Friday, 31 July 2015

Hounslow Tipperary Rooms Opening

From the Middlesex Chronicle, 31st July 1915.


Yesterday afternoon the Tipperary Rooms designed for the recreative and mental benefit of the wives, children and other relatives of soldiers and sailors serving in the war, were formally opened at Neal's-corner by the Countess of Seafield.  The proceedings connected with the function were held for the greater part at the Alcazar Picture Palace, which is nearly opposite the Rooms, this commodious building having been placed at the disposal of the Committee by the manager, Mr. Harry Tindell.  The palace was occupied to its utmost capacity by a crowd consisting mainly of the wives and little ones of service men, and for upwards of an hour these were first entertained to a capital show of pictures.

Mrs. Clarendon Hyde, who presided, outlined the object of the Tipperary Rooms, and said that these provided for the women whose menfolk were so gallantly fighting their battles — a home from home where the hand of comradeship and sympathy would be extended to them, and where in their difficulties they would be given the best of advice and help.  They felt very grateful to those who had taken the trouble to show their practical interest in the movement by coming that afternoon, and she was sure that if they only seconded the endeavours of Mrs. Armstrong, who had been so energetic in organising the Room in Hounslow, their "Tipperary " would be one of the best in the country....
Lady Seafield then formally declared the Room open, wishing all concerned with it every success, and adding that she intended to come over to Hounslow very often in the future and visit the Tipperary Room (loud applause).

After thanks had been accorded to the Countess, and to the manager of the Alcazar, a most effective grouping of national characters was produced on the stage, taken as follows :—England, Katie Cavanna; Ireland, Ileen Bradley; Scotland, Edmond Graeme Armstrong; Wales, Margery Shuff; Russia, Dollie Rayner; France, Constance M. Armstrong; Belgium, Theresa Cavanna; Servia, Emily Woods; Cossack, Mrs. Dean; Italy, Sylvia Cavanna; Japan, Miss N. Wells; Army, Norman Bradley and Lionel Lang; Navy, George Lovett, H.M.S. Warspite.  A concert of high merit succeeded, the programme for which was sustained by several professional and amateur artistes. Among the former were Miss Irene Constance-Lee (Australian entertainer) and Miss Laura Godfree (from the Queen's Hall), with character studies at the piano, and Miss Chrystabel Smelt (vocalist).  Little Miss Mary Armstrong (daughter of the energetic secretary of the movement) delighted all with her sweet rendering of the soldier's popular ditty "Tipperary," to the tune of which Miss Ileen Bradley afterwards prettily danced.  Miss Lydia Musto also sang and Signorina Cavanna roused the audience to much fervour by her spirited singing of the Italian National Anthem.

At the conclusion of the concert the company left the Alcazar and took possession of the Room at Neal's-corner, where tea was served out to them.

[Tipperary Rooms were being opened in many parts of the country to provide a social centre for the wives and children of serving men - see below for an account of their beginnings. 

Among the performers in Hounslow, the Cavannas were a family living in Houslow - the father, Joseph, was Italian by birth,  and an ice merchant. At the time of the concert, Caterina was 22, Teresa 14 and Sylvia 16.  Mrs Armstrong was married to the secretary to the local Education Committee - her children Edmond Graeme and Constance were aged 9 and 11, while 'little Miss Mary Armstrong' was 4.]  

From the Western Daily Press, 13th November 1914.

[Taken from a letter to the editor, asking for support in setting up recreation rooms in Bristol.]

SIR.—Lately there appeared in the London ‘Times’ a letter from Mrs E. Juson Kerr, in which she said:  “When we see the increasing numbers of our poorer sisters in and out of gin palaces, we realise the immediate possibility of the degeneration of the homes our men ‘have left behind them.’ . . . To save the ‘home-fires’ for our men to find on their return, can we not take rooms in the most congested parts of our great cities, encourage our women to meet there, supply them with papers, the latest war news hung on the walls, paper, pen, and ink, free of charge; coffee, cocoa, and tea to be had at cost price? . . . The whole scheme can be carried through at very little expense—each local centre managed by a local committee.”

So thoroughly did the scheme appeal to the readers of the ‘Times’ that within a couple of days over 2,000 letters, some of them offering help towards the starting of such rooms, and others asking how they could be started, poured in from every part of the kingdom, some enthusiasts even appearing at the writer's house soon after nine o'clock in the morning of the day the letter appeared.  The pioneer recreation-room was opened at Hammersmith on Oct. 28, and it was then said that others on the same lines were going to be started at North Kensington, St. Pancras, Chelsea, Marylebone, Shepherd's Bush, in Norwich, in Birmingham, and in Ireland.

Is much being done in this way locally? .... the Lord Mayor said, on Tuesday, it was very desirable that, whilst the soldiers were fighting at the front, the wives whom they had left at home should not be spending their time and money in the public-house.  Mrs Rose, too, at a meeting of the W.T.A.U., is reported as saying that there was, just now, the additional temptation in that many of the women, by reason of the Army grants, had more money than perhaps ever before.  They should try and get the women, for the sake of the men who were going to the front, to abstain, as their share towards fighting the enemy.....

[The full article about the opening in Hounslow credits Mrs Juson Kerr as the instigator of 'Tipperary' Rooms.   The Western Daily Press letter suggests that the primary motivator was the fear that the wives of serving men would misbehave if left to their own devices - the rooms were intended to keep them out of the pub.]  

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Comforts Sent to the Bedfordshire Regiment

From the Bedfordshire Times and Independent, 30th July 1915.


Sir,—I venture to enclose a list of "comforts" which have been sent by my committee to the Regular Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiments since the beginning of the war.  There has been a most generous response to the appeal both in money and clothing.  Many things will be need in coming months, and I shall be glad to receive gifts of money or clothing.  (This latter should be sent to Mr. T. Baker, St. Mary's, Bedford).  I should like to remind those who have so kindly helped us up till now, that socks and shirts are the most useful things they can make.  We are in communication with the Commanding Officer of each Battalion, and try and supply immediately what they ask for.
I am,
Yours faithfully.
Chairman of the Committee for Supplying Comforts to the Regular Bedfordshire Battalion.
65, Ennismore Gardens, S. W.,
July 27th, 1915.

List of articles sent : —3623 pairs of socks; 2017 pairs of mittens; 655 body belts; 1258 mufflers: 620 shirts; 200 dozen handkerchiefs; 166 dozen towels; 12,000 candles; 157 sleeping helmets; 60 housewives; 80 pairs kneecaps; 20 Cardigans; 36 chest protectors; 4 Thermos flasks; 33000 cigarettes; 12 gross matches; 400 pipes; 50 air cushions for stretchers (presented by the boys of the Grammar School); 50 footballs (presented by the boys of the Modern School); chocolate, tooth brushes, soap, tinder lighters, letter wallets, braces, Boracic ointment, cold cream, vaseline, note paper, boot laces.

 [Another list of apparently random numbers of different items.  I do wonder how, for instance, 4 Thermos flasks were shared by an entire regiment.] 

Friday, 24 July 2015

Appeal for Waterproof Tents

From the Halifax Courier, 24th July 1915.

Must They Sleep In Rain?


Hurrah!  And still one cheer more!  Through the goodness of friends, the Havercake Lads are now sure of another load of “Courier” comforts, and we pledge our word that as quickly as is humanly possible the consignment shall leave.  There are about 1,100 men to provide for, and we are entrusted with £300 to spend, in the manner laid down by Major Ellam, who is at the Front, and superintends these matters for the Regiment.  Our heartiest thanks are tendered to all who have assisted.  This will be something like a load.  What was sent from the same source on March 26 cost £70.  The goods sent by us to the 1/4th on May 11 cost £270. So another step forward is being made.  The collection will be described when complete.

Would that we might be able to complete a second load this very next week!  As soon as ever possible we want to buy 90 bivouacs, or waterproof tents, for shelter or for sleeping in, for the Halifax Artillery at the Front.  Being without billets, they have often to lie down in the open, wet or fine. Their Commanding Officer, Major Bullock, has asked us if we will try to beg the cost of these from the public.  It is surely needless for us to picture the men’s plight.  What would any of us be fit for after spending a solitary night in rain, say on Norland Moor?  There wouldn't be much flight left in us, would there?  Yesterday, subscriptions were in for a few of the tents, and a message came that employes in one mill in Halifax were, by way of example to other workers, going to contribute 10.

…. The commandant of the First 4th West Riding Regiment, Colonel Atkinson, Cleckheaton, in the afternoon came to the “Courier” Office to convey through us to the public the gratitude of himself, his officers and men, for the consignments of comforts we have had the privilege of sending on their behalf.  The gallant Colonel spoke in the warmest possible, and most affectionate, terms of the gallantry of the First 4th, their willingness to undertake any task.  In this sense, we gathered from his words, they are indeed a model in the line. Col. Atkinson spoke of the great service the Comforts fund is rendering, commending it as invaluable, the great bracer of our fighting lads.

[The Havercake Lads was the nickname of the West Riding Regiment - havercakes are Yorkshire oatcakes.]

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Evening Activities for Girls

 From the North Eastern Daily Gazette, 21st July 1915. 



SIR, —Will you kindly allow me, through your paper, to make known generally to the girls of Redcar and district, that they will shortly have an opportunity of "doing their bit" for their country in this grave hour of national peril. Every girl is anxious, one knows, to help, but the exact opportunity is difficult to find.

A committee has been formed, to start what will be known as a "Flag Room for Girls."

This room will be open once a week during August, and more frequently as the days get shorter. The first part of the evening will be devoted to making simple inexpensive comforts for the men now fighting at the front, and the wounded in the hospitals, such as sand-bags, bags for hospital use, "housewives," washing gloves, milk covers, etc. Later in the evening instruction will be given in simple ambulance and first aid work, war-time cookery, and other timely knowledge.

 Girls of any age will be welcome, the only charge being one penny weekly, and a small charge for light refreshments, if desired. The place and date of opening of this room will be announced very shortly —meantime offers of help in arranging the evenings and classes, loans of furniture, games, pictures, papers, and above all, a piano, are very urgently invited.

The spirit of “doing something for England” should animate us all just now, and we cordially invite ALL girls to join the Flag Room.

 Any donations, gifts or loans, should he kindly made known to Mrs Mayo, The Bank House, or Mrs Lonsdale, 46, High-street, Redcar, who have kindly undertaken the business management for the committee.—I am, yours truly,
Organiser National Union of Woman Workers.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Auction in aid of Tobacco Fund

From the Burton Daily Mail, 15th July 1915. 




At a meeting of the Burton Tobacco Committee, at the Queens' Hotel, last evening, it was intimated that the auction sale to be held in aid of the funds will take place at an early date at premises in Station Street.  Sympathisers with the movement to keep Tommy's pipe alight, and who desire to "donate" goods for the purpose of the sale are requested to communicate with Mr. H. Cain, auctioneer, of High Street, Burton, who has kindly offered to dispose of them.
Anything will be acceptable so long as it can be turned into money—from a mouse trap to a grand piano.  The following is a list of the articles already promised:—
Mr. Charles Severn, Queens' Hotel—Bull mastiff pup, " Pansy."
Mr. J. G. Moxon, Lullington. — Old English sheep dog.
Mrs. Barton, Coach and Horses—Valuable old print.
Mr. J. Gilbert—Copper warming pan.
Mr. C. Onions, High Street—Poultry and fruit to the value of a guinea.
Mr. H. Clarke, Uxbridge Street—Two bags of soot.
Mr. F. D. Beels—Prize, whose nature is to be decided upon.
Mr. Rowland Radford—Couple of rabbits.
Mr. Harry Stanley—Six sheep-dog puppies, of excellent pedigree.
Councillor W. P. Stanley—Leg of mutton.
Mr. Joseph R. Cain—Bible dated 1599; and galvanic battery.
Mr. W. G. Outhwaite, Derby Road—A couple of baths. 
Altogether purchasers may take their choice of 20 or 30 useful lots.  It has been suggested that a cup be presented to the donor of the best pup shown. Will some sympathiser with the fund kindly oblige?

[A wonderfully diverse selection of donations.  The soot was probably for use as a garden fertiliser.]  

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Gift of Comforts

From the Flintshire Observer, 15th July 1915.


Welsh Fusiliers' Gratitude for Gift of Comforts.

In connection with the Soughton Patriotic War Fund a draw took place some short time ago, as a result of which a very substantial sum was raised for the purchase of comforts and necessaries for the soldiers at the front.  Among the goods forwarded were packages of tabloid tea, socks, towels, shirts, body belts, scarves, razors, scissors, clasp knives, Balaclava helmets, writing utensils, soap, etc.  Besides a large consignment addressed to the Welsh Regiment, a large parcel of specially-prepared sweetmeats was despatched to the Indian troops.  ...

An acknowledgment has been received from the headquarters of the 1st Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers in France, dated 29th June, as follows: -- “Dear Sir,—I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 24th inst., and to thank you, on behalf of the officers and men of my battalion, for the consignment of comforts which the committee of the Soughton Patriotic War Fund have been kind enough to send for them.  I understand from the Quartermaster that the consignment has reached him, and I will have the articles distributed as soon as the battalion is relieved from duty in the trenches in the course of a few days.  The selection sent will be most acceptable to the men, and the kindness which has prompted its despatch is much appreciated by us all. -Yours respectfully, R. A. Berners, Lieut.- Colonel, commanding 1st Royal Welch Fusiliers.”

Saturday, 11 July 2015

British Eau-de-Cologne

From The Illustrated London News, 10th July, 1915.

LADIES' PAGE (continued)

Trading with the enemy being strictly forbidden both by law and right feeling, we must resolve to follow henceforth, so long as our lives shall last, the good example set for years by her Majesty—namely, support British industries.  Eau-de-Cologne, by a curious coincidence, is recommended by competent chemists to be inhaled as an antidote if the monstrous cruelty of dropping poison bombs (from Cologne and neighbourhood) on sleeping London is successfully carried out.  Messrs. Grossmith, the celebrated manufacturers of "Shem-el-Nessim" and other favourite perfumes, have come to the front with an excellent British Eau-de-Cologne, which they have named the "Golden Still" brand.  It is procurable from all chemists and stores in bottles at prices from 9d. upwards, and is of wonderful freshness and delightful odour; it will be found most refreshing in the sick-room, for headache, or to relieve fatigue and strained nerves.



[I doubt if Eau-de-Cologne would have been much use against poison gas, in fact.]

Friday, 10 July 2015

The Supply of Working Women

From The Illustrated London News, 10th July, 1915. 


We shall all feel glad that the Government have called on women to register for possible war service—and women up to sixty-five years of age, too—even although the previous request for women volunteers for this service produced 87,000 offers, of whom but some 2300 have been found any work to do.  It is to be hoped, however, that women will not be set to tasks too hard for their strength, producing a crop of broken-down girls to match the lads wounded in the war, but without the same provision and compensation.  It is also to be hoped that women will not be too much called away from the vitally important work on which so large a proportion of us are now engaged.  The female sex, as a whole, is mainly occupied in rearing and educating the next generation, and in providing the necessary cooked food and other requirements of the present working population.  We hear too much in ordinary times of exclusive attention to their own household work being required of wives and mothers.  Even skill in other forms of work acquired by long, costly, and devoted study, as in the case of lady doctors or women certificated teachers, has been constantly relegated by men on public boards to be wasted for life if the holder of it should elect to marry.  But now we are suddenly going too far in the reverse direction.  As unreasonable and wrong in the public interests as it is to command absolute servitude for intellectual or business women to domestic cares alone, so it is, on the other hand, wrong to call women too largely away from those wifely and motherly and educative duties upon which both the present and the future generation so greatly depend for health and well-being.

That there is not really a superabundant supply of women available for physically hard work has long been plain from the scarcity of domestic servants.  That such scarcity is a fact every employer of that class of labour knows.  The money wages of domestic workers have advanced fifty per cent. in as many years, without any strikes or combinations, merely by reason of the scanty supply of labour, consequent on the large number of new occupations that have been opened to women in modern times.  That it should have followed that domestic workers should become too few to meet the demand, in consequence of the opening of other employments, is a token that there is not an adequate supply of female labour, for wages, for hard physical work.  So it must not be supposed that the National Service census will discover a vast army of healthy women hitherto merely sitting lazily unoccupied.  ..... Many—not all—middle-class married women, however, might well work harder than hitherto in their own homes, even to the point of dispensing with one domestic servant.


[This all seems a bit muddled.  It's not clear to me whether Filomena is suggesting that the Government was wrong to expect women to work rather than looking after their families, or just warning that there would not be as many suited to physical work as expected.  But in fact, many working-class women were already working out of economic necessity - often at jobs requiring 'physically hard work'.  And as far as I know, domestic service was unpopular, not because it was hard work, but because it was badly-paid drudgery with very little freedom.  A job in a munitions factory with fixed hours and better pay was far preferable.]  

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Women’s Part in the History of the War

 From The Times, 9th July 1915. 

Women concerned with or interested in war work should instruct their newsagent to secure Part 46 of The Times History at once, as an exceptionally heavy demand for this Number has arisen since attention was drawn to its contents in the debate of July 6 in the HOUSE OF COMMONS.

The mere enumeration of the subjects treated in Part 46 of
The Times
affords an indication of the exceptional interest of this Number to women generally, and in particular to those who are taking up any share of war work.  The wide scope of its brightly written and delightfully illustrated pages will be gathered from the following Table of Contents :—
Women's Anxiety to Help on Outbreak of War ;
Mobilization of the Nursing Services ;
Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service, Territorial Nursing Service, Naval Nursing Service, and the British Red Cross Society ;
Women Doctors at the Front ;
Women's Military Hospital in London ;
Queen's "Work for Women" Fund ;
Scheme for Central Committee on Women's Employment ;
Queen Mary's Needlework Guild ;
How the Suffragists and Anti-Suffragists Helped ;
Formation of War-Register of Women by the Board of Trade ;
Replacement of Men by Women. 

Part 46
Now on Sale. 7d.
With numerous appropriate portraits and photographs.
Written by one having a wide knowledge of, and a deep sympathy with, all questions affecting women, the Current Number of The Times History constitutes a complete justification of the present-day claim of women to be regarded as co-workers with men in numerous spheres of activity hitherto closed to their sex, whilst it fully recognizes their supremacy in the organization, administration, and actual performance of the Nursing Services and in everything appertaining to the Care and Relief of women and children in distress or out of employment.

[With hindsight, 1915 seems a bit early to be publishing a history of the war.]

Friday, 3 July 2015

Halifax Fighters and Prisoners' Needs

From the Halifax Courier, 3 July 1915



In a day, one solitary Saturday, Halifax alone raised £800 for horses.  Now what will Halifax do for its own Fathers and Sons?  Shall they appeal in vain?  Shall indeed they go short of anything?  Do not those vacant chairs appeal to us?  There is no more direct way of proving to our own, our gratitude.
We have made it our business to ask folk at home to provide needed comforts for Tommy.  It is one bit of proof that he has a soft spot in our hearts, that we want to help him in his great sacrifice for us.  Without he kept the enemy back, where should we be?  Let us pour out thankfulness to the fullest measure.
What did the Premier say on Tuesday:- "All money that is spent in these days on superfluous comforts or luxuries, whether in the shape of goods or in the shape of services, means the division of energy which can be better employed in the national interests, either in supplying the needs of our fighting forces in the field, or in making commodities for export which will go to reduce our indebtedness abroad."

Lady Jellicoe, speaking in Halifax yesterday, said: "However brave our soldiers and sailors are, they cannot fight, and beat the enemy without all the aid they can get from the civilian.  We know now that men and women alike must put their shoulders to the wheel.”

Regiment:  2nd West Ridings; 5th W.R. Artillery; Ammunition Column; R.A.M.C. (A Echelon); R.A.M.C. (B Echelon).
Area: Brighouse to Todmorden, Stainland to Queensbury.

The claims of other regiments (at the Front only) will be put before the public, as soon as the needs of the above have been met. As long as the War goes on, it is up to this district to continue to think generously of native braves.

The goods provided by this Fund are : --
Vests.     Carbolic Soap.   Pipes.
Pants.    Vaseline.    Cap sunshades.
Braces.    Boracic ointment.   Candles.
Handkerchiefs.  Zinc ointment.   Tinned goods.
Razors.    Sweets.   Writ'g mat'ial.
Shaving Soap.    Fruit.   Towels.
Toilet soap.   Tobacco.   Mirrors.
Tea    Games.   Biscuits.
Coffee.    Laces.   Tooth powder.
Cocoa.    Thread.   Tooth brushes.

Except to men in other than local regiments, the "Courier" only supplies on the signed application of Commanding Officers, and on the understanding that every man from the district indicated above shares.  105 prisoners known to us have received parcels weekly, but owing to lack of adequate support we are obliged to cut them down one half, so that each prisoner will now get a parcel in the next fortnight; and if the rate of sending in money does not vastly improve, we shall have to curtail their help further because, whoever else we forget, the fighters must have every possible attention.  Each parcel contains 2 mothers’ loaves, and goods costing 6s. 3d.

For shirts, socks, and all knitted goods, local regiments must apply to the Mayoress’s Committee.

Will district Red Cross and other Societies kindly consider our appeal with a view to helping it, in view of the fact that it is all for local men?
Mill, workshop, and office collections would be particularly agreeable now.  Employes throughout Halifax, Elland, Brighouse, Todmorden, Lightcliffe, Hipperholme,  Queensbury, Sowerby Bridge, Ripponden, Hebden Bridge, and all the intervening places, know that in assisting in this cause they are contributing directly to their own lads.  The cause is likewise commended to churches and their auxiliaries.  The consideration of all charitably-disposed friends we cordially invite.  Lady collectors and workers would be valuable.

Nobody can do too much, and certainly we can sacrifice in no better cause.

We have got to win.  Then let us help our own lads in doing their share.

[For some time, the Halifax Courier had been saying that their 'Comforts' fund was short of money, and making increasingly desperate appeals for more.  It seems to me that they had taken on too much - the list of things they were supplying includes many items that should have been provided by the War Office, and probably were.  Providing all those things for 1,400 men out of charitable donations was evidently proving too great a burden - and could only get more difficult as the number of Halifax men at the Front increased.]