Reasonable expenditure on peace celebrations

10 May 1919

PEACE CELEBRATIONS

The Local Government Board are prepared to sanction reasonable expenditure by Local Authorities in connection with the celebration of Peace.

Report of Finance Committee in Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

Advertisements

Special classes for soldiers

Students were getting back to normal on leaving the army.

MAIDENHEAD TECHNICAL INSTITUTE

The Sub-committee understand that the Technical Institute will probably be evacuated by the Red Cross Hospital authorities shortly…

EVENING CLASSES

In a circular letter, the Board of Education urge the importance of the resumption of the part of this work which was curtailed owing to the war and of its further development at the earliest possible date.

The Sub-committee have not found it possible to resuscitate any of the closed classes this session but have made provision in the estimates for increasing the number of classes next session.

ARMY EDUCATION

In connexion with the scheme for Army Education, the Sub-committee have been asked to arrange special classes for soldiers at Windsor and these have been duly held. The whole of the cost is payable by the War Office.

COUNTY SCHOLARSHIPS

The Sub-committee have allowed B L James (3rd year Senior Scholar), who was released from the Army in January to resume his Senior Scholarship at the Newbury Grammar School for the remainder of its period.

M G Hyder, who was granted a Supplementary County Scholarship in 1916, has been released from the Army, and took up his Scholarship at Keble College, Oxford, as from the commencement of the Lent Term.

The Sub-committee have renewed the Scholarship of E H Austin (who has also been released from the Army) at the University College, Reading, until the end of the Summer Term.

Report of Higher Education Sub-committee to Berkshire Education Committee, 3 May 1919, in Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

A torpedo as a war memorial

A torpedo might have been an interesting choice of war memorial, but it was not allowed.

Report of Highways Committee, 26 April 1919

WAR MEMORIALS

Cookham.

With reference to the application for consent to erect a war memorial at Cookham – referred to in the last report of the Committee – the County Surveyor has since inspected the proposed site, which is the centre of the triangular piece of waste land adjoining the main road from the Moors to Cookham village.

The Committee recommend that no objection be raised to the erection of the memorial on the site suggested.

Pangbourne.

An application has been received from Miss Waddington for permission to erect a War memorial at Pangbourne, in the middle of the Square.

As the erection thereof would cause danger to the traffic, the Committee recommend that such consent be not given.

An application has been received from the Pangbourne Parish Council for permission to place a torpedo (which has been presented to them) on the parapet of the bridge over the River Pang as a War Memorial.

The torpedo being approximately 22 ft in length, 18 in wide, and about 1 ton in weight, the Committee recommend that consent to its erection on the bridge be not given.

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

“The imperfect supervision of the weak-minded, which has been one of the consequences of the War, may lead to a great national disaster”

Attitudes towards people with learning difficulties 100 years ago may seem uncomfortable today.

Report of Mental Deficiency Act Committee, 12 April 1919

The committee have received an important circular from the Board of Control, dated 8th March 1919, from which the following paragraphs are extracted:
“…
The Mental Deficiency Act had only been in operation for a few months when the outbreak of War and the concentration of the national energies and resources on War activities seriously hampered its administration. It is now of the first importance that full effect shall be given to its provisions….

The demobilisation of the Army and the return of industry to its normal course will bring serious dangers to light. So far as males are concerned, the majority of the mentally unfit have, during the War, been left amongst the general population, or have been discharged to civil life after a brief Army experience, as unfit to stand the strains of War. A fair percentage of these are congenital defectives whose potentialities for reproduction are unimpaired, and whose inability to perform the duties of parenthood properly is admitted. For this reason, and also as a precaution against the possible risk of transmission to their progeny of the parental defect, every effort should be made to deal promptly with such of them as become liable to be dealt with under the Mental Deficiency Act. The necessity for the existence of adequate measures for the protection of young defective women, on demobilisation, is obvious. Many such, owing to the present scarcity of labour, are now employed, but they will be the first to receive discharge, and the first to be thrown on their own resources, when more efficient labour is available, and the demand for female employment is reduced.

There is unfortunately no doubt that the imperfect supervision of the weak-minded, which has been one of the consequences of the War, has resulted in a substantial increase of venereal disease among the population, and that the provision of effective control is an essential and urgent step needed to avert a great national disaster…

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

“The war is likely to be the most striking event of the 20th century”

Newbury Museum planned to remember the war and its impact.

Museum and Free Library Committee
Monday, January 19th, 1919


The Hon. Curator laid before the Committee the following report for the past quarter:

Borough of Newbury Museum

Typical Collection.

The war is likely to be the most striking event of the 20th century, and we shall probably not be wrong in devoting the 1 foot 6 inches of wall space allotted to the century almost, if not entirely, to war exhibits. In the table-case there should be nine small but choice objects illustrating the following regions: Britain; North Europe; the campaign in the Murmansk Region; Central Europe; Germany or Austria; Italy; The Balkan Peninsula; Gallipoli; Serbia or Salonika; Egypt; Western Asia; Palestine or Mesopotamia; India; Japan. These objects must be small, as the space at our disposal is very limited, but should be choice. An instructional sectional Mill’s No 5 hand-grenade, an iron cross, and a Turkish cannon-ball, and such-like objects, would be most suitable. Besides these we might exhibit a German shrapnel-helmet, a British gas mask, and a French 75 mm shell-case.

Local Collections

These might be placed in a special case to illustrate the effect of the war on Newbury, and the share in it taken by the Borough and neighbourhood. It would be interesting to collect a complete series of posters, circulars and notices issued by the Police, the County Council, the Borough Council, and the Rural District Council, and by officials and committees acting under their authority; also a complete set of the issue of the “Newbury Weekly News” from the declaration of war to the conclusion of the peace celebrations. These cannot be displayed upon the walls of the Museum owing to lack of space, and the Museum possesses no accommodation for storing them in such a way as to be accessible to students. Perhaps this part of the record could be undertaken by the Free Library.

The special Museum case might, however, contain: Badges of officers and men of the Berkshire regiments; badges and insignia of Newbury Special Constables; badges and arms of the Newbury Volunteers; shell-cases made by Newbury munition firms. These seem to be all that we shall find room for, and ought to be sufficient to show posterity how the war affected Newbury and its neighbourhood.

War Collection – the following special report by the Hon. Curator on a war collection was held before the Committee.:-

Report on War Collections

Now that hostilities have ceased, it is time that the Committee decided what steps should be taken by the Museum to put on record the chief features of the war. In considering this question it will be well to give the matter careful thought, and to make sure that it is approached with due regard to proportion. On the one hand we must avoid concluding that, as the war is an affair of yesterday, it should not be represented in our Historical Collections, still more is it well to remember that, though at the present moment it seems to overshadow in importance all other events, yet it must not occupy an undue amount of space in our cases, but must take its place with other events of a perhaps less dramatic nature. There are two ways in which the war may be considered part of the Museum: one as part of the general history of the Old World, as exhibited on our typical collection; and the other as part of the history of Newbury, as exemplified by our Local Collections.

The Hon. Curator’s report was adopted and efforts were to be made to secure suitable exhibits.


Newbury Borough Council minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

“The matter is one of great urgency in view of the approaching demobilisation of the Forces”

Some former soldiers were interested in the opportunity of farming – but would it be affordable?

A further circular letter has been received from the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries dated 14 January, 1919, as follows:

Sir,

The Government have come to the conclusion that while the County Councils are the most suitable bodies to be entrusted with the local administration of the matter, the financial responsibility for the loss which must inevitably occur in creating small holdings under present conditions should be borne by the Exchequer and no charge should be placed on local rates…. The Board will repay to the Council the whole of the deficiency between revenue and expenditure on the Small Holdings undertaking of the Council as a whole including the land already acquired….

As the whole of the financial responsibility has been assumed by the State, the Board feel confident that they can rely on the active assistance of your Council in carrying into effect without delay the desire of the Government to settle on the land of this country as many as possible of the ex-service men who are qualified to become successful small holders. The Board will be glad to receive at the earliest possible date concrete proposals from your Council for the acquisition of suitable land for the purpose, and I am to point out that the matter is one of great urgency in view of the approaching demobilisation of the Forces….

The Board feel sure that Councils will be vigilant guardians of the public funds which they will administer and that they will exercise all possible care and economy with regard to the price to be paid for the land, the expenditure on equipment, and the cost of administration.

I am, Sir, &c

A D Hall
Secretary.

The men attached to Agricultural Companies working in Berkshire (approximately 1,500) have been circularised with a letter and application form (issued by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries) with a view to ascertaining, in accordance with the Board’s request, the number who desire to settle on the land on demobilisation.

The total number of application forms returned to this Committee from men who definitely state they desire to settle in Berkshire is 84, besides three others, of whom one gives Oxfordshire, one Surrey and one Hampshire as alternatives to Berkshire.

Of these 87 men, 26 state that it is their intention to maintain themselves wholly by farming a small holding.

Replies to the question as to capital available have seldom been filled in and only 16 have stated that they have sufficient or partly sufficient capital for the amount of land required, while no definite amounts have been stated with the exception of three cases.

Another circular is being sent out with a view to ascertaining more definite information both as regards the extent of land required and the amount of capital available.

Berkshire County Council minutes, 18 January 1919 (C/CL/C1/1/22)

Due to the general prevalence of illness throughout the county, people in many districts have been averse to congregating together

Applications for roadside war memorials were starting to come before Berkshire County Council.

Report of the Highways and Bridges Committee, 11 January 1919

WAR MEMORIALS

An application has been received from the Bath Road Club for sanction to erect a war memorial, in the form of a signpost, near Aldermaston lane on the Bath road.

The Committee do not recommend that consent be given.

A similar application from Cookham for permission to erect a memorial in the form of an Iona Cross is under consideration.


Report of Agricultural Instruction Committee to Education Committee, 11 January 1919

…The Committee present the following report of the Agricultural Organiser, received from the Principal and Acting Dean of University College, Reading, viz…

It should be pointed out that [during the quarter ending 31 December 1918] the work has been disorganized by the general prevalence of illness throughout the county. People in many districts have been averse to congregating together, with the result that in some places it was impossible to get audiences, whilst in others it was found necessary to postpone, or cancel, lectures which had been arranged. Moreover most, if not all members engaged on county work, have suffered illness during the quarter.

G S Bedford
Agricultural Organiser…

TRAINING OF DISCHARGED OFFICERS

The Committee have been asked to carry out a scheme for the training in agriculture of discharged officers; and a special Sub-committee has been appointed, consisting of representatives of this Committee, the Agricultural Executive Committee and the War Pensions Committee (in consultation with the Local Director of the Ministry of Labour). Under the scheme selected officers will receive an allowance of £125 per annum for 2 years, and additional allowances will be made to married officers, with children, up to £90. The administration of the scheme, and the amount of award, have been entrusted to this committee….

TRAINING OF MILKERS

Out of 29 applications, fifteen certificates have been awarded to women who (without State assistance) had been milking since the commencement of the war, and previous to 1918. Letters of appreciation have been sent to the applicants whose work was satisfactory, but whose length of service did not entitle them to certificates….

BCC minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

Obtaining land for settlement of ex-service men

It was hoped that many ex-servicemen could settle down to farming in a small way.

LAND SETTLEMENT

An important letter from the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries dated 18 December, 1918, inviting the immediate attention of the Small Holdings and Allotments Committee to the question of obtaining land for settlement of ex-service men, has been received.

The following points were suggested by the Board as matters for the Committee’s action:

1. In selecting land for settlement the co-operation and assistance of the Agricultural Executive Committee should be invited.

2. Landowners should be invited to inform the Council of any farms which will shortly become vacant so that, as far as possible, disturbance of tenants who are farming well should be avoided.

3. Councils should not wait until offers of land are received. They should themselves select land in those districts which are most suitable for the establishment of successful small holdings.

4. The Small Holdings Committee should be adequately staffed and it is necessary that the Staff should be reconstituted at once.

5. The assistance of men who are specially interested in the question of land settlement should be secured on the Committee.

6. It is desirable that every Small Holdings Committee should include at least one representative of labour.

A letter will be addressed to all landowners in the county to ascertain whether they can offer suitable land for the purpose.

Berkshire County Council Small Holdings and Allotments Committee minutes, 18 January 1919 (C/CL/C1/1/22)

The special claims of officers and men, disabled by war service, to employment in the Local Public Services

The Government wanted ex-servicemen to get first choice of jobs where possible.

EMPLOYENT OF DISABLED SOLDIERS

The Local Government Board have forwarded a communication from the Ministry of Pensions, in which the special claims of officers and men, disabled by war service, to employment in the Local Public Services when suitable vacancies arise, are urged. The Ministry suggest that preference should be accorded to disabled men (subject to reinstatement of former employees) when vacancies occur on the clerical, technical, or manual staffs of Local Authorities, and also call attention to the claims of young men between 18 and 21 returning from military service in connection with the recruitment of juniors for the administrative and clerical staffs.

WAR CHARITIES

The Sub-committee appointed for the purpose have dealt with the following applications for certificates of registration and exemption under the War Charities Act, 1916:

No of certificate Name of charity Applicants
58 Hungerford and District Red Cross Agricultural Relief of Allies Fund John C Adnams, Hungerford

Exemption to 8 June, 1918
7 Lance-Corporal Pounds, Prisoner of War Mrs K G Hanley, Forbury, Kintbury

Report of Berkshire County Council Finance Committee, 15 October 1918 (C/CL/1/21)

Teachers over 45 years will not be called up for the present

The County Council continued to try to prevent all its male teachers from being called up to fight.

MILITARY SERVICE

The Board of Education have notified that, by arrangement with the Ministry of National Service, Teachers over 45 years on 1 January, 1918, will not be called up for the present. The age of protection for teachers in Grade II has been raised to 36 years on 1 January, 1918. At the present time the following arrangements are in operation as regards the protection of teachers:

Teachers in Grade III over 25 years of age on 1 January, 1918
Teachers in Grade II over 36 years of age on 1 January, 1918
All teachers over 45 years of age on 1 January, 1918

Since the last meeting, two Headmasters have been called to the colours, one leaves on 8 October; the calling up of another has been postponed till 31 October. The Board of Education have also recommended postponement in the case of the Headmaster of a large Mixed School in East Berks.

Berkshire County Council: Report of School Management Sub-committee, 12 October 1918 (C/CL/C1/1/21)

Land for ex-service men

Berkshire County Council’s Smallholdings and Allotments Committee investigated whether ex-soldiers might take up farming in the area.

12 October 1918

Provision of land for ex-service men
A circular letter, dated the 16 September 1918, has been received from the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, calling attention to the provisions of the Small Holdings Colonies (Amendment) Act, 1918, the object of which is to provide land for ex-service men. The Board suggest – among other things – that a preliminary inquiry be made amongst the soldiers working on farms in the county as to whether they are desirous of adopting agriculture in the County of Berks or elsewhere as a means of livelihood after the war.

This suggestion has been adopted in order that the Committee may ascertain the demand for land in the County.

Report of BCC Smallholdings and Allotments Committee, 12 October 1918 (C/CL1/21)

Releasing one or more surveyors for service in the Army

Local authorities planned to work together to release senior surveyors for military work.

Report of Highways and Bridges Committee, 6 July 1918

MILITARY SERVICE OF SUB-SURVEYORS

The Committee have had before them the question of pooling the services of all the Surveyors of the various road authorities in the county with a view to releasing one or more for service in the Army. A conference of the Road Authorities in the county has been held and all the representatives present signified the willingness of their respective authorities to co-operate.

Report of Berkshire County Council Highways and Bridges Committee (C/CL/C1/1/21)

“The increase is of course due entirely to the greatly enhanced cost of labour and materials since the war commenced”

The County Council was affected by several war-related matters.

Report of Finance and General Purposes Committee, 30 April 1918

PRISONERS OF WAR

An application has been received from the Committee of the Rifle Brigade Prisoners of War Help Fund, asking if the Council would consent to regularly contribute to the Fund for the benefit of the men belonging to the County who are prisoners of war.

The Finance Committee make no recommendation.

Report of Highways and Bridges Committee to Finance and General Purposes Committee, 30 April 1918

TYLE MILL BRIDGE

At the request of the Road Board, the Committee have undertaken the work of strengthening Tyle Mill Bridge sufficiently to take the loads of timber from the Canadian Forestry Corps Camp at Ufton to Tyle Mill Siding. Skilled labour is being supplied by Messrs J K Cooper & Sons of Maidenhead, who are carrying out the work with the approval of the Road Board, payment to be made on a percentage basis. The Canadian Forestry Corps is providing the reminder of the labour and other facilities. The cost of the work will be refunded to the Council by the Road Board.

Report of Public Health and Housing Committee to F&GP, 30 April 1918

ABINGDON HOSPITAL

The Committee have had under consideration as scheme for the provision of additional accommodation at the Tuberculosis Hospital, Abingdon, which is urgently required, mainly for the treatment of discharged soldiers and sailors belonging to Berkshire….

It is pointed out that the cost of the scheme would be considerably in excess of the £150 per head which the Local Government Board fixed in pre-war times as the maximum to which their grant would then apply, but the increase is of course due entirely to the greatly enhanced cost of labour and materials since the war commenced.

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/21)

Consolidation of the floating debt will become urgently necessary when peace has been concluded

Local government finances were set to be strained for years to come, thanks to the war.

CONVERSION OF PASTURE

The Committee have received notification from the Berks War Agricultural Executive Committee that certain of the Council’s pasture lands in the parishes of Stanford-in-the-Vale, Charney and Cholsey, scheduled for conversion, have now been transferred to category 4; the field at East Hanney has been placed in category 3.

LOANS

A letter has been received from the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, on the subject of loans, stating that the board has been informed by the Treasury that the provision of capital from Government funds is likely to be impracticable both during the war and for some time after the conclusion of peace, and that any new issue of Local Loans Stock while war-borrowing is still going on or during the period of consolidation of the floating debt, which will become urgently necessary when peace has been concluded, must be regarded as out of the question.


Report of Smallholdings and Allotments Committee to Berkshire County Council, 27 April 1918 (C/CL/C1/1/21)

Damage caused by the continual trial trips of the instructional lorries of the Royal Flying Corps

The air war was causing problems on roads back home in Berkshire.

MILITARY REQUISITIONS

Road over Swinford Bridge

A military requisition has been issued for the repairs to the road over Swinford Bridge carrying the brick traffic from Chawley Works to the Oxfordshire Aerodromes. The road belongs to Lord Abingdon and is in a bad state of repair. As Lord Abingdon is unable, owing to lack of labour and materials, to do the work, the Committee have – at the request of the Road Board – undertaken the repairs, and an estimate of the cost has been forwarded to the Finance Committee.

MILITARY TRAFFIC: Damage to roads
Extraordinary military traffic, Ascot and Windsor Road

Damage has been caused by extraordinary military traffic between Lovel Road and “The Squirrel” by the continual trial trips of the instructional lorries of the Royal Flying Corps stationed at Ascot, and damage was also done in Hatchet Lane. The lorries have since left…. Owing to this damage the amount of last year’s estimate for the repairs to the whole of this road has been increased by £1,640.

Berkshire County Council Highways and Bridges Committee report, 20 April 1918 (C/CL/C1/1/21)