Friday, 31 October 2014

Halifax Lady Workers

From the Halifax Courier, 31 October 1914. 


To D Company, 2nd Batt. W.R. Regt., [West Riding Regiment] British Expeditionary Force: 150 shirts, 72 pairs socks, 48 scarves, 36 pairs cuffs, 48 handkerchiefs, 60 belts, 2 pairs pants, meat lozenges, cards, bootlaces, &c.

To 6th Batt. W.R.R., Captain Andrews: 144 shirts, 144 pairs socks, 132 belts, 132 helmets, 96 pairs mittens, 96 handkerchiefs.

To 6th Batt., Captain Fleming: 120 shirts, 120 pairs socks, 120 scarves, 54 pairs mittens.

To 6th Batt., Lieut. Sykes: 123 shirts, 123 pairs socks, 123 scarves, 48 pairs mittens, 17 helmets.

To Anglo-French Red Cross Society: 24 helpless shirts, 24 nightshirts, 12 bed jackets, 24 nightingales, 48 handkerchiefs, box of bandages.

Royal Halifax Infirmary: 50 bed jackets, 48 nightshirts, 24 helpless shirts, 24 triangular bandages, roller bandages, pads, bed socks, old linen.

To Nurse Fox, France, 12 helpless cases, 6 housewifs, 12 pairs bed socks, 12 scarves, 12 nightingales, 48 handkerchiefs, 12 pairs cuffs, 2 pairs slippers, tobacco, cigarettes, soap, cards.

[If all these had been produced in one week, the Mayoress's lady workers had been very busy indeed.  

The 2nd Battalion of the West Riding Regiment was part of the pre-war army, and was already in France with the British Expeditionary Force.  The 6th was a Territorial Battalion, still in training in this country for active service overseas. 

Nurse Fox was from a Halifax family, and had written a long letter published in the Courier earlier in October, about her work in France, and conditions there for nurses and wounded soldiers.  She had asked for things for the men she was looking after, especially cigarettes. The consignment to her is presumably in response to that, and perhaps further letters to her family.  The 'housewifs' may be for the nurses, rather than their patients - little sewing kits, pronounced (and sometimes spelt) 'hussifs'.  

Part of Nurse Fox's earlier letter follows.]

From the Halifax Courier, 10th October 1914 

We have had a very heavy day, and the men want a lot doing for them.  They have been in the trenches a fortnight, and come in very quiet, but soon buck up after a night or two’s rest and good food.  We caught a German spy last night near our duty room, and he is now in irons, with a guard over him.  If any one offers you anything either for the men or us, grab and address it to me quick.  If only all of you knew

"Woodbines' and sweets cheer them wonderfully.  Writing materials, papers, handkerchiefs, and things like that are needed.  When the men arrive they have lost everything except uniform.  They are good boys, and deserve all they have given.  You never hear a murmur except when the nerve has quite gone from them.  As we came along we saw a lot of French sick on a platform, and they looked famished.  We asked them if they were hungry, with the result all our grub was handed over, and we raided a Red Cross place, and got some bread and fruit. 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Bovril is British

From the Halifax Courier, 31st October 1914.


When you buy Bovril you can be sure you are getting the product of a genuine all-British, and always British company.

BOVRIL always has been BRITISH  and consequently there has been no need to make any change in the constitution or directorate of the Company SINCE THE OUTBREAK OF THE WAR.

Insist on having Bovril - British to the backbone.

[Another ad, like the earlier ones for Lyons and Jaeger, stating that a company is completely British.  The emphasis that Bovril has always been British suggests that some companies had had to ditch some foreign directors since the start of the war, so that then they could claim that they were all-British.

For overseas readers:  Bovril was, and still  is, a dark brown meat extract, sold in jars, that can be spread on bread or toast, or diluted in hot water to make a drink.]  

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Kaiser at the Milliner's

From Woman’s Own, October 24th 1914


A very interesting book has just been written by an English lady who for many years was governess to the Emperor of Germany's only daughter.  It deals, of course, with the home-life of the royal family exclusively, and gives, I think, an inimitable glimpse of the Kaiser.  He is, in his own way, a devoted husband, and one of his invariable gifts to the Empress on her birthday consists of one dozen gorgeous and glorious new hats.

Surely no man in the world but the Kaiser would be brave enough for such a deed.  And we can be sure he never hands his task over to another, just as surely as he never doubts that his task is beyond all criticism.

And poor Empress!  Men have sympathised much with each other because they have had to wear ties and socks which have been chosen by good wives and mothers and sweethearts.  But what is this compared with having to wear hats all the year round, and every year of one's life, without a chance of choice or opportunity to try them on beforehand?

I can very well imagine the Empress feeling a little depressed as her birthday comes round, and wishing that "William would give up buying hats, and let her choose for herself.”
After all, the hat is largely the making of a woman.  A woman can hardly fail to look nice if she has a neat, becoming hat, and is decently shod and gloved.  It is a little relief to turn aside from our sadness and anxieties for a short while, if possible, and think of hats.

[This seems an extraordinary article to publish when the country Is at war with Germany.  It reads as though it was written before the war, when the Kaiser was seen as part of the extended Royal family  - one of Queen Victoria's grandchildren, and so first cousin to George V.   I wonder if it was adapted from something written earlier, by the snide addition "he is, in his own way, a devoted husband". 

The article goes on to advise on the styles of hats that are in fashion, with illustrations (below).  It all seems a bit irrelevant to the war, but evidently it was what Woman's Own thought that women wanted.]

Monday, 27 October 2014

Magneto Corsets Cure Mind-Wandering

From Woman's Own, 10th October 1914.




I WANT every lady who reads this to know that she can have at once a pair of my beautiful "New Model" (Gold Medal) Magneto Corsets sent direct to her address in return for a Postal Order for 1/-

The price of my Corsets is not pounds, it is only shillings.  The price is 5/11, but I do not ask you to send me that amount.  All I ask is that you send me a Postal Order for 1/-, and by return of post I will send you a pair of my Magneto Corsets that will fit you like a glove.  It will be a red-letter day to you the day you receive the Corsets, because it will be the beginning of new life.

The joy of New Life, of New Health, and New Vigour thrills through every nerve, You feel a different woman.  Your outlook upon life is different, brighter, happier, and more hopeful.


Remember that my Magneto Corsets are Nature's Remedy for Rheumatism, Gout, Sciatica, Lumbago, Nervous Troubles, Mind-Wandering, Loss of Will Power, Involuntary Blushing, and scores of similar Ailments, and I place it in your hands, to test for yourself, for the trifling outlay of 1/-.  Does not this show that I have faith in what my Corsets can do for you?

CURES—Nervous Troubles, Mind Wandering, Involuntary Blushing, Loss of Will Power, Rheumatism, Gout, Sciatica, Lumbago.
SECURES— Beautiful, Fashionably Correct Figure, Perfect Comfort, Graceful Blending of Contour, whether full, medium, or slender figure.

[It would almost be worth wearing corsets if they could do all that for you.  'New Vigour' - I could do with some of that. But did anyone believe the ad, I wonder?]

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Heckmondwike Ladies Busy

From the Dewsbury Reporter, 24th October 1914.

Heckmondwike Ladies Busy for “Tommy” and “Jack”.

The members of the Heckmondwike Women’s Patriotic Guild Committee increase in numbers, as do the lady workers throughout the town.  Two parcels were despatched last week end, one to the British Red Cross Society, the other to the Navy League Work Depot, London.  The former contained 2 rugs, 17 bed jackets, 14 “nightingales”, 31 nightshirts, 51 pairs bed socks, 16 pairs men’s socks, 13 scarves, 11 knitted caps, 4 pairs woollen cuffs, and 1 pillow.  The parcel sent to the Navy League comprised 33 singlets, 13 mufflers, 3 pairs gloves, and 8 pairs mittens.  Twenty-five shirts have also been sent to the 5th Battalion K.O.Y.L.I. at Sandbeck Park.  Many of the young ladies attending the various Sunday Schools are working hard for “Tommy” and “Jack”.

[Another random selection of garments, of the kind that similar groups were producing all over the country.   

The 5th Battalion K.O.Y.L.I. (King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) was a Territorial battalion, and so at this point was in training in this country before going abroad in 1915.]    

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Tsar's Daughters

From Woman’s Weekly, 24th October 1914


These are the four daughters of the Tsar of Russia, and they are very busy these days making scarves and belts for their soldiers.  Every day there is a big working party at the Palace, and each Grand Duchess spends two or three hours sewing or knitting for the brave defenders of her father’s realm.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Hose-tops for Highland Regiments

From the Glasgow Herald, October 24, 1914.



The Marchioness of Tullibardine writes from London as follows:-

“May I make known through your columns that Lord Kitchener has asked me to collect 15,000 hose-tops for the men of the Highland Regiments at present serving with the Expeditionary Force?  These hose-tops are of a pattern approved by His Majesty the King, and are intended to replace those hitherto in use, as they are to be made long enough to pull over the knee in bad weather.  Though a kilt gives great warmth round the waist, those who are accustomed to wearing it in cold or damp will, I think, vouch for the disadvantages it must offer to men spending nights in wet trenches, and a chill at the knee is liable to spread upwards and chill the body.  Lord Kitchener therefore appeals to the women of Scotland to send these hose-tops to the Highland regiments by November 14.

As the time is so limited I shall be specially grateful for any donations which will enable me to place orders at once among the many fisher girls who have been deprived of their main source of livelihood by the war.

It will also be a great convenience if those who are willing to knit these hose-tops themselves will inform me without delay how many pairs they will undertake.  They are easily and quickly made, and require about 1½ (or 3 skeins) of wheeling or 2 cuts (i.e., 4 skeins) of fingering.  They should be made in khaki or in shades as near as possible to it—natural (undyed) and light heather mixtures being allowed.  Grey shades are not authorised.  ....

...I am sure that this appeal will not be made in vain to the women of Scotland and to the many who love our Scottish Highlanders on behalf of the soldiers who are representing them so gallantly on the field of battle....”

[A drawing of a hose-top appeared in Woman's Own magazine, with a knitting pattern.  I assume that the ones that Lady Tullibardine wanted were similar. 

The unemployed fisher girls have been mentioned before - here and here.]

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Socks and Shillings

From the Glasgow Herald, 23rd October 1914.

Socks and Shillings


Experience Unnecessary.

A popular song in one of the London “revues” tells us that “Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts for Soldiers.” Sister Susie as a needlewoman is not a success.  It seems that “some soldiers send epistles, say they'd sooner sleep on thistles than in the saucy, soft, short shirts for soldiers Sister Susie sews.”  Shirts, socks, knitted helmets, and the rest call for a certain amount of skill in the making, and probably the soldiers in their epistles will not confine their criticism to the handiwork of Sister Susie.  With the best intentions we cannot become experts at sewing or knitting on short notice.  Skill is required for most things connected with the conduct of the war.  Inexperience cannot direct armies, cannot shoot straight, cannot dig trenches, cannot care for the wounded.  But while inexperience may bungle nearly everything it touches, there is one thing it can do as well as the best.  It can give.  Every man who can put his hand into his pocket can serve his country in so doing.  Money has been called “the sinews of war.” It holds the national framework together.  It not only makes a great army possible; it sees that the soldier’s dependants at home are well fed and well housed.  The “Herald” Shilling Fund is an opportunity you cannot afford to miss.  Go on knitting socks by all means, but try also to spare a shilling or two.

If you cannot knit or sew, you can find the way to your pocket.  The sad stories of the war must have already convinced you of great need.  Let the hand speak for the heart.  

Among several interesting contributions appearing in our list to-day is that from the captain, officers, engineers, and others of Messrs R. Mackill and Co.’s steamship Tweeddale—770 shillings—a sailor-like recognition of the faithful watch that is being kept by their colleagues of the fighting side of our great sea service.

Subscription sheets can be had on application.

All Subscriptions should be addressed to
(National Relief Fund),
Buchanan Street,

[List of subscriptions follows, beginning: “Amount previously acknowledged  517,818½ shillings”, i.e. £25,890 18s 6d. 

The lyrics of the song quoted are below.]

Sister Susie's Sewing Shirts for Soldiers
  (Hermann E. Darewski and R.P. Weston, 1914)

Sister Susie's sewing in the kitchen on a Singer,
There's miles and miles of flannel on the floor and up the stairs,
And father says it's rotten getting mixed up in the cotton
And sitting on the needles that she leaves upon the chairs.
     And should you knock at our street door, Ma whispers "Come inside"
     Then when you ask where Susie is, she says with loving pride:

Sister Susie's sewing shirts for soldiers,  
Such skill at sewing shirts our shy young sister Susie shows!
     Some soldiers send epistles, say they'd rather sleep in thistles
     Than the saucy soft short shirts for soldiers sister Susie sews.

Lots and lots and lots of shirts she sends off to the soldiers,

But sailors won't be jealous when they see them, not at all,
And when we say her stitching will set all the soldiers itching,
She says our soldiers fight best when their backs are 'gainst the wall,
     And little brother Gussie, he who lisps when he says, "Yeth",
     Says, "Where's the cotton gone from off my kite, oh I can gueth!"

I forgot to tell you that our sister Susie's married,
And when she isn't sewing shirts, she's sewing other things,
Then little sister Molly says, "Oh Susie's bought a dolly,
She's making all the clothes for it with pretty bows and strings."
     Says Susie, "Don't be silly" as she blushes and she sighs,
     Then mother smiles and whispers with a twinkle in her eyes.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Recitals by Mr. Dickens

From The Times, October 22nd, 1914 


As already stated in The Times, Mr. H. F. Dickens, K.C., son of Charles Dickens, has undertaken to give throughout the country for the benefit of the British Red Cross Society, a series of readings from the repertory of his father.

These dramatic recitals, which are identical with those the novelist used to give, include “David Copperfield,” in six chapters, “The Christmas Carol,” “Mr. Chops the Dwarf,” “The Poor Traveller,” and the trial from “Pickwick.”  Dates have been fixed for Peterborough, Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells, and Faversham; and visits to towns nearer London are being arranged.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

More Sweaters Wanted

From The Times, 21st October 1914. 



Sir, -- Who sups with the devil must have a long spoon, and who bets with the British public should have a long purse.  But (mainly through unasked help of friends) my offer, to which you kindly gave space, holds good.

I will dye, and hand over to the proper quarter, any sweaters that your readers are good enough to send me.

Cases in point.  Two officers commanding units coming from – well, coming from far warmer climate than the Aisne – ask for sweaters in bulk for their good men who will be at the front in a fortnight’s time, and in a fortnight the weather may be really cold.  I have, of course, telegraphed “Yes.”

It is perhaps a weak point, for the moment, that I have not got the sweaters – the 2,500 sent me in answer to my request for 150 being already pledged – but I know well that your readers will send them to me.
Yours faithfully,
8, King’s Bench Walk, Inner Temple, E.C.

[This was a follow-up to John Penoyre's earlier letter in which he asked for 150 sweaters (and got 2,500 in response) and made the rash undertaking to dye as many sweaters as were sent in.]

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Amazing War Serial Continues

From Woman’s Own, 17th October 1914.

Something in the cold, sinister aspect of the cloaked figure, thrown into lurid relief by the flickering firelight, something in the imperious, arrogant tones of the voice suddenly caused Lucy Meadows to realise that she was in the presence of the Great Hun—the Kaiser William himself.

But neither fear nor dismay was written in the proud, white face of the girl. The light of indomitable courage burned in her blue, English eyes. Struggling in the cruel grip of the two Uhlan officers, she looked the Kaiser full in the face.

“Butcher of women and children—-I defy you!” she exclaimed in an exaltation of scorn and contempt.

An amazing Incident from the superb War Serial by George Edgar, Author of "The Rose Girl," which you can begin in this week's ANSWERS.

[I cannot imagine where this serial is heading.  It's only episode 2 and the heroine is already in enemy hands, not to mention meeting the Kaiser.   And by the conventions of romantic fiction, she is going to end up marrying Guy Standish, who was already wounded in episode 1.  And somehow they have to get the better of the  arch-traitor and spy, Oscar Schultz - but not the Kaiser, unless the author is planning on writing his own version of history. 

Unfortunately - I don't know.  I don't have any more ads for later episodes...  So we can't see for how much longer Lucy manages to keep her apron pristine while wandering about behind German lines.  Apologies.] 

Friday, 17 October 2014

A Thrilling War Serial

From an ad in Woman's Own, 10th October 1914


From behind the friendly shelter of the clump of trees both Lucy Meadows and Guy Standish had recognised, in the foremost of the advancing Uhlans, the figure of Oscar Schultz— the arch-traitor and spy.  He and his companions had stopped, puzzled, within forty yards of the lovers’ rude hiding-place.

Guy Standish almost permitted himself a cry of satisfaction on seeing Schultz within pistol-shot and, as he whipped out his revolver, he said, in low, tense, passionate tones:  “Now I can settle the long account between us!  He cannot escape this time!”

“For God's sake, Guy, don't shoot!”  implored Lucy.  “Think—think what would happen to me!”
There was a sudden move forward on the part of the Uhlans.

“You are right, Lucy,” said Guy in a strange, hoarse voice.  “I'll keep the two remaining bullets—one for you and the other for myself!”

A thrilling incident in the superb War Serial, "A Place in the Sun," by GEO. EDGAR, Author of “The Rose Girl”, which begins in ANSWERS this week.

[Uhlans were German cavalry. "A Place in the Sun" must have been a nerve-wracking read, if it reached such a pitch in the very first episode. An ad for the second episode will appear tomorrow. ]    

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A White Feather to the Wrong Man

From the Huddersfield Examiner, 15th October 1914


The campaign of the female patriots who go about presenting white feathers to men who had not enlisted has not been a complete success.  But it is doubtful whether any of the champions ever blundered so egregiously as did a coterie of them in Manchester.

A bluejacket now away on one of his Majesty’s ships of war writes to relatives in the northern city a restrained account of the incident, which explains itself.  His epistle is dated from H.M.S. ______, and runs:

“On Tuesday October 6th, a chum of mine visited Manchester to see some relatives, and during the afternoon of the same day, while walking down Market Street, was accosted by two supposed young ladies.  One of them asked him why he did not join the army, and he replied “I do not wish to join any army.”  Without more ado the other supposed young lady darted forward, and placed a large white feather in the buttonhole of his coat, while a minute later he found himself the centre of a laughing, giggling crowd.  This man, who is a bluejacket, was one of the survivors of the late H.M.S. Cressy.  The man to whom they had presented the ‘trophy of cowardice’ had only a few days before relinquished his hold on a spar so that a comrade who could not swim might have a chance.  This is the man who was presented with a white feather in public, a stranger in a strange town.  Do these people who carry white feathers about with them and make a practice of giving them away in this manner realise what they are doing?  Do they realise that it is the men and not the cowards who fear the white feather?  In this case a good man’s well earned leave was spoiled by the folly of the so-called white feather brigade.  As a Manchester man I think it my place to publish this, and I sincerely hope that it may catch the eye of all who witnessed the event and of the two young people who were responsible.  I hope that they will find a better way of helping their country than by ridiculing the men on whom the country depends.” 

[HMS Cressy and two other cruisers were sunk in the North Sea by a German U-boat on 20th September.  See

I think it's interesting that this episode was reported in Huddersfield, a long way from where it happened. It seems to indicate disapproval of the white feather campaign as a whole, and not just of incidents like this.]

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Minimum Wage for Women

From the Huddersfield Examiner, 14th October 1914.



A meeting of women called by the East London Federation of Suffragettes passed a resolution at the Canning Town Public Hall last night demanding “in all works subsidised by public funds” a minimum wage of 6d. an hour or £1 a week, and that the same standard should apply to all future Government contracts.

Miss Sylvia Pankhurst said she knew of two cases of Government sub-contractors who were paying their women 2½d. and 3d. an hour, and it was perfectly infamous that they should make money out of the war in such a way.  With regard to the proposed maximum payment of 10s. a week to women in workrooms supported by the Queen’s Fund, she said she would not like to see women sign on and then strike for a living wage.  “Let’s get it altered,” she exclaimed.  “I don’t mind going to gaol again if it is necessary.”

Mrs. Deppard said to give 10s. a week as a living wage and call it charity was perfectly abominable.  She thought it would have been a glorious thing if the Queen’s Work for Women Fund had started by saying “We must and shall give a living wage.”  It was absolutely impossible for a woman in London – considering the increase in the price of food – to live decently on 10s. a week.

[In the same issue of the Examiner, it was reported that the contributions to the Queen’s “Work for Women” Fund to date amounted to £72,498.  This is a remarkable amount, considering that the Fund had only been launched on 4th September, and it does seem that the Fund could well afford to  pay £1 a week.

It seems odd that almost the first step in Sylvia Pankhurst's negotiating plan is to get sent to gaol (presumably doing something illegal to warrant it first).  You would think that that should be a last resort.] 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Appeal for Mufflers

From The Times, Tuesday October 13, 1914.


Sir,—I have been requested by the authorities at the War Office to collect 250,000 mufflers as quickly as possible for the use of our troops at the front.  I shall therefore be most grateful for contributions either in money or kind towards the fulfilment of this object. The mufflers should be 2½ yards long by 12in. wide, with no fringes, and the colour of the wool should be khaki or grey.  ...

I am continuing to keep open my fund for the supply of socks and shirts, contributions to which should be sent to the depot at 54, Beauchamp-place, S.W.  ...

Might I add that I have now 90 women working for me, both at Messrs. Harrods and also in a room kindly lent me by Messrs. Tudor?  These women would otherwise be out of work owing to the war, and I am naturally anxious to obtain sufficient funds to enable me to keep them employed throughout the winter.

Yours faithfully,
The Manor House, Waltham Cross, Herts,
Oct. 10.

[Lady French was the wife of Sir John French, commanding the British Expeditionary Force. She had issued an appeal for socks and mufflers (or comforters) at the end of August (see here).   This new appeal is running in parallel with the Queen's appeal for 300,000 pairs of socks and 300,000 body belts, launched in September.  Lord Kitchener asked for the socks and body belts for the troops in France, and now the War Office is asking for mufflers for the same men - it looks a bit unco-ordinated.]

Sunday, 12 October 2014

More Old Sweaters Wanted

From The Times, 12th October 1914.



Sir,—On Tuesday last you were good enough to print my offer to dye and deliver to the proper quarter such sweaters as your readers were disposed to send me for our soldiers.  Since then it has snowed sweaters here at the rate of 200 a day.  I have been able to keep pace with the supply, but not with the demand.  And the weather will soon be really cold.  It is my earnest hope that this request of mine will do nothing to prejudice the splendid asking and giving that goes on all round.  For those who can, individually or by clubbing, a motor ambulance—but really an old sweater, a piece of brown paper, and a fourpenny stamp!

Incidentally I have learned two things this week— What our Post Office can do without warning, and the love (there is no other word deducible from the messages accompanying the snowstorm) the British public has for the British Army.

Yours faithfully,
8, King’s Bench-walk, Inner Temple, E.C.

[John Penoyre's previous letter of 6th October appears here.]

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Body-Belts by Machine

From The Observer, October 11, 1914


An instance is given of the success with which the Central Committee on Women’s Employment (Queen's Work for Women Fund) is finding work for women and girls by securing orders for failing firms.

At a West End dressmaking business, where normally 150 girls are employed, the number has been reduced by two-thirds.  When the Queen’s gift of belts and socks to the troops was announced, the young proprietress asked the committee to secure an order for her.  She was given 10,000 belts to make.

The workroom has been turned with amazing speed into a knitting factory.  The proprietress went up to Leicester and procured a guarantee for the wool; she interviewed a forewoman in one of the largest knitting factories and found out how long each belt would take to make; then she went to Manchester and bought the machines.  The sewing machines and dress stands have all been pushed into a corner of the workroom, and seven knitting machines have taken their place.  Seven more are coming, and a power machine for winding wool.  The first seven learners were already at the machines, under the guidance of a skilled instructress.  Three more were finishing off the belts.  By Monday 40 or 50 girls will be at work.

[The owner was clearly a very enterprising woman - and very persuasive.  She seems to have been given a large order for body belts before she actually had the knitting machines to make them on.] 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Concert by Clara Butt

From The Observer, 11th October 1914.



The vast audience that was present at the Albert Hall yesterday afternoon was not only a splendid response to a charitable call (the entire proceeds are to be given to the Queen's "Work for Women" Fund) but a wonderful tribute to the popularity of Mme. Clara Butt and her husband, Mr. Kennerley Rumford.  The two favourite artists were the only soloists of the afternoon, but the Royal Choral Society’s forces and the Queen's Hall Orchestra also assisted, and there were no less than half-a-dozen of the most prominent English conductors present—and actively engaged: Sir Frederick Bridge, Sir Henry Wood, Sir Frederic Cowen, Sir C. Villiers Stanford, Mr. Landon Ronald and Sir Edward Elgar, whose present duties towards his country were made clear by the notice that our foremost composer appeared by permission of the Chief Inspector of the Hampstead Special Constables.

The programme was liberally patriotic, and in addition to old favourites such as Stanford's "Drake's Drum" and Elgar's "Land of Hope and Glory," new songs by Teresa del Riego, "My Son" and by Harold Craxton, "The Home Flag," a characteristic and sincere piece of work that should meet with success, were received with enthusiasm. The unfurling of innumerable flags in Mr. Craxton's song provided a very effective moment. The concert was in every respect a brilliant success, and the sum added to the Work for Women Fund should be considerable.

[Wonderfully, you can still hear Clara Butt singing Land of Hope and Glory.]

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Sleeping Helmets for the Territorials

from the Colne Valley Guardian, 9th October 1914


In acknowledging receipt of a parcel of clothing, Captain Wilkinson, of the Marsden Company, writes to Miss France, secretary of the Marsden Church Needlework Society, from the camp at Riby:--
Dear Miss France, -- Many thanks for your letter of the 21st September.  The parcel came to hand this a.m., but I have not opened it yet.  Will you please accept my very best thanks, also the thanks of my brother officers in the Marsden Company for your kindness, and will you please convey our thanks to the ladies of the Marsden Needlework Society for their kindness.  These presents are much appreciated, I can assure you, and care will be taken in giving same out.  I may say that anything you send will be appreciated.  If I may suggest, would it be too much trouble to knit Balaclava helmets (to pull over the head) – about 120?  I am sure these would be useful, especially if we remain under canvas, and if I tell you there was a white frost this a.m. you may imagine it is not too warm during the night.  I have submitted your letter for perusal to the Commanding Officer and he wishes me to add his thanks.  All the Marsden men are fit, you will be glad to hear, and a very large number have volunteered for foreign service, along with all the officers.  Please excuse pencil, but I am writing in the field.  I can assure you we have very little spare time. – Yours faithfully,

Capt., O/c “D” Co. 7th Batt. W.R.R. [7th Battalion West Riding Regiment - the Territorial battalion from the Colne Valley]

Needless to say, the Church Needlework Society are complying with Captain Wilkinson’s requests and are very busy making more warm flannel shirts besides the sleeping helmets he asks for.  The younger ladies at the Church have taken up the helmet-making splendidly, and it is hoped that the required quantity will soon be forthcoming.  Money contributions will be gratefully accepted by Miss France or Mrs. Jim Shaw.

Ad for Ladyship Wools, October 1914.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

More Socks Needed in Brecon

Brecon County Times, 8th October 1914.


1,000 Pairs of Socks Wanted by October 29th.

Miss deWinton has now sent off 1,450 shirts from the depot and has received most grateful thanks for the last 100 sent to the 4th Battalion at Swindon.  She will be away from October 7th for two weeks.  She hopes the workers will work hard at socks.  The wool can be had direct from Messrs Williams and Son, the Priory Mills, Brecon; five socks to 1lb of wool.  Pattern for knitting will be found below.  Until Miss deWinton's return no materials will be given out from the depot.

.....Pattern for socks.-- Knit with No. 12 needles; cast on 60 stitches; knit five inches, 3 purl, 3 plain; knit 6 inches plain; with 29 stitches on each needle knit 30 rows to form heel; turn heel; length of foot, 11 inches; white heels and toes are best; wash socks with soda and soap.

[Miss de Winton (or deWinton) had set up the War Clothing Depot in Brecon, as described in an earlier post.  Here, she is coming over as a bit dictatorial.  "I'm going away for 2 weeks, but you must all keep working hard." And that is the shortest and most unhelpful pattern for socks I have ever seen. It is only any use to someone who already knows how to knit socks, and I'm not sure it makes much sense even then.]  

Monday, 6 October 2014

Old Sweaters Wanted

From The Times, Tuesday October 6th, 1914.



Sir,—Will you give me room to ask any of your readers possessing old sweaters, which they are willing to give to our soldiers, to send them to me at this address? I will have them cleaned and dyed and forwarded to the proper quarter.  Sweaters are most useful and acceptable.  One adjutant who has received 150 wants 150 more.  May I have these to send him at once?  I can deal with as many more as your readers are good enough to send me.
Yours &c.
8, King’s Bench-walk, Inner Temple, E.C.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

A Crocheted Invalid's Slipper

From Woman's Own, 3rd October 1914.

Quickly Worked Invalid's Slipper

Two and a half ounces of J. & J. Baldwin's 3-ply White Heather, Grey Wheeling, or a 4-ply Beehive Scotch Fingering.  No. 10 hook.   Work firmly throughout.

Commence with 7 ch., turn, miss the 1st chain, 1 d.c. into each of the next 5 ch., 3 d.c into the 6th ch., then work down the opposite side of the ch., making 1 d.c. into each stitch. Turn. Make 1 ch. to turn each row, and be careful not to miss the 1st stitch in each row which is directly under the hook. Always pick up the back thread nearest forefinger.

2nd row:  1 d.c. into each stitch of previous row. Work forwards and backwards, making 3 d.c. into the centre stitch of every other row until there are 42 stitches in the row.

To make a firm edge, insert the hook through both threads when working the last stitch of each row.

Now commence the side. Work d.c. into d.c. on the first 11 stitches of the front, and continue working forwards and backwards (11 stitches) for 5 ridges, then increase 1 stitch at top edge in every 5th row until you have 14 stitches.  Work 14 stitches to the row until the centre of the back is reached.  The second half of the sides is worked to correspond, decreasing at the top edge to 11 stitches in the row.  Join neatly to the front of slipper, and s.-s. on the right side of the work around the lower edge. With a coloured wool make 4 rows of s.-s. round the top edge.  When working the s.-s. do not pull the loop upward as in d.c, but draw it towards you.

Fleecy soles can be purchased for a few pence, or ⅛-inch-thick leather can be bought at a saddler's. Stand a man's slipper on a piece of felt or leather, pencil round, and cut to the pencil mark, sew a piece of flannel inside, and stitch with thick thread the crocheted slipper to the sole, putting the needle backwards and forwards closely, an eighth of an inch from the edge of the material.

Send your garments when finished to Stores Dept., British Red Cross Society, 83, Pall Mall, London, S.W., or to your local branch of the British Red Cross Society.  A list of contents should be placed outside each parcel sent.

[Do these instructions make sense?  Not to me, just reading them through, but then I haven't very much crochet experience, and they might make more sense if you were working through them. But it would make more sense still to buy professionally-made slippers for the sick and wounded. It would be hard work to sew leather soles onto a crocheted upper by hand, with ordinary sewing tools.  Amateurs would be slow, and would be likely to get poor quality results, I think.]  

Saturday, 4 October 2014

How to Buy a Hat

From Woman's Own, 3rd October 1914

The New Hat—When and How to Buy It

There are some women who can tell at a glance whether a hat is likely to suit them, and they have the happy knack of getting just what they require and never buying until they feel quite satisfied, while the great majority rush to purchase as soon as the new styles are shown, and are persuaded into buying something which is entirely unsuitable from every point of view—just for the novelty of having the "latest," which may never be worn by anyone else.

One of the most important points, though seemingly trivial, is that you should not have "just shampooed your hair " when setting out to hat-hunt. There is no more irritating thing in the world than to find the hat which looked so extremely well on your newly-washed "fluffed" hair in the shop, has an exactly opposite effect when brought home and worn again when your locks have resumed their natural smoothness.  Let two or three days elapse between your shampoo and your choice of a new hat; but let your hair be as nicely dressed as possible. If you are adopting a new style of hairdressing, do adopt it before, and not after, you try on the new hat.

Take time over your hat-buying.  Don't be rushed into buying something you inwardly feel is going to make you look a "perfect guy."  The woman who goes the whole length of a street to look at everything is wise, for it is everyone's duty to get the best value for money.  Having decided on the particular style, it is then easy to go where the best selection is offered, and a definite description can be given to the assistant as to what is required, thus saving your and the assistant's time. Every hat, remember, has to be worn in a certain way to look at its best. Ask for a hand mirror, and do not throw down a hat until you have viewed it at every angle and from the back and sides—it may be quite right full face, but others see it from another point which is equally as important.

Remember you are going to wear the hat, not your friend, nor the shop assistant, nor even the head of the department, who naturally insists that "Madame looks charming" in most of the shapes.

Never forget a hat, more than anything else, can give you the ''right" or the "wrong" feeling.  The "right" feeling, of course, is one of complete satisfaction with yourself.

[Producing a women's magazine in war-time must have been tricky, especially a fashion column.  But some writers did at least mention the war (or use some phrase such as 'at times like these').  This article is ignoring the war completely, and seems especially trivial now, since hats are no longer an essential part of a woman's outfit. I should be grateful that they aren't - clearly buying a hat was a difficult and error-prone business.]

Friday, 3 October 2014

Comforts Despatched

From the Glasgow Herald, 3rd October 1914.


Up till yesterday the  Renfrewshire Territorial Force Association and the Renfrewshire branch of the British Red Cross Society had despatched from the headquarters in Paisley the following articles for the use of combatants and wounded soldiers:-- 1169 day shirts, 5327 pairs of socks, 20 cardigans, 147 helmets, 82 mufflers, 34 pairs wristlets, 67 cholera belts, 24 blankets to Provost Robertson’s Fund; 2 consignments of articles to Mrs Bost’s Belgian Relief Fund; 822 nightshirts, 45 pyjama suits, 418 nightingales, 263 bed jackets, 287 pairs bed socks, 241 pillow slips, 353 hospital semmits, 4 dressing gowns, 108 pairs bedroom slippers, 110 hot water bottle covers, 172 towels, 6 mattresses, 6 bolsters, 6 pillows. 34 pairs blankets, 4 kit-bags (full), bandages, handkerchiefs, and magazines, etc.   

[I have seen similar lists in other newspapers;  groups all over the UK were busy making or buying the same kind of articles for men on active service and the sick and wounded - not forgetting the Belgian refugees.   And naturally the groups wanted to publicise their work through the newspapers - I'm sure they were proud of their efforts and wanted to encourage others to join in.  

 But the apparently random quantities of the various garments, makes the whole enterprise seem  unplanned.  When Lord Kitchener asks for 300,000 pairs of socks, that sounds like a plan.  But 1169 shirts, 5327 pairs of socks, 20 cardigans, etc., sounds as though lots of volunteers have been making things they fancied making, and that's the result.  What use would 20 cardigans be among a whole battalion of men?  You would think that the Territorial battalions would ask for specific quantities of items that are needed, and then the Territorial Force Association would attempt to supply those quantities, but that doesn't seem to be happening.]   

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Instructions for Body Belts

From the North Wales Chronicle, 2nd October 1914.

(To the Editor).
Sir.—I should be much obliged if you would be so good as to insert this letter and enclosure in the Pioneer.  We have all seen the appeal made by the Queen to forward Lord Kitchener's request for 300,000 woven or knitted belts for the men on active service.  Many women are wishing to set to work at once or to employ and pay women in need of work in making them.  The following is a copy of the officially approved receipt for knitted belts. It gives 3 different sizes.—Yours. etc.,
Chessington, Surrey.


Width of belt at edges when folded and length:
Size I.      Size II.      Size III.
9 ins. wide    10 ins. wide     11 ins. wide
12 ins. long  12½ ins. long   13 ins. long

Needles: Nos. 16 and 10 (four needles of each).
Worsted: 4-ply fingering.  Amount required, 2 to 3 ounces.
Colour: Natural shades.
Size I. : -- With No. 16 needles cast on 234 stitches, knit 1 plain, 1 purl, for 3 inches.  Now with No. 10 needles, knit 1 plain, 1 purl, for 6 inches.  Now again take No. 16 needles and knit 1, purl 1, for 3 inches.
Size II. :-- With No 16 needles cast on 260 stitches, knit 1 plain, 1 purl, for 3 inches.  Now take No. 10 needles and knit l plain, 1 purl, for  6 ½ inches. Now again take No. 16 needles and knit 1 plain. 1 purl, for 3 inches.
Size III. :—With No. 16 needles cast on 286 stitches, knit 1 plain, 1 purl, for 3 inches. Now take No. 10 needles, knit 1 plain, 1 purl, for 7 inches. Now again take No. 16 needles and knit 1 plain, 1 purl, for 3 inches.
The size to be marked on each belt. All parcels to be marked “Woollen Belts," and addressed to the Lady in Waiting to the Queen, Devonshire House, Picadilly, London.

[In spite of the Surrey address, Alice Douglas-Pennant was the daughter of Lord Penrhyn, of Penrhyn Castle in North Wales (now owned by the National Trust).  I imagine you were supposed to know that.  Perhaps she had sent the same letter  to several newspapers, hence the reference to the Pioneer.

The body belts instructions are extremely long-winded, but at least they give any knitter a very clear idea of what's required.  The sizes are astonishingly small - the same sizes were specified for woven belts, which would not stretch very much.  Even if they were very close-fitting, they would have to be worm by very slender men.]

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Brecon War Clothing Depot

Flashback to August and a notice in The Brecon & Radnor Express:


Sir,—At the request of Lord Glanusk [Lord Lieutenant of Breconshire] I have undertaken to organise a War Clothing Depot at Brecon to receive, store, and distribute all shirts and socks to our soldiers on active service, also hospital garments, nightshirts, bed jackets, etc.  ...

I am preparing paper patterns of shirts, night shirts, bed jackets, pants, sleeping suits, etc.  Any local committees or individuals can apply to me for them.  I am also buying wholesale large quantities of flannel, etc.  The County War Fund Committee has entrusted me with Funds for this purpose. I propose supplying materials to local committees free of cost.  I can give information and supply wool for socks and patterns for making them.  I suggest local committees should begin with making socks as the materials for other things cannot be in stock for a few days.  Hand-knitted socks are of immense use.

All garments made of materials from the depot must be returned to the depot. Red Cross Detachment hospitals will receive grants of suitable garments on mobilisation....

I hope to be able to complete all requests for materials shortly.  I shall gratefully receive into the depot any suitable garments made by persons buying their own materials.

.. — Yours truly,
Aug. 11th, 1914, Tymawr, Brecon.

[When the Territorial Force was set up in 1908, County Territorial Associations were set up at the same time, to maintain drill halls etc. and provide the Territorials with equipment.  (Information from Richard Holmes's book,Tommy).   I'm not sure whether this included uniforms, or whether it continued after the start of the war. The Lord Lieutenant of a county was president of the County Association, and Lord Glenusk seems to have felt a responsibility to provide or supplement the clothing of the local Territorial battalions.  I have not come across any similar arrangement in other counties.]

From the Brecon County Times, 17th September 1914.

Miss deWinton has sent in all to Lord Glanusk 300 khaki shirts and 200 pairs of socks and to Colonel Stuart Morgan [commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion South Wales Borderers] 250 grey shirts, and has received letters of thanks from both commanding officers.  Lord Glanusk writes: ''The Battalion are deeply grateful and I think they all appreciate what the ladies of the county are doing for us."
Colonel Morgan says: "Thank you very much for sending such a splendid present of shirts.  They are much needed, as the men have had only one shirt and many only the one they arrived in, their own, but I have had no complaints.  If you have any socks they will be very acceptable."...

From the Brecon County Times, 24th September 1914.

Miss deWinton has sent since last week 150 khaki shirts to Lord Glanusk, 200 pairs of socks to Col. Stuart Morgan, and 200 grey shirts to Col. C. S. Trower, for the 5th Battalion S.W.B. [South Wales Borderers], now in training at Tidworth.  This Battalion were in great need of flannel shirts.
Col. Trower has written the following letter of thanks :— “Will you please convey to the War Fund Committee our most grateful thanks for the generous gift of 100 shirts.  Your 100 shirts will be of the greatest use to that number of men. [Well, obviously.]  I will buy the other 100 shirts.  I feel something must be done to ensure each man having at least one shirt."
Miss deWinton thinks it will be of interest to workers and kind donors of shirts to know that 1,000 shirts have now been sent to the different Battalions of the S.W.B.

[There seems to be a mistake in this report - it says that Miss deWinton sent Col. Trower 200 shirts, but he only seems to have received 100.

From these last two report, there seems to have been a fairly desperate shortage of shirts in the Territorial battalions served by the Depot, and getting volunteers to make them doesn't seem an efficient way of providing them in large numbers, as pointed out in an earlier post here.]

The Brecon & Radnor Express, 1st October 1914.

War Clothing Depot.


Miss deWinton has now sent away 1,250 shirts and has sufficient shirts and other garments.  It is proposed to send 1,000 pairs of socks to the Queen towards the 300,000 pairs asked for by Lord Kitchener, and it is hoped all will do their best to send good thick socks suitable for marching.  These should all reach the Depot on or before October 29th.  Applications for wool must be made before October 7th as Miss deWinton will be away for two weeks from that date.  Five socks should be made from 1 lb. of wool.  Flannel for vests can be supplied for working parties. 

Miss deWinton will be at the Depot on Friday 2nd, Monday 5th.  Socks should be 14 ins. long in leg, and not less than 11 ins. in the foot.

[I think Miss deWinton should learn to delegate.  No-one else can hand out wool and flannel from the Depot, so she has to tell everyone via the newspapers when she's going away.]