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.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Thrift Exhibition

From the Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 22nd May 1917.




Interested crowds gather daily around the stands at the Thrift Exhibition which are devoted to the Sheffield Training College of Domestic Science to listen to explanations of the rations displayed.  Visitors should examine the cards showing the exact proportions allowed for each person per meal per day.  The menus are worked out for the week, and the actual rations for each day shown for a family of four at 20s. and 35s. a week for food only.  This means in the first instance only 5s. a head per week, and the meals at this rate consisted yesterday of a breakfast of barley-meal porridge, 2oz. of bread, and ¼ banana each. Dinner of cottage pie made from the remains of Sunday's joint with rice on the top and a maize pudding; and a supper of kippers with 3oz. of bread and cocoa.

At 8s. 6d. a week per head, or 35s. a week for four persons quite an attractive display of dishes was shown, beginning with a breakfast of barley kernel porridge, with 2oz. each of bread and 2oz. of bacon.  Mid-day dinner included barley broth from stock made of the bones of Sunday's joint and taken with 1oz. of bread each: Durham cutlets of haricot beans and cold meat; and castle puddings made from barley flour.  For tea nothing was allowed but some thin oatcakes.  Supper was of mince with a border of rice and fairy blancmange made of jelly and milk.

One of the most thrifty dishes ever encountered was to be found on one of the stands consisting of potato chips evolved from the potato parings, which not infrequently find their way to the dust-bin.  They had been most carefully scrubbed and beautifully fried, and we were allowed the privilege of sampling them, so can speak for their excellence.  An apple jelly made from apple parings looked equally delectable.  Various printed injunctions further emphasised the need for economy such as "Let Rations Rule your Appetite," and the announcement that "Dishes made from scraps of bread are not shown. as there should be no scraps left over" conveyed a hint as to the exactitude with which the bread ration should be weighed out and eaten.

Thrift Cottage.
A room in Thrift Cottage furnished with quite artistic-looking furniture evolved from packing-cases and so on, is very interesting, while the section set apart for laundry work illustrated how this vital branch of the housewife's art may be executed without the use of starch.

Not the least attractive part of the College exhibit is the willingness of those in charge to explain the various methods and articles set forth.  For instance, one of the charming white-capped young ladies was showing how a most serviceable pair of knickers had been evolved from a couple of pairs of stockings after the feet had worn out.  A straw hat covered with knitting in a good shade of green made a really astonishingly attractive piece of headwear seen on the same stand.  

We were glad to see as we passed out of the Hall that a good response is being made to the appeal in the Press by the Glove Waistcoat Society for old gloves to make up into wind-proof waist-coats for the troops.  The Army and Navy Aid Committee are always open to receive gloves for this purpose, but during the exhibition people are asked to take them direct to the stand of the Society.  There they will see much that will interest them, and hear tales of how greatly these warm waistcoats please those who buy them at very cheap rates of from about 2s. 6d. to 6s. 6d.  One soldier, for instance, who had lain out in the open for two days and two nights, expressed the belief that he owed his life to the possession of one of these waistcoats.  Will our lady readers kindly ask their menfolk to look through their gloves and see what they can spare for this beneficent scheme, which gives employment to poor women as well as comforts to the troops?

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Uses for Old Kid Gloves

From the Sheffield Independent, 18th May 1917.


Take Them to the National Welfare Exhibition.

Have you any old or discarded kid gloves?  Then take them with you to the Cutlers' Hall when you visit the National Welfare Exhibition.  There is a stall at that exhibition showing waistcoats for soldiers and sailors made out of such old gloves.  Size doesn't matter, nor the state of dirtiness in which the gloves may be.  The kid is cleaned before being made up, and even the smallest pieces—the finger parts—can all be utilised.  The Glove Waistcoat Society gives employment to women and pays them a living wage, while at the same time making use of material that would otherwise be wasted, and out of it creates windproof garments that are a great boon to our soldiers and sailors.  Bits of fur are also acceptable, for they are utilised in making the overall gloves so much appreciated by the men on the mine-sweepers scouring the high seas that we at home may not have to endure privation.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Eat Less Bread

From the Todmorden & District News, 17th May 1917


We must eat less bread—and no bread must be wasted.  The real national danger is not a shortage of potatoes or sugar, but the shortage of wheat, and without the greatest economy we cannot get through till the next harvest.  Lord Rochdale writes:—At the request of the Director of Food Economy, I am writing to urge the absolute necessity for everyone to eat less food, and especially bread.  It would not be necessary to do this if our danger was realised.  We know that already there is a shortage of sugar and potatoes; we shall soon be short of bread and other cereals.  It is common knowledge that many of us could do with less bread than we are now eating.  One slice of bread less a day for every person in Rochdale would mean a daily saving of about 10,000 loaves.  If we realised that each mouthful of food that we eat more than we absolutely need to keep us in good health, is a definite help to the Germans and prolongs the war, we should be more careful.  By eating too much we prolong the war, and each extra day means the sacrifice of more lives.  The seriousness of our danger must be my excuse for thus appealing to my fellow men.  We know waste of food still exists. I have heard this week of 12 oz. of bread being eaten at breakfast by one man!  Let us from this day show that we can do our part in beating the Germans by making our food last as long as possible, and thus back up the sacrifices of our gallant soldiers in the trenches.

Monday, 1 May 2017

We Must Eat Less Bread

From Woman’s Weekly, May 1917.


Unless we ration ourselves carefully at once, there will come days when there may be no bread at the bakers’.

The Food Controller appeals to every housewife to do her utmost to save on the bread allowance. This can be done if the best substitutes are used, and with little loss in food value. The following recipes are to be highly recommended, and it will be found that the food made with meal, etc., is both palatable and good.

These are quite fitted to take the place of potatoes and bread at dinner, while for breakfast and tea they are nourishing and appetising in place of bread.
One cupful of maize meal, boiling milk, a pinch of salt, a little cooking butter, one small egg, a little standard flour. 
Put two cupfuls of milk on to heat; when boiling pour it over the meal and stir well with a wooden spoon till it thickens. Add a pinch of salt and about half an ounce of cooking butter, still stirring the mixture over a good heat. When the butter is well mixed in take the pan from the fire, let the meal cool a little, then mix in the well-beaten egg, and enough wheaten flour to stiffen the mixture to a paste. Turn it on to a floured board, roll it evenly to not more than half an inch in thickness. Mark out the paste with round cutters or a tumbler, put them on a well-floured tin and bake in a fairly hot oven until nicely firm.

Here is another much simpler recipe.

These should be served as the vegetable with meat, vegetarian, and fish dishes, and will be found quite as nourishing. Bread, of course, will not be needed either.
Half a pound of flaked maize, about a pint and a half of water, salt, dripping for frying.
Put the water on to boil, with half a level teaspoonful of salt. When quite boiling sprinkle in the maize and stir with a wooden spoon all the time. Cook steadily till the mixture is thick and solid enough to turn on to a plate. Allow it to cool; it can then be cut in small rounds for frying in the dripping.
The maize can be cooked and cooled in fairly large quantities, sufficient to make cakes for several days.
Many have already given up using maize, as they cannot get used to the flavour, others have persevered and now have taken a real liking to it, and are learning the most practical methods of using it as a substitute.

Equal parts of barley and wheat flour give an excellent loaf. The meal can be bought at several of the large stores, but at present it is not plentiful. When you can get it, use it as follows:
Half a pound of barley flour, half a pound of wheat flour, half to one ounce of yeast, a teaspoonful of salt, a teaspoonful of sugar, warm water to mix. 
Rub the yeast and sugar together; add a tablespoonful of tepid water, cover it and set to rise in a warm place. Mix the flour; when the yeast has frothed pour it into a well in the centre of the flour, sprinkle a little flour over it, and the salt round the edges. Put in a warm place. When the yeast has cracked through the flour, mix in enough tepid water to make a dough. Knead this well till it is smooth and elastic, then place the basin in a warm place, cover it, and leave till the dough is double the size. Knead again, make into loaves, let these stand again in the warm for about twenty minutes. Bake in a very quick oven at first, then finish in a cooler part. The loaves are done when they sound hollow on being tapped.

The egg here gives additional nourishment; it can be left out for a plainer make that can appear at each meal to save the bread.
Three and a half ounces of medium oatmeal, two ounces of lard or cooking butter, a quarter of a teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda, two and a half ounces of wheat flour, one small egg, half an ounce of sugar, if liked.
Put the flour, meal, and sugar into a basin. Mix them well. Melt the butter or lard, and stir it into the flour, etc., with the slightly beaten egg, and just a little water to bring the mixture to a stiff paste. Turn it on to a floured board, roll it out thinly, cut into rounds, and bake on a greased tin for ten minutes in a hot oven.

Four ounces of fine oatmeal, two ounces of cooking butter, lard or dripping, four ounces of wheat flour, one ounce of sugar, one small egg, one teaspoonful of baking powder, milk to mix. 
Rub the fat into the meal and flour, mixing these two together thoroughly. Beat up the egg, stir in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Add the egg and enough milk to form a stiff dough. Turn this on to the board, sifted with meal. Roll it out and cut in eight pieces. Form these into balls and bake on a greased tin for ten minutes. A quick oven will be needed.

IT IS A CRIME TO WASTE A SLICE OF BREAD. Save it in every possible way. Do not have it brought to your table in slices; the slice that is left often goes to the dustbin. Have the loaf on the table, then each can cut as much as he or she needs and no more. If the well-to-do and the sedentary worker will REDUCE THEIR CONSUMPTION OF WHEAT-BREAD BY 1 LB. PER HEAD PER WEEK, the food problem is well on the way to solution.

Monday, 17 April 2017

War-Time Work For Women.

From Woman’s Weekly, April 17th, 1917.


If you are Unable to do National Service Work on the Land, there is Plenty of other Urgent Work waiting to be Done.

WOMEN are urgently wanted to-day. There must be no "slackers."  Every healthy, capable woman must come forward to help the country at this time, either by making munitions, working on the land, or helping to keep up our industries.
Needless to say, the girl who has had a certain amount of experience or training stands the best chance of obtaining employment. That is why I would advise every girl who is thinking of working for the first time, or of obtaining a better position to ask herself whether there is any training open to her that would help her in the work she wishes to take up. Fortunately, at the technical institutes and evening classes it is possible to obtain, if not entirely free, training, at any rate, at a very low cost.
Thus the girl who wants to take up work where she is likely to have the handling of money or dealing with figures will undoubtedly find it an advantage when applying for a situation to be able to claim having taken an elementary course in bookkeeping or commercial arithmetic.
Below I am giving a list of some of the occupations in which there is the greatest demand for workers at the present time. Applications for work should in all cases be made at the local Labour Exchange. There are, however, other agencies through which employment can also be obtained, and where this is the case these addresses are given in addition.
Army Cooks. --Applicants must he between the ages of 18 and 45. All candidates who are accepted are sent to a training centre at Dartford for a month. The pay is £20 a year in addition to board and lodging. Head cooks receive £40. Army Waitresses.—These are needed to wait upon the cadets and officers. Conditions similar to those for Army cooks. Apply to Mrs. Long, Women's Legion, Centre Block, Room 4, Duke of York's Headquarters, Chelsea, S.W.3.
Bakers.—These are wanted in increasing numbers both for day and night work. Applicants should be from about 18 to 25. The work, though rather heavy, is interesting. Advertisements frequently appear in the daily newspapers for such workers. There are two methods of training. One is to go to a baker's for a low wage, and "pick up" the work. The other, and more satisfactory method, is to obtain training at a polytechnic. Londoners can apply at The Borough Polytechnic Institute, Borough Road, S.E. Others can obtain the address of the nearest technical school from a post office.  
Creche and Day Nursery Work.—Girls between the ages of 16 and 24 are needed to train for this work. Training is, in some cases, given free; in others a small fee has to be paid. The work is strenuous and not highly paid; but the girl with a real love of babies will find her vocation here.  At the end of her training, a girl can either continue her work in the creche as a paid assistant, or obtain a position as lady nurse in a gentleman's family. Applications should be made to the Secretary, National Society of Day Nurseries, 4, Sydney Terrace, Chelsea, S.W.
Grocers’ Assistants. —There are plenty of openings here for quick, capable girls in all parts of the country. Applications can be made to the head offices of any of the large provision merchants. You will find their names and addresses in a commercial directory, which you can consult at any post office.
Optical Munitions. —This is skilled work, requiring training. Accepted candidates are, however, paid whilst they are learning. Applicants, who must be over 16, should apply to the Training Centre at the Northampton Polytechnic Institute, St. John's Street, E.C.  
Motor and Taxi Driving. -- Training, the fee for which is usually a few guineas, can be had at any of the motor schools. Taxi drivers must, in addition, undergo a final training in order to pass the special tests imposed by Scotland Yard. The preliminary licences for this final training have to be obtained from Scotland Yard.  
Mail-Cart Drivers and Grooms.—This work should specially appeal to country  women, as only those who are used to horses and know how to drive are wanted. Their work will be to drive the Royal Mail vans or to groom the horses. The pay is 30s. a week. Applications may be made to Miss Mckenzie, care of Messrs. McNamara and Co., 12, Castle Street, London, E.C.
Dental Mechanics. —Dentists are employing women in increasing numbers for the making of artificial teeth. The training is rather long, but workers are usually paid during this time. Advertisements for girls to train for this work can usually be seen in the dental papers. Applications can also be made by letter to any large manufacturing dentist. You will find a list of them in the Trades portion of a commercial directory, under the heading "Dentists' Material Makers."
Omnibus and Tramcar Conductors. —Applicants must be very strong and fairly tall. The work is strenuous, but the pay good, very often as much as two pounds a week. Applications can be made to the head offices of any of the omnibus and tramcar companies or councils.
Postwomen. —This work is heavy and entails early rising, but the workers have a good deal of free time in the middle of the day. Applications for local work to be made at the local Exchange, but for work under the G.P.O., at the City Labour Exchange, 9, New Bridge Street, London, E.C.
Railway Booking Clerks and Ticket Collectors. —Clerks must be ready reckoners, and all applicants must be of quick intelligence. Applications should be made to the head offices at the London termini stations of any of the large railway companies. Or those applicants living on the S.E. and Chatham Line can apply to Miss Strevitt, S.E. & C. Railway Training School, East Croydon.
Typewriter Mechanics.—Women can now train for the work of cleaning and repairing typewriters. The complete training takes three years, but within a few months girls can do quite useful work that up till quite recently has always been done by men. The workers are paid whilst they are learning, while the fully trained mechanic may expect anything from £2 to £5 a week. Applications can be made to the Remington Typewriter Co., 100, Gracechurch Street, London, E.C.

Warehouse Packers. —These are required by certain big firms for packing goods, such as jams and marmalade, etc., for the Army. Applications can be made to the big jam-makers and other large stores. 

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 £12 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 March 2017

Bioscope Operating for Girls

From Woman’s Weekly, March 1917.



I had for some time been puzzling myself as to what work I should take up. It was necessary for me to start earning money at once, and I had very little in the way of funds to spend on training.
Then one day I met a friend, who insisted on my going to the pictures with her that evening. Well, I went, and while there I discovered the bioscope was operated by a girl. To tell the truth, I was more excited over that than over the pictures. "Just the work I should like!" I thought to myself. But how to find out all about it, that was the point.
Then I suddenly hit upon a plan, and wrote a nice little note, then and there, to the "lady operator," and asked her to tell me.
She sent me back a note by the same messenger:
"The work is ripping. Go to a school and learn. They will find you work." Then followed an address.
When the show was over I said good-bye to my friend, and hurried off to the school.
Well, I discovered I could become a trained bioscope operator for the small sum of £2 2s., and that it only took a fortnight to learn. What more could any girl want? If you are already in work, you can make arrangements to go for one afternoon a week, or of an evening—in fact, the schools will meet you in any way that best suits your convenience.
It is best, when possible, to give a clear fortnight to the work, as then you live in a bioscope world, and learn quicker than in an odd half-day weekly; but if that is all a girl can spare, it need not prevent her learning. The work is very interesting, and quite simple.


THE first question I asked was, "Shall I have to study?"
For reply the secretary took me to a large room, where a couple of bioscopes stood.
"These," he said, "are your lesson books. When you know all they can teach you, I can recommend you as a proficient bioscope operator."
He seemed to touch a button, and I looked up to see "the pictures" had started.
"Very difficult, is it not?" he said with a laugh, as he manipulated a few mysterious pegs, and the pictures vanished.
"But suppose something went wrong, and the machine would not work?" I exclaimed."
"Then you would use the other one. There are always two, in case of accidents; but these rarely occur, as the machines are kept in perfect order."
"And is there any fear of me getting blown up, or anything of that sort?" I asked.
"None whatever. You can set your mind perfectly at rest on that point," was the reply.
The next thing was to make sure of my future work and pay. That I found would be quite satisfactory. A trained operator would start on about £1 a week, and go on to £2. That, on the small expenditure of £2 2s. and a fortnight's time spent at learning, and, chief joy of all, no dreariness of office routine, but such a nice, bright life—just what I should like! And no early rising either!


The hours vary in different theatres, but, as a rule, they are from about two o'clock to eleven. Of course, you are not on all the time: you get plenty of off time for meals. You see, there must be more than one operator to each show, which is rather nice. As everyone knows, the cinemas are of all sorts and kinds, so naturally the appointments vary too.
It is nice to know that the very best posts are now given to women. The official war films are shown by one.
I made careful inquiries to find if this occupation would still be manned by women. I found they have given every satisfaction, and as it is such light work, it is sure to be looked upon as one especially suited to them.
The bioscope is worked by electricity, so I soon found myself learning all about the various switches that had to be turned on and off. Then I learnt quite a lot about the instrument itself, and in a fortnight I was able to work it properly.


I had no trouble to look for work, as the cinemas, when they want fresh hands, apply to the various schools, who then send them their pupils. As soon as I was ready I obtained a very nice appointment at a first-class cinema. Of course, I went as junior assistant.  I preferred that to a more important post at a third-rate show, because I want to get on.
My promotion came quickly. I gave satisfaction to my chief, and within twelve months of entering my profession I am chief operator at £2 a week, with two assistants under me.

[A bioscope was evidently the current term for a film projector.]

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.