Old clothes for the destitute people in the devastated parts of Northern France

Broad Street Congregational Church in Reading was collecting second hand clothes for our friends in the battleground areas of France.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

In connection with the collection of old clothes for the destitute people in the devastated parts of Northern France, the committee who had this matter in hand, found that they could not get sufficient canvassers and helpers to embark upon the more ambitious scheme of canvassing the whole town for articles of clothing.

Rather than let the matter entirely drop, it has been decided to carry out the scheme in a modified form. Rooms have been obtained over Poynders’ old bookshop near the Post Office, as a depot and clothing station. It is intended to send a circular and reply postcard to persons in the town whom we think will assist us in the scheme, asking for promises of clothes, and then arrangements will be made for the collection of the same.

For this purpose we still want the help of our Brothers, but it will only consist of a very small amount of definite work compared with the previous scheme. Members of the Brotherhood who have been preparing bundles of clothes, should get them quite ready, and a date for the collection will be arranged. This scheme must now be pushed, as the time of year is getting on.

It has been thought desirable by some of our members that we should revive the old Horticultural Show for this autumn. We are all more or less interested in allotments and “back to the land” schemes, and it is felt that a horticultural show, held in our schoolroom, would be an incentive and an encouragement to our many brothers who are spending all their spare time in increasing the food supplies of the country. An enthusiastic committee has been appointed and details will shortly be announced.

The time of year has again arrived when we hope our brothers will volunteer, as in past years, to keep the allotments of those members who are on service in order. This work in the past has been done ungrudgingly, though un-noticed, and it has earned the heartfelt gratitude and thanks of many a member away serving his country, and been a help to the wife and little ones at home.
..
A much appreciated addition to our Sunday afternoon services has been made in the form of singing a verse of a “hymn of remembrance” of the brothers who are serving us on land and sea and in the air. They will know that each Sunday afternoon, and before we disperse, we shall be singing:

O Trinity of Love and Power
Our Brethren shield in danger’s hour
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, April 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Advertisements

Allotments will be started as soon as possible

Cranbourne parishioners were ready to start growing vegetables.

VEGETABLE SEEDS.

Mr. Yorke has made arrangements with Messrs. Sutton as to the supply of their seeds in small packets. Copies of the list of seeds can be obtained from the Vicar, but they must be applied for immediately. Arrangements have been made for the provision of Allotments, they will be started as soon as possible.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, December 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/12)

A chum he last saw on the banks of the Somme

A friend of the Hallams had an unexpected reunion while home on leave, while a maid at Bisham Abbey had suffered a family bereavement.

William Hallam
25th November 1917

Up at ¼ to 7. Emptied the bath, lit fire and went to H.C. at St. Paul’s at 8. A bitter cold wind. I also went down to the XI [11 o’clock] Service with Muriel & Frank Britten. Coming out of church he met an army chum of his – a St. Paulite – Richards whom he last saw on the banks of the Somme.

Florence Vansittart Neale
25 November 1917

Colonel Wells to lunch about soldiers for allotments….

Annie off home, her brother killed.

Diaries of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25); and Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

The War has brought home to us our dependence on our daily food in a way unknown to most of us before

The vicar of Maidenhead All Saints reminded his flock about the work of merchant seamen bringing food to the country, and of church workers comforting the troops close behind the lines.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-…

St Peter’s Harvest Festival is to be held at the end of this month (September 30th)… And this Harvest we have, indeed, much for which to be thankful. The War has brought home to us our dependence on our daily food in a way unknown to most of us before. We have to thank God for the labours of our farm workers and allotment holders, who, in the face of an inclement Spring, have greatly increased our food supply; for the valour of our Navy, that has convoyed our store ships past many perils; for the steadfastness and courage of our Merchant Sailors, who, risking often sudden death or lingering suffering, have yet dared to go on faithfully bringing grain and meat and other things for the maintenance of our people.

Lastly; sometimes people ask me for the name of some Charity to which they may give a donation, outside the Parish. Just now few deserve more support than the Church Army Recreation Hut Fund. There are over 800 in full work. All are under the auspices of the Church, and special provision is made for those who wish for a quiet place for prayer or study. They are, also, available and used for Church Services. I feel thy deserve great support, for, excellent as the work of the Y.M.C.A. usually is, these Church Army Huts make a still greater claim on our generosity as Church people; that our men should not feel that the Church has in any way neglected them. Any donations should be sent to the Secretary, Church Army Headquarters, 55, Bryanston Street, Marble Arch, London, W.1.

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar
C.E.M. FRY

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, September 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

Dandelions and devastation

Members of the Broad Street Brotherhood, the men’s group at Broad Street Congregational Church in Reading were supporting the war effort in whatever ways they could; and also helping civilians in the devastated occupied regions. Regional rivalry came into play, with the men not wanting to show up poorly in comparison with Basingstoke.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

Some of our members have intimated a desire to start a War Savings Association in connection with our Brotherhood, similar to what is being done at other Brotherhoods and churches up and down the country.

The matter has been carefully considered by a small sub-committee, and it is felt that it is hardly necessary to open a fresh savings department, but any member can purchase these War Savings Certificates through our already existing Savings Bank.

We most strongly recommend these war savings certificates to the earnest attention of every member as not only are they financially sound, but each one purchased is directly helping our country to victory.

Brother Hendey will be pleased to give particulars and carry through any transaction.

We take this opportunity of thanking many of our brothers who have during the past months loyally and painstakingly worked to keep the allotments in order for the brothers who are at the Front.

This has been a fine example of practical brotherhood work.

It is our sad duty to have to record the death of our Brother Frank Ward, who made the supreme sacrifice for us in France just recently.

He is the fourth member of our Brotherhood who has given his life for his country.

BROTHERHOOD CONTINENTAL RELIEF

Our constituency will no doubt be interested in the movement in Reading in aid of sufferers by the war in France and Belgium, which has been initiated by the Broad Street Brotherhood.

Their object is to supplement the efforts now being made in other towns, and in the colonies (and in continuation of efforts previously made) to express the Christian sympathy which exists towards those victims who, although innocent, have suffered acutely through the war. The National Brotherhood Council are aiming at a contemplated relief fund of £20, 000, a very large part of which has already been subscribed. The Brotherhoods of Canada have sent large sums, as well as London and the great centres of industrial life in England. It is believed that Reading will not want to take second position to Basingstoke, where the generous promise of £100 in cash, besides clothing, books, etc, has been made. It is proposed to collect both in cash and kind.

In several of the large townships of Northern France and Belgium the civil population is in rags. For instance Lille (the Manchester of France), having been in the occupation of Germany for 2 ½ years, has had no chance whatever of providing her people with clothing, even if they had the means to purchase. Clothing, boots (cast off or new), seeds, blankets, or anything of portable, useful and lasting character will be acceptable, and later on fruit trees.

A witness on the spot (Near the Somme) says “the fruit trees, large and small, are ruined; but little remains of pleasing appearance except dandelions, and they cover desolation almost everywhere.” A large town (about the size of Reading) had not a roof left whole upon any one building. In a report given to headquarters he said there was no accommodation for men whatsoever (not even for a pig) except in the cellars of ruined houses, such as he then lived (slept) in personally.

The country people, who crowded into the towns, had to hurriedly vacate their homes which were in the path of the then advancing enemy, and could only carry what they stood upright in. They have had no chance, many of them, since to return; and if they had done so they would have found (as some did) that not a tree in the garden, not a vestige of furniture or other property, and a ruin of the actual building. The writer of the foregoing testimony says that for 9 weeks he never saw a civilian (man, woman or child) although frequently on the move, and for long distances.

Wood houses are being prepared in sections in this country for the purpose of being despatched to Northern France and Belgium directly the way opens, and facilities for this purpose have been promised by the governments of Great Britain and France as soon as possible. A wood house thus prepared can be erected by a few men, within a day, upon arrival at its destination, and its total cost would be about £40. Who will buy one for “La belle France”?

Interested readers can secure further information by sending two penny stamps to The National Brotherhood Offices, 37 Norfolk Street, London WC2, when they should ask for a pamphlet entitled “The story of Lille and its associations with the Brotherhood Movement”. This pamphlet describes the Brotherhood Crusade of 1909 AD and the practical relief already given. Locally, every church, adult school and Christian Society in Reading will be asked later on to join hands with the relief committee connected with Broad Street Men’s Brotherhood, whose secretary, Mr WA Woolley, 85 Oxford Road, Reading, is associated with Bros Mitchell, Hendey and Harper in this great work.

Broad Street Congregational Church magazine, September 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Food from Harvest “will be greatly appreciated by the wounded men in hospital”

Worshippers at Broad Street Church sent their Harvest Festival offerings to the Royal Berkshire Hospital for wounded soldiers.

HARVEST FESTIVAL

The Harvest Thanksgiving Services, held on Sunday, September 23rd, afforded joy and inspiration to all who were able to attend. The church was very prettily and effectively decorated for the occasion. A plentiful supply of fruit, vegetables, flowers, etc, had been provided…

On the following day the good things provided were conveyed by Mr Bunce to the Royal Berks Hospital, for the wounded soldiers who are there.

Mr Rawlinson [the minister] has since received the following letter from the secretary of that institution:

“Dear Sir

Many thanks for your letter, and for the eggs, fruit, vegetables, flowers, bread, etc, which arrived yesterday.

These will be greatly appreciated by the wounded men in hospital, and I should be grateful if you would accept for yourself, and kindly convey to all concerned, an expression of our warmest thanks for this generous present.

I am, dear Sir,
Yours faithfully

Herman Burney
Secretary”

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

The annual Harvest Festival in connection with the church was held on Sunday September 23rd, and as usual our brothers contributed very liberally with fruit and vegetables from their allotments.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, October 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

“100,000 tonnes of potatoes could be added to the food supply of the Nation”

Winkfield people hoped communal effort would help with food shortages.

WINKFIELD WAR ASSOCIATION.

Mr. Asher has generously presented a spraying machine for potatoes for the use of the parish, but though it was ordered by the Association 5 or 6 weeks ago it has not yet arrived. When it comes it is hoped that we may be able to have a demonstration on the allotments in Winkfield Row and make arrangements whereby the machine can be used to the best advantage.

The Board of Agriculture assert that if small growers of potatoes in England and Wales would spray their crops this year, 100,000 tonnes of potatoes could be added to the food supply of the Nation.
The Association has also taken steps to try and insure that an adequate supply of coal shall be available next winter for those who cannot store coal in large quantities in the summer, and they have applied to the Coal Controller for leave to buy 250 tons at once. No reply has yet been received, but we hope to be able to state that this effort has been successful and give full particulars of the terms on which the coal can be bought next winter.

Owing to War conditions it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep our Choir up to anything like full strength in either men or boys. We should therefore welcome any assistance from the congregation, and in the hope that it will lead to more hearty congregational singing we ask all able to do so to attend the short practices which will be held in the Parish Room every Sunday evening at 6 o’clock.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, July 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/7)

Sacks of waste paper

Winkfield people collected waste paper and grew potatoes for the nation.

WINKFIELD WAR ASSOCIATION.

The Secretary of the War Savings Association reports that we have now 57 members, and 19 War Savings Certificates have been bought. As the Association was only started in the first week in April we may hope that it will not be long before the membership will increase to three figures.

Several sacks have already been filled with waste paper and we hope soon to hear of the filling of many others.

The holders of the new allotments at Winkfield Row have been working very hard, and with favourable weather should reap a good reward. The Government recommend that this year all potatoes should be sprayed to guard against disease, and the Committee hope to be able to arrange for the hiring of a portable spraying machine for use in the parish.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/6)

A splendid address on Duty and Patriotism that even the tiniest could understand

Empire Day was the focus for patriotic expressions in schools across the county.

Piggott Schools, Wargrave
Empire Day

The children of the Piggott Schools celebrated Empire Day (May 24th) in right loyal fashion. They assembled at the School, and with flags flying, marched down to Church where a short service was held. The Vicar gave an appropriate address. Re-assembling on the Church Green they proceeded to the Schools and took their places round the flag pole from which the Union Jack was flying. A good number of parents and friends of the children with many of the soldiers from the hospital were waiting their return. As the boys passed the soldiers they gave them a salute in recognition of what they had done for their country.

The National Anthem was sung, and the flag saluted, and Miss. E. Sinclair gave a splendid address on Duty and Patriotism in such a way that even the tiniest could understand it. Capt. Bird proposed a vote of thanks to Miss Sinclair and hearty cheers were given in which the soldiers joined. Three Patriotic and Empire Songs were sung by the children, the Vicar called for cheers for the Teachers, and Mr. Coleby announced that Mrs. Cain had most kindly provided buns and sweets for all as they left the grounds. Hearty cheers were given her for her thoughtfulness. Cheers for the King concluded the proceedings.

Alwyn Road School, Cookham
May 24th 1917

Empire Day was celebrated today. The Headmaster addressed the children assembled in the Hall, and the National Anthem was sung. The children then went to their classrooms and ordinary lessons proceeded till 11 o’clock. Each class teacher then gave a lesson on “Empire” and kindred subjects till 11.30. This was followed by a Writing Lesson when some of the important facts were taken down.

The school assembled in the Hall again at 11.55 and after a few more remarks by the Headmaster the national Anthem was again sung and the children dismissed.

Opportunity was taken of this morning’s addresses to instil into the children’s minds the necessity of economising in the use of all food stuffs, and more especially of bread and flour.

A holiday was granted in the afternoon. (more…)

A happy set of wounded soldiers

More wounded soldiers visited Bisham Abbey from the hospital at Cliveden.

30 April 1917
Fine day. Dug Ellie’s allotment with Hilda. Wounded came from Cliveden. Went round garden & farm after tea, & sat out by river. Some went in boats. Nice set – all very happy.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Splendid prizes for war-time vegetables

Amateur gardeners in Wargrave were being encouraged to grow vegetables.

The Gardener’s Association

On April 11th the concluding meeting of the spring session was held…

Autumn Show of War-time Vegetables

The Wargrave Food Production Committee in conjunction with the Gardeners’ Association have arranged for a Show of War-time Vegetables in October next. Splendid prizes for the best Cropped Allotments and Gardens, Potatoes, Parsnips, Carrots, Onions, Beet &c., &c. are offered, and it is hoped there will be keen competition in the various divisions. Mr. Coleby is acting as Secretary, from whom the Schedules may be obtained giving all information.’

Wargrave parish magazine, May 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

The gravity of the situation and the imperative need for all to carry out the instructions of the Food Controller

Various kinds of savings were pursued in Winkfield – but there were concerns as to how poorer people would cope.

WINKFIELD WAR ASSOCIATION.

The Committee organised a Public Meeting in the Parish Room on Friday, March 30th , when there was a large attendance.

Mrs. Boyce gave an excellent address on the Food question, pointing out clearly the gravity of the situation and the imperative need for all to carry out the instructions of the Food Controller, especially as regards to bread; and the point was emphasized that although the labouring man who could not afford so much meat might legitimately take a larger allowance of bread, yet he is now bound to reduce his usual amount by at least one pound a week.

Mr. Creasy also spoke on the importance of War Savings, and proposed the following resolution which was seconded by Mr. Harrison and carried “that all present pledge themselves to co-operate in carrying out the regulations of Lord Devonport and the Authorities on the question of rations to households generally, and to support the War Savings Association to the best of their ability”.

The Committee learning that many Cottagers and Allotment holders found great difficulty in obtaining seed potatoes arranged to buy a ton of seed at once, and Mr. Asher kindly advanced the money to secure them. Most of these potatoes have now been applied for, but a few pecks are still available, and any wishing to buy them should apply to Mr. C. Osman, Winkfield Row.

Arrangements have been made for the saving of waste paper; sacks have been taken by Mr G. Brown, Maiden’s Green, Mr. Eales, Winkfield Street, Mr. C. Osman, Winkfield Row, Mr. Langley, Brock Hill, Mr. Osman, Gorse Place, and also at the Schools, and it is hoped that many will send contributions of waste paper (old letters, circulars, newspapers, but not brown paper) to help fill these sacks which will then be collected and forwarded.

Winkfeld section of Winkfield District Magazine, May 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/5)

Wartime gardening

Gardeners were encouraged to take up allotments and grow vegetables to help alleviate the food shortages.

The Gardener’s Association

A second lecture on War-time Gardening was given in the Iron Building on March 28th, by Mr. C. Moore, Gardener to Mr. W. E. Cain, Wargrave Manor, on “Cropping the Allotment.” This was not so well attended as the former one, many of the Allotment Holders being busy on their plots that evening. A plan of a 20 pole allotment was shown on a blackboard, marked in the way he would advise planting, and a good and varied list of vegetables were selected for cropping it. Inter-cropping and the principles of rotation were explained and concluded an interesting lecture.

Mr. Coleby suggested the formation of an Allotment Holder’s Society for the mutual benefits of all concerned, but the idea did not seem to attract much attention.

Wargrave parish magazine, May 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

The horrors of winter war are over now

Spring was welcomed by John Maxwell Image, who sympathised with his brother in law Percy Spencer at the front, and was amused by wife Florence’s enthusiastic adoption of a potato allotment.

29 Barton Road
18 March ‘17

[Talking about his house]
Just at the garden’s paling lay an expanse of grassy fen, belonging to King’s College. It was indeed a godsend to this house as extending our outlook, our privacy and air freshness. Well – this glorious mead has been cut up into potato allotments! Crediti posteri. Florence (as full of energy as yourself) applied for one; as did most of the Varsity people around us: and has got 10 poles, which come close up to our palings. I declined anything to do with it…. It will give her plenty of fun, anyhow – though tillage by our old gardener at 4/6 per diem won’t speak for economy, I fear. Our two tall athletic Abigails are to take in turn the spade-culture. Indeed the whole scene is a lovely one, as beheld from our upper windows, male and female, old and young, rich and poor and each busy and toiling.

The winter happily is over. It will be spring campaigning. Iam ver appetebat cum Hannibal… The horrors of winter war. I remember a bit in one of Florrie’s brother’s letters, where he spoke of “the terrific bounds of red hot lumps of metal off the frozen surface of the road a few yards away from me”!!

Our best wishes and love to you both
Bild

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

A call for economical but wholesome recipes

The vicar of Wargrave was at the heart of the village’s flourishing War Savings Association, and also efforts to encourage food to be produced locally. The March issue of the parish magazine announced:

War Savings and War Rations

A meeting of the Wargrave War Savings Association will be held on Saturday, March 10th at 7 .p.m., in the Iron Church Building. All Parishioners are most cordially invited to attend. The subject of War Rations will also be discussed.

The total sum paid into the Secretary’s hands up to February 26th, amounts to £1014 9s. 6d., which has been extended in the purchase of 726 Certificates value £1 five years hence; 21 value £12 five years hence: and 13 value £25 five years hence.

Bonus

There is no doubt that the Chairman’s kind gift of one sixpenny coupon on every Certificate up to ten has proved a strong inducement to save that number. And he is so pleased with the response that he has most generously determined to extend his offer up to 25 Certificates for each person.

Vicarage Office Hours

On Saturdays 9.30-10.30 .a.m. and 5.30-6.30 .p.m. the Parish Room is open for War Savings Business.

Certificates due members may then be obtained, and Certificates may be purchased.

During the days of the War Loan the Vicar was glad to welcome War Savings business on any day and at any time when he was at home, but he must now ask members to be more particular in the observance of Office Hours.

Money may be sent to the Vicar if accompanied with a clear statement of Certificates required, full names and sufficient postal address.

The meeting duly took place:

War Savings Association

A very well attended Meeting was held on Saturday, March 10th, in the Iron Church Building. Mr. Bond presided and gave an address on Food Production and War Rations.

A Committee was appointed for Food Production of which Mrs. Bulkeley is Chairman, supported by Mrs. Hinton, Miss. Rhodes, and Messrs. Butcher, Chenery, Crisp and Pope.

A good deal of work has already been done in organising parties to dig, and in providing allotments and seed potatoes for those who want them.

A Committee was also appointed for Food Economy in charge of Mrs. Winter, supported by Mrs. Bennett, Mrs. Cain, Mrs. Chenery, and Mrs. Hermon.

It is hoped that the committee may give much help in disseminating information and enlisting support. Mrs. Winter will be very grateful for any economical recipes which have proved wholesome and successful. These recipes will be exhibited in the Parish Room.

Wargrave parish magazine, March and April 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)