Saving coal & light

Even a year after the war things were still in short supply.

4th November 1919
Began school at 1-30 today – for purpose of saving coal & light.

Log book of Abingdon Conduit Rd Infants School (C/EL4/2, p. 195)

Pray daily for an honourable settlement

Peace had brought industrial unrest, as lower paid sections of the population protested against high prices and the threat of reduced wages.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners, …

I write this letter while the country is under the shadow of a great strike. I feel that honest men will differ as to the rights and wrongs of this struggle, and we must respect honest differences of opinion. But the strike is of a magnitude that forces men to take up one side or the other.

Personally, I feel that with three months in which to bargain with the Government before any reduction of pay could in any case take place, a strike now is unjustifiable.

And so, while I expect there are many minor grievances against the Government now that the strike has been started, many of us after careful reflection feel that we must support the Government, not only in keeping order, but in carrying out the transport of food and necessaries. For nothing but very serious grievances justify a powerful section of the people – I think there are sometimes grievances so great as to do this – in holding up so far as they can the ordinary life of the whole community.

But whatever view each one of us takes, I hope we shall all remain friends as befits fellow countrymen and fellow Christians, and avoid all needless bitterness of word or deed.

Finally, as Vicar, I would ask every parishioner to pray daily for an honourable settlement, so that in peace at home we may produce food, coal, clothing, houses and manufactured articles, and not merely print more paper money, that will neither warm nor feed us…

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

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, October 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

Still without coal

Fuel was still in short supply.

30th April 1919

The school is still without coal so there was no meeting. Only 30 boys put in an appearance. Temperature of the room 44 degrees.

Hurst C of E Boys School log book (D/P73/28/23, p. 43)

Strike menace stopped

Unrest eased at home, while the situation in defeated Hungary continued to worry the allies.

28 March 1919

Strike menace stopped. Railway & miners accept terms, also transport. Coal scarce in London.

Allied troops to go to Hungary.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

Too cold to expect children to sit in School and work

March 25th/26th 1919

No School – Fuel supply has given out and it is too cold to expect children to sit in School and work.

Ascot Heath Boys’ School log book (C/EL110/4, p. 102)

No coal – no fires

Fuel shortages continued to make life hard. 40 degree Fahrenheit is between 4 and 5 degrees Celsius, so it was rather cold to manage without any heating.

March 13th 1919

No coal – no fires. Temperature 40.

Ascot Heath Boys’ School log book (C/EL110/4, p. 102)

“Those who have fought for the victory we have obtained have reason to expect better civil life”

A Reading book club discussed social changes to be expected.

7 March 1919

The 298th meeting of the club was held at Soundy’s on Friday 7th March 1919…

The host had followed the old practice of the club (unfortunately too frequently not observed of late) & had prepared a paper. His subject was “Some Labour Problems”, & he commenced by referring to the two International Conferences now taking place in Paris, viz the Peace Conference & the International Labour Conference. The former has spent considerable time in discussing the formation of a League of Nations with a view to securing the Peace of the world so far as warfare is concerned, but Soundy pointed out that there is another Peace that is possibly even more to be desired & one that will have more important influence on the future of the nations, viz Peace in the Labour world, & this is being discussed at the International Labour Conference.

After referring to the cost of the war & to the question of the nations recovering from its effect, both financial & industrial, he stated that this can be done solely by securing peace and cooperation between the parties representing capital & labour. Relations between employers & employed must be improved. Germany has found out that might is not right & the same principle must be brought to the front in the labour market.

To re-establish our own financial position exports must be increased, & to achieve this, the rate of production must be increased. So long as this is done & is kept up the rate of increase in wages does not matter. He referred to the conditions of labour to apply in the future, which are being discussed at the Conference, & also to the evidence given by the Coal Commission in this country. Where the highest wages have been paid the cost of production has been lowest & vice versa. No man will do his best, when he feels he is underpaid, but workpeople must realise that to get better conditions they must become better workmen, & Trade Unions must make their members realise this.

Those who have fought for the victory we have obtained have reason to expect better civil life & to achieve this there must be a better understanding between employers & workpeople, & an effective peace between capital & labour.

An interesting discussion followed & it was unanimously felt that the thanks of the Club were due to the host for his most interesting paper & for having once again kept up the old traditions of the Club.

Dodeka Book Club minutes (D/EX2160/1/3)

Curtailing consumption to an extent which might seriously prejudice the health of the poor

Poor law officials were concerned about the potential impact of flu in the workhouse.

25th February, 1919

Your Committee received and considered a circular from the Local Government Board urging the utmost economy in the use of coal in Institutions in view of the fact that consumption should not exceed 1 ¾ tons per head per annum or a total of 170 tons on an average number of inmates of 95. The actual consumption is about 2 tons ¾ cwt per head, and the allotment from the Fuel Overseer was placed at 245 tons. Your Committee are averse to curtailing the consumption to an extent which might seriously prejudice the health of the inmates, and will forward to the Local Government Board the report asked for in the circular with their remarks thereon. They have also asked the Master to weigh out the coal used for a period of a week to check the consumption.
Report of Special Committee re Relieving Officer’s Duties, Salaries, &c.

Your Committee … have enquired into the salaries and emoluments received by the two Relieving Officers both before the War and during the period of the War until Mr Widdows was called up for service. The latter has been acquainted with the decision of the Board of Guardians with regard to his reinstatement and his duties. The Committee recommend an annual inclusive salary for such duties, viz:

As Relieving Officer, Collector, Infant Life Inspector, Vaccination Officer £148 er annum.
War Bonus at 23/- per week as prescribed by the Local Government Board’s Schedule £59.16.0
Total £207.16s.

This is the total salary from all sources, except Registration, received for 1914, plus the War Bonus.

Mr Widdows is prepared to accept the sum…

With regard to Mr Bunce, your Committee recommend that he be paid the same salary as he was receiving in 1914 and when Mr Widdows was called up for service, with the addition of the War Bonus…

Your Committee have also enquired into the engagement of Miss Cooke as Assistant Relieving Officer. Under the altered circumstances, they suggest that her retention in this office will not be necessary, and recommend that the engagement be terminated by the payment of a month’s salary in lieu of notice…

It was Resolved that Miss Cooke, the Assistant Relieving Officer, be granted a testimonial in respect of her services.

Influenza Pneumonia

The Board considered what steps to take in the event of an outbreak of Influenza in the House.

It was Resolved That the question of the arrangements to be made be left in the hands of Mr Bate, The Medical Officer and The Master, and that they be authorised to incur expenditure in the provision of a gargling solution.

The Master was directed to arrange for the segregation of any cases occurring in the House.


House Committee Report, Bradfield Board of Guardians (G/B1/38)

“We can’t get coal enough to keep the flame of life within our veins”

Fuel was still in short supply, as the universities got a sudden influx of new students, many of them men who had served in the armed forces.

29 Barton Road
25 January ‘19

My dearest old CMY

We can’t get coal enough to keep the flame of life within our veins – though we are eking our fuel out with blocks of wood – 30/- for 300! – and even with the fire in my little study (you remember it?) I go about with Florrie’s Shetland shawl – I gave it her when she was Miss Spencer – wrapped round my senile shoulders. And we cannot afford fire in the study more than twice a week. Half of our whole coal ration has already been used.

The streets are filled with Caps and Gowns – all new. The wearers of course are all freshmen. When last, say, 3 years back, Cambridge saw u.g.s, not a soul wore academical dress, except to lecture. Now they are vain of it. How they will manage at Trinity I wonder. The Cadets have left the New Court Rooms in a dirty confusion, and the upholsterers cannot supply furniture of beds, chairs, tables, etc. Many mammas seem to be importing furniture from home to their hopefuls. Lawrence, Junior Bursar, is driven out of his senses. Then in Master’s Courts are 400 Naval Lieutenants and Sub-lieutenants. The gold lace of their uniforms quite cuts out the military khaki. So I hear ladies say. It glitters over the streets all day. Naval men refuse Oxford, which doubtless knows neither Math nor Science.

But did you notice the slight cast here by the Army? I boil!

Our dear love, Florence’s and mine, to you both.

Ever affec
Bild

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

Delightful excursions for the wounded

People gave according to their means – whether that was lending a luxury yacht or giving handcraft skills.

Colonel Sir Wyndham Murray’s Yacht “Cecilia”

The kindness shown by Sir Wyndham and Lady Murray towards our sick and wounded soldiers is perhaps not so well known as it ought to be. This is the fourth year in succession in which he has devoted his beautiful little vessel during the whole summer to the service of Netley Red Cross Hospital. She is a steam yacht of 200 tons, on the roll of the Royal Yacht Squadron, of which Sir Wyndham is a member. And daily, weather permitting, she has taken parties of patients, medical officers, or sisters, for trips on the Solent, from Southampton Water to Ryde, Cowes, &c. except in the matter of coal, which the Admiralty have supplied, the whole upkeep of the yacht and crew is borne by the generous owner: and no one enjoys the outings more than he and Lady Murray when they find themselves able to be present in person for a few days on board. The Cecilia has carried about 1,000 passengers each summer, and the Hospital authorities have often expressed their appreciation of the benefits conferred upon all who have taken part in these delightful excursions.

The boys attending the handicraft centre at Mrs Bland’s School, under Mr Stavely Bulford’s tuition, have made no less than 2,500 splints and surgical appliances between February, 1916, and August, 1918, besides other work. The demand for wooden appliances is diminishing, owing to introduction of other material, but the young workmen need have no doubt that their labour has not been in vain. Mr Bulford is resigning his appointment as Instructor under the Education Committee, as he wishes to take up honorary work in connection with the War Hospital Supplies Depot. We shall all be sorry to lose him.

Blackberries

School collections sent in: C of E School, 5 cwt, 17 ½ lbs; Mrs Bland’s, 2 cwt, 3 qr 14 lbs.

Burghfield parish magazine, November 1918 (D/EX725/4)

Those who go short will only have themselves to thank

Fuel for household heating was in ever shorter supply.

Fuel

Everybody who can do so is strongly advised to lay in as much wood as possible against the winter. The supply of coal will probably run short. Many people have already fetched a good deal of “top and lop” from the tree-felling on the common. But there must still be some which it is permitted to take, although so much has been actually burnt on the spot. This has seemed to be shocking waste at this time, when we are told to economise fuel in every way. But we understand that the ground has to be cleared for re-planting; and the Government (who are responsible – not the landowners, who have nothing to do with it) having allowed a certain time for removal of the best stuff, gave orders for the destruction of the remainder. Those who go short will only have themselves to thank.

Burghfield parish magazine, November 1918 (D/EX725/4)

“We all long for peace, but it must be peace after victory, and the enemy must be thoroughly beaten first”

Even as more men were reported killed, some were determined that no easy quarter should be given to the enemy.

“Sir Albert Stanley, President of the Board of Trade, has sent a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Bourne, the Chief Rabbi, the Salvation Army, and the heads of Churches of all other Denominations in England and Scotland and Wales, calling attention to the serous scarcity of coal, and suggesting that Church Services should be held in daylight.”

The Times, October 17th.

If this should be enforced, we hope our congregation will loyally fall in with such an arrangement.

THE WAR

Our brave troops, along with those of our Allies, have been winning victory after victory for the last three months, and the enemy has made proposals for an armistice to the President of the United States. We all long for peace, but it must be peace after victory, and the enemy must be thoroughly beaten first. We can safely trust to our Rulers, and to our Admirals and Generals, with those of our Allies, to see that no premature peace is entered upon. Now they need all our prayers, that they may be guided to right decisions. We are deeply thankful for God’s recent mercies to us, and we pray that we may be worthy of them. What a glorious day it will be when the war really ends, and our men return home again!

Mrs Doggett has lost her husband, Sidney Newman Doggett, from illness in France, and we offer her our sincere sympathy in her trouble. Like so many others, he has nobly given his life for his country.

ROLL OF HONOUR

91 Albert Edward Marshall, 2nd Batt. Wilts Regt, died of wounds at Haesnes April 12th, 1918. RIP.
92 John William Charles Gough, 5th Batt. West Riding Regt, killed in action July 20th, 1918. RIP.
93 L-Corp. Frederick John Lake, 1st Dorset Regt, killed in action July 20th, 1918. RIP.
94 Pte Jesse A Buxey, 1st Royal Warwicks, killed in action in France August 30th, 1918. RIP.
95 Pte Sidney Newman Doggett, Roayl Warwickshire Regt, died in France September 28th, 1918. RIP.
96 Gunner Philip John Webb, RGA, died of wounds August 15th, 1918. RIP.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine, November 1918 (D/P89/28A/13)

There is no British heart that will not swell with gratitude

Maidenhead Congregational Church anticipated the end of the war.

THE WAR.

Since the last issue of our Magazine things have moved on with astonishing rapidity, and at the moment of writing it looks as though the end were fast approaching, and that it will prove a complete victory for the Allies. There is no British heart that will not swell with gratitude. Looking back across the past four years it has been a perilous and tragic time. And now there will be the almost equally important future of reconstruction to face. Did any body of men, since the world began, ever have entrusted to them a graver and grander task than that which is now, in the providence of God, being allotted to the Peace Conference?

The Archbishop of Canterbury has addressed a letter to the “Times,” in which he says,

“Upon all whom my words may reach I would urge the duty of being instant in prayer. Remember before God the statesmen on either side the sea, upon whom rests a burden of responsibility greater perhaps than ever before. The issues may speedily become critical beyond all words. On their firm handling of these issues may depend under God the future of the world. Pray, then, that they may be endued with a large vision of what is just and right, and may act worthily to the trust, we hold for the generations yet unborn.”

There is surely no fitter subject upon which Christians of every name should concentrate just now in prayer.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We regret to say that the wife of T. W. Mulford has applied for leave to return from Egypt to make arrangements about his children, and is probably on the way home at the present time. Ernest Bristow has had another slight operation to his leg, and is again at Cliveden Hospital. Hugh Lewis is at home on leave, in excellent health. Herbert Brand has been wounded, and is in hospital in England.

THE CHURCHES AND COAL ECONOMY.

The Fuel Controller does not seem to have taken counsel with wisdom in asking Churches to abandon evening services to save coal and light. He did not pause to reflect that if a building is heated for morning and afternoon services, it does not require any further fuel for the evening, and that considerably less light is consumed in Church than would be used by the people if they all remained in their own homes. In the interests of national economy, perhaps it would be well to issue an order that everyone should attend public worship every Sunday evening during the winter!


Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, November 1918 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Coal is the source of power wanted to end the war

THE COAL CRISIS

In view of the serious coal shortage, Sir Guy Calthrop, the Coal Controller, makes the following urgent appeal:

“The country is faced with a serious shortage, and I appeal to clergymen of all denominations to do their utmost to bring the facts to the notice of their parishioners and congregations, with the view to enlisting the services of every man, woman and child in this country in one united effort to save coal.

Coal is the key industry of Great Britain and the Allies, and the outlook today is very much more serious than is generally realised. The causes of the shortage are:

1. The call to the Colours of 75,000 miners to meet the peril of the German offensive in March; and
2. The almost complete stoppage of the mines in Northern France as a result of the German advance in the West.

Coal is the source of power; it makes gas, electricity and steam. It drives the ships and it drives the trains.

The coal of England must be shared with our Allies – France, Italy and America. It helps to carry the American Army to France. It helps them to move their army while in France, and it keeps their soldiers warm.

It is sold to neutrals to buy shipping to bring American troops over and is exchanged for food which would otherwise go to Germany.

Coal is the source of power wanted to end the war. Coal burned in a house in excess of absolute need is power wasted. It is, therefore, the duty of every one to save coal, because to save coal is to save lives.”


Remenham parish magazine, October 1918 (D/P99/28A/4)

“We are particularly wishful to carry on the good work being done for our soldiers and sailors”

Fuel shortages were hitting home.

MINISTER’S JOTTINGS

We are likely to have considerable difficulty this winter with regard to our heating and lighting. We are not yet informed as to what our ration of coal, gas and electricity will be, but we are most anxious to prevent, by the strictest economy, any curtailment of our work, and we are particularly wishful to carry on the good work being done for our soldiers and sailors if it can possibly be managed. When we know what our allowance for heating and lighting is to be, we shall have to go more thoroughly into the matter. In the meantime will those responsible for the various meetings please see that no more gas or electricity is used than is absolutely necessary.

We are hoping to resume the Khaki Socials after worship on Sunday evenings at an early date. It is not easy to ensure a sufficient number of artistes to carry on this much appreciated work, but we trust it may be successfully accomplished once more this winter. We are indebted to Mrs Dracup and Miss Green for the splendid service they have rendered in this connection in past years.

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