Monday, 18 May 2015

Wartime Hobbies

From the Birmingham Gazette, 18th May 1915.

Wartime Hobbies.

The two main hobbies in London just now are the making of sandbags and the upkeep of personal “war books.”  Sandbag parties have superseded knitting parties, says the “Manchester Guardian” London correspondent.

Young women gather together for luncheon, and afterwards give themselves to the cutting or shearing of coarse sacking and stitching it into bags for the wall of sandbags that is said to stretch from Switzerland to the sea.

It is a task people are eager to undertake in spite of its irksomeness, for every sandbag, the worker knows, helps to save lives.  Young girls’ teas are given with this object only, and cards are sent out with “sandbags” in the corner that once had the word “Tango”—a warning to come provided with thimble and enormous scissors—and many girls who have scarcely ever put cotton through an eyelet now spend hours on work that compares rather unfavourably with picking oakum.
War Books.
“War books,” on the other hand, are the bound and often beautiful volumes of collected letters and mementoes of every sort sent from the front, adds the correspondent.

A girl will have, for instance, a large album with her monogram and that of her brother or sweetheart, which contains their letters, postcards, and any snapshot or special newspaper cutting of personal interest.

[Picking oakum was an occupation for Victorian prisoners, intended as a punishment.] 

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