose ship had been torpedoed.  It was not allowable to state the number of men cared for there; but, when the time came that such information could be made public, it would be seen that the Home had played no mean part in helping those who were in distress through the perils of sea and of war.  The Stanley Sailors' Hospital had also provided many opportunities for ministering to the needs of the sailors.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Farming Scholarships for Women

From the Essex Newsman, 25th August 1918.

Free Farming Scholarships for Women.

The Board of Agriculture are offering 10 free scholarships for women, tenable at the Midland Agricultural College, Kingston, Derby, for a combined practical and theoretical course in farming of about 22 weeks’ duration, to commence early in October.  The scholarships will cover cost of maintenance and tuition; preference will be given to candidates over 21 years of age suitable for the positions of fore-women, under bailiffs, instructresses, etc.  Only women who have had considerable practical experience on the land, and will undertake agricultural work for the duration of the war, will be eligible.

[I wonder what happened to the women who were awarded these scholarships when the war ended?]

Monday, 20 August 2018

Eating Corn

From the Illustrated London News, 10th August 1918. 


An excellent idea was that of inviting the children in many schools in England to write letters in their own words to the American Food Controller, Mr. Hoover, expressing their gratitude for the self-denial of the American nation by which we are being comfortably fed.  As President Wilson finely puts it: "America is eating at a common table with her Allies."  Under no compulsion, in millions of households in the United States, as well as in hotels and clubs, days of abstinence are, and have been for several months past, voluntarily observed, in order that the wheat and the beef and the pork done without on those days may come to save us and our Continental Allies from want.  Every school-child should at least be told clearly about this mighty effort of loving comrade-ship and self-denial.  It should weave a tie between us and our sister nation across the Atlantic for all time.

The American housewives use a great deal of maize meal, which is over there called distinctively "corn."  On their "wheatless days " for their Allies' benefit, it will be "corn bread" that will replace the more costly grain that they are saving to give to us.  We ought to try to make more use of maize ourselves. It will not make good loaves unless mixed in about equal parts with wheaten flour; alone, it is made up, usually mixed with sour milk and carbonate of soda, into flat cakes (especially griddle cakes, to eat hot), rolls. "gems," etc.  For corn loaves, this recipe is given me by an American lady, who tells me that she practically lived upon it for seven months, gaining in weight and strength, in a cottage deep in the great American woods: Two-thirds wheat flour to one-third corn meal finely ground.  Sift the corn meal, and boil it for seven hours (if slightly burned it does not matter); add salt to taste; knead in the wheat flour to a stiff consistence, and bake in large loaves in a slow oven.  This, she says, is very sweet, and keeps well.  The State Chemist of Massachusetts found that maize cannot be thoroughly digested and utilised in the human system unless it is cooked slowly for several hours.

[The recipe for corn loaves sounds very strange - boil for 7 hours. "If slightly burned it does not matter" - but it could very easily be a lot more than slightly burned after 7 hours' cooking.]

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Wartime Cookery Hints

From the Brecon County Times, 8th August 1918.



The chief objection to fish for the busy housewife is that it is such a trouble to cook.  Frying fish not only takes a great deal of the now very precious fat, but it takes time, and unless all the members of the family are in to dinner together, it soon spoils.  Baked fish is quite as tasty as fried fish, and far less trouble, and it can be put on one of the top oven shelves while cakes or pastry are being cooked below.  Well grease a baking tin, or better still, a fireproof dish.  Cut the fish into slices about one and a half inch thick, wash, and dry them in a cloth, dust over with fine oatmeal, and place them in the tin or dish. Sprinkle on them a mixture of pepper and salt and dried herbs, and, if possible, a squeeze or two of lemon juice. A few mushrooms or tomatoes or cooked potatoes may be put in with them.  Bake till the fish is nicely browned and serve with a thick white sauce.

This is an excellent way of using up cold mutton, a rather insipid dish at the best of times. Boil till well cooked two ounces of rice, mix into it, in a basin, half a pound of minced cold mutton, two small onions minced or finely chopped, a pinch of mixed herbs, a teaspoonful of celery salt, pepper and salt to taste, and enough milk or water in which the rice was boiled, to make it moist.  A chopped tomato or two or a few chopped mushrooms all add to the flavour. Shape into cutlets. Flour with oatmeal or rice flour, put into a well-greased pie or baking dish, and bake until a light brown colour.  If a gas stove is available the cutlets can be browned under the grill burner, or they may be fried in a frying-pan if the oven is not being used.  Cauliflower with white sauce and fried new potatoes are good accompaniments to this dish.

The allotment or garden ought to be supplying plenty of cauliflowers just now, and as these can be used in so many different ways, delicious dishes can be made at little cost which will largely save the meat bill.  One of the many tasty dishes is cauliflower mould, made as follows:  Cook in a fairly large sauce-pan one cupful of breadcrumbs and one cupful of milk, and stir over the fire until they thicken.  Add two cupfuls of cooked cauliflower, broken up into small pieces, and a tiny piece of margarine.  When the margarine is melted, take off the fire, add pepper and salt and the yolk of a well-beaten egg.  Then whip the white of the egg to a stiff froth and stir it in lightly.  Rinse out a basin, piedish, or mould, then grease with a little fat and dust over with breadcrumbs or oatmeal, and pour the cauliflower mixture in. Bake in a moderate oven till it has swelled and feels firm.  Turn out on a hot dish with sprigs of parsley round it.  If preferred, fried mushrooms may be served with it, or a thick brown gravy.  Boiled mashed potatoes, rather highly seasoned, are very good.

During the hot days of summer a nice attractive pudding appeals much more to most people than hot joints, and several puddings of this kind on the dinner-table will often be enjoyed much more and do much more good than the usual meat and pudding course.  Many kinds of puddings can be made with pearl sago or crushed tapioca.  This is a way in which any little scrap of left-over stewed fruit be used to advantage.  If the ball tapioca is used, it should be soaked overnight, but with the pearl sago or the crushed tapioca, this need not be done.
If there is no fruit to use, stew gently one pound of gooseberries or currants with enough sugar to sweeten, till it is nicely soft and pulpy but not overcooked. Boil the sago till it is transparent, then mix in with the fruit. Stir them well together, and, if liked, add a few drops of vanilla flavouring. Boil all together gently for a quarter of an hour.  Rinse out a mould in cold water and pour in the mixture. Allow it to stand overnight, and when turned out it should be a firm, nice-looking jelly.  Custard may be served with it.

The jams that attract us most to-day are those which require the least sugar.  As so much of the usual fruit this year is absent, a good many housewives will have to make up with any kind that can be obtained. Rhubarb is grown in most gardens and allotments, or it can be bought fairly cheaply from the greengrocer's. Cut into two-inch lengths as much rhubarb as is required for the jam, and allow for every pound of fruit four ounces of sugar and a quarter teaspoonful of ground ginger.  A good plan is to cover the rhubarb with the sugar the night before. Put the fruit mixture either into a double saucepan or into a stone jar, and place this in a saucepan kept three-quarters full of boiling water.  The jam will need to be stirred very little, though the scum must be removed from the top as it rises.  It will take some time to cook thoroughly, though lengthy cooking will help to make the jam all the sweeter.
Another economical rhubarb jam can be made by allowing four and a half pounds of sugar to every six pounds of cut rhubarb and one ounce of whole bruised ginger, with the rind of a large lemon cut very thinly.  Place in a preserving-pan and bring to the boil.  Boil gently till it sets nicely.  Before putting into pots, the pieces of ginger and lemon-peel must be taken out, or there will be some rather unpleasant mouthfuls.  This jam is also excellent eaten with cold meat as a pickle.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Feeding Tommy

From Woman’s Weekly, 3rd August 1918.


All About the Work and Pay of the Girl Who Joins under the Navy and Army Canteen Board.

HERE I am home again after a year's war work.  I have just got my seven days’ leave.  I have had—oh, such an interesting time!  I am so glad I joined up under the Navy and Army Canteen Board and am one of those helping to feed Tommy.  Of course, I know my other girl friends in different corps are doing splendid work, but I always think “comparisons are odious,” and as long as we are engaged on war work that is the chief point.  We are not all stouthearted enough for hospital work, or physically fit for the land; but my work is all right for a girl who has just ordinary health and strength, and there is no sad side to it.

We all like wearing uniform.  It is so nice not to have to trouble about thinking “What shall I wear?”  Indoors we wear khaki overalls and little “Sister Dora” caps.  For outdoors we wear a tunic or coat of khaki, buttoned up at the throat like the soldier’s tunic.  I go on duty at 7.30 a.m., and I go off at 9.30 p.m., and there is no time wasted changing frocks at all.

During the afternoon I get two hours’ leave, and once a week I get a half day off, and I can assure you I manage to have a fine time then.

NOW I am sure you want to hear just what my work is.  I suppose it is because I am a woman that I start by telling you about mv frock—I beg its pardon, I mean my uniform—and then about my holidays.  Well, I am cooking.  This Board only started just over a year ago.  Now we are 8,000 workers, all women, and we have about 2,000 canteens.  We are for home service only, and wo do not have to bind ourselves for any special period of time.  If you are accepted as a worker by the Canteen Board, you have your uniform given you, and then, according to what work you are going to do, you are either sent to a school to train or else you go direct to your job.  The cooks and manageresses are trained, but the waitresses are untrained.  The Board will only take women who have had experience as the two former.  Fortunately for me, I have had a good bit of experience in cooking.  Mother always said every woman should know how to.  I spent a month (that is the training period) at one of the two schools in London.  There are several in the provinces as well.  Here we learnt, first, all about canteen cooking.  It means often working on a large scale, and frequently at great speed, for at busy times it just seems as if the whole British Army came tumbling into the canteen all at once, and, of course, everyone wanted to be served immediately.  Sometimes I wish some of the girls in the London tea-rooms could see how we serve our customers.  I always have coffee ready and plenty of hot water for tea.

Ours is cooking of light refreshments only.  Our light suppers are our strong point.  Thank goodness we dispense unrationed food only, so we have no brain trouble over whole or half coupons.  We have to be very economical, and no waste is allowed.  Woe betide you if an inspector came along and found waste in your canteen.

We cooks sometimes turn out new recipes—war-time economy ones.  It is quite wonderful what one can do with even the present-day food if trouble is taken.

WE live either in hostels or in quarters behind the canteen.  Where I have been for some months we are at the canteen.  I cook for the other girls, and I get plenty of teasing over my “war recipes.”  Once a new recipe fell flat, and the result was we were rather supperless that night and had to content ourselves with bread; and, of course, it was all over the camp next day, and now they all call me “the chef.”  I just love my work, and I like to think out a nice, new little supper dish for the men.  I have a specially warm spot in my heart for the men just called up, and who have only just left their comfortable homes and perhaps a pretty little wife and children.  It must take some time for them to really get used to their new life. The girls who wait tell me they like their work so much, but I always think mine is more important. The manageress keeps all the accounts, and is responsible for the “housekeeping” for our large family.  It is necessary in such a big undertaking to have “red tape,” but it is not drawn too tightly, and we all like the life and the work very much.

Our pay is quite good.  We none of us wish for a fancy wage.  Our board and lodging is provided, and our pay is according to the work we do.  No girl is taken under eighteen.  There is no other age limit except for the manageresses; they are not taken over forty-five.  A reduction is, of course, made from our pay to cover our keep, as is the rule with all forms of war work.

THE Navy and Army Canteen Board have quite a large welfare side, so the comfort and care of the workers is well looked after.  They are suitably housed, well fed, and there is no side of their welfare that is neglected; but them is no undue restraint.  No father or mother need fear their girls joining up, although the work is situated in our camps all over the country.

I am in a camp “somewhere in England” just a few miles from one of our delightful old cathedral towns.

If you want to come and work for Tommy, too, send in your name to the
Navy and Army Canteen Board,
Imperial Court, Knightsbridge,
or go to your nearest Employment Bureau.

Saturday, 4 August 2018


From the Illustrated London News, 27th July 1918.


Corsets are a necessity!  Yes, the fact is proclaimed by the Ministry of Munitions!  They have decided to release no less than fifteen hundred tons of steel to make busks, as it has been proved to the satisfaction of the august authorities that women cannot work properly at munitions unless they may have corsets. 

As far as the girls are concerned who have been brought up to encircle their bodies with a stiff support, this is probably quite true.  If a little girl be put into corsets, and brought up continuously so confined, the muscles that should support her upright form will actually never be developed.  I know a girl who was brought up without ever wearing any sort of stays; she has a beautiful figure, and remarkable health; she has often set out from the family home in Surrey and walked twenty-five miles to breakfast with her father at his London chambers; she holds the N.S.A. official certificate of having swum a mile without one stop, and so on.  This young woman simply cannot now wear corsets, even occasionally, because her naturally developed muscles, like those of the Venus of Milo with her twenty-seven-inch waist, fight with the steel and whalebone, and finally, after a painful contest, make bulges here and there in the stiff, straight garment! 

If the women of the future are—as there is reason to expect—to work hard for a living, they had better be brought up to rely on their own natural perfect development rather than on steel-and-whalebone-stiffened garments.  The present fashion in costume, hanging chiefly from the shoulders and made all in one piece--coat-frocks, one-piece robes, jumpers—does not in the least need corsets; and if this fashion could be maintained, and the next generation of girls brought up without artificial support—as surely Nature intended—they would never need any such thing, and would be enormously the stronger in physique and the healthier in function therefore.  But the women of the present day, for the most part, were not so brought up— hence fifteen hundred tons of good steel have to be spared from making shells to brace up their undeveloped forms.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Equal Pay for Equal Work

From the Illustrated London News, 27th July 1918.


"EQUAL pay for equal work" is one of the standing mottoes on the "feminist" banner, and the concrete demand is now being urged by the must compact and distinctive body of women workers that we have—namely, the women public elementary school teachers.  The men teachers do not want the women to have it; in their trades union, of which both sexes may be members, the men teachers have proved strong enough to veto the demand of the women for equal pay, so far as their opinion counts.  It is not easy to see why they should thus object.  The wiser trades unionists generally perceive that a great check on the employment of women is to demand that they shall always receive equal pay with men.  The passing of the Education Bill in the House of Commons was then made an opportunity to urge this principle upon Parliament, but it was there rejected.  No valid argument was offered against the proposition; but the Minister in charge of the Bill urged that, before ordering local education authorities to give what would amount to a considerable rise in the salaries of women, the Government itself must show the way—the women Civil Servants must first be given equal pay for equal work with the men.  Finally, the London County Council was approached by the women teachers in its employ with a large petition for a rise in the women's salaries so as to make them equal with those of male teachers.  The County Council have refused the request, on a Committee's report that the women assistant teachers in the London schools get an average salary of just under £200. with provision for an annuity at a certain age of £128.  Moreover, they add, there are posts available for one in every ten of the women teachers carrying salaries ranging from £300 to £450 a
year. The Council observe that "there is no other occupation employing nearly 12,000 women at anything like such rates of payment," which is certainly perfectly true.  And as these salaries are wholly provided from the rates and taxes—which have to be contributed to by the single working women with salaries smaller by far than those of teachers, and by middle-class parents who are also bearing the cost of the education of their own families themselves—it is praiseworthy for a public body to stand firm against all unreasonable demands for rises in the pay of their employees, both men and women.

I know of but one valid argument against "equal pay for equal work," and that is that the salary or wage of a man has to be based upon the assumption that he will marry and maintain a home.  His money, you see, must suffice to cover the maintenance of a woman and children.  To make this a fair argument, the men who do not actually undertake to "raise" a family ought to be taxed extra for the benefit of the women whom they have not married—the poor elderly spinsters!  There is one instance of a man seeing this for himself.  After the great San Francisco earthquake, in which thousands of women lost all their possessions by fire, a wealthy bachelor of the State voluntarily taxed himself a very large sum to supply a complete new wardrobe to several hundred women, giving as his reason for this novel benefaction that he felt himself responsible to society for the fact that he had never provided for a wife and daughters of his own.