Friday, 30 October 2015

Schoolchildren Knitting

From the Grantham Journal, 30th October 1915.

JUVENILE WORKERS.—The girls and boys of the Folkingham School have been endeavouring to “do their bit” by collecting money in the village, spending it on wool and knitting comforts for all Folkingham men who are serving their King and country.  During the past week they have sent off fourteen parcels, and hope to forward the rest shortly.  Each parcel contains socks, mufflers, mittens, and a tin of sweets, together with a cheerful letter from one of the scholars.  The scholars wish they could do greater things.  We hope the inhabitants will continue to support them by being liberal with their pence in order that they may continue their good work.  The sums already collected amount to £1 17s. 10½., whilst a friend sent 10s.  Strict accounts are kept by the children, and may be seen at the School.  Already some of the scholars have received letters from several of the recipients, thanking them for the gifts.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Women Aren't Knitting

From the Daily Express, October 29th, 1915

Where You Can be of Service

It is a curious fact that though the winter is advancing rapidly, women are not apparently making any great effort to make warm clothing for the troops.  I hope I am mistaken, and that the work is going on sub rosa, but one no longer sees the ubiquitous knitting needles and balls of khaki coloured yarn that were to be found on all sides this time last year. 

Why is this?  Surely women do not fail to realise that the need for knitted articles with which to keep our brave man warm and comfortable during their arduous work by sea and land, when they are out in all weathers, is as great, nay, greater than ever. 

Is knitting for the troops to be put alongside the tango and ping-pong, as a craze of the moment, absorbing the attention of all for a few months, and then dropped again as quickly as it was taken up?  Surely this is not the case.  

There can be no doubt that the energies of every woman are needed to help to supply the great demand for such articles.  Even the woman who is busy most of the day can find time in her spare minutes to ply the needles in the good cause; she was ready enough last winter, and if she only knew how badly these things are wanted, I am convinced she would be as ready this.

We need not fear that our gifts will not be required.  We have Queen Mary’s appeal, an appeal which should rouse the keenest wish to respond in the heart of every woman.  We have the official notification from the War Office that thousands of pairs of mittens and warm mufflers are needed as soon as possible.  Sir Edward Ward is organising a movement to bring local working parties into co-operation, so that all may unite in making what is wanted, and making it correctly. 

In the meantime, don’t wait for further instructions but set to work on mittens;  they must be made with thumbs, no fingers, and eight inches long, of close knitting in khaki-coloured wool – and khaki mufflers, ten inches wide and fifty-eight inches long – just a strip of plain knitting that any child can manage. 

To help those who have not already made these particular mittens. I have a printed leaflet which gives clear instructions how they should be knitted, which I shall be glad to send free to any reader on receipt of a stamped addressed envelope.  The finished articles should be forwarded to the Chief Ordnance Office, Army Clothing Department, …

Wool and knitting needles are to be had in abundance, so I ask every woman who reads this, not to leave the matter to another time, but to go straight out and buy the necessary materials, and set to work “doing her bit” as soon as she possibly can.  One hears so much about the women who are hoping to do war work, but here, close at hand, lies “war work” that every one can do.  If those who cannot leave home will only realise it, by plying their needles they will be doing quite as good work for the country as those other women who are able to work in shell factories and munitions works. 

Requests for the knitting leaflet should be addressed to Janet Gray, Daily Express, 23, St. Bride-street, E.C.

Janet Gray

Thursday, 22 October 2015

A Red Cross Nurse

From Woman’s Own, October 22nd 1915.

The Diary of a Red Cross Nurse

A sprightly series of articles by Emily B. Forster, which gives insight into and real information about the duties of a nurse in wartime. 

DEAREST FLO,—Well, here I am at last.  The dream of my life has come true.  I am a Red Cross nurse, in a ward full of wounded soldiers.  I know you are all eagerly waiting for a letter from me to tell you my first experiences as a nurse.
I was quite afraid Sister would hear my heart beating, I was so nervous when she took me into a ward filled with "heroes," saying "This is your ward."
Most of the men were in bed; only three were up.  All eyes turned upon me at once, and I heard a whisper, "A new pro."  Just at that moment Sister, hearing a low moan proceeding from a bed at the end of the ward, left me and disappeared behind the screen that was round the bed (a bad case).  I was left standing alone just inside the door.
Ah, I did feel so shy and nervous!  I felt so "new"; quite a "pro"  [probationer]. I was wondering what to do, when a feeble voice near me said, "So you have come to look after us poor chaps for a bit, miss, and it's uncommon good of you.  My missus says they may talk about angels at Mons, but there ain't no doubt about the angels in the hospitals.  I knows as how what she says is true—this is my second go invalided home."
Before I tell you any more about the patients I must remember my promise to the girls to let them hear all about my uniform.
Can you picture me—neat hair, stiff collar, full skirt—everything just unlike what your frivolous little Betty wears at home, from the low-heeled shoe, tipped with rubber, to the demure cap that will not keep straight on my rebellious hair?
I mean to have my photograph taken soon, to send to you; but Sister says I look so stiff at present, so I am waiting until I feel more comfy in my standup collar.  My frock is just a plain cotton —very plain—and it is what the committee call a "sensible width."  I feel as if I were walking about in volumes of skirts.
A large white apron almost covers the dress, and when shall I ever get used to it—the linen collar?
But the crowning point of all is the Red Cross.
I know you all want to hear about everything I do.  Well, I am just a "pro," and that means, to give a full explanation, that I am a probationer, here to learn.  And as I want to get on, I keep my eyes and ears open to learn all I can. At first it seemed so hopeless—everybody seemed to know everything except me, and I knew nothing, and as the ward was short-handed (one nurse was ill), no one seemed to have time to pay much attention to me.  There was certain work portioned out; only as I have never swept or dusted or done any real work in my life, it wanted a lot of courage to start.
Of course, I made a wrong start, but my "angel friend," as I always call him in my own mind, came to my rescue: "You’re sweeping against the grain; go the way of the board, nurse."  Now, that was a tip worth knowing.
I got into dire disgrace over my dusting.  I had often noticed the maids shake their dusters, so when I finished my dusting I shook mine.  Oh dear, Sister was so angry!  She said I should be shaking carpets over the wounded next.  Somehow I think she feels it a duty to be severe to me, because I know nothing; but then, as I tell her, that is why I have come, for her to teach me.  She said you do not want a room full of sick men to learn to dust, but how else could I learn?  Why, if I took to dusting at home, all the servants would give notice, Sister said "No wonder!"
Well, I must get back to the ward now; it is time to give the medicines.
 —Your loving BETTY.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015


From The Times, 21st October 1915.



Sir, -- May I, through your kindness, answer inquiries from Army and public alike by saying that the sweater industry to which you were good enough to give publicity last winter reopens this week?  I have better space, and more (but not better) helpers.  I have also the usual brisk circle of candid friends to tell me that I won’t get any more sweaters, and that if I do they won’t be needed.  For the first point, I back my country; for the second, the young gentlemen are beginning to write on behalf of their platoons, and I am authorized to tell your readers that the War Office thoroughly approves of them and me.

Well, what I ask for is sweaters; any colour, because I dye them khaki, and any shape, because our Army is more like Proteus than Procrustes.  I know there are not so many old ones to be dyed as last year (there ought to be none), but there is still wool – and these nice long quiet evenings, so thoughtfully provided for us, are just the thing for knitting sweaters.  If a few ladies will send me knitted patterns with the awe-inspiring stage directions of how it’s done pinned to them, I could try them on the blushing Army and disseminate the most acceptable pattern for a model.  A dozen different samples will be enough – not all Pickford’s vans for a week, as sometimes happens when one asks for the Army.  Our readers will kindly understand that this offer holds good until further notice.  I will let them know if it becomes my duty to affiliate this venture to any organization indicated later by the War Office; or if I have to go and make the Germans laugh at my conception of military duties in the Essex trenches.....

In October 1914, I wrote that the feeling of the nation for the Army came as something of a surprise.  But if we were proud, honoured, and grateful to lend a hand then, what shall be the measure of our love and regard to-day?

Yours faithfully,
8, King’s Bench Walk, Inner Temple, E.C., Oct. 20.

[This is the first of the appeals from John Penoyre for the 1915-16 winter - he had written several letters to the Times during the previous winter, of which this was the most recent.  

I think that "I am authorized to tell your readers that the War Office thoroughly approves" is a reference to Sir Edward Ward's appointment as Director General of Voluntary Organisations - it seems that John Penoyre had checked that he could carry on with this efforts to provide sweaters, even though Sir Edward was asking only for mufflers and mittens at this point - see here

John Penoyre had a very lively style, but the classical and other references are sometimes a bit hard to follow.  I have omitted one part that I couldn't begin to explain.   Proteus was a Greek shape-changing sea-god, and here the name signifies that men in the Army came in all shapes and sizes.  Procrustes was a villain in Greek mythology who cut the legs off passing travellers, or stretched them out, to fit his bed.  I think John Penoyre means (again) that soldiers were not all a standard size, though the analogy with Procrustes doesn't quite work.   

Pickford's is a removals company with a long history - perhaps the Post Office called them in when they had a large volume of deliveries to the same address. ] 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Comforts for the Black Watch

From the Dundee Evening Telegraph, 20th October 1915.


By 6th Black Watch.

Writing on the 17th inst., a Pitlochry man of the 1/6th Black Watch says in a letter received to-day:—At present we are in the trenches.  We expect to be relieved on Wednesday (to-day) after doing a ten days' spell, and then take up reserves for the next ten.  Trenches and rest periods—that is how the months roll on here.  Things are fairly quiet in our part just now.  Our casualties have been very slight, and none of the Pitlochry boys have been hit so far.  All the Pitlochry boys got their sleeping helmets from the Public School girls yesterday, and are very proud of them.  Many of them wear nothing else in the trenches since they got them.  They are the neatest we have had so far.

The Battalion's Thanks.
A meeting of the 6th Black Watch Comforts Committee was held at Perth yesterday—Lord Provost Scott presiding.  A letter was submitted from Sir Robert Moncrieff, colonel commanding the sixth, conveying the thanks of the battalion for the committee's kindness.  Through the instrumentality of work parties organised by Lady Moncrieff, the following articles have been sent out for the comfort of the men:- 543 knitted belts, 574 pairs of socks, 194 helmets, 598 pairs of mittens, 281 hose tops, 37 mufflers, and 123 flannel belts.  The sum expended up to date by the committee is £148 9s 9d.  Sums of money were voted to different work parties for the provision of wool.

[Similar groups all over the country were providing similar comforts, of course. This account is interesting in spelling out that wool was provided to the working parties - knitters were not in this case expected to buy their own wool.  And presumably wool for the sleeping helmets was provided to the girls of the Public School.]   

Monday, 19 October 2015

The Dardanelles Fund for Comforts

From the Glasgow Herald, 19th October 1915.



An appeal to the public for further contributions and gifts to enable the supply of comforts to our troops in Gallipoli to be continued is made by Lady Ian Hamilton and the committee of  Lady Hamilton's Dardanelles Fund.  Of the value of the work done by the fund there are many thousands of testimonials from all grades of the Army –fighting and non-combatant.  No weightier tribute could have been forthcoming than that of the Commander-in-Chief himself.  In a cablegram just received by Lady Hamilton Sir Ian Hamilton says:-- “It would have done the hearts of your subscribers good to see the delight of the troops at receiving their generous gifts.”

The work of despatching the gifts to the front is now discharged on behalf of Lady Hamilton's Fund by Queen Alexandra’s Field Force Fund, whose premises at 24a, Hill Street, Knightsbridge, might easily be taken by the uninitiated to be the interior of a huge West-End stores-- except of course for the absence of shoppers.  Quantities of everything needed by the man on active service are stacked in orderly array around the walls.  Bands of voluntary workers line long tables, packing with deft, busy fingers the handkerchiefs, matches, pipes, soap, socks, stationery, chocolate, helmets, mittens, sweaters, mufflers, and condiments which compose the parcels in proportions that vary with the requisition of the officers commanding the units at the front.  The enthusiastic worker and the generous donor of money are alike happy in the knowledge that goods sent through the agency of the fund reach the men at the front.  Numerous complaints have been received of the non-arrival of packages despatched by the ordinary parcels post, but so far the good things forwarded by Lady Hamilton’s workers have found their way with unerring accuracy into the hands of the men for whom they are intended.  In many cases acknowledgments follow, if not from the men, then from the officers, and they are alike strong in their expressions of gratitude and appreciation.


One officer commanding writes as follows:-- “The excellence of choice has shown deep thought on your part, and nothing could have been more acceptable.  My men last night with their parcels were like children at Christmas, and if you could have seen their faces and heard the exclamations you would have all felt well repaid for the arduous work which you have so cheerfully and willingly undertaken.”  In a letter from a base depot an Army chaplain writes:— “Last week I had one of the greatest treats of my life, and I only wish I could write a full report to show you and your committee how grateful we are for your gifts and what a service you are performing to our dear lads.  God bless you all for it -- that is not only my prayer but the prayer of hundreds of our men who are giving their best.”  The urgency of the new appeal for funds will be apparent when it is realised that only 50 per cent. of the articles needed at the front can be forwarded owing to the present lack of funds.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Evening Fashions

From the Illustrated London News, 16th October 1915.

The tendency to shortness that is so marked in walking dress is affecting many of the evening gowns as well.  An evening frock of a smart and fragile type, in my opinion, is not suitable for this truncation.  If we are sensible, we shall welcome and adopt the quite short skirts for during the active day, especially for walking or working out-of-doors, but we shall also retain a graceful length for evening wear.  This has always seemed to me the sensible idea: short skirts for use, long ones for grace.  Even male costume of State is felt to require length for dignity.  The long full robes of a Peer, of a Judge, an Arch-bishop, of "Mr. Speaker," and many other official masculine robes, show that high official dignity is avowedly aided by flowing and full-length garments.  Women, at all events once past the undeveloped girlish stage of build are surely garbed to the best advantage flowing trained gowns when the circumstances are suitable, as in the evenings for resting beside fires and with nice carpets to trail the robes upon.  However, it is my duty to record truly what is shown me at the best houses, and I have to report that an attempt is being made to introduce quite short evening dresses, both as more formal confections and as easy-fitting rest-gowns.

The more elegant models for evening wear, however, all but reach the ground, or even have a little train; sometimes it is a mere wisp of filmy material, but more often a graceful flowing into moderate fullness — perhaps not actually a train, but touching the ground.  An ugly idea that is being shown is to have quite a short front and sides, a sort of petticoat, and a trained back.  Drapings and fullness are far more elegant, and more consistent with the idea of the indoor gown; which is to be easy, restful, and not at all constricting to the movements of the wearer.  To describe the mode of making a really dainty indoor gown as now worn is impossible; for fragile materials, such as chiffon and ninon, are tastefully and indefinitely swathed and draped over a firmer foundation, not too elaborately, for simplicity is the idea of such restful frocks, but still with an artistic sense that sees the effect, and is not trammelled by set planning.  Velveteen, Roman satin, crepe-de-Chine, or cashmere, all make all make good foundation one-piece gowns, and on such a nicely but easily shaped under-dress any more fragile fabric, from real lace that one already possesses, down to tulle, can be swathed, or put in the form of a tunic, or a little zouave or coat, or of a fichu, or arranged as scarves.  In short the possibility of following one's fancy and utilising one’s possessions in the way of materials with no consideration but grace and artistic effect, is the chief charm of these useful and fashionable indoor or "rest" frocks..— FILOMENA

[No illustration, unfortunately, of the kind of drapery she is trying to describe.]

Monday, 12 October 2015

Charitable Appeals Galore

From the Evening Despatch (Birmingham), 12th October 2015.


New Scheme to Prevent Overlapping.

Much satisfaction is expressed in voluntary circles at the co-ordination which is now to take place under Sir Edward Ward of the organisations throughout the country engaged in providing comforts for soldiers. 

One point that is not clear from the official statement, published yesterday, is whether the new scheme is the beginning of a wider plan to embrace all voluntary effort in connection with the war.  Apart from the suggestion made in the comprehensive title conferred on Sir Edward, there is no indication in the Army Council memorandum that anything but comforts are to be dealt with, and comforts for sailors are not mentioned. 

Discussing the wider subject of war relief agencies with a "Despatch" representative, Mr. W. N. Hartley, who has had twenty years' experience of voluntary work as an official of the Charity Organisation Society, pointed to the chaos which has resulted from the duplicating of effort.  “The original plan for dealing with the distress which might arise from the war,” he said, “was excellent.”  Relief was to be carried out on a civic basis, the local authorities were to be made responsible, and nothing was to be left to chance.  The scheme, however, soon broke down, and instead of one appeal for all purposes, as was intended, there came gradually an endless number of movements and funds; for all kinds of praiseworthy objects.

“Appeals to the public are made simultaneously on behalf of soldiers and sailors on service abroad, soldiers and sailors on service at home, soldiers and sailors wounded and ill abroad, soldiers and sailors prisoners of war, soldiers and sailors discharged unfit, dependents of all these, professional men in distress owing to the war, other civilians in distress owing to the war, refugees and aliens, our Allies, and animals. 

“There would not be such confusion if each branch were dealt with definitely by one fund or movement, but sectional appeals compete with one another with differences in object so subtle as not to be apparent to the ordinary mind.  There were three funds for Poland and two rival French flag days; how many Belgian funds, I do not know; and horses in war are cared for by three separate funds, which might well be amalgamated.”

Friday, 9 October 2015

Corsets with the New Military Curve

From The Graphic, 9th October 1915.

Peter Robinson's, Oxford Street, are now showing the Latest Models with the

The only models giving the Erect Poise without any Discomfort.

LADIES experiencing any difficulty in obtaining the New Military Curve Models of Royal Worcester Kidfitting Corsets are invited to write us for the models they require, or to send for our illustrated corset catalogue and select the most suitable models to be sent on approval.  Our stock of these celebrated Corsets is always the largest in England, and a number of particularly clever models are confined exclusively to us.

The New Military Curve, which has been received with such acclamation in every centre of dress influence, gives the erect poise without any discomfort, and adds immeasurably to the charm of the outer draperies.  The latest Royal Worcester Kidfitting, Corsets with this essential new feature are original designs by the highest-salaried corsetry artists in the world, in collaboration with the recognised sources ofParisian fashion, consequently their authenticity stands established beyond question.

MODEL 906. The very latest style with the new defined waist-line decreed by fashion.  Lightly boned.  Elastic gore in skirt. Sizes 19 to 26 in.  In white broché-batiste. Price 21/9.

Catalogue Post Free.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

American Knitting Tea at Milnsbridge

From the Huddersfield Examiner, 8th October 1915.



Promoted by the Golcar and Milnsbridge Committee for providing comforts for the Colne Valley Territorials, a very successful “American knitting tea” was held at the Milnsbridge Drill Hall on Thursday afternoon.  The tea was given by Mrs Thos. Hirst, Mrs. Edgar Sykes, and Mrs. J. A. Smith, and was very largely attended.  Each person was asked to take an article value 1s., and also to buy an article of the same value.  There was a good response to the appeal, and the total proceeds of the sale and tea amounted to £22 3s. 1d.  Selections of music were given by an efficient orchestra, comprising the Misses Blanche Hirst, Dora Nuttall, M. Woodhead, G. Beaumont, and Mrs. W. J. Gledhill (pianist).  Songs were contributed by Miss Dibdin, of the Harrison-Frewin Opera Company, which is performing this week at the Huddersfield Theatre Royal, Miss Lawton, and Miss Walker, with Mrs. Gledhill as accompanist.

During the proceedings Mrs. Rothery, wife of Major W. U. Rothery, made an interesting statement of the year’s work.

Mrs. Rothery said it was exactly one year since they held the first meeting in that hall, when they had only a few ladies from Golcar and Milnsbridge.  It was the beginning of a big and splendid effort, and she was very proud and thankful for all that had been done.  She could assure them that the boys who were out in Belgium risking and often giving their lives for them were most thankful to receive the parcels of socks and shirts which were sent out from the depot.  They sent over 100 pairs of socks every week, and between 40 and 50 shirts.  She was constantly receiving letters to say how very glad the boys were to have them.  They represented two half-companies of men, and Captain Taylor, who was over here last week, told her how they looked forward to receiving the socks and shirts.  He said they could not have too many.  She had also received a letter from her husband that morning in which he said they were afraid they would have to be out there through the winter, and would need mittens or gloves, helmets, and scarves.  She knew there was a lot ready to go which would be sent off as soon as possible.

Their first meeting was held on October 22nd, 1914, and the tea on that occasion realised £1 1s. 3d.  Since then they had grown a lot, and had held nearly twenty teas.  They found it advisable to stop the meetings for a few weeks during the hot weather and holiday time, but they did not stop working.  She thought that everybody had worked splendidly.  One woman whom she went to see had lost her only son, who was in their company.  The woman was knitting, and with tears in her eyes she said, “He would not wish me to stop working: the others will need the socks.” She (Mrs. Rothery) thought that while their women had that splendid spirit the work would go on as long as it was needed.

They had sent from that hall 90 helmets, 371 scarves, 169 pairs of cuffs, 27 body belts, 2 rugs, 175 shirts, and 1,171 pairs of socks.  She was very glad of that splendid result, and heartily thanked everybody who had helped.  Some of them had knitted until they could hardly hold the needles.  They had collected, given and made the really magnificent sum of £400.  She hoped they would go on, as the cry was for “more and more.” ....

[I don't know exactly what constitutes an "American knitting tea" - perhaps the 'bring-and-buy' element.

I am sure that Mrs Rothery was right in saying that the items they had sent to the Colne Valley Territorials were gratefully received, and needed, but the War Office evidently felt that this sort of activity needed to be regulated.  The Times report here said that too many ladies were making "socks and shirts, which were a Government issue, with the result that there were millions too many".  You would expect that groups like this must have felt very annoyed at being told that they had wasted their time on making things that weren't needed, though there is no hint of that in Mrs. Rothery's speech.  But she is suggesting that for the coming winter, they should make "mittens or gloves, helmets, and scarves" - which is perhaps influenced by Sir Edward Ward's call for mittens and mufflers.]

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Fearnought Gloves for the Navy

From the Manchester Evening News, 4th October 1915.


Sir,—Last year I made an appeal for glove made of "Fearnought" cloth for the destroyers' crews, or money to buy the same, and I beg to repeat that appeal for the coming winter.  Over 5,000 pairs were sent last year, but more than double that quantity will be required for this winter.

A well-known local firm has arranged to stock the material. and I will gladly forward a paper pattern with full particulars of how to make the gloves to anyone who will send me a stamped addressed envelope, and I will gratefully acknowledge any cash subscriptions for the purchase of material which I can arrange have made up.

Rear Admiral Hon. H. Hood writes: "The gloves were most welcome last winter.  They were one of the most popular things sent, and will, I feel sure, be welcome again. "
Vice-Admiral Bann also says: "There is no doubt these gloves add greatly to the comfort of the men and are much appreciated by them."


Gatley Hill, Cheadle.

[There were several appeals for Fearnought gloves in the 1914/15 winter - see here.]  

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Women’s Work

From the Derbyshire Courier, 2nd October 1915.


Many New Spheres.

Trade Training for Girls.

An interesting scheme is being carried out by the London County Council, with the assistance of the Queen's “Work for Women” Fund.  It takes the shape of a trade school at Shepherd's Bush for training girls as shop assistants.  At present there is a great and growing demand for them, two London firms having offered situations to fifty girls when they are prepared to take them.  Those girls who cannot afford to pay for the classes have received grants from the Queen's “Work for Women” Fund of 11s. 6d. a week each.

The scheme is being carried out with the help of a Consultative Committee on which the master grocers and the Shop Assistants’ Union are represented, and before being passed a minimum wage was agreed upon, girls of 18 to be paid 18s. a week; at 19, the wage to be increased to 20s.; 20 years, 22s.; 21 years and over, 24s. to 25s. a week.

Another Sphere for Women.

In England and Wales there are over 600 little farming communities in which the process of smoothing out the inequalities of distribution in the stream of industry is going on.  One of the most interesting is at Swanwick, in Hampshire.  From that region, within the strawberry weeks, upwards of three million punnets of strawberries have been sent to market by train; and in addition many cartloads of the fruit have been taken to jamboilers and greengrocers in the large towns on the South coast.  The year before last the growers were seriously embarrassed by the cost of the baskets, the price of which had crept up gradually from 7s. 6d. to 15s. or 16s. a gross.

Accordingly they made up their minds to manufacture the baskets themselves.  With the help of the Agricultural Organisation Society they built a factory for the purpose; and here, to-day, some 26 girls and about a dozen boys and men are turning logs into baskets.  The logs are peeled into long, fragrant ribbons by machinery, and these are shaped into punnets by hand.  The result of the experiment was, last year, that within a few months of the start, in the February, 500,000 baskets had been made, on which the farmers saved close on £900; and this year it is calculated that the saving will be still greater.

Moreover, it was discovered, when the supply of aspen from Russia and willow from Belgium gave out, that British poplar and osier would serve the purpose just as well; and for the cultivation of these arrangements are now being made.  Hence the managers are creating a village community in which many people will be busy and happy and moderately rich.

[I had completely forgotten, until I read this, that strawberries were once sold in little punnets made of thin strips of wood.  Now completely superseded by plastic boxes.]   

Friday, 2 October 2015

Sowerby Bridge Lady Knits Socks For Three Wars

From the Halifax Courier, October 2nd 1915 




It is doubtful if there are many ladies in this district who can boast of a finer record than that set up by Mrs. J. Moore, Gate Head, Hollins-lane, Hill Top, Sowerby Bridge, who, on Monday, celebrated her 86th birthday.  She is now knitting her 33rd pair of socks for the soldiers; for the men who took part in the South African war she knit 12 pairs and during the Crimean war she knit over 20 pairs and 6 scarves.  Day by day she industriously plies her needles with the sole object of providing some warm footwear for the lads in the trenches, and, as she says, “doing her little bit.”  Mrs. Moore is a beautiful knitter.  Some soldiers who have received her gifts have sent the old lady kind notes of appreciation and extended good wishes for her welfare.  These simple messages from the front are highly prized by the recipient.
In many respects; Mrs. Moore is a remarkable lady, her years hanging lightly upon her shoulders.  Bright, alert and vigorous she is
She possesses a wonderful memory, being able to recall dates and events of long ago without any trouble, is quite clever at repartee, and is troubled with few physical infirmities.  “I go to bed early,” she told the writer, “and if I cannot sleep in the morning I get up and knit for a while and then lie down again.”  Several times per week, when the weather is favourable, Mrs. Moore goes out to visit friends and thinks nothing about travelling alone a few miles by car or train.  It is interesting to hear her tell of her youthful days, “the good old days” as they are sometimes named.  Fully appreciating the difficult times through which the nation is now passing, Mrs. Moore is hard on the pessimists and croakers about the excessive high price of food stuffs, and reminds them that during the Crimean war sugar, “like sand,” was 8d. per lb., tea “like chopped hay,” was 11d. per ¼lb., and
In those days, she emphasised, the people were content with very plain fare and they were no worse for it.  She remembers the making of the railway from Sowerby Bridge to Luddenden Foot and walked through the tunnel on the west side of Sowerby Bridge before any rolling stock passed through; she is also proud of the fact that she went through on the first train, which was composed of ordinary goods trucks.  Of the rowdy scenes which followed the introduction of power-driven machinery into northern factories, known as the Luddite riots, she has vivid recollections.  She was working in New Bank, Halifax, at the time, and walked daily to her work from Sowerby Bridge.  When the plug drawers from Lancashire arrived in Halifax they found the mills guarded by the soldiers.  There was a hot skirmish between the parties in New Bank and Mrs. Moore tells of one native being shot dead in his own doorway.
The old lady still remembers, by name, the local residents who went out to the Crimean war.  A batch of nine, all old school companions, lost their lives and a memorial stone for these was erected in St. Peter's Churchyard, Sowerby.  The cost, she says, was borne by a penny subscription.  Other local incidents, such as the celebration of the coronation of Queen Victoria, the visit to Halifax of the Prince of Wales (Edward VII), the old Sunday School Jubilees, etc., she chats about quite freely.
Born at
her childhood days were spent on a farm, hence she did not go to a factory until she was 13.  For a few hours per day she used to attend an old dame school, in Back-lane, Sowerby, but before going she had to help to milk the cows and prepare the dinner.  The old school dame could not write but she taught her pupils how to knit, sew and read. Since then Mrs. Moore has had several vocations, including a period of 26 years, along with the late Mr. Moore as caretaker and servant at White Windows.  Questioned as to the alleged ghost story which is associated with that old Sowerby mansion, Mrs. Moore laughed at the idea, declaring that she did not believe in such phantasms.  “I have slept there many a time alone and never seen anything. I say them that gets to t’ better shop likes too well to come back and them that gets to t’ war shop they sticks to ’em.”
In her old age she is a keen reader, and seldom misses the “Courier.”  Since she was 70 she has read the Bible from cover to cover and can accurately quote large passages from the “old book” and give chapter and verse for numerous texts.  The youngest of a family of seven, Mrs. Moore has been married twice, had seven children. 4 grand-children and 2 great grand-children.  She is in receipt of the old age pension and is highly proud of the fact. Many will wish her hearty greetings upon her birthday.

Matinee In Aid Of Our Soldiers And Sailors.

From the Halifax Courier, October 2nd, 1915. 



On Saturday, by the generosity of the directors, a matinee was held at the Palace Theatre, in aid of the Mayoress’ Red Cross Fund and for Sailors and Soldiers' Comforts.  A special souvenir programme of the matinee had been printed, and on this was the poem, "Comforts for absent ones,” written by the manager, Mr. E. O. Waller.  Amongst the select company present were the Mayor and Mayoress, Mrs. Simpson-Hinchliffe and Mrs. Burn.  By permission of Mr. T. Macnaghten, this week's artistes appeared and gave a highly-appreciated programme.  There was a full orchestra, which played acceptable selections.  Fredrica’s whirlwind terriers gave an exceptionally fine performance, evidence of wonderful training, and the comedy aerial turn by Pedersen Bros., was also fine.  Indeed, all the artistes did well.  In addition to the professionals Mr. A. T. and Miss E. Hanson, of the Halifax Light Opera Society, appeared in a song-scena, and a concert party from the Halifax Light Opera Society gave a musical sketch. [members of the concert party listed.]  Southowram Band, under the conductorship of Mr. A Fawthrop, gave selections.

During the interval, the mayor expressed the thanks of the Mayoress and committee to the directors of the Palace Theatre, to Mr. Waller, to the week's artistes, to the orchestra, the Light Opera Society members, Southowram Band, and to the Theatre attendants, all of whom had given their services.  They were greatly indebted to many people in Halifax for the work they had done for the soldiers at the front, and His Worship hoped the comforts would be continued, because more comforts would be required during the coming winter than last.  It must be a great comfort to the soldiers fighting to know they were thought of by the people at home.—(applause).

Mr. E. O. Waller, replying, said their hard labour had been a labour of love.  It was bard work for the artistes to appear in the afternoon and twice at night, but when it was mentioned to them, they-readily and unanimously agreed - {applause). Any time he could be of service he would be only too pleased to do anything in his power to help those who were away—(applause).

[Some of the entertainments mentioned are hard to imagine - the 'comedy aerial turn', and especially Fredrica's whirlwind terriers. They sound a bit exciting compared to the 'acceptable selections' played by the orchestra.  I guess that 'this week's artistes' were a travelling company that put on the same show in theatres around the country.]