Saturday, 29 November 2014

How to Knit Sock Heels

From the Manchester Courier, 28th November 1914. 


Now that most of us are spending the winter evenings knitting comforts  for our gallant soldiers who are fighting for us on the Continent, it may be useful to give a few hints on the gusset heel which is recommended to stocking knitters by an expert, because it is not a blistering pattern, and is eminently suitable for men on the march.  To make the gusset heel:

Divide the stitches in half, leave one half on two needles for front of foot, with the other half knit 3 inches for back of heel, one row plain and one purl alternately, remembering to slip the first stitch of each row.  Now in plain row, if you have 36 stitches, knit 21 (i.e., 3 more than half), slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over, knit 1, turn, slip 1, purl 7, purl 2 together, purl 1, turn.  Slip 1, knit 8, slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over, knit 1, turn.  Slip 1, purl 9, purl 2 together, purl 1, turn.

Continue thus, taking 2 fresh stitches each time, till you have used all the stitches, pick up the side stitches, and knit the foot as usual.

All wool should be scalded with boiling water before winding, to remove the loose dye and shrink the wool.  Do not knit a seam stitch.  Do not make knots, knots make blisters; to join on fresh yarn lay the two ends together and knit four or five stitches with double yarn.

[Another terse and obscure set of sock-knitting instructions.  I've been trying to visualise how the heel works, but it's hard to do without actually knitting it - and I don't know what 'pick up side stitches' means.  Where from? How many?  What do you do next?  But if you were an experienced sock knitter, who would know how to 'knit the foot as usual', perhaps it would make sense.  

The recommendation to scald wool before starting to knit is interesting - if it was essential to do that, why didn't the spinners do it?  It would be much easier to add an extra step onto the manufacturing process than to oblige every knitter to do it themselves.]   

Friday, 28 November 2014

Princess Mary’s Gift Book

From the Dewsbury Reporter, 28th November 1914.


There has just been published at 2s 6d a very entertaining volume, proceeds on the sale of which will be given to the Queen’s Work for Women Fund.  Its literary contributors include Sir J. M. Barrie, who writes “A Holiday in Bed”, George Birmingham, Sir A. Conan Doyle, Mr A. E. W. Mason, and Mr. Rudyard Kipling (with a poem, “Big Steamers”).  The frontispiece is a capital reproduction of Mr. Shannon’s portrait of Princess Mary, and other illustrations (many in colour) are by such well known men as Messrs. C. E. Brook, C. N. Henry, Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Norman Wilkinson, Joseph Simpson, and Claude Shepperson.  Several charity volumes appear annually in aid of worthy causes, but it may be safely said that in this case the combination of talent will make the book as memorable as the situation that has called it forth.

[The Gift Book was aimed at the Christmas market, I think.  An earlier report on its printing had appeared in The Observer on  November 15th, 1914:]

The demand for “Princess Mary's Gift Book” is so great that the printers are working night and day on the first enormous edition.  As some evidence of the interest taken by the bookselling trade in “Princess Mary's Gift Book” it may be mentioned that Messrs. W. H. Smith and Son have placed a first order for a minimum of 60,000 copies (one of the largest first orders ever given for a book), while Messrs. Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent and Co.'s first order is for minimum of 25,000 copies.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Get Your Eyes Tested

From the Morpeth Herald and Reporter, 27th November 1914. 


 During the War - Most people are doing some sewing or knitting for the comfort of our brave soldiers fighting in the trenches this cold weather.  Those who find the work tedious or causing headache should call any Wednesday, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.,  on J. W. Platten, D.B.O.A., London, Sight Testing Specialist, of 67, Beach Avenue, Whitley Bay, 100, Newgate Street, Morpeth.  Sight Testing FREE.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Work Amongst the Women

From the Huddersfield Examiner, 26th November, 1914

[Extracts from a much longer article.]



...The members of the Huddersfield and District Women’s Committee for the Sick and Wounded Soldiers and Sailors arranged to be “at home” at the Parochial Hall on Tuesday and again to-day.  At the first of the series of four “At Homes” which took place on Tuesday afternoon, the Mayoress (who is president of the Women’s Committee) presided over a very large gathering of ladies. .....

Mrs. Demetriadi read the report [of the work of the Committee].... She invited all present to inspect the work rooms below, particularly the Belgian refugee clothing room, where a capable lot of workers, under the supervision of Mrs. Crowther and Miss Willans, had done an enormous amount of work.  From that room more than 320 Belgian refugees now in Huddersfield had been clothed.....
In the main rooms an enormous number of garments had been cut out, despatched to the various work centres, and returned made up.  Mrs. Marshall and Mrs. Guy Crosland had cut out and arranged the work, and Mrs. Kaye had searched Huddersfield over in buying wool for socks, mittens, etc.
Goods had been sent all over the British Isles, to the army in France, to the navy, and to all the Red Cross societies, British, French, and Belgian, and to the St. John Ambulance Society.  She hoped that many ladies would undertake to knit jerseys, for which Lady Jellicoe had appealed on behalf of the men in the navy....  
The committee hoped that the energies of the ladies would not be relaxed.  The women could not fight, but they could see that the men were well provided with the necessities of life, to prevent as much as possible death from pneumonia, exposure, and cold.

Miss Hickson [reported on] the work of the Needlework Guild Sub-committee. She stated that forty districts, extending as far as Holmfirth, Marsden, and Delph, were working in conjunction with the guild, and material for making garments had been distributed amongst 400 individual workers. Very valuable assistance had been given to the committee by several clothing firms, whose employees had cut out the garments. Gifts averaged about 1,000 weekly. Difficulty had been experienced in obtaining knitting wool, and the only way of obtaining sufficiently large quantities had been by ordering direct from wholesale firms. All flannel, etc., and as much wool as possible, had been bought from local tradespeople.  The needlework depot had been opened as a receiving and forwarding agency for the front and the Navy, and in connection with that department a sixpenny fund had been started in order to buy wool for mufflers and mittens for the soldiers and sailors.  The total number of articles sent away was 22,644, consisting of 6,650 bandages, 3,519 pairs of socks, 2,292 flannel shirts, 202 mufflers, 261 dressing gowns, also bed-jackets, helmets, mittens, etc., but such things as cigarettes, writing paper, postcards, etc., were not included in the figure.....  The Needlework Committee was still working as enthusiastically as ever, and was prepared to continue as long as there was need, and they hoped to receive the same generous support as in the past.

Miss Willans read the report of the Belgian Refugee Clothing Committee... Parcels of all sizes and descriptions had poured in containing a tremendous assortment of clothing of every description, from a baby’s cap to the contents of the lockers of a large golf club.  Splendid gifts of cloth had been received from various manufacturers, as well as special articles of clothing, boots, etc., from manufacturers and various shops in the town.  The contents of the parcels had either been given away to the refugees in the town or sent away.  Altogether twelve consignments of clothing and two rolls of cloth, amounting to 8,224 garments, had been sent away either to the central depot in London or to other towns....

Mrs. Cooper read a report stating that on the mobilisation of the 5th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment the wives and relatives of the officers decided to raise funds to provide underclothing for the non-commissioned officers and men of the battalion.  A committee was formed to carry out the work from the recruiting area, viz., Huddersfield, Mirfield, Kirkburton, Shepley, Holmfirth, and Meltham...
The committee has already dispatched 1,299 flannel shirts, 1,495 pairs of woollen socks, 1,007 pairs of canvas shoes, and various articles, viz., helmets, towels, body-belts, scarves, mittens, etc.  There was another consignment at the Drill Hall ready to be forwarded, consisting of 1,117 flannel shirts, 1,106 pairs of woollen socks, and various other articles...

Afternoon tea was kindly given by Mrs. F. W. Sykes, and the decorations of the hall were provided by the lady members of the Lindley Golf Club, who have also sent 240 garments to Lady Jellicoe for the use of the men in the Navy. Miss Nancy Dyson, in costume, recited a topical composition by Mr. Arnold W. Sykes, entitled “For the boys at the front.”  The ladies were also “At Home” in the evening.

[The Women's Committee had evidently expanded the scope of their work from Sick and Wounded Soldiers and Sailors to include sailors at sea, soldiers at the front, soldiers in training (the Territorials), and Belgian refugees.]   

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Comforts for the Seaforth Highlanders

From the Perthshire Advertiser, 25th November 1914. 


The Work Committee of the Seaforth Highlanders' Association, of which Mrs Pelham Burn is President, have despatched during the past two months the following comforts to the men in France:— 5000 tins of tobacco, 4500 pipes, 40,000 cigarettes, 3740 pairs of socks, 1380 shirts, 1083 pairs of mittens, 209 mufflers, 541 under-vests, 717 belts, 500 handkerchiefs, 295 helmets, 720 cardigans and jerseys, 2000 towels, and a large supply of chocolate, sweets, Butter Scotch, boric powder, vaseline, soap, notepaper, writing tablets, safety lighters, matches, and dubbin.

The following letter has been received from an officer acknowledging the gifts sent:—"Consignments of pipes, tobacco, socks with presents have arrived lately but we have been so busy fighting that I fear it is impossible to have let you know of each consignment as it has arrived, but from the number I think all must have come.  I cannot tell you how deeply grateful the men are for these comforts and for the knowledge that those at home are thinking of them; on behalf of them all I beg to thank you and all the workers who have so generously contributed and worked their thoughts and well wishes for us all so labouriously with their knitting and sewing needles.--Yours, etc. (Signed) E. CAMPION for O.C. 2nd Seaforths.

Mrs Pelham Burn is very grateful to the many friends who have already so generously sent her donations in cash and quantities of clothing, but the number of men who must be provided for is so large that further comforts are required to enable the men to face the severity of a Continental winter under service conditions.

Parcels and remittances should be addressed to her at the Seaforth Highlanders' Association Club, 12 Albany Street, Edinburgh.

[The numbers here are an interesting indication of the volume of 'comforts' that a single regiment could easily consume.

The 1st Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders was in India at the start of the war, and arrived in the south of France early in October, while the 2nd Battalion had been in France since late August.  (Information from here.)  Presumably, Mrs. Pelham Burn was by November attempting to supply both Battalions with additional comforts when the War Office issue was insufficient.   The two Battalions together would have consisted of approximately 2,000 men at the start of the war.  Equipping them for the winter must have been a daunting task - and several more Battalions had already been formed and were in training.] 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Knitting Wools in Stock


 Knight & Lee, Ltd., Have a Stock of Navy, Grey, Natural, and Khaki Wools for Knitting Comforters, Gloves, Socks and Belts for our Soldiers and Sailors.  Knitting needles in bone, wood, steel, and celluloid.  25, Palmerston Road, Southsea.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Extras for the Swansea Battalion

From the Cambria Daily Leader, 21st November 1914. 

6th (Service) Battalion Welsh Regiment


“We must see to it that our men go in want of nothing that we can supply.” 

A Committee has been formed for the purpose of affording such assistance as may be desired to the men now serving abroad with the 6th (Service) Battalion Welsh Regiment.  The men are performing arduous duties in the King's service, and are far away from places where they can get the little "extras" to which they have been used, and which are so necessary to their comfort.

....There are many people who rightly regard the 6th Welsh as the especial Battalion of Swansea and the immediate district.  It is felt, however, that the many relatives and friends of the men would like to assist in a movement for assuring to them direct supplies from time to time.

A Ladies’ Committee..... is at work for the purpose of providing shirts, socks, sleeping helmets, mittens, belts and other suchlike articles, whilst a Men's Committee is formed for the purpose of assisting to raise funds to further the work of the committee, to provide tobacco, &c., and to render such help as may be required in other directions from time to time.

A Central Bureau is opened at “Leader” Buildings, where gifts in money and in kind will be received and where assistance will be rendered in sending for relatives small parcels in a manner that will ensure the most speedy and certain delivery to the men for whom the parcels are intended....

[The 6th Battalion of the Welsh Regiment was a Territorial Battalion, and was serving in France by November 1914, but not, apparently, in the front line.

It's noticeable that while the Ladies' Committee had a very clear role, i.e. sewing and knitting, the role of the Men's Committee is less clearly defined, including the vague 'rendering such help as may be required from time to time'.]   

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Winter Clothing for Soldiers

From the Glasgow Herald, 18th November 1914


For Indian Soldiers. – Mrs. Steel, the novelist, makes an earnest appeal to Scotsmen and women to aid her Indian Soldiers’ Comforts Fund.  Under her supervision warm garments of all sorts are made up from correct native patterns by out-of-work business women, who are paid for their labour, thus benefiting a section of the community who have been very hard hit by the war, as well as supplying comforts to our Indian troops.  Donations, no matter how small, will be gratefully received by Mrs. Steel at 12 Henrietta Street, Strand, London.

Socks for the Territorials.—The committee of the organisation for the supply of socks to the Edinburgh and Leith Territorials has issued an interim report... The work continued to progress with great vigour, and on October 24 it was announced that no fewer than 16,583 pairs of socks had been sent in. ....The total number of socks to date [is] up to almost 20,000 pairs.....  As the demand for wool was greater than the supply, the work was by no means finished.  Constant appeals were being made by commanding officers for socks for their battalions, and as winter advances more supplies would be required.

 Gloves Wanted. – Fighting a ding-dong battle in a blizzard is a severe test of our soldiers’ endurance.  The additional warmth of a pair of woollen gloves will make all the difference in the fighting capacity of each man.  Of the £25,000 required to provide the entire British Expeditionary Force with these comforts, nearly £7000 has been subscribed, and an earnest and urgent appeal is made to the public for the remainder.  Fifty thousand gloves and mittens have been despatched already.  All letters and parcels should be addressed to the Grand Duke Michael, 39 Portland Place, London, W.

[Mrs Steel is presumably Flora Annie Steel, who wrote novels set in India, having lived there for many years.  

Who was the Grand Duke Michael, and why was he collecting gloves for the British Army?  I have no idea.] 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Wives' Club opened in Swansea

From the Cambria Daily Leader, 17th November 1914.



On Monday afternoon a new venture was started in Swansea.  The occasion was that of the opening of a club at the Central Hall for the wives and mothers of our soldiers and sailors, where they can go in and have light refreshments at a very moderate cost, such as tea, coffee, or cocoa at ½d. per cup,  see all the latest papers, have a little music, and also have a little chat, to try and forget their troubles for a while.

The room to be given over for the use of the club has been comfortably furnished; a nice piano has been placed there, and the place made bright with the Allies’ flags and flowers.  The prime mover in this new venture is Mrs. Watkin Williams, aided by her husband, the Rev. W. Watkin Williams and a committee consisting of [several] ladies...

The club was formally declared open on Monday afternoon.  The Mayoress (Mrs. Dan Jones) presided, being supported by Mrs. Corker (ex-Mayoress), Mrs. Morgan B. Williams, Mrs. Watkin Williams...   Others present included ….

Mrs. Watkin Williams explained the objects of the club, stating that though a great deal had been done for our brave soldiers and sailors, and rightly so, nothing had been done in Swansea for their wives and mothers. She hoped that the club would be a place of cheer for them.

The Mayoress (Mrs. Dan Jones), in formally declaring the club open, said she sincerely hoped that good use would be made of it, and felt that it would certainly cheer the wives, sweethearts, and mothers of those who were fighting for us.

Mrs. Morgan B. Williams said she thought the club would be a great boon for those who would use it, and speaking on behalf of Lady Mond, she could assure them that it had her full sympathy and support.  Mrs. Williams also promised to help in any way possible.  Miss Llewelyn spoke on behalf of Lady Llewelyn, who was not well enough to appear upon the platform, saying that Lady Llewelyn was very glad to hear of the club being opened, wished them all success, and assured them of her full sympathy.  Among others who spoke were ... Mrs. Walter Watkins (president of the British Women's Temperance Association)....

During the afternoon solos were sung by Miss Hetty Davies and Miss Williams (Dulais House), and a pianoforte solo was given by Mrs. Jones.  The accompanist was Miss F. Jones Sketty. Afterwards tea was served to all present.

[Of all the ladies mentioned, and several others whose names I have omitted, there is no suggestion that any of them will use the club themselves - it is clearly intended for other women.  There is no hint, either, that anyone has asked the other women whether they want a social club, and if so, what it should offer.  

The mention of the British Women's Temperance Association makes me wonder whether the hidden agenda is to keep working class wives of soldiers out of the pub - there was a concern at the time that some wives were spending some of their separation allowance on drink, and this was considered immoral and unpatriotic.] 

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Glasgow Appeal for the National Relief Fund

From the Glasgow Herald, 16th November 1914. 


Changes the War Has Made

Listen to the Financial Call

To realise the difference in the spirit which pervades Glasgow as compared with the earlier years of the century one has only to dip into that very racy little volume, "Glasgow in 1901."  If a leisured class exists in Glasgow, say the authors, "it contains only nine-and-twenty persons, and these are not professors at all, but infantry officers stationed at Maryhill Barracks.  And this is why the military man, whom of a Saturday afternoon you recognise by his flannels, his straw hat, and his fox terrier, has an air so wearied and listless . . . .  Think of it!  Alone of 750,000 people, he of the straw hat and flannels has no 'job.' "

In Glasgow in 1914 one of the men who has more jobs than he can very well overtake is the military man.  If you live near a drill hall in the city you may hear bugles and words of command practically all day long.  And if you were on the streets of Glasgow on Saturday afternoon you would hear the tread of the young city men who have given their services to Kitchener's Army and who hope soon to be in the trenches fighting for the safety of their native land.  Everywhere every day you may see recruits who have given up everything in response the the call for men.  "I want more men," says Lord Kitchener, and Glasgow is giving them. 

If you cannot answer Lord Kitchener's appeal you may answer ours.  We want more money, and the more men Lord Kitchener gets the more money we shall need.  The spirit of Glasgow in 1914 is vastly different from that of 1901.  There is great generosity, great consciousness of the fact that we live in an epoch-making time.  Let the financial response to the calls of the hour be at last as noble as the personal one.  Keep up your subscriptions!

Although our week-end collection is not up to the average, it has to be remembered that this is a time at which many demands are made upon the pockets of all classes.  It is therefore very creditable to the many works staff who have consistently subscribed to the Fund that their weekly contributions continue "as usual." From Constantinople we have received a contribution of 100 shillings from Mr A. S. Duncan, a Scot in the service of the Telephone Company of the Turkish capital.  We acknowledge to-day £132 2s, which brings the total since the opening of our Branch of the Prince's Fund to £33,371 1s 3d. 

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

[This is just one in a long series of appeals for the National Relief Fund published in the Glasgow Herald - an earlier one appears here.  The writer  has a lively style and is endlessly inventive in thinking of new ways to ask for money.]  

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Queen's Appeal Now Closed

From The Observer, 15th November 1914.


The fund dealing with the Queen's appeal for belts and socks for the troops at the front is now closed.... Her Majesty has intimated her desire to re-open the appeal early in 1915 to send similar or other comforts to our sailors and soldiers.

Half a million belts and socks have already been landed in France and the response to Her Majesty's appeal has been so great that there is a large surplus.  The Queen, at the further request of Lord Kitchener, has decided to place a considerable portion of this surplus at the disposal of the Principal Medical Officer at the War Office.

Eighty thousand knitted belts for the Queen's present to the troops at the front have been procured through the Central Committee on Women’s Employment.  Work has been found by this means for large numbers of women in Kidderminster, Stroud, Belfast, London and other places.

[The Central Committee on Women's Employment was responsible for spending the money raised by the Queen's "Work for Women" Fund.  I assume that the 80,000 knitted belts procured by the Committee were machine-knitted - they are simply a tube of knitting, with no shaping.  They would be easy to make by machine, and very tedious to knit by hand.]  

From Weldon's Practical Needlework No. 346. 

Friday, 14 November 2014

Sweaters again

From The Times, 14 November 1914. 



Sir,—May I trespass on your space once more to answer the many inquiries as to whether I am still dyeing sweaters and sending them to the troops?  I am indeed.  In fact the adjutant's acknowledgments of those I have sent are such that I have no choice now but to go on to the end of the war.  I am promised sweaters from Canada and Ceylon—which is pleasantly symbolic if a little disconcerting to my efforts to maintain some equality of thickness.  But this good help must be long upon the road.

I asked for 150, and your readers sent me 5,000.  May I now modestly ask for another 150 —with the same result?  And if all the old sweaters in the British Isles have already been given to me or other persistent beggars, will not more of your readers follow the generous example of some and send me a few new ones?

Let me here acknowledge nearly 400 that have come with no deducible means of acknowledgment.  Let me acknowledge them in a sentence of a letter just to hand.  “I wish to write once again before we move to tell you how immensely the men appreciate the sweaters—they are quite the most useful garments they could have."  Well, the vats are empty but not the cash-box.  May I not go ahead till the Colonial help comes?

Yours faithfully,
8, King's Bench-walk, Inner Temple, E.C., Nov. 13.

[This is the next in a continuing series of letters from John Penoyre asking for old sweaters - previous appeals are here and here.  

A card sent out by John Penoyre acknowledging the gift of a sweater is shown below, from an archive at the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum, Lancaster.]

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Support for Mothers

From the Holme Valley Express, 14th November 1914.


Capt. J. E. Eastwood, in charge of the local Territorials who have volunteered for active service, writes to the editor of the “Express” as follows:-

“Very many thanks for the way you so promptly attended to my appeal for games, &c., for the men of “F” Company, also I must thank the kind patrons of the Holmfirth Picturedrome for the further parcel of tobacco and cigarettes.

I should like to know if the Holmfirth Distress Committee are keeping the mothers in Holmfirth who are dependent on their sons for support.  If so, I have one or two cases I could mention.  These men only get 1/- [1 shilling] a day, and have to pay for washing, &c., so this does not leave them much to send to their mothers.”

[I think that the separation allowance of 12s. 6d. a week, discussed by the New Mill Distress Committee in a previous post, was paid only to wives and not to mothers, even if they were dependent on their sons for financial support.  The pay of private soldiers was low to start with, and it seems astonishingly mean to hold some of it back to pay for necessities like washing.  (Laundry?)]  

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

A Nurse at the Front

From the Cleckheaton Guardian, 13th November 1914. 


By the kindness of the Vicar of Liversedge we are enabled to give the following extracts from a letter from his sister, Nurse Winifred Evers, who is on Red Cross duty at the front:

“I wish you could see me now in my little bell tent.  It has never ceased to rain all last night and all to-day.  Water is coming in all round; nothing is on the floor that I can put on my bed or chair, otherwise it gets wet; and there is a steady trickle across the floor.  I sit on my camp bed.  I’ve got the tent to myself, as my companion is on night duty….

One poor boy I was nursing died, I grieve to say, only 20 years old.  His people seem so nice, I have had splendid letters from them.  It is sad to see these young lives go….

The bugle calls are all so pretty.  The first goes at 5.30 a.m., and then after that for meals, etc., and for letters, the one we love to hear…..

It is bitterly cold here.  I love my jersey.  I have a nightly pilgrimage up the field after our evening meal for hot water – right to the other end of the field to my tent boiler….

All our letters are censored by the Matron, so it entirely prohibits our writing much of what we would…

We hope to be moved when it is safe, so that the men will not have so far to travel.  I have been busy all day in the surgical tent, and have dressed forty wounds – bullet wounds through the arms, legs, and back.  We have some such sad cases.  Last Sunday a poor boy of nineteen died in my tent.  He had his leg amputated. I wrote to his mother as I promised him I would do, and told her all about him.”

[This is the complete set of extracts as published in the paper.]   

Monday, 10 November 2014

A Pageant in Glasgow

From the Glasgow Herald, 9th November 1914.


In aid of war relief purposes a pageant, entitled "The March of Progress," was performed in Queen's Park West United Free Church, Glasgow, on Friday evening.  The interesting character of the entertainment and the object to which the proceeds were to be devoted attracted a very large audience.  The pageant, which was arranged by Mrs J. Somerville Smith,  introduced many historical personages in costume, and either by vocal or elocutionary illustration each was presented in a manner which appropriately typified the characters and at the same time revealed the abilities of the performers.  The principal personages -- "Twentieth Century" and "History" -- were well sustained by Miss Molly Henderson and Miss Florence Guthrie respectively, and they were ably supported in the long line of illustrious figures represented by lady members of the choir and of the congregation.  Mr J. S. M'Callum was conductor, and Mrs M'Callum presided at the organ.  The Rev. J. L. Craig, who presided, moved a vote of thanks to the performers.

[They had to make their own entertainment in those days.]

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Clothes for the Wounded

From The Times, 8th November, 1914



.. The {British Red Cross] society has received an immense number of offers of assistance.  There are upwards of 1,900 voluntary aid detachments, with a total personnel of some 60,000.

Many ladies have come forward anxious to serve as nurses, but it is pointed out only trained nurses can attend troops in the field.  There is, however, much good work which can be done by women who have not these qualifications.  Foremost is the provision of clothing, hospital requisites, medical comforts, and foods.

The Queen has given a splendid lead in the work of cooperation with existing societies which understand the needs of the sick and wounded in the matter of clothing. ...   Women who are forming sewing parties would be well advised to follow Queen Mary’s example and apply to the Red Cross Society for their patterns.

The foolish waste by overlapping and the absence of any necessity of forming new societies ... is one of the points emphasized by the British Red Cross authorities at Devonshire House.  Ladies who do not belong to any society should find out what is being done in their district and join or form a local class for sewing work at once.  The Primrose League for the time being is non-political, and the local branches who will provide themselves with a supply of Red Cross patterns can be joined by any woman who is anxious to help.  ...Pyjamas are most wanted and next to them dressing gowns.

Old sheets, unbleached calico, and old linen suitable for bandages are wanted, but not old clothes.  Invalid women could help by making bandages.  Offers of food, invalid delicacies, &c., ..offers of household utensils suitable for hospitals, of blankets, of beds, &c., are being listed, and gift and promises of money are, of course, most important.

Women with good recipes for economical cooking should make them public.  An Italian woman of good family, who has been living on 3s. 6d. a week since the first mention of danger, is giving recipes to her friends of new ways to cook vegetable marrows and of making nutritive pea-pod stew in use in parts of the South [of Italy] where meat is rarely seen and butter unknown for cooking purposes.

[I think the last paragraph is the best.  I like the way that we are told that she is 'of good family', i.e. she doesn't have to live on 3s. 6d. a week, but has chosen to out of patriotic duty, or because she's the sort of person who enjoys economising, and especially the opportunity to tell other people that they ought to be living on 'nutritive pea-pod stew' and vegetable marrows.]   

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Payment to Soldiers' Wives

From the Holme Valley Express, 7th November 1914.


The “Pay” of our Heroes: Important Correspondence

The Secretary reported that he had written to the County Council as follows:-
“I am requested to write again asking if we are to understand that no payment whatever must be made from our local relief fund, only in extreme cases of sickness, beyond the 12s. 6d. already allowed by the Government in the form of separation allowance and compulsory allotment.

In the case of an employer paying the wife of one of their employees who has joined the colours 5/- [5 shillings] per week direct, I assume that this is not within the control of our Committee.

I may say that one or two members of this Committee are disappointed with the fixed allowance of 12s. 6d., which they feel sure is not nearly sufficient for a wife to keep house, obtain clothing, food, etc., and they feel disposed to increase this allowance from the local relief fund.

Mr. W. Vibart Dixon had replied: “The Sub-Committee have entire control over any funds locally collected, and they may use that as they think best.  Money received from the National Relief Fund must be paid out strictly in accordance with the scale laid down to them, but the sub-committee may, if they think fit, use the local fund to augment the sum fixed by the scale.”

[This is a bit obscure. I understand from it that the separation allowance to the wives and children of serving soldiers was paid out of the National Relief Fund, and distributed via County Councils and then local (parish?) committees.  (Although the 'compulsory allotment' was an amount stopped from the men's pay, I believe, so I don't know how that worked.)  New Mill had evidently collected local relief funds as well, and they were being given permission to  spend that however they wanted. 

It's interesting that they thought that the 12s. 6d. separation allowance paid to a wife (plus extra for each child) was not sufficient to live on -  the suffragettes had complained in October (here) that women in the "Work for Women" Fund workshops were being paid only 10s. per week.]  

From the Halifax Courier,  12th September 1914.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Smoke Less, Buy Knitting Wool

From the Holme Valley Express, November 7th 1914.


The various branches of the Red Cross Society in the district are rendering invaluable service.  In this connection the Rev. P. L. Snowden, vicar of Hepworth, makes a suggestion to the men: -- “There is a great demand for wool to knit, and as the men at home are able to do little practical work for the nation, it has been suggested that they should only smoke half as much as usual, and give their savings to the fund.  They can drop their money into an ornament on the chimney piece until they have got enough, and then send it on to the Vicarage, or Mrs. J. W. Swallow, by a child, if they don’t want to bring it themselves.”

[This amused me, partly because of the assumption that men are no use to the country at all, unless they have joined the army  - they can't knit, all they can do is cut down on their smoking.  I also like the detailed instructions for how to collect the money, in an ornament on the chimney piece - men are so useless, they have to be told even that.  The Vicar obviously knows his parishioners.]  

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Every Woman is Knitting

From the Manchester Guardian, November 6, 1914.

Bringing Their Work.

One of the many curious little social changes that have come about during the war is to be seen after dinner in the aspect of any of the big hotel lounges in the West End.  Every woman is knitting, and the talk is largely about knitting, but for the main part there is very little talk nowadays.  Aged women and middle-aged women, who had long since given up old-fashioned ideas of “bringing your work,” are now, in a way, living their youth over again through the impetus of the war.  Girls who never knew what “work” of this kind was are to be seen with stretched arms holding skeins of wool while others are winding it.  It would be difficult to conceive a greater change than the scene in these places—a few weeks ago tango teas, slit skirts, and feverish clutching at all that was bizarre and new and daring, to-day a scene of quiet, thoughtful dullness, like one from a Jane Austen novel.  These hands are very busy, but the thoughts are very far away.  Sometimes a letter is fingered and the knitting drops.

[Apart from confirming that there was a huge effort  in late 1914 to knit comforts for the troops, and for the sick and wounded, this report offers an interesting sidelight on the status of needle crafts in Victorian times, when evidently women were expected to have some work on hand to take to social occasions.] 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Tobacco Fund for Soldiers at the Front

From the Abergavenny Chronicle, 6th November 1914.


We have made arrangements with Messrs. MARTINS. Limited, the well-known tobacco firm of Piccadilly, London, for the supply of a splendid smoking mixture from their bonded duty-free warehouses at the remarkably low cost of 6d.  Each packet will contain 2 ounces of the best smoking mixture and 30 cigarettes.  Each packet of cigarettes will carry a printed greeting "From a reader of the "Abergavenny Chronicle." The cost of these packets in the usual way in England, would be 1/6.

The military authorities have undertaken to forward these gift packages in bulk free.  No time will be lost in sending them.  They will be shipped in cases under the care of the War Office.

In this way we have overcome the problem of the expense of sending single parcels to individual soldiers.  Our readers are relieved, not only of the cost of postage, but of the high duty which has to be paid in the ordinary way on tobacco in England.

Remember that your name and address will be attached to every packet of tobacco you pay for, and the soldiers who receive them will know you are their benefactors.

Our soldiers will appreciate this practical way of showing our admiration of their bravery in beating back the hosts of Germans who have attacked them in such overwhelming numbers.

Let every one of our defenders be cheered by the receipt of tobacco and cigarettes—welcome proof that someone here at home is thinking of him.

Do not send us tobacco or cigarettes, only money.
Our brave soldiers at the Front are short of something to smoke.   Help us to supply it.

We have organised a scheme whereby every citizen may gladden the heart of a hero in khaki by filling his pipe and giving him the cigarette which he so dearly loves.

With sixpence you can buy the blessing of a lad who is risking his life every minute in order that we at home may be saved from the terrors of Kaiserism.

The French people have been very generous to Tommy Atkins in regard to "Smokes," but Tommy dislikes their cigarettes.  He says they have no "bite" in them.  He longs for the British "fag."  We are going to see that he gets it.  There are no tobacco shops on the battlefield, and our gallant boys are waiting.

For every sixpence that you subscribe we will send out:
2oz. packet of tobacco with your name and address attached, and a Packet of Thirty cigarettes.

Put your name down for as many sixpences as you can.  Every sixpence will gladden the heart of a hero.  He will remember YOU.

[For an explanation of 1/6, 6d., etc. see my earlier note on prices.]

Monday, 3 November 2014

A Glasgow Canteen

From the Glasgow Herald, 3rd November, 1914. 


With the arrival of the two City of Glasgow Artillery Brigades at Stirling on the outbreak of the war a dry canteen tent was set up in the King's Park for the benefit of the men, who number about 500, and has proved a great success.  The canteen is managed by Mrs Forrester, of Annfield, and other ladies, and owing to generous contributions of tea, jams, scones, fruit, etc., it has been possible to sell eatables at a very small cost, and any profits there may be are handed over every week to the colonel of the Artillery for behoof of the men.  The enterprise is in no sense a private one.  This week the canteen enters on a new era.  In place of the tent, which has done good service, a fine wood building, the cost of which has been defrayed by a Glasgow gentleman, Mr. R. R. Spiers, has been erected, and will be found more convenient for the purpose, as it is estimated that at least 1000 men avail themselves of the canteen daily.  In addition to the selling of eatables, tea, and mineral waters, the new canteen will be used for entertainments, musical and otherwise, which it is proposed to provide several evenings a week, and any who are willing to give their services in this connection should communicate with Mrs Forrester, of Annfield.

[Army training camps were springing up all over the country, and various organisations including the YMCA and Salvation Army stepped in to provide somewhere for the men to go when they had free time. ]