A bathing grievance on the part of the Women Munition Workers

Public baths offered both a swimming pool and washing facilities – particularly useful for workers living in rented rooms with no bathrooms. In a more modest era, single sex facilities were normal.

Thursday, June 14th, 1917

Analysis of Flour

The Acting Inspector was requested to take action under the Order of the Food Controller and to obtain samples of the flour used by the bakers in the manufacture of Bread.

Baths – Hours for Women

The Mayor stated that there existed a grievance on the part of the Women Munition Workers in consequence of their inability to use the Public Baths on account of the hours on which the Baths were open to women. The present hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday 11 am to 6 pm, Saturday 11 am to 1 pm.

The Committee decided that the Baths should be open to women in addition to the above, on Tuesdays and on Sundays from 9.30 am until 12.30 pm. The baths would therefore cease to be open to men on the two evenings of the week mentioned, and children would not be admitted on Sundays between 9.30 am and 12.30 pm.

Newbury Borough General, Sanitary, Baths and Cemetery Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/8)

“If we waste bread, we are helping the Germans to win the war”

Newbury people were urged not to waste food, particularly bread.

The King has issued a Proclamation on food saving, which is being read, by Royal Command, in Church, but it would perhaps be also as well to put the case in plain language:

1. The stock of bread in the country is not sufficient.

2. The German submarines may make it still more in-sufficient.

3. Therefore we must save all the bread we can.

4. We must not catch horses with bread.

5. We must not give crusts to birds or pigs.

6. We must not throw bread into the street, canal, or dust-bin.

7. We must not cut the crusts off toast.

8. We must eat as little bread as is consistent with health.

9. If we do otherwise, we are helping the Germans to win the war.

The Soldiers’ Club is moving on June 2nd, to “the King’s Arms” in the Market Place. This Hostel must now resign itself to the provision of temperance drinks only. The ladies in charge will be glad of any help in money or kind.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, June 1917 (D/P89/28A/13)

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…)

Impress upon the children the urgent need for the prevention of waste in food

Schools in Newbury were struggling thanks to the war.

Thursday, May 24th, 1917

Resignation of Teachers

Mr G H Keen, an assistant master at the Council Boys’ School, had been called up for military service on May 18th, and it is recommended that his appointment be kept open for him.

The secretary was instructed to press for the release from military service of one of the Authority’s teachers who since his enlistment had been medically classified as low as C3, and in the event of this teacher being discharged from the Army to appoint him temporarily to the Council Boys’ School.

It may be mentioned that there were eight Assistant Masters in the service of the Local Education Authority before the war; but now there are only two in the whole of the Borough Schools, and one of these is filling the position temporarily….

Food Economy

A letter was received from the Board of Education calling attention to the urgent need for economy in food and especially for saving in bread, and stating that information had reached the Food Controller that there was waste among the children who brought their midday meal to school. The Sub-committee were informed that the matter had been brought to the notice of the Authority’s Head Teachers, and that they had been asked to impress upon the children the urgent need for the prevention of waste in food.

The Sub-committee were also informed that “Empire Day”, Thursday May 24th, was made the occasion in the Borough Schools for giving the children a special lesson on the subject of Food Economy, and also that copies of the recent Proclamation of the King were distributed in the schools.

The Sub-committee considered the question of providing a Public Kitchen for the use of children who bring their midday meal to school, and the secretary was instructed to ascertain the number of these children in the Borough Schools, and to submit a report on the matter to the next meeting….

Finance, School Management and General Purposes Sub-committee of the Newbury Borough Education Committee (N/AC1/2/8)

Stop the lavish display of eatables in many provision and food shops

Some people were keen to ensure the authorities cracked down on food waste.

Friday, May 18th, 1917

Food Economy

A communication from Mr G S Shaw, Hon. Secretary of the Food Economy Bureau, Newbury, was read, drawing attention to (1) the lavish display of eatables in many provision and food shops; (2) the waste of bread; and (3) the waste of other food material suitable for pigs; and suggesting the establishment of co-operative kitchens under the control of the Corporation.

The Committee fully appreciate the seriousness of the matters to which their attention has been called, particularly with regard to the reported waste of bread, and the Town Clerk was requested to issue public warning of the heavy penalties to which persons are liable who in any way infringe the Regulations under the Defence of the Realm Act with regard to such waste.

Newbury Borough Council: Finance, Watch and General Purposes Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/8)

Children warned not to waste bread

The head teacher of Warfield Church of England School was keen to pass on messages about saving food and money.

15th May 1917
I attended a war savings and food economy executive meeting last evening and warned the scholars once more this morning on waste of bread.

Warfield CE School log book (C/EL26/3, p. 372)

We are reaching a difficult point in our National struggle

The vicar of Maidenhead St Luke remained reluctant to encourage work on Sundays.

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

We are reaching a difficult point in our National struggle. The test of endurance is being rigorously enforced upon us. We are called upon to cultivate all available land, to put aside what money we can lend through War Savings Associations and in other ways to the State and to be very economical in our use of food, especially of bread, and finally to do it all cheerfully for the sake of our country

Now, all these things can only be done well by God’s help. Anyone can begin well, but to persevere we want grace from God to strengthen our weakness. Now to get that, we want some leisure to think of God.

So I would urge that while necessary Sunday labour, e.g. on the land at present, must be done, do not let us do any work on Sunday that by forethought we could do in the week, for in the long run men and women can only do a definite amount of work, and if they work needlessly on Sunday it usually means slackness during several days of the week, and body and soul alike demand attention…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY

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

The great advance in prices

A church run refreshment stand had to increase its prices.

COFFEE STALL.

Owing to the great advance in prices it has been found necessary to raise some of the charges at the Coffee Stall. Bread and butter is now 1d. a slice or two slices for 1½d. Halfpenny cups of tea will be sold only up to 9 a.m., after that hour only penny cups will be on sale. Other prices are unchanged.

Reading St. John parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P172/28A/24)

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)

Bread is better than tins

Medical orderly and artist Stanley Spencer wrote to his sister Florence asking for home made bread.

March 25th, 1917.

Dear Florence,

I have been down to Salonique in hospital again, though only for a trivial thing. I had bronchitis, but it was more really nasal catarrh. I am out again now, and after a day at the base was drafted into the 143rd field amb. so you will address me accordingly.

That is three ambs. I have been in.

The flowers are out, the primrose, violet, celandine and many other flowers unknown to me. I passed by such wonderful ones to-day.

It is getting dark and I have no candles and want my letter to go to-night, so goodnight, Flongy dear. With much love to you both,

Your loving brother

STANLEY

If you send me anything, send me some currant biscuits or bread and butter. We get bread and we get butter sometimes, but you know what a boy I am for bread and butter, and it is better to send that than these eternal tinned stuffs. Send me some of your own home made bread, Flongy dear, and I will love you forever.

Letter from Stanley Spencer to Florence Image (D/EX801/20)

It is more important to reduce the consumption of bread and flour than to reduce the consumption of meat

The Lunatic Asylum received official instructions explaining how to adapt food supplies under the current restrictons.

THE BOARD OF CONTROL,
66, Victoria Street, S.W.

2nd March, 1917

Sir,

I am directed by the Board of Control to advert to their circular letter of the 13th February asking to be informed how far the amount of bread, meat and sugar issued for the patients and staff in your Institution conform to the limitations imposed by the Food Controller, and to thank you for your reply thereto.

The Board have now learnt that the Food Controller considers the following articles of diet may properly be utilised as partial substitutions for the above-mentioned foods:-

A.
For Bread per 1lb. or Flour per ¾lb.

¾lb. Barley, or

¾lb. Oatmeal, or

¾lb. Rice, or

¾lb. Sago, or

¾lb. Tapioca, or

¾lb. Maize Meal (Cornflour, Hominy, &c.), or

5ozs. Butter, Margarine or Fat.

B. For Meat per 1lb. (uncooked without bone)

5ozs. Cheese, or

8ozs. Beans, (dry) or

8ozs. Lentils, (dry) or

8ozs. Peas, (dry)

The various ways in which Beans, Lentils and Peas may be cooked so as to render them savoury and appetising are no doubt known to you.

C. For Sugar per ¾lb.

1lb. Treacle or Syrup, or

1lb Honey

The Board understand that the amounts of Meat, Bread, Flour and Sugar indicated in the limitations prescribed by the Food Controller, must be taken as the broad average applying to households containing an average distribution of adults and children of both sexes and various ages. He recognises that in institutions not satisfying this condition the actual scale would, in some details, require modification and adjustment to circumstances.

At present, it is more important to reduce the consumption of Bread and Flour than to reduce the consumption of Meat. Bread should not be substituted for Meat. The Board suggest that, in institutions where the amount of Bread per head considerably exceeds the limitations prescribed by the Food Controller, a reduction might be effected by substituting a small ration of cold fat bacon for some of the breakfast bread.

It should be borne in mind that while substitutes for bread may be utilised to a certain extent, the object of the Food Controller’s scale is to effect a net reduction in the consumption of food.

I am, Sir, Your Obedient Servant,

O.C. Dickinson, Secretary

To the Medical Superintendents, of all institutions for Lunatics and to the Superintendents of all Certified Institutions or Houses for Mental Defectives and Approved Homes.

Letter to Berkshire Lunatic Asylum (D/H10/A6/6/1/4)

What can we substitute for bread?

The Superintendent of the county Lunatic Asylum at Cholsey was unable to restrict bread consumption by patients as much as the Food Controller demanded.

(Letter)

The Berkshire Asylum, Wallingford [sic].
February 19th 1917.

Sir,

Your circular letter of the 13th instant was read to the Committee of Visitors at their meeting on Friday last. I was instructed to reply that in the matter of the patient’s dietary only the bread allowance exceeded that set down by the Food Controller, and considering the great demand for additional supply of bread made by the patients in certain wards during the past few weeks, the Committee did not think it would be desirable to further restrict the supply of bread in the meantime.

As to the staff the matter will be further considered at the next meeting when I hope a reduction will be arranged. The difficulty, however, presents itself as to what substitutes can be given without further hampering the sea transport.

It was suggested that a lead might be given by your board to Asylums generally which would support any action taken by Committees in respect of a reduction, as they understand will be done by the L.G.B. regarding institutions under their control.

I am, Your obedient Servant.

D/H10/A6/6/1/3

On food rations

Cookham-born expat Will Spencer found that food shortages at home were mirrored by those in Switzerland. His mother Anna, meanwhile, expressed her sympathies to the German family of missing soldier Max Ohler.

17 February 1917

Read in the paper that the hotels, etc, are to give no meat on two days of the week, & never more than one meat course at a meal. Further, land is to be put under cultivation to the extent required to meet the needs of the situation now in prospect….

A letter from Mother…. Mother tells me they are “on food rations” now, but the amount allowed is exactly what “they have of meat & bread, but not so much sugar”. Mr Sandalls, aged 85, saws wood, & says “if anybody wants a boy to saw wood & bring coal, he can do it”. Mother is very sorry for Max Ohler’s parents.

After tea, together to the Hauptpost, from whence I sent money home.

Diary of Will Spencer in Switzerland, 1917 (D/EX801/27)

The lunatic asylum must comply with food restrictions

Berkshire Lunatic Asylum received an official enquiry as to compliance with the new food rationing.

THE BOARD OF CONTROL,
66, Victoria Street, S.W.

13th February, 1917

PRESSING

Sir,

The Board of Control have been desired by the Secretary of State to ascertain how far the Dietaries in force in the various institutions for the insane in England and Wales conform to the limitations imposed by the Food Controller, which are:-

Bread not to exceed, per head, 4lbs a week.

Meat not to exceed, per head, 2½lbs a week.

Sugar not to exceed, per head, ¾lbs a week.

Accordingly, I am to request that you will be good enough to inform the Board, without delay, what steps have been taken by the Visiting Committee and yourself in this connection, and whether you are in a position to assure the Board that the amounts of the three articles of food mentioned above, issued to Officers, Attendants and other member of the Staff, and to the patients in your Institution, do not exceed the limitations, except so far as partial substitution of one for another is allowed, and the special diets of the sick and acute cases render necessary.

I am, Sir, Your Obedient Servant,

O.C. Dickinson, Secretary

[To] The Medical Superintendent, Berks Asylum

Letter to Berkshire Lunatic Asylum (D/H10/A6/6/1/2)

Cats bless food restrictions

John Maxwell Image wrote to his old friend W F Smith with news of how food rationing was affecting his household, including the pets cats, formerly fed on scraps and leftovers, but now treated to tasty offal not fit for human consumption. Lord Devonport was the Government Food Controller. More sadly, Rudolph Cecil Hutchinson, a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, had been exceptionally severely wounded at the Battle of Loos back in 1915. After over a year’s suffering, he finally died in Cambridge in February 1917. He seems to have been generally known as Cecil. A memoir of him was published privately in 1918 and can be downloaded free.

29 Barton Road
13 Feb. ‘17

Praeclarissime EMY


The Signora … is away at a Newnham College concert, with a fair Marylander, youthful spouse of a Trinity MA, who on his part has been spirited off to scientific War Work at L’pool…

Well, as for Devonport, she accepted him enthusiastically. The hosue is put on rations of bread, meat and sugar – and so cannily that I can’t discover any difference. Helen and Ann, two excellent sisters, are devoted to their mistress’s will. Joe and Binnie bless Devonport all day, for, obviously, the house-meat cannot any longer be cast to the cats: so special supplied – I trust not 5 lb weekly – of lights and such like dainties come in for their use and behoof. Their little barrels bulge – and the 2 tails are rolling pins for size.

We have for many months baked our own bread – the best standard bread I ever ate! 12 lbs of flour produces a long loaf each day, which is bisected each morning, one half for the parlour and one for the kitchen. Helen, who is the surgeon, rigorously adheres to the Devonport law, and always I see some over on our table at night. The only difficulty is there being so very, very little flour for puddings. I don’t mind, and the petticoats don’t grouse….

We had a military funeral in Trinity this morning. A BA Lieut. There must have been over 100 troops – the coffin on a gun carriage, draped with the Union Jack. The first part of the service in Chapel at 11.45. And then the procession – band playing (very poorly) the Dead March went down Trin. St and Trin. Lane, through the Paddocks. Rudolph Cecil Hopkinson, Lieut. RE – died of wounds on Feb. 9th.

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