Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A Piano and a Dog

From The Times, 31 March 1915. 


Lady Jellicoe, in a letter thanking the public for the generous response made to the appeal for comforts for the sailors, writes:—

“We have dispatched, to all classes of ships— i.e., to armoured merchant cruisers as well as to his Majesty's ships, the following articles:—Mufflers, 27,410; mittens, 21,530; socks, 15,353; helmets, 6,615; belts, 5,830; jerseys, 3,982; vests, 1,793; blankets, 1,919; shirts, 1,115; pants, 1,075; besides quantities of sweets, pipes and tobacco, books, two gramophones, a piano, and a dog.

“In addition, I have received over £22,000 in cash, which has been spent in supplying blankets, thermos flasks, and sea boots to the Fleet.  It is Sir John's express wish that the surplus money should be held over for the present, as owing to the near approach of summer there is no further need for supplying extra warm comforts, and therefore I intend to close this fund after Easter.  If by evil chance the war still continues in October, I shall reopen this fund, but if by that date the war is happily ended, the surplus money will be devoted to the widows and children of non-commissioned warrant officers.

“By the kindness of the directors of Harrod's Stores all comforts received after Easter will be stored there until required.”

[Admiral Sir John Jellicoe was in command of the Grand Fleet; Lady Jellicoe was his wife.]

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Needs Of The Wounded

From The Times, March 29 1915.



Lady Lawley, honorary secretary of the Q.M.N.G. [Queen Mary's Needlework Guild], writing from Friary Court, St. James's Palace, S.W., says:--

...."The Q.M.N.G. has now had 7½ months of continual work, during which time over a million garments have been received, and distributed in 2,225 grants.  From various inquiries made it is felt by her Majesty the Queen that with the approach of summer the necessity for woollen comforts no longer exists; nor for clothing for women and children, but owing to the duration of the war and the large number of casualties every week, there is an increased demand for all necessaries and comforts for our wounded and convalescent soldiers in the many hospitals at home and abroad.  Several thousand more beds have to be fully equipped. Her Majesty, therefore, invites all those who have so generously helped the Q.M.N.G. in the past to devote their energies in the future to making any of the following for hospital use: --

Shirts; Nightshirts; Pyjamas; Dressing Gowns; Towels; Feather pillows; Bandages; Lint

"In addition to these, socks for men will be wanted all through the summer.”

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Cholera belts

Ad from the Girl's Own Paper, March 1915.

Text:  CHOLERA BELT, as officially recommended, a great safeguard against chill from exposure and damp and also against intestinal disorders.  This most welcome garment for our men at the front should be made from J. & J. BALDWIN'S 5-PLY WHITE HEATHER SCOTCH FINGERING WOOL from a simple recipe given in their booklet "Knitted Comforts for Men on Land and Sea,"....

Friday, 27 March 2015

The Queen Visits A Hosiery Factory.

From The Times, March 27 1915.



The Queen yesterday afternoon visited the mayoral workrooms of her “Work for Women” Fund at Willesden and Paddington, and afterwards went over the hosiery factory which has been started since the war by Miss Resdaile, a wholesale dressmaker, at her premises in Rathbone-place, to keep her workgirls in employment.

...The Queen first visited the room where socks for the Army were being made, asking many questions as to the output and price of the yarn. She was much interested in the small flat machines which Miss Resdaile bought when she heard that the Queen had entrusted to the Central Committee an order for 75,000 woollen body belts for the troops to form part of her gift to them.

With 100 of her girls stranded through the cessation of wholesale orders for dresses she determined to try for some part of this contract - and was successful.  The Queen learned that 15,000 belts were made on these machines, and that, finding the young dressmakers' skill increasing so rapidly, their employers tendered to the Contracts Department of the Central Committee for a million pairs of socks.  The War Office accepted the tender, and there will be enough work for the hundred girls until well into the autumn.

The machinery was put in motion, and her Majesty watched the process of making the socks. She was informed that 3,000 dozen pairs a week could be made when the machinery was in full swing. Her Majesty also asked how the amount earned compared with the former pay, and was told that it was about the same, varying from £1 to 35s.

....On the next floor were the machines for making cap comforters, of which 6,000 are dispatched in fulfilment of a War Office order every Friday.  The Queen saw one girl working four power machines, and was told that on each machine one operator could turn out 250 yards of comforter each day.  Her Majesty asked to see the material cut and "over-locked," the final process, and then left amid enthusiastic cheering from a large crowd which had assembled.

The Queen's “Work for Women" Fund yesterday reached a total of £143,379 15s. 1d.

 [Miss Resdaile was clearly a very enterprising woman.  She bought knitting machines, trusting that her dressmakers could be trained to use them successfully, and immediately got the order for thousands of body belts.  She must have been very persuasive.  

The fact that a small workshop was making 1 million pairs of socks in a few months shows the huge demand for socks for the Army.  I doubt if the women busily knitting socks by hand could compete with the machines - I suspect that most of the millions of pairs consumed during the war were machine-made.] 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Work in Armament Factories for Women

From The Times, 24th March 1915.




Already there has been a gratifying response from Scotland to the appeal of the Board of Trade for women workers to take the place of men released for active service.  Although the figures are not yet available, the officials of the Labour Exchanges in Glasgow report that a large number of women have already registered, and that a considerable number of applications for registration forms has also been received.

When the Parliamentary recruiting circular was distributed in the north, thousands of women householders offered their services to the nation in any capacity, and the present appeal gives them the opportunity they then asked for.  Many of the applicants are working women who are out of employment, but a large proportion belong to the leisured and middle classes.

It is anticipated that work can be found almost immediately for fully a thousand women in the engineering and armament factories in the Clyde district.  Already one or two firms have experimented with female labour, principally in the manufacture of shells and other explosives, and the women have shown remarkable aptitude for picking up the work.

Several other armament and engineering firms have informed Labour Exchanges that they are prepared to engage a considerable number of women, and steps are being taken to ascertain the views of other employers.  The work which the women volunteers will be asked to undertake will be the operating of turning lathes or other light machines which require little or no technical knowledge.

Since it has become clear that a new industrial army of women is coming forward to enrol for war service the Central Labour Exchange are beginning to receive offers to train them.  An offer to place a large training farm at their disposal was received yesterday in London, and there were similar proposals from various institutions and organizations, as well as inquiries from individual employers.
Applications for registration continue to pour in steadily.  Returns have not yet been received from the Exchanges throughout the country, although many women residing in the country have written to the central office direct, but it is hoped that this information showing how the movement has spread will be available shortly.  The women's societies generally have shown a disposition to cooperate in the most patriotic spirit.

[As we know, many women worked in munitions factories during the First World War, doing hard and dangerous work.  This is the beginning of it - this report stresses that the women will only be doing light work requiring little technical knowledge, and expresses surprise that women can pick up the work so quickly.]    

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

No More Sweaters

From The Times, 24th March 1915.



Sir, -- May I invade your columns for the last time, to say that as I now have enough sweaters on hand to fulfil all promises made, and as we are within measurable distance of warmer weather, I propose to close my work?  Your readers should on no account take this as any kind of ex cathedra statement that no more warm clothing is needed.  I only state the fact that I have enough to carry on my small venture until the warm weather comes.  There are, however, some things that are wanted throughout the year – e.g., socks, shirts, and all cheerful little things like cigarettes, packets of tobacco and sweets, writing-paper, other personalia, and small medicaments.  Any of the above I am willing to continue sending weekly throughout the summer.  I venture further to suggest that it is a pity for ladies to let the “knitting habit” die down.  Should we not do well to begin forming laagers of warm things for the autumn and winter?  It is neither difficult nor pessimistic to prophecy a revival of the needed for comforts towards the close of the year.  When peace is signed, Israel cannot return to his tents in an afternoon.

I render account of my sweaters: -- 13,443 is the number to-day, the miscellanea kindly sent to make fillings for the sacks bringing the figures close up to 20,000.  We are told that this supplement of sweaters, &c., has been of some sort of use and comfort to you, soldier and sailor too, while you have been training, watching, fighting, and dying for us, the long wet winter through.  E superabundantia cordis os loquitur – we are honoured that this should have been so.  I thank my helpers for much unlooked-for kindness.  They send me the sweaters and pay for the dyeing.  I merely win the wager and get the credit.  So no more of sweaters – till the autumn.

Yours faithfully,
8 King’s Bench-walk, Inner Temple, E.C., March 23.

[John Penoyre had obviously had a classical education, but I'm not sure how many of his women readers would be able to translate the Latin. E superabundantia cordis os loquitur - the original quote seems to be ex abundantia cordis os loquitur, which is translated as 'out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks', and according to Wikipedia is from the New Testament.

Laager is a word that would I think have been familiar to all his readers from the South African War - it means a camp, or more specifically 'an encampment formed by a circle of wagons', and here he just uses it to mean a store.]

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Bovril Appeal

From The Observer, 21st March 1915.


The work initiated on behalf of the soldiers by Miss Gladys Storey has outgrown its modest beginning.  Moved by the accounts of the suffering of the men exposed to frost and rain --- standing sometimes for hours in water up to their waists --- Miss Storey conceived the idea of designing a memorial card to Lord Roberts, and devoting the proceeds to the supply of some added comfort for the men in the trenches.  The idea was simple, but it proved an instantaneous success.  In a very short time fifty thousand cards had been sold; donations were also received.  From the proceeds supplies of hot Bovril were by arrangement with the Military Authorities being served out to the men, who, from their position in the firing line, were cut off from the hot meals elsewhere provided for them.  Donations began to come in, and since December constant consignments have been kept up.  Originally Miss Storey had no idea of appealing for donations; so great, however, is the appreciation expressed in letters from the front from all ranks that Miss Storey has felt it a duty to carry the matter further, and is making a great effort to raise £10,000 so that supplies to all regiments be continued and increased….. 

[An account of Miss Storey's original appeal is here.]

Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Ideal Helmet for a Sailor

From the "Woman's Own” Crochet Supplement 20th March 1915.

The Ideal Helmet for a Sailor

This has been designed so that when worn as a cap the flaps fasten above the centre of crown, and when lowered fasten beneath the chin, and, with the cap pulled well over, forms complete protection for the head; a comfort much appreciated by our soldiers and sailors, and far more acceptable than the usual cap.  This design is also suitable for convalescent Tommies able to lie or sit out of doors.  Use Beehive 4-ply Scotch fingering and No. 6 hook.

Wind the wool into two balls, and work from both at the same time.  The crown is worked firmly throughout in half treble (h. tr.) as follows: Wool over, insert hook in stitch, draw through, wool over, draw through the 3 loops on hook. Make a slip-knot, and work into it 8 h. tr., join with s.s.

2nd round: 2 h. tr. into each stitch of previous round, working the first into top thread of h. tr. (near the forefinger), and for the second insert hook into the same stitch, and also through the horizontal thread at the back of the stitch (16 stitches).
3rd round: 1 h. tr. into each stitch of previous round, inserting hook under top thread and also through the thread at the back of the same stitch.  Join a piece of coloured thread to mark the commencement of round.
4th round : Same as 2nd round.
5th round : Same as 3rd round.
6th round : * 1 h. tr. in 1st, 2 h. tr. in next stitch; repeat from *.
7th round : Same as 3rd.
8th round : 1 h.tr. into each of the first 2 stitches, 2 h. tr. in next.
9th and 10th round: Same as 3rd.
11th round : * 1 h. tr. into each of the first 3 stitches, 2 h. tr. in next; repeat from *.
12th round : Same as 3rd.
13th round : Same as 11th.
14th round : Same as 3rd.
15th to 22nd round: 1 h. tr. into each h. tr. of previous round.
23rd round : Turn work, s.s. into each stitch, taking up back thread.
Then commence ear-flaps :
1st row : * 1 s.s. into each of the next 22 stitches.  Turn this and each successive row with 1 ch.
2nd row : Miss 1st stitch, 1 s.s. into each of the remaining stitches, working into ch. which turned previous row.
3rd to 5th row : Same as 2nd.
6th to 18th row : 1 s.s. into each stitch of previous row.
19th and 20th row : Same as 2nd.
21st row : Same as 6th. Repeat last 3 rows twice.

Then decrease one in each row until there are only 5 stitches in the row; work on these 5 stitches until the top of flap reaches centre of crown of cap, make 7 ch., fasten to end stitch.  S.s. twice round flap, d.c. across 30 stitches for front of cap, and repeat -from 1st row for second flap. Do not make loop at top, but cover a small mould with d.c. and sew to the top. Thread a wool needle with a length of wool, and run round the edge of each flap, draw up slightly at top so that the flaps fit snugly.

Friday, 20 March 2015

War Work For Women

From the South Wales Weekly Post, 20th March 1915.



The Board of Trade, on behalf of the Government, have been at work on the problem of women's help in the war, and have now framed a scheme with a view to dealing with it.  The scope and character of it is set out in the following official statements-

War Service for Women.
The President of the Board of Trade wishes to call attention to the fact that in the present emergency, if the full fighting power of the nation is to be put forth on the field of battle, the full working power of the nation must be made available to carry on its essential trades at home. Already, in certain important occupations there are not enough men and women to do the work.  This shortage will shortly spread to other occupations as more and more men join the fighting forces.

In order to meet both the present and the future needs of national industry during the war, the Government wish to obtain particulars of the women available, with or without previous training, for paid employment.  Accordingly, they invite all women who are prepared, if needed, to
Take paid employment of any kind
—industrial, agricultural, clerical, etc.—to enter themselves upon the Register of Women for War Service which is being prepared by the Board of Trade Labour Exchanges.

Any woman living in a town where there is a Labour Exchange can register by going there in person.  If she is not near a Labour Exchange she can get a form of registration from the local agency of the Unemployment Fund.  Forms will also be sent out through a number of women's societies.

The object of registration is to find out what reserve force of women's labour, trained or untrained, can be made available if required.  As from time to time actual openings for employment present themselves, notice will be given through the Labour Exchanges, with full details as to the nature of work, conditions, and pay, and, so far as special training is necessary, arrangements will, if possible, be made for the purpose.

Any woman who by working
Helps to release a man
or to equip a man for fighting does national war service.  Every woman should register who is willing to take employment.

[This was the beginning of a big effort by the Government to mobilise the entire population.  Perhaps they were beginning to see that the war was going to last a long time.] 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Free 'Tipperary' Brooch

Ad in Woman's Own, 15th March, 1915.

I am a Token of Friendship True, 

My Star of Hope brings Luck to you; 
Wear me now and every day 
And think of one who is far away.

This charming and beautifully finished brooch, daintily mounted on a neat Presentation Card, is offered free to-dav to every reader of the new enlarged “WEEKLY FRIEND”; and with every copy for the next 4 weeks will be given 3 sheets of patriotic ‘flag’ notepaper, specially suitable for sending to soldiers or sailors.   Don't miss to-day's


Sunday, 15 March 2015

The New “Officer” Blouse

From Woman’s Own, 13th March 1915.

The New “Officer” Blouse

And How to Make it

Out of compliment to those brave men who are fighting for us, we have felt it to be a fitting tribute to them to wear something which will remind us always of them, and the Editress and her designer have created what is without doubt the most stylish military blouse yet designed.

The new "Officer" blouse, made in plain material, with self-coloured braid on cuffs, and dull-metal buttons
This special blouse, of which a free paper pattern is presented with “WOMAN’S OWN” this week, has been termed the “Officer” blouse, because it so closely resembles the Service tunic of an officer, as far as it is possible to make a comfortably fitting garment for a lady to wear.  The blouse, as illustrated, is fitted with the regulation breast pockets, shoulder tabs, and cuff, daintily outlined with braid in the true style.

[Directions for cutting out and sewing the blouse omitted.] 

Our blouse pattern is such a comfortable one that other designs have been fashioned from it with charming results, as the sketches on this page show.  The only difference is in the trimming, and those etceteras that quickly transformed the pattern into one of military style are done away with… others being substituted to give an entirely new aspect to the blouse.

Drawing 2 - a "best blouse"
We will take the perfectly sweet design [in Drawing 2].  Could anything be fashioned more daintily than this?  Yet it is cut from the same pattern as the military blouse.  The prettily shaped collar, with revers attached, is edged with Val lace and carried down the front, which this time fastens on the right side.  In place of the military cuff, two bands of lace are attached to the sleeve to imitate a cuff, and a frill edged with the same lace is added to give a soft, dainty finish to the sleeve.  Coarse crochet buttons are used, and the collar is slightly embroidered to give a still more dainty finish to this beautiful blouse, which at once calls for soft, creamy white material.

Another pretty blouse for afternoon wear is that shown in [Drawing 3], made of any of the new washing materials for blouse use, and trimmed most becomingly with figured ninon.  The same shape collar is used, only without the revers points, and the knot is cut in the usual way from the material, stitched in place, and hooked to one side after the blouse is closed.

Drawing 3
There is a slight difference, however, in the fastening of the fronts, for they are made to meet and hook down invisibly, fancy buttons being placed on both sides as a trimming.  The little cuff is merely a plain, turned-back one of the same fancy stuff as the collar and tie.

[It is astonishing how much women's shapes had changed, from the stately bosoms of Edwardian ladies.  The women in these sketches are very flat-chested.

The Editress doesn't seem entirely convinced that the military blouse is what her readers want, since she also provides the alternative versions, majoring in 'daintiness'.]  

Friday, 13 March 2015

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Directions for Knitting Socks

From the Lichfield Mercury, 12th March 1915.


Six ounces of 4-ply fingering yarn, 14 size needles.  Knit on 80 stitches.  28 on two needles, 24 on one.  Knit three inches of 2 plain, 2 purl, for welt, then change stitches to 4 plain and 1 purl and knit another 9 inches, thus making the leg 12 inches long.

For the Sentry Box Heel.
Halve the stitches and knit 2½ inches plain to and fro on the hack half, and to make the heel double, which is necessary with four-ply yarn, slip every alternate stitch when knitting on the purl side only, taking care to slip the first stitch on the needle on the plain side as well as the purl.  When the 2½ inches are knitted, the roof of the sentry box must next be formed.  Start on the purl side and knit 25 stitches (still keeping up the doubling process), then knit two together; don't knit the remaining stitches, but turn the needles round and start knitting back again on the plain side; slip the first stitch, then knit ten stitches, then knit two together.  Turn the needles round again on the purl side, and you will find you have twelve stitches in the middle of the needle and thirteen stitches each side.  You will also notice you have a tiny hole each side of the twelve stitches where you have knitted two together.  Those twelve stitches are the roof of the sentry box, and you must knit to and fro again, knitting together one stitch each side of the hole till all the thirteen stitches on the sides of the needle are used up and the twelve only remain.  It is an old-fashioned heel, but hard to beat.  To set up the foot, pick up seventeen loops each side of the heel and knit plain, but still knit the front needle four plain and one purl.  You will now have 86 stitches on three needles.  Knit four rounds, then start decreasing at the ends of the two side needles nearest the front with three rounds between each, decreasing till 76 stitches are left for the foot.  Go on knitting till six inches are done, measuring from where you picked up the loops at the sides of the heel.

For the Toe.
Divide the stitches equally on the three needles, starting from the exact centre under the foot.  You will find you have an odd stitch.  Knit two together in the middle of that needle, and you will then have 25 stitches on each needle.  The decreasing must be done at the beginning and ends of the needles, this way: Knit one, knit two together, and at the end of a needle leave three stitches, then knit two together, knit one.  Do three decreasings with three rounds between.  Do three decreasings with two rounds between.  Do three decreasings with one round between.  Then every round till only one stitch is left, draw wool through and darn it through a few times with a darning needle.
For a large size, simply knit 6½ inches between heel and toe.  Make no difference otherwise and the socks when finished should be well pressed.

Socks made from these directions will gladly be shown to anyone by Mrs. Vicars, who has a large consignment now ready for despatch to the front, which have been made by “The Busy Bees”' of Trent Valley Road.  Call at The Bungalow to-day (Friday) between 11 and 1 in the morning or 2 and 5 in the afternoon.

[The 'sentry-box' heel seems a rather whimsical name.  According to Mrs. Vicars, it was an old-fashioned way of knitting a heel even in 1915, so perhaps experienced sock knitters will recognise it as a standard pattern.] 

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A Tribute to Breconshire Wool

From the Brecon County Times, 11th March 1915.


A high tribute to the quality of Breconshire wool was paid at a meeting of the Breconshire War Fund Committee on Wednesday last week by Miss deWinton, who is in charge of the War Clothing Depot.  She said that she had sent some socks to Milford Haven, and one of the non-commissioned officers had written her that he was wearing a pair of these socks, that he was on duty for 14 hours every day, and marched a great deal, and yet the socks still kept good.

The Breconshire War Fund Committee have voted the sum of £300 to Miss deWinton for materials for making socks and shirts.  At the meeting Miss deWinton made an appeal to workers to send her a postcard when they wanted wool or material, intimating the time they would call at the Depot and the quantity required.  She regretted that since the departure of Miss Philip Morgan there had been no recognised working party at Brecon, but persons were working individually.

[Good to see that Miss deWinton is keeping busy, and is getting financial support from the county War Fund.  The previous post about the Brecon War Clothing Depot is here.]      

Monday, 9 March 2015

Wash Your White Clothes in Any Weather

From the Halifax Courier, 6th March 1915.


Weather Permitting! OMO Permits.

The old order gives place to the new.  OMO enables you to Bleach, Cleanse, and Purify your white clothes in any weather.

Hitherto the bleaching of white things was a lengthy operation.  The clothes had to be exposed to the sun and pure country air for days.  Fine weather was absolutely necessary.  To-day it only takes minutes to bleach your white things and all that is necessary is OMO  BLEACHER, CLEANSER, PURIFIER.
Put the white things into cold water with OMO, bring them to the boil, let them boil for awhile, rinse and hang to dry.

Not for coloureds, woollens, or flannels. 

[A reminder that washing clothes was very hard work before washing machines became available.]    

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Things Our Soldiers Are Asking For

From the Rochdale Observer, 6th March 1915. 


[The following is a short extract from a much longer article, discussing all kinds of items that soldiers might need in addition to their standard kit.]

Warm woollen wear is needed at this time of the year, both at the front and in the training camp.  Our military authorities have done remarkably good work in clothing the soldiers, and a host of ladies connected with various organisations and societies all over the country have rendered valuable supplementary service in providing comforts, but there are yet many soldiers and sailors who are not so warmly clad as they ought to be.  A heavy knitted cardigan jacket is very acceptable to our soldiers, to be worn under their tunics to keep the rude blast of blustering Boreas from chilling; and sleeping helmets, body-belts, mittens, mufflers, and socks will help to keep our men in good health and make them fit and strong for that great march forward which we are told to look for in the early spring— an advance which will, we hope, result in the complete overthrow of that spirit of militarism which has  been  the curse of the German empire.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

A Balaclava Helmet Pattern

From the Dundee People’s Journal, 6th March 1915.

[This pattern was given in a section called ‘Aunt Kate’s Postbag’, evidently in response to a request from a reader.]

A Balaclava Helmet.

For the helmet take 6 ozs. super wheeling or double knitting wool.  Set of knitting needles, size 9.  * Cast on 25 stitches on one needle, knit the first row plain; second row, knit 1, make 1, knit 23, make 1, knit 1; third row, knit 1, make l, knit 25, make 1, knit 1, and go on making 1 at the beginning and end of every row till there are 45 stitches on the needle; knit plain backwards and forwards for 5½ inches.  Now take the other two needles and repeat from * (this is to make the flap for back and the front); now join the two flaps, and knit round and round, 3 plain and 3 purl for 4 inches.  Then place on a piece of string 21 stitches; this should be 4 plain ribs and 3 purl ones.  Put the remaining stitches on two needles, leave off ribbing, and knit backwards and forwards quite plain for 38 rows; this will be about 4 inches.  Now knit 15 stitches, take 2 together, knit remainder plain; next row the same, so on thus until you have reduced to about 42 stitches, then knit 9 stitches only, and take 2 together; work thus until you have reduced to 25 stitches.  Reduce 4 times in each row till 3 stitches remain.   Now resume the four pins, take up the loops at the ends of the plain rows, also the 21 stitches on the string; count them round; there should be 114 in all, including the three remaining on the pin; if there are too many or too few, take 2 together, or make 1 or 2.  Next, rib round and round as was done at first, taking care that the ribs match on to those which were on the string; it is easier to knit plain the first row till these stitches are reached and then commence ribbing.  Work thus for 2½ inches.  Cast off rather loosely.

[These instructions are very different from the helmet pattern given in a previous post here.  This helmet has the front and back flaps, which the other did not, and the shaping seems very different in this case.   It seems that Balaclava helmets were not official issue, and so there was not standard pattern.]  

Friday, 6 March 2015

War Bonus For Employes

From the Halifax Courier, 6th March 1915.


The following notice has been posted as the English Card Clothing Company’s Mills at Huddersfield:  Owing to the increased cost of living due to the war the directors of the English Card Clothing Co., Ltd., have decided to grant a weekly war bonus to those in their employ as follows: -- All males, 21 years of age, 2s. per week; all males under 21, and all females, 1s. per week.  It must be distinctly understood that this bonus is for the duration of the war only and the directors reserve the right to discontinue it at their discretion.  The Company have 2 branches at Halifax, one at Huddersfield, one at Cleckheaton, and one at Mirfield, and employ altogether about 1,200 hands.  It will be remembered that when the war broke out the directors made a maintenance grant to the dependants of the men in their employ, who had enlisted, of £1 a week.

[Card clothing refers to the mats of little wire pins that cover the rollers of carding machines, used to comb wool  in an early stage of the processing of raw fleeces into yarn and then cloth.  The men were probably being paid around £2 (40 shillings) per week and the women about £1, so that the 'bonus' of 2 shillings or 1 shilling respectively was  about 5%.]   

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Guide For Needlework Helpers

From The Times, Friday March 5, 1915. 



The special needs of Queen Mary's Needlework Guild, the St. John Ambulance Association, the Indian Soldiers' Fund, and the British Red Cross Society for the coming week are as follows:—

Queen Mary's Needlework Guild.—Cardigans and sweaters, flannel day and night shirts, towels, feather pillows, locks, slippers (large size), handkerchiefs (coloured), vests and pants (preferably woven), bandages, women’s stockings, children's jerseys and stockings, babies' long clothes, boys' shirts and clothing of all sorts. No more belts are required. Shirts and socks are urgently needed: socks should be stitched together in pairs. All parcels should be addressed "Q.M.N.G., Friary Court, St. James's Palace. S.W." with list of contents and name and address of sender securely fastened inside each package.

St. John Ambulance Association:-- Dressing gowns, night-shirts, flannel and cotton, pneumonia jackets, handkerchiefs (especially coloured), blankets (coloured and white), towels and sheets, household cloths, cigarettes, bandages (many-tailed), ditto (“T”), lint (boric and plain), cyanide gauze. All parcels should be addressed “St. John Ambulance, 56, St. John’s Square, Clerkenwell, E.C." Information respecting patterns, &c., can be obtained from the West-end Depot, 35, Park-lane.

Order Of St. John of Jerusalem, Indian Soldiers’ Fund.— Socks, gloves and mittens, sweaters, flannel belts, shirts, and pyjamas, undervests and drawers, pillows, tea, tobacco, spices, and sweets. All hospital things are much needed, including night-shirts, bed-jackets. gauze, lint. boracic lint, cotton wool, bandages, &c., pneumonia jackets. &c.  All parcels, with list of contents inside, should be sent direct to the Secretary. Warehouse Committee. 29. Somerset-street, W. marked on the outside. “Indian Soldiers' Fund,"

British Red Cross Society. -- Vests and pants (woven or flannel, as per Red Cross pattern), cardigan jackets, knitted waistcoats, flannel shirts, flannel nightshirts and pyjamas, socks, tablecloths and napkins, tray-cloths, white counterpanes, blankets, towels and sheets, suitable games (chiefly draughts), hair brushes, shaving brushes.  No more paper or straw pillows of any kind are needed, as they are considered undesirable by all hospitals.  For the present no more kneecaps or empty kit-bags are required.  Special Medical Requirements.—Iodoform gauze, boric and plain lint.  No more triangular bandages, eye bandages, or splints are required at present.  All parcels should be addressed to the Manager, Stores Department, British Red Cross Society, 83, Pall-Mall, S.W.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Odd Balls of Wool

From the Glasgow Herald, 27th February 1915.

A Practical Suggestion.—Mrs Emily E. Bloxham, Ellangowan, Rothienorman, Aberdeenshire, points out that those who are making woollen articles must in many cases find themselves left with small balls of wool of which they can make no use.  If all those balls were collected many would be found to be of the same ply and colour, and a great many additional articles could be made from those remnants.  As some people dislike working up odd bits of wool, Mrs Bloxham would be very pleased to receive their contributions, which would be worked up by her guild, which has already turned out successfully quite a number of articles from such remnants.  Contributions will be gratefully received by Mrs Bloxham at the above address.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

A Workshop Making Comforts for Soldiers

From the Sunderland Daily Echo, 3rd March 1915. 


Sir,—Will you allow me to suggest to those of your readers who are interested in knitting comforts for the troops that the need is still great?  Thousands of our men are being sent to the front within the next few weeks; the nights are still very cold, and not only our men but French and Belgians also much appreciate the English “chausettes” when they can get them.  May I further suggest that if generous givers would, instead of knitting so many mittens and socks themselves, give a part of their order to our unemployed women's workroom at Usworth, county Durham, they would also be helping to keep girls in work during the war at little cost to themselves, for the difference between the wholesale and retail price of wool would then be spent on labour?

We started this workroom in the autumn, when the pits were on very short time; all the profits go to the workers engaged, our running expenses being very low indeed, thanks to the kindness of the trustees of the Primitive Methodist Chapel, who loaned us two of their rooms.  We turn out really good work, either by hand or machines, and, as you will see by our price list enclosed, at very reasonable prices.  It bids fair to establish a permanent industry in a village where there are very few openings for girls, and is an excellent trade for them to have in their hands—a boon in these hard times.— Yours, etc.,
Organiser for the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies.
Unemployed Women's Workrooms, Primitive Methodist Chapel, New Rows, New Washington.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Little Miss Telegraph.

From the Liverpool Daily Post, 2nd March 1915.





Twenty bright-eyed young girls cheerfully lent themselves to the Government yesterday, and took a part in the putting on of a great innovation by carrying telegrams from certain suburban offices in the South-end of Liverpool.  It was the first time that girls had ever been engaged in such employment in a large centre of population, and these smart and swift-footed maidens bore their part in the experiment with all the pride and enthusiasm of conscious pioneers.
It will not be many days before little Miss Telegraph, hurrying along the street will the familiar buff-coloured envelope in her hand, will be a familiar figure in the suburbs of Liverpool. Yesterday’s experiment was only the beginning of what promises to be a successful scheme, which will be extended as rapidly as necessity shall require. If the war lasts until July or August it is possible that Liverpool’s corps of telegraph messenger girls may number as many as seventy.
300 Postmen at the Front.
It comes about in this way.    About 300 of Liverpool’s postmen, including a number of the senior telegraph messengers, have joined the colours, and to fill their places there has been a general moving forward of the smartest youths in the telegraph messenger service.  The consequence of this has- been that many more messengers are needed for service in the suburban districts.   These vacancies will continue to occur, as there is still a goodly number of postmen who have volunteered for service at the front, and who are only keeping at their work until it is found convenient to replace them.  The demand for boy labour in offices and workshops is so great, and the wages offered in commercial offices is so much larger than the Post Office scale for messengers, that great difficulty is being found in inducing boys to enter the messenger service.  In some commercial offices, it is said, as much as 12s and 14s a week is now being paid for smart and intelligent youths.
As the boys will not step into the vacancies, the Postmaster has been obliged to make the experiment of recruiting messengers from among the girls.  In this novel scheme he has had the effective co-operation of the Juvenile Employment Committee, which came into existence two or three years ago, with Alderman K. J. Leslie as its chairman.  The committee has furnished the girls who have already been taken on, and has specially selected those on their list who were best suited for this class of work.  The innovation, so far as present arrangements go, will only last until the war is over and the soldiers return to their customary callings.  But the committee is prepared to recommend at least another 100 suitable girls from their list if the Post Office has use for their services.
Short Hours and Good Pay.
Every care will be taken to see that little Miss Telegraph is well looked after in her new sphere.  She will be engaged only in the better class residential distracts, and as she will wear no uniform she will be paid at a slightly higher figure than the beginning wage of a mere boy messenger.  Moreover, she will work only six hours instead of the boy's eight; and, so that her education should not suffer while she is in this temporary calling, special classes for her instruction are being arranged by the Education Committee.  When she is engaged on the morning shift, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., she will be able to go to a class in the evening; and when she is on the late shift, from 2 p.m. until 8 p. m. (and under no circumstances will she ever be asked to work later than 8 p.m.), a morning class will be provided for her.  In the residential districts she will generally be delivering messages to ladies, who are sure to be interested in her, and she will never have long flights of stairs to climb, as the boys in the city have to do.  All things considered, she will be rather a lucky little mortal.
A Plea for Girl Labour.
The circumstances which have compelled the Postmaster to enter a near field for his messenger are not peculiar to the telegraph service.  All over the city there is now a shortage of boy labour as a consequence of the enlistment of so many young men.  On the other hand, it is harder than ever for girls and young women to find berths.  At the beat of times Liverpool, compared with other large cities, offers few opportunities for female labour, and it so happens that the factories and workshops in which females are engaged locally have been particularly hard hit by the war, with the result that there are more young women and girls out of employment than usual.  This dual problem of the shortage of boy labour and the surplus of female labour has now reached such an acute stage that the Juvenile Employment Committee are now seeking the assistance of employers in dealing with it.  Aldermen Leslie in a communication which we received yesterday, puts the position very clearly.
“A year ago at this date,” he points out, “we had on our books in the Juvenile Employment Registry at the Education Offices 202 boys wanting places, and 79 employers wanting boys.  Now the position is reversed, and last Saturday the record was 149 boys seeking employment and 305 employers seeking boys.  The placing of boys in good situations at the present time, therefore, presents no difficulty.
"But in the girls’ department last week we had 32 vacancies open and 455 applicants for them.  This disproportion has become more marked every week since the war began, and the problem presented by these hundreds of unemployed young girls is giving us the greatest anxiety.”
After referring to the Postmaster's experiment with girl messengers, Alderman Leslie's letter goes on to ask:—
“Would large firms or companies, hitherto employing boy labour, like to make a similar experiment?  If so, the director of education will be very glad to arrange, on hearing to that effect, for the superintendent of the Juvenile Employment Registry or the lady officer to call upon thorn and make the necessary arrangements. It is, of course, our duty to be satisfied that the conditions under which the girls will work are suitable.”
Why Domestic Service is Disliked.
In a short interview with a “Daily Post” representative yesterday, Alderman Leslie amplified the statements contained in the letter.  The reason why there were fewer boys on the books of the Juvenile Employment Committee, he explained, was that they were snapped up so quickly by employers.  Every year 6,000 girls left the public elementary schools of Liverpool, and a large proportion of them hoped to find employment of some kind somewhere.  Only girls between the ages of fourteen and seventeen came within the purview of the committee, the business of finding them employment being undertaken by the Labour Exchange when they reached the age of seventeen.
“While employment is so scarce isn't it possible to induce them to enter domestic service?” asked our representative.
“Even in the present state of affairs, I am sorry to say we have the greatest difficulty in the world to persuade young girls to take up domestic service.  Their prejudice is very deeply rooted, and we don’t seem able to get rid of it.  We have even tried offering them pocket money while they go and train for domestic service at the Education Committee’s institutions in York-terrace and Prince’s-road, but the number who avail themselves of the chance is disappointingly small.  The young women of to-day who want employment insist upon having their evenings off.  That, I should say, is their chief objection to domestic service.
“What sort of employment do we ask employers to give to girls.  Well, so far we have not made any definite suggestions.  The employers know their requirements better than we do, and we think it best, perhaps, that suggestions should come from them.  But there is surely much work which could be just as well done by young women as by men or boys.  There are the station bookstalls, for example.  When you travel in Scotland you find nearly all the stalls under the care of young women, who manage them very efficiently.  But in England it seems never to have been realised that that is a suitable sphere for women’s labour.”
“But if new employments are found for young women, where are the domestic servants to come from in future?” was our representative’s final question.
Alderman Leslie frankly gives it up.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

The Knitting-Table

From The Manchester Guardian, March 1st, 1915.

The Knitting-Table.

Formerly grandmother knitted and granddaughters held the wool.  It was an arm-aching business, too, for grandmothers were deliberate in their movements and wool was not so well put into skeins as is at present the case.  Nowadays, however, when everybody is knitting, irrespective of generations, it is no longer the thing to ask someone to hold one’s wool, since by doing so a certain amount of energy is necessarily deflected from the true path.  Thus it is by no means unusual to see knitters of all ages tramping painfully round a chair-back winding their wool, or attempting to use that same unyielding chair-back as though it were a nice yielding pair of arms adapting themselves to the idiosyncrasies of wool.;

For the comfort of the knitter, however, the knitting-table has come to light.  It consists of a nice large space which contains comfortably a couple of pounds of wool without mixing them.  Thus comforters and bodybelts or helmets and socks can be proceeded with simultaneously without confusion.  In compartments at the side needles of different sizes can be kept, and, for further comfort, there can be obtained at the same time little clips which keep together the respective sets of needles.  Attached to the table is a winder, which folds up and tucks away.  Amid confusion order is enabled to reign, and the knitter no longer has any excuse for the shapeless masses of woolly endeavour which lie about in every sitting-room.

Should the knitter wish to be more mobile than is possible with the knitting-table, rather useful bags are now made to contain knitting.  Since wool is apt to stick to any kind of textile material, these bags are made of leather, and can be slung over the arm.  It would indeed be quite easy to go for a walk knitting on the way, which seems not improbable, since people have taken to knitting even at concerts.  The leather is in all sorts of bright colours, and the bag is a sensible, workmanlike article.

[I guess that the winder attached to the table was something like a swift, i.e. something that would hold the yarn, in lieu of a granddaughter. 

"Shapeless masses of woolly endeavour" - seems familiar somehow.]