Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Haverfordwest Foot-Sling Depot

From The Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph, 21st March 1917

Haverfordwest Foot-Sling Depot.

A branch depot of the Surgical Requisites Association, itself a branch of Queen Mary's Needlework Guild, has lately been started in Haverfordwest.  A small local Committee having been formed, it was decided, in accordance with the express wish of the Association that the depot instead of making, as is usual, such articles as swabs, dressings, pads, bandages, etc., should specialise in one urgently needed Hospital requisite, viz., foot-slings.

Each Foot-Sling, which needs very exact and careful making, consists of a hammock-like foot-piece suspended by long straps from the shoulders.

The Slings are cut out at the depot (17 Market Street), and then distributed to members who do the necessary machine work in their own homes, returning the Slings for “finishing” to the depot.  Each Sling costs in material about 2s 6d, and as the Committee hope to send up at least 100 a month, the estimated monthly expenditure is £l2 10s 0d.  The appeal for funds has been most generously responded to and much sympathy has been expressed with the work.  £95 has already been contributed, and it is hoped that a sufficient sum may be collected to enable the work to be carried on until such time as the necessity of providing foot-slings for our wounded ceases to be.  Every penny contributed goes directly towards buying materials, as there are no running expenses connected with the depot.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

A "Comforts" Film


From The Manchester Guardian; March 2nd, 1917

At the Deansgate Picture House yesterday morning a private view, held under the auspices of the Lancashire County War Comforts Association, was given of a new film illustrative of the work connected with the provision of comforts for men at the front. The film opens with scenes in the offices of Sir Edward Ward, where requests for immense quantities of goods are daily received from every part of the world in which British soldiers or sailors are fighting.  For the supplying of these articles Sir Edward Ward depends on the goodwill of all sorts and conditions of people.  First we are shown a class of little schoolgirls knitting mufflers and socks with an industry that seems quite undisturbed by the presence of the camera man.  West End shop assistants—rather more self-conscious, perhaps, but equally industrious—make and roll bandages in a London war hospital supply workroom, while women munition workers spend their leisure time in knitting.  These comforts, together with the books and papers that we saw being handed in over post office counters, are then packed and shipped to their destinations.  Those in which the film interests itself go to France, and we watch them being carried up to the British lines in big motor-vans and then distributed among the men.  The joy with which they are received is very evident and pictures of scenes at a casualty station and in a base hospital show how sadly necessary are the labours of the shop-girls.

It would be hard to find a more interesting subject for a film, or one with a wider appeal. Everyone who has contributed in some way to the bodily comfort of our troops will welcome an opportunity to see for himself how his and similar offerings reach the recipients, and for this the kinematograph is the only medium. The only fault to be found with the film shown yesterday is that it is too short and gives too bare an outline of the good work that is being done.  It might well be expanded to twice its present length without any risk of the interest flagging.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Appeal for 500 Small Knitted Caps

From the Brecon County Times, 1st February 1917.


Miss deWinton thinks the workers for the Depot will be glad to know that about 1,200 articles—shirts, socks, comforters, &c.—have been sent in the last two months to the 1st, 2nd, and 5th Battalions S.W.B. [South Wales Borderers], and have been very much appreciated.
She now wants 500 small caps knitted in as short a time as possible.  They don't take long to do!  The wool is at the Depot, 89, The Watton, Brecon; the pattern is as follows :—

Two needles, 7 or 8.
Cast on 44 stitches.
Knit 15 rows, 2 plain, 2 purl,
Knit 30 double rows plain
Knit 15 rows, 2 plain, 2 purl.
Cast off loosely; fold in half; sew up the sides, and fasten the top corners down to the top of the ribbing.

Miss deWinton is sure her Breconshire helpers will work hard again.  Caps are winter wear, wanted at once, please.

[At the start of the war, Miss de Winton appeared frequently in the Brecon newspapers, asking for various items to be knitted.  But before this appeal for caps, I had not found any communication from her since this one in February 1915.  It's good to see that she was still busy, and publishing extremely terse knitting patterns.]     

Friday, 20 January 2017

The Price of Food

From The Halifax Courier, 20th January 1917.


Four suggestions have been sent out by the National Service Department with a view to obtaining the criticisms of retail traders, and, judging by the local feelings we have heard expressed, the criticisms will not be lacking. Conditions of trading in the provinces are much different to those prevailing in London, and for this reason two of the proposals would — in Halifax and a great many other places — have little application.  One suggestion is that window dressing should be partly or wholly discontinued.  In the principal London shops window dressing takes place daily, and much labour is involved, but in most Provincial towns the windows are changed only once or twice per week.  To prohibit window dressing altogether apparently means the abolition of window displays, which is regarded by many as a ridiculous idea, inasmuch as little or no national gain would result thereby, for windows can usually be set out in quiet hours by the serving staffs of the shops.  The second proposal is that no retail tradesman must directly or indirectly call or send to any place of residence to solicit orders for any article of food.  This hits chiefly at grocers, butchers, greengrocers, and the like, and it is regarded as unfair that they should be prohibited from this practice whilst drapers and other non-food providers are not debarred.  Since the war, the practice of soliciting orders in Halifax has considerably declined, the canvassers being required for more important inside work.  Thus the introduction of that idea would be no great hardship, though it is not clear why the restriction should apply to food only.  Food is a necessity, and whether an errand boy be sent in the early morning to take the order, or whether the customer be compelled to personally go to the shop, it will have to be purchased.

Then there is the remarkable suggestion that it be compulsory on every retail purchaser of foodstuffs to take away at the time of purchase all articles less than 14lbs. in weight!  What a prospect for house-wives buying in!  A few groceries, a lump of beef, goods from the drapers, and a few sundries all to carry home.  There now many complaints that the tempers of tram conductors and conductresses are sorely tried, but what a prospect for Saturday shoppers returning home by car, should such a suggestion be adopted!  The final proposal is that credit accounts as between the retail trader and the public should be temporarily discontinued.  Whilst traders generally would be glad if all accounts could be settled on a cash basis, such an ideal does not seem practicable.  By such a stringent rule many hard cases would ensue, and no trader objects to short credit where he knows the money is safe.  To carry out the proposal in its entirety would produce startling results – in many cases for example, funeral arrangements could not be made until insurance money had been received


The above suggestions will fortify the growing belief that some of the powers that be are wasting much effort on poor causes.  Practical schemes will have practical responses, but the commonsense individual is merely irritated by some of the war-time legislation, and the continual chopping and changing associated with it.  The 50 per cent railway fare advances are not yet changed (they will be), but the failure of the limited meals in public eating places is admitted.  We have always argued that the two-course and the three-course device might save labour in hotels and restaurants, but that it would mean a greater consumption of the essential foods.  It was merely silly to rank a sardine as a course, and a plate of beef with accessories as another.  People have chosen the substantial foods and made their meal from courses of that character.  Moreover, as most hotels (through force of habit maybe) do not give very hearty servings, the second helping has grown in favour.  The individual has profited by satisfying his appetite on fewer but nourishing foods; the country has lost what it strove to save.  A solution would seem to be to adopt the a la carte system, each plate of food being charged at a fair figure.  But this, of course, would not touch the domestic table.  There, for the present, the patriotic appeal stands alone—that care should be taken in the choice of foods and that the consumption should be cut down to reasonable proportions. Lord Devonport is understood to be preparing schemes to control in every direction the use and distribution of the staple foods.  In the meanwhile, we are given a few economy hints—to eat green vegetables when in season, to be sparing with potatoes, to learn the value of haricot beans, dried peas and cheese as substitutes for meat, and to cultivate broad beans and peas in the spring.

How important it is to study the dietary in every home is shown by the announcement that the average increase of food prices on Jan. 1 over those of July, 1914, is 87 per cent.; a year ago the increase was only 45 per cent.  It means that £1 17s. 5d. will now go as far as £1 in pre-war days.  The principal advances have been in butchers' meat, bacon, fish, bread, butter, potatoes, cheese, and eggs.  But few families are actually paying the additional 87 per cent. in their food accounts.  They have remodelled their purchases, and this is a point to watch constantly.  Thus, if eggs be eliminated, margarine substituted for butter, and sugar and fish reduced by one-half on the pre-war consumption, the increased cost would be only 45 per cent.

The enemy's burden is very much greater than ours.  It is difficult to arrive at a sure basis of averages, for they have artificially fixed maximum prices for some foods, others are adulterated and "substituted" almost beyond recognition, and for others there are practically no prices, the foods, being almost non-existent.  But the average increase, in November, in Berlin, was 111 per cent., a sovereign being thus worth £2 2s. 2½d.  Rice had increased in price by 420 per cent.; eggs by 357 per cent.; lard by 315 per cent.; and bacon by 249 per cent.  November prices in Vienna were approximately 177 per cent. above those of July, 1914—so that it cost £2 15s. 5d. to buy what was in peace time a sovereign's worth of food.  In Norway the average rise in prices since the beginning of the war has been rather over four-fifths.  In the United States there has been an advance of 18 per cent.— less than one-fifth.