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.]   

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