Sunday, 31 December 2017

Women's Work For Soldiers And Sailors

From the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 31st December 1917.


The Lindley sewing parties for 1917 have been very well attended, and the committee are glad to report a very successful year's work.  One thousand seven hundred and thirty three pairs of hospital slippers and surgical boots have been made and over 800 woollen comforts knitted including many welcome gifts from friends who work in their own homes.  The sum of £50 has been paid over to the bureau, Ramsden Street, including £20 raised for the special effort week.  This is in addition to the summer garden party at Briarcourt when the sum of £87 was raised for the cause.

[I have included this because it is very local to me.  Briarcourt is a large house in Lindley designed by the architect Edgar Wood.

There must still have been similar sewing parties, and groups making comforts for the troops, all over the country, following on from the burst of activity in 1914 at the start of the war.  There were probably fewer women available for sewing and knitting, though - by the end of 1917, many women were working full-time, in munitions factories and replacing men who were now in the forces.

I haven't been able to find out what the 'special effort week' was.]   

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Is Your Larder Loyal?

From the Todmorden & District News, 28th December 1917. 


If the King came into your kitchen to-morrow would his royal presence cause you any misgiving?  Would he find you a patriot in your work of food preparation—in the stocking of your larder?

His Majesty, on a recent visit to the Guards' Training depot, entered the cook-house, as the bugle was sounding its invitation, "Come to the cook-house door," to see how the food was prepared for the soldiers.

A large number of women cooks are employed, and when the King asked the men what they thought of the women as cooks, an Irish Guardsman tendered his unstinted praise thus, "Sure, Sir, they're grand, they beat the men into fits!"

Are you grand in your civilian cook-house?  Are you, in the kitchen, helping to beat the Hun?  The women of Britain are the ones who can render the greatest aid in our food crisis.  Let all women "be grand!"

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Ladies’ Football Match at Preston

From the Lancashire Evening Post, 26th December 1917.


10,000 Present at Preston Match.

There were 10,000 people at Deepdale yesterday afternoon at the ladies' football match between teams representing the munition workers of Dick, Kerr's and Coulthard's, and the appearance of the historic enclosure was quite like old times.  The proceeds from the sale of tickets which were supplemented by a collection taken by wounded soldiers on the ground, were for Moor Park Hospital, and when all the money has been got in, the funds of the institution should receive a handsome windfall.  The players, who were understood to bare been in strict training for the encounter, wore orthodox football costume, jerseys, dark blue shorts, and regulation boots.  Coulthard's were in red and white stripes and Dick, Kerr's in black and white, with the addition of natty, close-fitting hats to match.  Corsets were barred.  So far as appearances went, Dick, Kerr's seemed to hold some advantages between two athletic-looking sides.  Miss Hollins kicked off.  Teams: —
Coulthard's. —Misses A. Sumner; May Coates, N. Charnley; J. Rangeley, L Forshaw, F. Proudfoot; G. Fitzgerald, L. Atkinson, L. Rayton, L. Billington.
Dick, Kerr’s—Misses E. Clayton; B. Traynor, E. Nixon; E. Birkins, A. Kells, M. Kay: A. Standing; G. Whittle, F. Rance, F. Redford, L. Jones-
Referee: Mr. J. Lewis, Blackburn.

After the Christmas dinner the crowd were in the right humour for enjoying this distinctly war-time novelty.  There was a tendency amongst the players at the start to giggle, but they soon settled down to the game in earnest.  Dick, Kerr's were not long in showing that they suffered less than their opponents from stage fright, and had a better all-round idea of the game.  Woman for woman they were also speedier, and had a larger share of that quality which in football slang is known as "heftiness."  Quite a number of their shots at goal would not have disgraced the regular professional except in direction, and even professionals have been known on occasion to be a trifle wide of the target.  Their forward work, indeed, was often surprisingly good, one or two of the ladies displaying quite admirable ball control, whilst combination was by no means a negligible quantity.  Coulthard's were strongest in defence, the backs battling against long odds, never giving in, and the goalkeeper doing remarkably well, but the forwards, who were understood to have sadly disappointed their friends were clearly afflicted with nerves.

All the conventions were duly honoured.  The teams on making their appearance (after being photographed) indulged in "shooting and the rival captains, before tossing the coin for choice of ends, shook hands in the approved manner.  At first the spectators were inclined to treat the game with a little too much levity, and they found amusement in almost everything from the pace, which until they got used to it, has the same effect as a slow-moving kinema picture, to the "how-dare-you" expression of a player when she was pushed by an opponent.  But when they saw that the ladies meant business, and were "playing the game" they readily took up the correct attitude, and impartially cheered and encouraged each side.  Within five minutes Dick, Kerr's had scored through Miss Whittle, and before half-time they added further goals by Miss Birkens—a fine shot from 15 yards out, just under the bar—and Miss Rance.  Coulthart’s, who were quite out of the picture in the first half, "bucked up" after the interval, and quite deserved a goal, but it was denied them, much to the disappointment of the spectators.  They had a rare opportunity from a penalty in the last few minutes, but the ball was kicked straight at the keeper.  On the other hand, Dick, Kerr's added to their score, Miss Rance running through and netting whilst the backs were "argufying" about some alleged offence, a natural touch which greatly delighted the onlookers.  Mr. John Lewis plied the whistle with discretion, whilst keeping within the four corners of the law, though he was clearly in a dilemma, probably for the first time in his official career, when one of the players was "winded" by the ball.


Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas Trains

From the Sunday Pictorial, 23rd December 1917.


Lack of Facilities Leads to Much Crowding.

Fewer but more crowded trains was the order of the day at the London termini yesterday.
Thus, although long queues formed up before the booking offices, and although even guards' vans were packed with passengers, the decreased facilities realty resulted in a considerable slump in the Christmas rush from and to the country. Those who did travel had to bear all the discomforts of wartime journeying.

At King's Cross over 500 people were lined up waiting for tickets to the North by one train. Many people had to wait over two hours for tickets, and many got none.

The great majority of the travellers were munition workers.  At St. Pancras Station there were also many munition workers travelling. The twelve o'clock train for Manchester went out in two portions, and several coaches were added on to the first portion.

Paddington Station was very busy. Six lines were all the time before the booking hall windows, and in the early morning extended right through the booking hall to the subway and out into the street. The 1 p.m. train to Torquay, Plymouth and Penzance was of enormous length, and every seat was taken.

Many people were left behind when the 11.50 train left Euston for Birmingham, although the train was in two portions.

Waterloo was perhaps the busiest station in London owing to the number of soldiers coming and going on leave, in addition to great throngs of civilian travellers.

The majority of people, however, are apparently spending their Christmas at home. A railway official said there seemed a decrease in Christmas travelling all round. We are grateful that our appeal has been so well heeded.

To-morrow and on Boxing Day Underground train services will be as usual, with a Sunday service on Christmas Day. Many omnibus services will cease about 5 p.m. on Christmas Day.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Christmas Food Supplies in Leeds

From the Leeds Mercury, December 22nd 1917. 



For the fourth year in succession Christmas will be spent under the shadow of the great war cloud.  Yet the people of this country are fortunate in so far that, prior to the past few weeks, they have experienced little difficulty in supplying the wants of their households.

If some definite action had only been taken by the Leeds Food Control Committee to avoid the queue system, which has become a public nuisance, and a grave menace to the health of the community, there would have been little or no cause for complaint.

Yesterday saw the principal streets of the city again thronged with tremendous queues numbering hundreds, and in some instances reaching into four figures.  As a result of this abominable system many people will of necessity be confined to bed this Christmas through chills contracted in the ranks.

The public, however, have the satisfaction of knowing that the Food Controller has stepped into the breach.  From the Order he has just issued, and the strong appeal he is making to local committees, there is every possibility that Leeds will have to bestir themselves, and set machinery to work to eliminate the practice.

The supplies of tea, butter, and margarine is about similar to last week, but in consequence of many of the shops being closed for three days next week there is an extra run on the commodities.
Yesterday the weather was ideal for Christmas shopping, and large numbers of people took advantage of it.  All the establishments had a varied and attractive display, and great business was being done all over the city.

The Poultry Section. 
The stalls in the Leeds Market were adorned with tempting rows of turkeys, geese, chickens, ducks, pheasants, partridges, pigeons, grouse, and rabbits, masses of greenery, and trays of luscious fruit and vegetables.  Inquiries, however, reveal the fact that the reserves of stock are much less than usual, and householders, who do their Christmas shopping late, may find them-selves obliged to do without some of their usual seasonable delicacies.

A well-known poultry salesman told a representative of the "Leeds Mercury" yesterday that there was a very short supply all round.  Breeders had not raised the stocks of previous years, owing to feeding and labour difficulties, and the usual consignments from Russia and America had not arrived.  The result was that there was practically a general advance all round on last year's prices, when there was an average increase of about 2d. a pound, and 6d. on normal times.

Turkeys were selling at 2s. 3d. and 2s. 4d. (1s. 8d. last year), geese ls. 8d. and 1s. 9d., (1s. 4d. to 1s. 6d.), chickens 1s. 8d. (1s. 6d), ducks Is 9d. (1s. 4d.), hares 8s. to 8s. 6d. (6s.). partridges and grouse 6s. (same), pigeons 1s. to 1s. 2d. (same), rabbits 5s. 6d. to 6s. a couple (3s. 6d. to 4s.), and pheasants 14s. a brace, as compared with 7s. 6d. two years ago and 12s. last year.

The increase in the prices of rabbits and hares is due mainly to the dearer shipping freights for frozen goods: and the absence of shooting parties from the moors is chiefly responsible for the shortage of birds.

Holly and mistletoe are plentiful and in good demand.  The wholesale prices are 8s. and 5s. to 6s. a stone respectively, which is only about 6d. above last year; but this increase is compensated by the fact that the quality is far superior.

Fruit, Fish, and Nuts. 
There is a fair supply of fruit, and of good quality, although the variety is not near so great as in normal times.  Prices are reasonable, considering present conditions.  Apples are again the predominant feature.  "It is surprising," said one dealer, "how English growers have come forward and assisted us. English apples, before the war, were very little heard of, but, judging from the quality and supplies sent in, I think we might to be able to do without -foreign apples, even after the war."
Some excellent eaters can be bought at from 5d. to 8d. a pound, and cookers at 5d.  These are about similar to last year, but in oranges there is a distinct shortage.  Valencias, which five years ago, sold at three a penny, and a penny each, according to size, are now 2d. to 5d. each; while Jamaicas are 6d. each, as compared with ls. 3d. to ls. 6d. a dozen in pre-war days.

Green grapes are 1s. 6d., and black ones 3s to 3s. 6d.  Fourpence each are being asked for lemons, and 2½d. for bananas.  Boxes of dates, which last year was 6d., are now ls. 9d., and what few of the cheaper dates are to be seen are selling at ls. 4d., as compared with 3d.  Figs are almost unknown.  Nuts are scarce and very expensive, Brazils being 1s. 6d., almonds 2s., cob nuts ls. 6d., and monkey nuts and walnuts from ls. to 1s. 4d.

Owing to the severe weather of the past week green vegetables are not quite so plentiful.  Sprouts are fetching 3d. per lb., cabbages 2s. and 2½d., Savoys 3d., cauliflowers 4d. to 6d., celery 3d. to 5d. a stick, carrots 3½lb. for 3d., beetroot and parsnips 1½d. per lb., English onions 5d., Spanish onions 6d., Swedes 3½lb. for 2½lb., and potatoes 7 lb for 6d.

There was a fair supply of fish, but the prices keep very high, real soles being 2s. 6d., turbot 2s. 8d., lemon soles 2s. 2d., plaice 1s. 8d., cod ls. 4d., haddocks, ling, and conger eel 1s., herrings 3s. per doz., and sprats, which were plentiful, 4d. per lb.

[I have included this post to show that in spite of reports of widespread queueing, this seems to have been only for the basic commodities of tea and especially butter and margarine - the staple diet of the poor (along with sugar, which was already rationed, bread and potatoes).   For people with money, there was plenty of food available.  For an explanation of the prices quoted, see my note on prices.  To give some idea, a shilling (1s.) converts to 5p now, taking no account of inflation.  The Bank of England's inflation calculator says that £1 was equivalent to £63.66 in 2016, and 1s. would be equivalent to roughly £3.   There were 240 pennies in a pound, so 1d. was worth about 26p. now.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Official Action To Stop Queues

From the Sunday Pictorial, 23rd December 1917.


Margarine Taken Over in London and Country.


Lines of Waiting People at Meat Shops.

New steps to improve the general food situation were announced yesterday, while both in London and in the country firm action to stop shop queues was taken under Lord Rhondda's commandeering order.  The text was issued last night of the Food Controller's Order conferring upon [local] Food Control Committees powers to enforce schemes for controlling the distribution and consumption of any article of food in their areas, and thus to prevent queues.  This provides for the registration of retailers and customers, the limitation of customers dealt with by any retailer and the prohibition of sales in quantities larger than those fixed by the Food Control Committees.

Card rationing schemes, which will come under this order, have already been decided upon at Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Northwich and Brentford.

Reports of vanishing queues yesterday were as follow:—
London.—Surplus margarine and butter in multiple shops were taken away and distributed to retailers by the Food Committees in the following districts:—Camberwell, Holborn, Wandsworth, Putney, Clapham, Balham and Tooting. At Lambeth, Islington, Lewisham, Southwark and Shoreditch inspectors were sent out to take a list of all stocksm

"We had a great time this morning," said Mr. G. H. Meakin, the Islington executive officer.  "I had my inspectors out at a quarter to nine, and every multiple shop was visited.
"In three cases we transferred supplies to other shops.  We loaded up the margarine on barrows and wheeled it through the street.
"The result was that all the queues were broken up and the people were able to obtain what they wanted with very little delay."
The real remedy for queues was adopted by the Hornsey Food Control Committee last night, which approved a rationing scheme for butter and margarine, lard and meat.

Stoke-on-Trent. —The Food Control Committee commandeered about five tons of margarine from a company.  Part of the stock was in the company's shop and part on the railway.  The margarine was distributed to retailers.

Hull. —The Food Control Committee met the chief wholesale butter and margarine merchants and requisitioned large supplies, which were distributed later among the smaller shops.

1,500 Leave Work to Protest Against Queues—Waiting at Dawn.

Towns where the queue evil was not relieved were—
Nottingham.—Great queues gathered at provision shops.  Supplies of butter and margarine were inadequate, and many shops closed after limited trading.

Leigh (Lancs).—Some 1,500 workers yesterday ceased work and marched to the town hall in protest against food queues.  The mayor promised to summon the Food Committee on Monday with a view to securing improved distribution.

Sheffield.—The streets yesterday were obstructed with butter, margarine and tea queues.  Long before dawn crowds had assembled waiting for shops to open.

Northwich. —Dense crowds waited for hours to buy margarine.  Several people fainted.

In London queues formed outside several butchers' shops for the first time.
More than one child fell out of the queues through exhaustion.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Queueing Problems

From the Leeds Mercury, December 22nd 1917. 



In Batley an interesting scheme was put into operation yesterday to minimise public inconvenience arising from butter queues.  Instead of people standing outside the shops in a queue, arrangements were made to accommodate them in a Sunday school, and here tickets were issued systematically, without which it was not possible to obtain a supply at the shop.

Ticket-holders were then allowed to go to the source of supply in batches of ten or twelve, under the direction of the police.

The scheme worked fairly satisfactorily, and was greatly appreciated by the public as a considerable improvement on standing out in the cold.



Bradford, in common with other towns, is deeply concerned with regard to the queue problem.  The long drawn lines of waiting customers outside the butter shops have grown in length as the days have gone by, and the Local Food Control committee has been giving the matter very close consideration.
They have been in communication with the Government and Members of Parliament, and they have urged that the Ministry of Food should take into their hands the distribution of all available margarine.

They contend that it shall be distributed equitably amongst the retailers all over the district so that the people may be able to purchase quantities near their homes, instead of having to go into the city and stand in queues.

Mr. William Warburton, the Executive Officer of the Food Control Committee, has expressed the opinion that many people are coming into the queues, not out of necessity, but for the purpose of obtaining supplies which are in excess of their needs.

The effect is that some people have more than enough, and others have to go short.  The only way to meet the difficulty was by a system of registration and rationing.



Some bitter complaints were made at yesterday's meeting of the Dewsbury Guardians concerning the butter queues which have grown to such extraordinary lengths in the district, and particularly in the centre of Dewsbury.

Mr J. H. Dyson (Thornhill) put in a spirited plea for the poor people who were receiving parish relief.  He proposed that the Food Control Committees be urged to make it possible for these people to get food in the districts in which they lived.  It was positively deplorable, he said, that these unfortunate people should be put to the expense of going to Dewsbury to obtain butter, and then to have to stand starving in queues for hours.

Mr. P. R. Wilson (Ossett), in seconding, suggested that the local authorities should use the Town Halls for waiting purposes, and supply the folks with tickets of admission to the shops.

Mr. J. T. Peace (Ossett) said that if the middle and upper classes would "play the game fair," and not send persons to stand for them in the queues after already obtaining their ordinary share from their grocer, the problem would be easier.

 Mr. F. Priestley (Batley) remarked upon the hardship of a family of eight or ten persons being only able to obtain half a pound of butter through the queue system.  At the same time, in Germany, where all the food was rationed, he had reason to know that the queues were worse than here.
The resolution was carried.

[The board of guardians administered relief under the poor laws to people within their district (a parish or a group of parishes).]

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

What Ladies' Football Is.

From the Lancashire Evening Post, 22nd December 1917.


Considerable curiosity is being shown locally in what I believe will be the first ladies’ football match played in Preston, for there is no record of the visit to the town of the team that toured the country 25 to 30 years ago.  I am informed that the girls who are to compose the sides representing Dick, Kerr's, and Coulthard's, on Christmas Day at Deepdale, are practising assiduously, and that, indeed, the game is being pursued seriously by many more than can be found places for on this occasion.  In all, I believe, close upon a hundred of Dick, Kerr’s girls have been turning out, but the final selection will he made from about 27.  I do not know quite what people expect to see at these matches.  There are one or two of the girls, I am told, who are very clever, especially one Florrie Redfern, Dirk, Kerr's inside right, but whether this kind of thing runs through the lot or not remains to be seen.  One or two old hands at the game have been endeavouring to instil into them an idea of organised, as opposed to what may be described as mob, effort, but as rule these precepts are apt to be entirely forgotten on the day, and it becomes merely a joyous scramble.  However, the girls pretend to nothing but that which comes within their limited powers in such a strenuous and skilful game as football, and they are to be commended for the effort in the sacred cause of war charity.  I hear, by the way, that Mr. John Lewis has been refused petrol to come from Blackburn in his car to referee the match, but although the railway service on Christmas Day is impossible I rather fancy he will contrive to be present.  It is the one football refereeing experience he has not had.  In any case, both for the sake of the girls and the cause, I hope there will be a big gathering at Deepdale on Tuesday.  Already 200 of the 2s. 6d. stand seats have been sold.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Obituary of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

From The Manchester Guardian, December 18th 1917.


We much regret to announce the death of Dr. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first English woman doctor.

Elizabeth Garrett, the eldest daughter of the late Newson Garrett, of Aldeburgh, Suffolk, was born in 1836, and began the study of medicine in 1860.  Miss Garrett found immense difficulty in obtaining the education necessary to prepare herself for a qualifying examination in medicine, and still greater difficulty in finding any recognised body to examine her.  She was refused admittance to the examinations of the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons of England, the University of St. Andrews, and many others, but eventually presented herself for examination by the Society of Apothecaries, London, the only British examination then not absolutely impossible to women.  Counsel's opinion was taken by the Society when Miss Garrett applied for admission to the examinations as to whether she could be refused on account of her sex, but the answer was in the negative, and as Miss Garrett had complied with all the conditions laid down for candidates she was admitted to examination, and, passing the tests required, became a licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries in 1865.  She was thus the first woman to obtain a British medical qualification.  The Society then made a rule that no certificates of instruction would be received by them unless issued by a recognised medical school.  This rule effectually prevented other women following Miss Garrett's example, as all British medical schools refused to receive women as students.  Miss Garrett afterwards studied in Paris and took the M.D. degree of that University in 1870.

In 1866 Miss Garrett, with the cordial help of the late Dowager Lady Stanley of Alderley, the Rev. Llewellyn Davies, and other friends, opened a dispensary for women and children in Seymour Place, London.  The knowledge that they might now be medically treated by one of their own sex quickly became known among women, and after a few years patients were so numerous that larger premises were secured, where 26 beds were provided for the serious cases.  Soon an adjoining house had to be taken, and in 1887, by which time several women had been admitted to and had passed the examinations for the Licentiate of the King's and Queen's University, Ireland, the work had grown so much that Mrs. Garrett Anderson, with her usual courage, determined to raise funds to build a hospital for women, to be staffed by medical women, which should be fully equipped to deal with the rapidly advancing progress in both medicine and surgery.  The foundation-stone of the New Hospital for Women was laid by Queen Alexandra, when Princess of Wales, in 1889, and in 1890 the hospital was opened with accommodation for 42 patients, and has now been further enlarged to accommodate 60 patients.  Mrs. Anderson held the post of senior physician to the hospital from its beginning to 1890.

In 1870 Miss Garrett became a member of the London School Board, and served on it for some years.  She also took an active part with the late Mrs. Isabel Thorne and Sir James Stansfeld, M.P. in organising the London School of Medicine for Women, and for twelve years held the post of lecturer in medicine at the school.

Mrs. Garrett Anderson was the first woman admitted as a member of the British Medical Association (1892), and in 1896 she was elected president of the East Anglian branch of the Association.  At the annual meeting of the British Medical Association in 1900 she acted as vice president of the Section of Medicine.  She was instrumental in forming the Association of Registered Medical Women, and held the post of president on more than one occasion.  Retiring from practice in 1904, she was able to devote herself to her favourite recreation—gardening,—and all those who had the pleasure of being her guests at her beautiful home at Aldeburgh will recollect with gratitude her charm as a hostess and the simple joy she had in her plants.

In 1907, by the death of her husband, Mr. J. G. S. Anderson, head of the firm of Anderson, Anderson, and Co., shipping merchants, was severed one of the most perfect unions of comradeship and affection that could be known.  In 1908 Mrs. Anderson was elected mayor of Aldeburgh, and held this office for two years in succession—a position her husband had held a few years previously.  Mrs. Anderson was the first woman to be elected to this civic dignity in England.  She was much interested in women's suffrage, and for nearly 50 years worked for the extension of the suffrage.  She was a sister of Mrs. Fawcett.

To those who knew Mrs. Anderson personally the most striking points in her character were recognised to be her great courage, her absolute honesty of purpose, her keen sense of humour, and her personal charm.

[Her sister, Millicent Garrett Fawcett, was a campaigner for voting rights for women.  Their father, Newson Garrett, built the Snape Maltings.]

Friday, 15 December 2017

Women’s Views

From The Illustrated London News, 15th December 1917.


Both Canadian and Australian women have been voting in London for the respective Parliaments of their own countries.  The one subject upon which the women, as well as the men, are being called upon to pronounce their opinion as voters is the employment of conscription to maintain the respective Colonial forces at the front in adequate numbers.  Australian women have had full and equal Parliamentary suffrage for a good many years; the Canadian women's vote is new, a recognition of the value of the patriotic services that they have rendered to the defence of their country, as English-women's coming franchise is also to be regarded.  As the Colonial women voters in this country are those who have come over to serve as Army nurses, there can be little doubt that their votes will be cast in favour of the cause to which they are giving their lives.

There is, however, a great fallacy in assuming, as is often done, that in a general way there is a sex-cleavage of opinion.  Women differ amongst themselves on all possible subjects of debate, precisely as men do; and the reasons for the differences are the same in kind. Our family training and tendencies — that is to say, the kind of views expressed, while the youthful mind is pliable and responsive, by those whom we are trained to respect and by nature love and desire to please; the company into which we are thrown; the character of our own organisation, whether robust, active and daring, or the reverse — all the conditions of life, in short — mould our minds and modify our opinions, whether we be men or women. Sex, very probably, is one factor, but not one that over-rides all others in the formation of opinions. Every day we may see illustrations of the great differences of opinion amongst women, even about what may be called specially women's questions.  Such a diversity is now being displayed over the new law proposed about the remarriage of separated persons: after they have been parted for three years, it is suggested, either of them shall be able to claim a full divorce without needing the consent of the other. There are in this country several hundreds of thousands of such separated husbands and wives, some apart under voluntary deeds, many more by magistrates' orders. Though their marriages are practically at an end permanently, and all the purposes of marriage as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer are abrogated, these people can never marry again in each other's lifetime as the law now stands.

A strong committee has been formed to press this alteration on Parliament; but an equally ardent and vigorous objecting committee has also been constituted under Church of England auspices; and on both these committees there are many women of light and leading.  It is obviously one of those perplexing cases where the most just and personally unprejudiced mind may find something to be urged on both sides.  But the Church-woman, regarding marriage as a sacrament—or at least an inalienable, a necessarily life-long tie — can admit of no excuse for the proposal; while the more worldly woman's mind sees nothing but the cruel disadvantage to a woman of being legally tied to a man who is no longer really a husband and protector, yet whose name of husband prevents the chance of the unfortunate wife finding happiness in another marriage.  Even the women concerned do not agree upon the proposal.  "I feel that nobody has any right to make me a divorced woman when I have been true to my marriage vow in letter and spirit," says one separated wife; while another bemoans in agony of soul the cruel state of the law that certainly makes it difficult for her to get employment, perhaps shuts her out from accepting another husband, and so debars her, though faultless, from having the joys of motherhood and settled social position.  On the other hand, if a man may so behave as to force his wife to separate from him, and then he may divorce her after three years, where are we?  So even on such a subject there is no "woman's party."

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Butter and Margarine Rationing in Sheffield

From the Sheffield Independent,15th December 1917.


Rationing of Butter, Margarine and Tea.

The Sheffield Food Control Committee met yesterday evening to consider a scheme for the regulation of the supplies of butter and margarine within the city.  This scheme was the outcome of conferences between traders in the city and representatives of the committee.

The essential feature of the scheme is that each householder shall be "tied" to a shop for the supply of the commodities named.  He or she will be supplied with a card available for three months, and when a purchase is made this will be entered upon the card.  Through the medium of the committee the shopkeeper will secure the supplies necessary to give customers the fixed amount.  The card which will be issued will be threefold—one portion for the shopkeeper, another for the committee, and the third for the householder.

The committee has made elaborate arrangements as to how the cards shall be filled up and stamped, and a sub-committee will consider and deal with questions of supplies, deliveries, etc.

It has been decided that "there shall be no canvassing or advertising for cards," and that the scheme shall be extended to tea and any other foods.

Monday, 11 December 2017

The Rhondda Biscuit

From the Evening Despatch (Birmingham), 11th December 1917.


Lord Rhondda [the Food Controller] has just confessed that he does not consume a pound of tea a year, and a woman correspondent reveals the secret that he is eating oatmeal instead of bread.

If these simple and economical oatmeal biscuits were tried (she says) more people would follow his example: Into 1 gill [¼ pint] of boiling water melt loz. margarine or dripping.  Stir in ½lb. medium oatmeal and a saltspoonful of salt.  Knead for few minutes, roll out, cut into squares and bake 30 minutes.

From the Yorkshire Evening Post, 30th November 1917.


"A quarter of a pound of Rhonddas, please," asked the small child.  From the biscuit-tin with duly printed label, the shop-keeper handed over the goods demanded.  Thus, remarks the Daily Chronicle, is the  Food Controller already assured of immortality, for long after the war has become a memory Rhondda biscuits will remain a household reality.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Dundee Knitting Fortnight

From the Dundee Courier, 7th December 1917.

Public Notices.






The Soldiers fight 'mid war's alarm;
Let US KNIT to keep them warm.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Christmas Gifts needed for the Front

From The Manchester Guardian, 5th December 1917.



The civilian's lot in war-time is to all appearances a humble enough business, and it is hard to talk of his sacrifices.  His figure seems woefully insignificant against the vivid background of actual war, with its terrors and triumphs, its interminable epics of human fortitude and endeavour.  All of us stay-at-homes must surely feel, as we read of the struggle at Cambrai, that, however ambitiously we cast our resolutions, life for us will remain tolerably comfortable; that, no matter how grimly we steel ourselves to face the prospect of sugarless coffee and margarine eternally, we are hopelessly "out of it," like "twelfth men" in cricket matches, or even the scorers!

Yet our work at home is flattered by the very men who are sacrificing most: our fighting men are ever sending to us the call—nay, the entreaty—to keep and cherish all that they mean by "England" while they are away.  A simple enough task this is, in all conscience, and it can almost be defined in terms of warm hearthsides, steadfast friendliness—and "comforts." 

The list of articles printed below—compiled by Lancashire and Cheshire soldiers as representative of the things they need most to keep life in the trenches just tolerable,—these things can carry to a soldier on service the very essence of that English home life ho has left in our care. If we would answer Tommy's call to "keep the home fires burning" (and of course we are all desperate to do so if we could only find the way), the Comforts Fund offers one excellent way of doing it.

Cigarettes, cigarette papeors, tobacco, shag tobacco, pipes (clay and briar), tobacco pouches, pipe lighters. matches, candles, mufflers, socks, mittens, gloves, sleeveless sweaters, shirts, singlets, bootlaces, Balaclava caps. bachelors' buttons, macintosh capes, handkerchiefs, soap, shaving soap, safety razors, nail scissors, boot polish (black), 'tooth brushes, boot brushes, safety pins, anti-frostbite grease, insect powder, combination knife, fork, and spoon, needles, sewing cotton, chocolate, peppermints, tinned meats and fish, sweets, café au lait, writing pads, writing paper, envelopes, mouth organs, gramophones, gramophone records, indoor games, footballs, magazines and other reading matter, steel minors, tooth paste, pipe cleaners, and tinned milk.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Glove Waistcoat Society

From the Llanelli Star, 1st December 1917. 


One of the greatest hardships of a winter campaign is the suffering caused to our soldiers and sailors by icy winds on land and sea.  Leather is the only effective protection, but generally beyond the means of those who need it so sorely.  The Glove Waistcoat Society, 75, Chancery Lane, London, W.C., has solved the difficulty of supplying leather coats by utilising waste soft leather of every description, such as cast-off gloves (kid, suede, etc.), discarded furniture covers, and also the fur linings of ladies' worn-out cloaks.  The fur coats are in great demand by mine-sweepers, as also the overall gloves made from the very small pieces of fur.  Contributors of material to "The Glove Waistcoat Society" may be assured that their help means work for a woman and warmth for a man.  Miss Doris David, Old Town Hall, who has been appointed as local agent, will be glad to receive any of the aforementioned materials.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Women in America

From the Illustrated London News, 1st December 1917.


The chief difference that struck me on my two visits to the States was the way in which American women are allowed a free field and no favour—so different from here, where women are too often put in the background and kept from exercising the talents which they possess.  I could name a number of instances in this war in which the offered services of conspicuously competent women have been utterly rejected.  The women Army doctors are one illustration.  Their proffered services were blankly and curtly refused.  Not until the French Government, hard pushed for surgeons, and the poor Serbians, quite destitute of such help, had accepted and so displayed the value of our women's services, did our Government at length allow our own competent women doctors to treat wounded men.  In America, nearly forty years ago, a woman surgeon was called in to the assassinated President Garfield, and her signature appeared on the bulletins with those of eminent men colleagues.  Of the twenty or so fine and costly buildings that were put up by the different States at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, four had women architects; and a woman sculptor was given the commission by the State for the heroic statue of "Illinois Welcoming the Nations."  There are English women sculptors and architects, but there is no great statue or building that they have been allowed to undertake.  To snub women of high ability is an instinct with not a few Englishmen; American men arc almost free from it.  Consequently, they have not only a double reservoir of talent at call, but the liberated and encouraged energies of the women react upon their children, and help to produce the high level of capacity of American men.

This was pointed out to me by the extremely able lady, Miss Carey Thomas, LLD., who is Dean of Bryn Mawr, the great women's University near Philadelphia, at which President Wilson was at one time a Professor.  "In the United States," she said, "we have for the first time in history men who are the sons of several generations of parents educated on equal terms, and we see a marked result."  She ascribed the greater freedom of those men from prejudice against women's activities to universal primary co-education.  "When a boy has sat on the same bench with girls all the time he is at school, and knows very well that he has had to work his hardest to keep pace with the girls," Dr. Thomas said, "it is not possible for him as he grows up to be certain that his abilities are so wonderfully beyond those of his sister."  So American women are allowed to try what they can do; and in every direction they "make good."  It is rumoured that a corps of women is training to pilot the American war-airships.  I should deeply deplore women entering on the business of killing; and it would make no difference in the result, for if one nation accepted women as soldiers, the rest would necessarily follow suit.  But I am certain that if American girls have made up their minds to do this, they will be allowed to achieve it.  Meantime, a million women in America have already enrolled their names for war service of different kinds.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Ladies’ Football Match in Leeds

From the Leeds Mercury, 1st December 1917.


The ladies are making such rapid progress as footballers that the meeting of the two leading teams in the Leeds district at the Hunslet football ground, Parkside, to-day, promises a contest well worth seeing.  The teams are from the Armley and Newlay factories, and the game is the first semi-final in the "Needham" Cup Competition.  The other semi-final will be played at Otley on the 15th inst., and the final in Leeds on Christmas Day morning.  The proceeds are to be devoted to the Leeds Parks Bowling Association's fund for providing an ambulance. for the Leeds Women and Children's Hospital.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Red Cross Sale

From The Times,  November 29th 1917.



The Princess Royal, with whom were Princess Maud and Lady Gosford, president of the work rooms, opened yesterday afternoon the birthday sale of the Headquarters central work rooms of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John, at the Royal Academy.  The Princess was received by the Dowager Countess of Jersey, Lady Bland-Sutton, Lady Jekyll, Sir Arthur Stanley, and Mrs. Philip Turner (hon. matron), and a little girl, Doreen Gow, dressed as a Red Cross nurse, presented a bouquet of red roses.  The workers in their blue overalls had a holiday, and were either buying or selling at the stalls.  The Princess bought at nearly every stall, and chose a Cardigan made on a machine by one of the workers who knits socks on the same machine at the rate of half-a-dozen pairs a morning.  She also bought from Mrs. H. G. Wells, one of the workers at Burlington House, copies of "The Soul of a Bishop" and “Mr. Britling Sees it Through,” signed by the author.

The produce stall, which contained butter and eggs, home-made cakes and fruit, was cleared out before 1 o'clock and had to be re-stocked.  Many friends and workers of the Red Cross came in to buy during the afternoon, among them the Duchess of Rutland, Lady Acheson, Lady Mary Ward, and Lady Constance Butler.

Since the opening of the work rooms on October 22, 1915, the members have made 83,830 garments, 5,210 knitted articles, 235,000 bandages, 177,200 surgical dressings, and as patterns (in correct hospital materials) for work parties, home workers, &c, 2,030 garments and 4,050 bandages.  The home workers registered with the work rooms have, in the same time, supplied 191,314 garments and 169,882 surgical and hospital requisites, making a grand total of 868,516 articles sent to the Red Cross Stores Department.  This total is exclusive of the supplies sent in by registered working parties, which exceed 10 million articles.  The demands from the hospitals are so great that more workers are wanted, and those ready to help should apply to the secretary, Miss L. C. Smythe, at the Royal Academy.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

A Wartime Beauty Hint.

From the Yorkshire Post, 28th November 1917.


The war has made many sacrifices necessary, comfort, leisure, pleasure and many other things.

Many ladies who are doing war work are anxious about their complexions being sacrificed too, by reason of the rough and hard work, exposure and bad atmosphere endured in the shop or factory.

This need cause no anxiety, for, if proper care and attention be given to it, the skin can withstand the extreme conditions referred to.  The secret is to keep the skin thoroughly clean.

Soap and water cleanse the surface, but are powerless to cleanse the pores – the breathing organs of the skin – OATINE alone will do this, it removes ingrained dirt and grime from the pores and makes them clean and healthy, so that hard work and bad air, or extremes of temperature need not be feared.  It keeps the hands soft and velvety.

OATINE is used by Munition Workers everywhere.  Get a jar to-day, 1s. 1½d., and 2s 3d., of all Chemists, Stores and many Drapers.

Monday, 27 November 2017

More Allotment Plots

From the Leeds Mercury, 26th November 1917



The national appeal for greater production of foodstuffs has been warmly responded to by Elland people.  The whole of the land procured by the Urban Council for small holdings was quickly taken up, and so successful have the allotments proved that more townspeople are now clamouring for plots.

These claims the District Council have tried to meet, and have just been successful in negotiating for another plot of land in Eastgate which will make provision for forty allotments of 400 yards square.

This was originally a portion of Lord Mexborough's Elland estate, and was purchased just before the outbreak of war as a mill site by Mr. Thomas Casson.  The public authority is also negotiating with Lord Savile for another large plot near to Pea Wood.

The present allotment-holders have formed an association for mutual assistance and advice, and have already effected considerable saving in the purchase of manures, seed, &c.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

A Million Knitted Comforts

From The Guardian, November 26, 1917.



Sir E. W. D. Ward, Director General of Voluntary Organisations, in a special Christmas appeal to the women of the United Kingdom, says:—Very large additional quantities of knitted articles must be forthcoming during the next few weeks if the pressing demands for comforts from the armies at the various battle fronts are to be fully met in order that they may reach the soldiers before the cold winter months are upon us.  I feel that I have only to bring to the notice of the public at home the urgent need to ensure an immediate response to this appeal.

I require not less than one million knitted comforts of all kinds for general distribution to the troops as a "Christmas offering” from the women of the United Kingdom.  The quantity is small in comparison with the number of patriotic women who can, and I know will, help us.

The gifts may be sent to any of the voluntary organisations depots throughout the country, or direct to the Comforts Depot, 45, Horseferry Road, Westminster.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Pure Wool Underwear

From The Illustrated London News, November 24th 1917.

Text: Women Workers should take the hint from the Government order that all fighting men must wear pure wool next the skin.  Women workers should wear pure wool, too.  They should wear Wolsey  for Wolsey is pure wool.  Wolsey will protect their health.

Wolsey garments are made for men, women and children  entirely by British labour.  Wolsey costs more than in times of peace, for wool is scarce and high in price — but Wolsey is well worth the added cost.

The manufacturers of Wolsey make millions of garments for the troops — the patriot knows the soldiers' wants come first.  But Wolsey is still being made for you — and if you find delay in obtaining your requirements, remember Wolsey is well worth waiting for.

Every garment guaranteed unshrinkable or replaced free. 

The Wolsey Underwear Co., Leicester.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Women's Army

From The Scotsman, 20th November 1917.



A recruiting campaign to swell the ranks of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps was opened in the West of Scotland yesterday with a meeting in the Banqueting Hall of the Glasgow City Chambers.  Every foot of space in the hall was occupied, and many people were unable to gain admission. Amongst the speakers were the Duchess of Atholl and Lord Scott Dickson.

Lord Provost Stewart, who presided, said they wanted 10,000 capable women immediately, and after that a second and a third ten thousand, and so on for a few months to come, in order that men might be released for the fighting line.

Miss Craigie, the Recruiting Controller for Scotland, outlined the scheme of the W.A.A.C, and the spheres within which the Corps operates, and the rates of pay and conditions of service in the various sections, mechanical, domestic, clerical, or unskilled, as the case may be.  In Scotland alone, they wished 250 volunteers per week, and for Great Britain the Government required 10,000 women per month.

The Duchess of Atholl, in urging-the claims of the Corps, contrasted the opposition which Florence Nightingale had encountered before she was permitted to take her handful of heroic helpers to the suffering troops in the Crimea, and the condition now, when they had a Women's Corps raised by the War Office and financed by the State.  This situation had brought to women a tremendous privilege and an equally tremendous responsibility—a situation absolutely unprecedented in our country's history, and unprecedented, she thought, in the history of women, and one which required that each one should put to herself very searching questions as to the value of the work she was at present doing, and the effect of her needs and desires upon the labour forces of the country.  She wished it could be possible, her Grace said, that in the years to come they could look back upon the years of the Great War and say :—"We women gave up our fashions; we recognised that the country's need for labour was so overwhelming that our lesser needs went by the board, and we threw off the tyranny of fashion while the war lasted."  (Applause.)  That was not yet quite the case.  The shops continued to display a bewildering and tempting variety of things day by day; and she heard that the jewellers' trade had never been so brisk as now.  They should reduce their needs so as to conserve all possible labour for the country's wants; they did want it to be any longer true—as had been trenchantly said—that "ladies' new hats are the grave of a nation's energy."  With due allowance for personal and business ties, women were being asked to give themselves to the service of the country, and her Grace was sure that if the need were realised the response would add enormously to the splendid record of the women of Glasgow.  (Applause.)

Lord Scott Dickson said the women were being asked to come forward, as each woman meant the release of a man for the lighting line.  He was sure that when they were convinced, as they must be convinced, that they required men and still more men—that the need was so acute to free men for the fighting line—the appeal would not be addressed in vain to the women of Glasgow, but that they would respond as readily as the men-folk who were facing the enemy in the battle-line. (Applause.)

Monday, 20 November 2017

Potato Surplus

From The Scotsman, 20th November 1917.



The food value of the potato and the necessity of using potatoes whenever possible as a substitute for bread, and thus conserving the cereal crops, was emphasised by Sir Arthur Yapp and Dr Campbell at a conference held yesterday at Grosvenor House, London.

Sir Arthur Yapp, who presided, said if the surplus of considerably over two million tons of potatoes was used during the next six months—the most crucial period—in lieu of bread, it would save half a million tons of wheat, equal to 300 million bread rations, and sufficient to keep the whole of the United Kingdom in bread for two months.  He urged those who had any to break up ground for potato cultivation; so that the supply might be greater than ever next year.  

There was a surplus of over one million tons of potatoes in Ireland, and in order to save the tonnage which the transport of this crop would necessitate, mills were being put into operation in Ireland to produce potato flour.

At present most of our starch came from Japan.  By making use of diseased potatoes it was hoped to provide the starch required for laundry purposes, and the worst of the potato crop was being used to produce industrial alcohol.

In reply to questions, Sir Arthur Yapp said he should consider what action would have to be taken to see that potatoes were substituted for bread in restaurants and hotels.  Where potatoes were plentiful, very little, if any, bread should be used at meals.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

"Knitting Fortnight" Planned

From The Dundee Courier, November 14th 1917.



The need for knitted articles and comforts in general for our fighting men is particularly urgent at the present time, and Dundee women are preparing to take their part in a national effort to meet the requirements.  Miss Kynoch presided at a meeting of the Women's War Relief Committee yesterday afternoon, when Miss Duncanson, the hon. secretary intimated that the number of articles received for the past week amounted to 519.  This was a very small supply, especially in view of the fact that a requisition had been received that day from the War Office for 150 mufflers and 250 pairs of mitts.  Comforts of every kind were more urgently needed now than ever before.  In a communication dated 12th November, Sir Edward Ward stated that it was a matter of regret that, owing to the new conditions which had recently arisen in the movement of troops at the various battle fronts, the number of knitted comforts provided by the associations affiliated under his Department were insufficient to meet the heavy demands for these articles, and unless much larger quantities were forthcoming during the next few weeks the needs of the armies at the various areas would not be adequately met.  He fully appreciated that associations had so far always provided everything that had been asked for, and he appealed to them to make a supreme effort to supply the maximum number of these comforts, especially mufflers, mittens, helmets, and socks.  He hoped he might shortly be in a position to make a small grant of knitting yarns to assist the Dundee association in meeting the increased demand.

The whole position was fully discussed by the Committee, and it was decided that every possible effort should be made to encourage individual knitters, for even a single pair of socks sent to the office in Bank Street was gladly welcomed, and it was also agreed that a "knitting fortnight," similar to that of last year, should be held in December.

Monday, 13 November 2017

The Voluntary Rationing Movement

From the Yorkshire Post, 13th November 1917



The new scale of dietary in connection with the scheme of voluntary rationing, outlined by Sir Arthur Yapp, Director of Food Economy, at Manchester, was issued yesterday by the Ministry of Food. The revised voluntary ration is as follows:—


On very heavy industrial work or agricultural work
8lb. 0oz.

On ordinary industrial or other manual work  
7lb. 0oz

Unoccupied or on sedentary work.
4lb. 8oz.
On heavy industrial work or on agricultural work
5lb. 0oz

On ordinary industrial or in domestic service  
4lb. 0oz

Unoccupied or on sedentary work 
3lb. 8oz.

The allowance of other foods is the same for all, viz. :—
 Cereals, other than bread ... 12oz.
 Meat ...   2lb.
 Butter, margarine, lard, oils, and fats ... 10oz.
 Sugar ...  8oz.

 It is urged that on no account should the weekly allowances in the above scale be exceeded, but it is advised that children should receive a reasonable amount of food. Their individual needs differ so greatly that no definite ration is laid down for them. The principal difference between Sir A. Yapp's revised scale and the one with which Lord Devonport in February last asked the nation "upon its honour" to comply consists in the fact that the present table has been graded to suit the individual needs of different classes.

Lord Devonport's suggested scale of weekly consumption per head was as follows: —
Meat   ...   2½ lb.
Bread  ...   4lb. (or 3lb. of flour)
Sugar  ...   ¾lb. (afterwards reduced to ½lb.)

The following explanatory observations are issued by the Food Department with the new scale.—

The "Bread" rations include all flour. whether used for bread or for cooking. Flour may be taken instead of bread at the rate of 2lb. of flour for every pound of bread.

The "Other Cereal" rations include oatmeal, rice, tapioca, sago, barley meal, cornflour, maize meal, dried peas, beans, and lentils. and all cereal products except bread and flour. The weight given is the weight of the dry article, as bought. If the full bread ration is not used, the amount saved can be taken in other cereals at the rate of ¾lb. of cereals for every pound of bread saved.

The "Meat" rations include the average amount of bone, which may be taken as one-quarter of the weight of the actual meat. Any parts of meat (such as rump steak, bacon, or suet) which are bought without bone must count for one-quarter more than their actual weight. On the other hand, any bone in excess of a quarter of the actual meat bought may be deducted. Poultry and rabbits may be counted at half their actual weight. The meat rations include suet.

Exchange of Bread and Meat.—Any person may take half a pound of meat over and above his meat ration in exchange for half a pound of bread to be deducted from his bread ration. Similarly, any person may take half a pound extra of bread in exchange for meat.

In addition to the economy necessary in regard to the foods mentioned above, it is essential that the consumption of milk and cheese shall be restricted as far as possible. These foods should be reserved for persons for whom they are indispensable. A more extensive use should be made of fresh vegetables and fruit and, in particular, of potatoes, which are not rationed. This season's excellent potato crop supplies the means of observing the prescribed rations without privation, and it must not be wasted.

[Note: for anyone who is only familiar with metric weights,  'lb.' is the abbreviation for 'pound' - 1lb. is 16 ounces (about 0.45 kg.)]

Friday, 10 November 2017

Ladies’ Football

From the Lancashire Evening Post, 10th November 1917.


I am old enough in the game to remember the touring teams that were run by a few enterprising people somewhere about the mid nineties, a venture which fizzled out owing to the split which occurred in it and the action of the F.A. in prohibiting the use of grounds for the commercial exploitation of women players.  Ladies' football was a novelty then, as it is now, and as a novelty there were plenty of people ready to patronise it for an odd time.  The time has not yet arrived when women can enter into masculine sports and gave spectacular interest to them except that which arises from their sex, and one has only to go back to the ladies' cricket campaign that was on exhibition about the time when the football ladies were going about to realise the limitations of their sex in field games.  There were one or two fair bats and bowlers, especially in the "Reds" team, I remember, but they would have cut a poor figure against any average club side, and physically, of course, women were not able to compete with men on level terms in these things.  But if they themselves can find enjoyment in their own games, and incidentally tickle the public fancy for the moment in the interests of a deserving object I do not see why they should not be encouraged.  Of one thing we may be certain—any attempt to establish ladies' football as a regular and recognised pursuit would very quickly fail, and there is no reason, apart from the sentimental dislike that many people have to see girls and women taking part in masculine pastimes, why the tendency of the moment should be frowned down.  The vagaries of the weather, the knocks and falls incidental to strenuous football, and the physical disabilities of the participants are quite sufficient barriers to any degree of seriousness being attached to the craze.

[We have come a long way in 100 years.  Though not far enough.]

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Christmas Puddings for Troops

From the Abergavenny Chronicle, 9th November 1917.

Christmas Puddings for Troops.


At the request of the Army Council the Director-General of Voluntary Organisations has made arrangements with contractors for the supply of a sufficient quantity of plum pudding for the purpose of issuing a ration of ½lb. of pudding to every soldier serving with the British Expeditionary Force in France, whether in the field or in hospital. 

In view of the congestion of traffic it will not be possible to grant transport facilities for the conveyance to France of consignments of plum pudding other than those above referred to, and the Army Council hope that the public will refrain from despatching plum puddings to the troops in that theatre of war.  Other Christmas gifts will no doubt be much appreciated.  The whole expense of providing the required quantity of pudding will be borne by the Expeditionary Force Canteen Funds.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Sphagnum Moss

From the Llangollen Advertiser, 26th October 1917.

SPHAGNUM MOSS.-- The local efforts organised by Miss Isolda Rooper of Bronydd for the supply of moss for the treatment of the wounded in hospital have been very successful. From June 2nd to September 22nd, 252 large sacks of moss were gathered from the Nantyr Moors. It was brought down to Glyn, where it was dried and picked over. The moss was sent to Liverpool and Sussex.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Strict Economy, Or Rations

From the Whitby Gazette, 12th October 1917.

Eat Less Bread.
Coffee Instead of Tea.

The present position of the problem of national food supply is that compulsory rationing is the only alternative to further rigorous economy of food by all classes of the people.

Inquiries at the Ministry of Food showed that if compulsory rationing were decided on, the system of sugar rationing which is to come into force at the end of the year will probably be the basis of the compulsory scheme.  "The nucleus of the organisation for carrying it through already exists in the load Food Control Committees," it was stated.

“'It was calculated originally that it would take three mouths to set up a completed scheme of rationing.  That is about the time the sugar scheme will have taken.

“Present food supplies may seem sufficient excepting in two or three instances, but it is not so much the present as the future which demands attention and compels a greater economy forthwith. In the case of bread, notwithstanding the cheapening of the loaf, we must all remember how long our stocks of breadstuffs have to last.  Everybody must eat less bread.

"Bacon is short now, and may remain so for two or three months yet, when larger supplies will probably arrive from America.  There is a shortage of tea, relief from which will come as the heavier importations which are expected begin to arrive.  In the mean-time people can economise with existing stocks drinking a greater proportion of coffee, which just now is plentiful.

“Meat is ample for present wants, but here again economy should be practised for the sake of the future.  Indeed, there is no foodstuff in which the nation ought not to economise, seeing that so large a bulk of its food must be brought over-seas and that tonnage is so scarce.  Only by economy in eating and by saving all the food possible will compulsory rationing be avoided."

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Please Knit Socks

From the Brecon County Times, 4th October 1917


Miss deWinton hopes all Breconshire knitters will at once get out their pins and begin to knit socks.  There is plenty of wool at the depot.  Please make socks 13 inches in leg when finished and 11 inches foot. 

Miss deWinton hears on all sides that socks and again socks, hand-knitted, are the real need of our Battalions of South Wales Borderers in France.

3,000 men all want socks. 

So please! Knit Socks! And please don't waste the wool -- it is very expensive!

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

A Shortage of Woollen Things

From the Manchester Guardian, 27th September 1917.


The annual meeting of the Lancashire War Comforts Association was held yesterday in Manchester, with Sir Daniels McCabe in the chair.  During the year the Association has sent 350,000 gifts to men on active service and to military hospitals.  There are 92 Lancashire battalions under the care of the Association for the provision of comforts.

Mr. J. Duthie, the Assistant Director General of Voluntary Organisations, attended the meeting and gave an account of the steps taken by the Director General to ensure a proper distribution of the hospital requisites and comforts for soldiers that are being provided by the voluntary organisations throughout the country.  There are 255 county and borough associations, managed by local committees.  It was found, Mr. Duthie said, that as the armies increased and regiments were moved from one field of operations to another the method of supplying comforts through regimental associations became in most cases quite inadequate, and therefore the Director General established at each front a comforts “pool,” controlled by the military forwarding officer.  These “pools” received a steady flow of comforts, which were issued on indents from commanding officers, and a prompt, equal, and regular distribution was obtained.  Regimental associations were credited on behalf of their particular units with the whole of the contributions they sent to the “pool.”

The department distributed approximately 1,200,000 articles monthly, three-fourths being surgical dressings and hospital garments and one-fourth comforts for the troops in the field.  In addition large quantities of luxuries had been distributed, including 80,000,000 cigarettes.  Fifteen per cent of the total output had gone to our Allies.  The position at the present time was that the supply of surgical dressings was sufficient to meet the demand.  Hospital garments were required, and the supply of knitted articles was very much short of the anticipated demand of the next few months.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Comforts For 1917-18

From The Times, 25th September 1917.


Sir,—I am very grateful for 10,999 good comforts for the troops sent me in answer to my letter on summer knitting.  I am not perturbed by Hephzibah's apt yet chastening dictum, “much cry and little wool.”  Every post tells me that only a proportion of the things knitted from my patterns comes my way.  The housemaid’s brother-in-law and the laundryman's nephew upset my figures, but the Army is served just as well by these and other deserving warriors being supplied direct.  Friends of this industry may like to know that the total amount of comforts received to date is 83,337, of which just about half are sweaters.

Now, Sir, may I save the Post Office, the public, the paper interest, and myself much wasted energy by answering here a few daily breakfast-table conundrums: —

“Why doesn’t the Government supply the things if they are really needed?”  Now, old subscriber, our men form the best equipped armies ever put into the field in the course of history, but that is not to say that it is for the Government to dress them up like White Knights to meet every possible emergency.  The extras (the comforts, that is) are to be supplied as wanted by you, and it is to be your pride to do this ungrudgingly as it is mine to stick on the stamps—while I think of it I might have a few more of these sent me now.   When you come to think of it, the technical use of the word “comfort” is an addition to the vocabulary of the war, and it is instinctively a good one—though it sounds oddly when applied to mouth organs.  The fact is the human mind is so constituted that in times of very special stress and trouble the little extra personal comforts to which one is attached bulk very large indeed.  I know of one distinguished explorer who always wears light gloves in the primeval forest, and I remember that for three months on the Upper Amazon I had a clean handkerchief every day.  (It was the same handkerchief though.)  There is then this intimate personal side to comforts, there is further the “very grateful sense of being remembered at home even by those who never saw us” (there. Sir, I have put it in just as you wrote to me), and there is the larger issue that a good comfort has often saved a good man's life.

“Will you please let me know to whom these things go?  Do you distribute them yourself?”  I did once.  I look back to the bad days of wet camps, blue uniforms, pneumonia, mud, and flurry, when one rushed about giving first-aid, so to speak, to the comfortless, of any old thing, and I still treasure the letters and receipts of the winter 1914.  Those days seem a long way off now and, so far as comforts are concerned, the Government seems to have beaten our friends over the way at their own pet game of organization.  Besides the time-honoured regimental associations, a central “pool of comforts” has been created for the vast army of “nobody’s children” —labour companies, machine-gun units, trench mortar batteries, whose numbers form the most astonishing feature of the armies of to-day.  From this pool every commanding officer is authorized to draw exactly what he wants for his men from the base depots on all the fronts.  The mechanism is there to perfection, but it is for us to see that it is kept working top speed, full measure, pressed down and flowing over.

“I like to knit what is most useful; what comforts are most needed?”  Madam, to-day, September 25, 1917, we want every single hall-marked comfort we can get.  Special needs may emerge later in the year, but what is wanted now is a vast store of gloves, helmets, mittens, mufflers, socks, and sweaters for the commanding officers to draw on according to their need.  So for the present you really have your choice.

“I should be glad to help; but where can I get wool at a reasonable price?”  Well, the wool is a difficulty; perhaps it may help if I say that recognized associations obtain wool at the Government price from any of the D.G.V.O.'s depots throughout the country, on the understanding that it is returned in the form of knitted comforts for the central pool.  In case of difficulty I could probably give some small measure of help in the matter.

I generally have some one class of helpers to thank, but to-day I must ask in one sentence all schoolboys, maids, centenarians, nuns, and leading stokers, who have recently abetted me, to believe that the men are very grateful.

What is wanted, then, is a continuous supply of comforts to be sent throughout the winter, either to the D.G.V.O.’s depots throughout the country or to the London depot at 45, Horseferry-road, S.W.1.  I will gladly acknowledge any addressed to me there.  I should add that easily knitted printed patterns are on hand here at 8, King’s Bench Walk, Inner Temple, E.C.4, for any ladies who like to write for them.  In particular there are some entertaining addenda to the literature of the sock.

Yours faithfully.
8, King’s Bench Walk, Inner Temple, E.C.4

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Winter Work For The Women Who Knit

From the Yorkshire Evening Post, 10th September 1917.


There was a touch of winter in the air this morning. It was slight, but the first fog served as a reminder that the time of falling leaver and chilly days is fast approaching. It is reminder. also, or ought to be, of the need of warm knitted comforts for our soldiers. Sir Edward Ward, the Director General of Voluntary Organisations, appeals to all who can knit to make as many knitted comforts as possible, especially socks, mufflers, mittens, helmets and jerseys.

Inquiries made to-day at the depot in Park Row of the Leeds Lady Mayoress's Committee show that a marked decline in the admirable knitting craze has taken place during the summer. That, of course, is quite natural, but there is an evident need for renewed activities if winter supplies are to prove anything like adequate. The demand is insatiable, and the only question is whether the supply can meet it in any substantial degree. Leeds alone has sent out and continues to send hundreds of thousands of knitted garments, and just as many more could be placed with great advantage now.

Working parties of ladies gather together in all parts of Leeds, and at places as distant as Hellifield and Malton, to contribute to the stocks despatched from the city.  In addition, a much appreciated source of supply is the good housewife who buys a little wool and gives what leisure she has to knitting. The greatly increased price of wool is believed to have affected this source of comforts, for it costs 7s. a pound now, and a pound does not go very far.  It is too scarce a commodity to supply freely to the thousands who would knit something if they could afford the wool.  Organised working parties are often supplied in that way, and the quality of work they send in is excellent.

Funds are as welcome as socks, because donations secure wool, which is the raw material of the working parties.  Ladies who have taken an active part in the furnishing of supplies may be interested in the careful system of distribution adopted at the Front.  There Sir Edward Ward has a great depot, known as "The Comforts Pool," to which battalion officers apply on be-half of their men.  Often the requisition sent in is very modest in comparison to the real needs of the battalion.  At the "Pool" the consignment is made up and despatched to the officer in command, who supervises the distribution.

This system prevents any dumping of big supplies at one spot and a shortage at another. Care is taken that every article reaches a man who needs it.

Monday, 28 August 2017

2 Million Hospital Bags

From The Times, 28th August, 1917.

2,000,000 HOSPITAL BAGS. 


At first sight a cretonne bag with its flowery design seems too feminine a possession to be associated with the war, yet since April, 1915, over two million of these little bags have been sent out by Lady Smith-Dorrien to the clearing stations, the hospitals at the front, and the hospital ships. Their purpose is to safeguard the valuables of the officers and men admitted to the clearing stations. Yesterday, at 26, Pont-street, the headquarters of the Hospital Bag Fund, there were 20 bales waiting for the parcel-post collector. They were nearly all "standing orders," and were urgently needed at the casualty clearing stations. The usual demand is for 100,000 a month but 10,000 extra have been now asked for by the Director of Medical Services in France, and it is for this reason that Lady Smith-Dorrien is busy speeding up her helpers, of whom there are over 80,000 on the carefully kept files.

What is now a great and business-like undertaking, with branches and centres in every part of England, in Scotland and Ireland, in America, Canada, Spain, Trinidad, Jamaica, and the most out-of-the-way places, started in quite a simple way. A military nurse, known to Lady Smith-Dorrien in Aldershot, wrote to her from the front in the early days of the war saying that the men's possessions were emptied out of their pockets under their beds at the clearing stations and frequently got lost, and the nurses were often blamed for the loss. So Lady Smith-Dorrien made a couple of hundred bags and sent them out to her. Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, then in command of the Second Army, was much struck by the idea, and asked his Surgeon-General if they would be useful to him. The reply was a request to "send out 50,000 as quickly as possible." Then Sir Alfred Keogh approached Lady Smith-Dorrien and asked her to undertake supplies for the whole of the fighting forces. The work had been carried on at her own house, but it became necessary to move, and Lady Susan Gordon-Gilmour lent 5, Belgrave-place. When that house was sold Mr. Cox, of Cox's Bank, lent 26, Pont-street, where the work is now carried on with the minimum of expense and the aid of 14 efficient voluntary workers. The biggest item of expense is the hessian for packing.


The bags are every colour of the rainbow, but coloured they must be, and with flowers—roses for preference. This has become apparent as little incidents in the distribution came to the knowledge of headquarters. A wounded man was heard grumbling as he looked at a useful stout holland bag that held his little treasures and compared it with a flowered one proudly displayed by his companion in the next bed. "He's an Australian, that's why he got a bag with roses on it," he was saying; but was satisfied by the gift of an even more brilliantly coloured one. On one of the hospital ships where there was a distribution of bags, some plain and some flowered, it was found that the plain ones mysteriously disappeared through the portholes and the "losers" applied for others. But the men are not the only ones who delight in colours; two young subalterns, home on sick leave, called at 26, Pont-street, last week to see the bags en masse, and explained with some diffidence that theirs had meant a good deal to them, having kept all their valuables intact and were so cheering after the drabness of khaki everywhere. "They reminded us of the cushions and covers at home," they said.
Yesterday the post brought a letter enclosing 10s. for materials. The sender was the mother of a boy killed two years ago, and she sent it in memory of a little chintz bag that meant a great deal to her. "He was shot through the head and never recovered consciousness," she wrote, "but having about his neck a small bag with his permanent address they sent me many little treasures, and above all a diary containing his notes since the first day of the war. This is the greatest treasure I could have, and I am sure without the little bag it would never have been sent to me."  Many letters like this find their way to 26, Pont-street. The men never give the bags back, and an attempt to meet the shortage by collecting them at the home hospitals would be deeply resented.

On the roll of helpers are the names of duchesses, busy women in the suburbs, eager school girls, and the myriad workers at the surgical aid societies. Beside each one's name in the files is the record of the number of bags she has made and the intervals at which she has sent them. Elderly ladies are wonderful workers, but some of them have an inveterate love of embroidering something on each bag. One bag picked up in an ambulance train and sent to headquarters "for luck" by the finder has a woolly black cat with red and white and blue ribbons on it.

Lady Smith-Dorrien buys the chintz in bales, getting 50,000 yards at a time. Anyone sending 7s. 4d. can obtain sufficient cretonne, tape, and labels for 30 bags, carriage free. Bags, when finished, should measure 12 by 14in. They can be made, of course, of unbleached calico, or any new strong washing material, but cretonne is preferred by the wounded. A sample bag is always sent to show the correct method of making. It is suggested that people who have not time to make bags should send money, as there are many workers who can give the time for making, but who cannot afford to give cash. Four thousand bags a day are needed.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

An Appeal To Working Parties

From the Western Times, July, 1917.


To the Editor of the "Western Times."

Sir,—Socks and mufflers, but socks especially, will be required in as large or even larger numbers than before, for our troops at the front this autumn and winter. May I, therefore, urge the many working parties, and individual helpers, who have so generously helped the Mayoress's Depot in the past, to continue, and, if possible, increase their efforts? We now have many Devon battalions at the front, and in addition we receive urgent requests for bales from the Director-General of Voluntary Organisations. I am sure it is hardly necessary to remind working parties that the Mayoress's Depot is permitted to supply wool from the War Office at cost price. It would greatly help us if we could hear from affiliated working parties the approximate quantities of wool they would wish reserved for them during the coming months. I shall be happy to hear from any one desiring information on the matter.

Yours faithfully,
J. KIRK G. OWEN, Mayoress.
The Guildhall, Exeter, July 18, 1917. 

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Winter Comforts for the Troops

From the Manchester Guardian, 13th July, 1917.


Sir Edward Ward, Director General of Voluntary Organisations, has issued an appeal to all workers affiliated with his department to provide as many knitted mufflers, mittens, helmets, sweaters or cardigans, and hand-knitted socks as they possibly can between now and Christmas. These should be. sent to the local Voluntary Organisations Depot to be sorted and despatched overseas for general distribution to the troops.

Sir Edward points out that whatever may happen before next winter vast forces will in any event occupy the field, and the provision of a sufficient supply of warm clothing is essential. Numerous new units have been formed, and.hundreds of thousands of men have now particular associations looking after them, whilst there are many service battalions of men who rely upon the "comforts pools" for these comforts. Individual workers may send gifts to the Comforts Depot, 45, Horseferry Road, Westminster,  London, S.W. 1.