Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Patriotic Work for Women

From The Times, Thursday, 27th August, 1914.



Into the work of providing clothes and hospital comforts for our soldiers and sailors women have thrown themselves with ardour. Many have formed working parties; others have ordered things from the makers, or collected unemployed sempstresses and thus done good in two ways at once.  More might be accomplished, no doubt, in this last method, if it were easier to find unemployed sempstresses; but the Women's Local Government Society ... reminds us ... that, until the relief committees take this matter up, unemployed women and girls can always be obtained at the Labour Exchanges, and that 10s. a week and tea would be a fair wage to pay. ...

Besides clothes, there are a hundred things that would be welcomed by our soldiers and sailors, sick or sound.  Tobacco is most important (the Misses Thackeray, Lumville Hut, the Curragh, county Kildare, are appealing for tobacco, which will be sent out under the Red Cross Society); Colonel Hassard has reminded us that pipes are necessary; and Mr. Septimus Bright, 19, Dover-street, appeals to private persons and firms for pouches and other smokers’ requisites, new and old, among those old pipes which every woman is so anxious to clear out of the caches of her menfolk.

[10s. (10 shillings) translates to 50p - not a lot to live on even in 1914, and  I doubt if it was a 'fair wage', though it seems to have been a common weekly wage for women at the time. Perhaps the 'tea' made it more generous.    

Most soldiers in the trenches smoked and tobacco was one of the comforts most in demand.  The Curragh of Kildare was a huge army camp (and is still used by the Irish Army). The idea of using someone else's old pipe strikes me as moderately disgusting. ]    

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