Simplicity, with enjoyment for all

Peace celebrations at Remenham were a glorified sports day.

REMENHAM PEACE CELEBRATIONS

Simplicity, with enjoyment for all, was the keynote of the Remenham Peace Celebration which took place, by the kind permission of Captain Eric Noble, at Park Place on Saturday afternoon, August 2. The funds had been provided by subscriptions given by a few ladies and gentlemen and the arrangements were carried out by Captain and Mrs Eric Noble, Captain and Mrs Eveleigh, and Mr Ansell, with Mr W Baker as hon. sec. The Band of the Henley Branch of the Comrades of the Great War was engaged for the occasion and discoursed a pleasing programme of music during the afternoon under the conductorship of Mr S Sheppard. A capital programme of sports had been arranged with Captain Eveleigh as handicapper and starter and Captain Eric Noble, Mr Ansell and Mr Baker as judges. Some valuable prizes were offered and the results were as follows:

50 yards handicap, boys 10 years old and under – 1st, G Gibbons; 2nd W Dixon; 3rd, A Moring.
50 yards handicap, girls 10 years old and under – 1st, Iris Humphrey; 2nd, Irene Ward; 3rd, Madge Langford.
100 yards handicap, boys over 10 years old – 1st, George Andrews; 2nd, Ronald Eustace; 3rd, Tony Christopher.
100 yards handicap, girls over 10 years old – 1st, Edith Rowe; 2nd, Phyllis Bonner; 3rd, Stella Dixon.
100 yards needle and thread race, boys and girls over 10 years – 1st, Elsie Fasenidge and George Smith; 2nd, Stella Dixon and Richard Gibbons; 3rd, Kathleen Ward and Ronald Eustace.
50 yards boot and shoe race, boys over 10 years – 1st, Ronald Eustace; 2nd, Richard Gibbons; 3rd, fred Smith.
Potato race, girls over 10 years – 1st, Olive Green; 2nd, Stella Dixon; 3rd, Ethel Stevens.
Sack race, boys – 1st, Albert Moring; 2nd, George Smith; 3rd, Richard Gibbons.
Egg and spoon race, girls – 1st, Annie Butler; 2nd, Stella Dixon; 3rd, Marjory King.
100 yards handicap, bandsmen’s race – 1st, A Why; 2nd, H Why; 3rd, R Cook.
120 yards handicap, men of the parish – 1st, Mr P Simmons, who gave up his prize to the second man W Eustace; Colonel Burnell took second honours and P Clarke, third.
50 yards egg and spoon race, women of the parish – 1st, Miss Froud; 2nd, Miss Marcham; 3rd, Miss King.

The prizes were kindly distributed by Mrs Eric Noble, who, on the proposition of Colonel Burnell, was accorded hearty cheers.

Tea was provided for the children and adults in the coach house, who greatly enjoyed the appetising meal. Amongst those present, in addition to Captain and Mrs Noble, were Mrs Heatley Noble, Mrs Goodrich, the Rector, Captain and Mrs Eveleigh, Colonel and Mrs Burnell, Captain A R Brakspear, Mr and Mrs Philip Simmons, Mr Stanton and many others. After tea, the school children who had been excellently trained by their head mistress (Miss Gale) rendered a special patriotic song, which gave much pleasure. Each child also received a Peace mug. Mr Baker proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the donors of the tea, and the subscribers, and to Captain and Mrs Noble and Captain and Mrs Eveleigh, for the trouble they had taken in making the arrangements. The proposition met with a most cordial response. Games of various descriptions and dancing were afterwards indulged in, and the happy occasion was brought to a conclusion by the singing of the National Anthem led by the band, cheers for Captain and Mr Noble, Mr and Mrs Heatley Noble, the Band, and all who had helped to promote the success of the occasion.

The Henley Standard.

Remenham parish magazine, September 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

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Such a happy day

Inmates at Wokingham Workhouse got to join in the peace celebrations.

29th July, 1919

The Chairman, on behalf of the House Committee, reported …

That the Master reported on the Peace celebrations held at the Institution on the 22nd instant, as follows:

The Peace Festivities were carried out in accordance with the programme arranged by the House Committee. On Saturday, July 19th, those who were able went out and participated in the Town Festivities and those who were unable to walk and cared to go were taken in motor cars.

On Tuesday, July 22nd, the date fixed for the Festivities at the Institution, the proceedings commenced with dinner, which was served at 1 pm, and in the regrettable absence of the Chairman through illness, the Vice-Chairman presided, the following Guardians also being present: Miss Sturges, Miss Gregorie, Capt. Coston, Messrs Bennett, Aldridge, Rasey and Allnatt, also the Chaplain, Mr Sargeant, and other ladies and gentlemen. After dinner the Town Band played on the lawn, a Roundabout, Races, etc, of all descriptions, and Dancing, were indulged in. A very fine exhibition of dancing was given by the Misses Lauman, Bisher, and Claude, the children from Bear Wood School gave a most excellent display of Plaiting the Maypole and Old English Dances, also singing some charming songs. Tea was served and afterwards the sports and dancing were resumed and continued until dark.

A most enjoyable day was spent, the inmates were most grateful to the Guardians for providing all the good things, and to the ladies and gentlemen who assisted in making such a happy day.

That the Committee had considered the question of a holiday for the Officials in connection with the Peace Celebrations and suggested that each Official should be given a day’s holiday and £1 for expenses.

On the motion of Mr Rasey, seconded by Mr Bennett, a vote of thanks was passed to the Master, Matron and Staff, for the able manner in which they had carried out the Peace Celebrations.

Wokingham Board of Guardians minutes (G/WO1/26)

A kaleidoscope, a transformation scene, a hurly-burly, yet an orderly hurly-burly

The people of Stratfield Mortimer celebrated.

Peace and Victory Day

Two ever-memorable days! On Sunday, July 6th, the special services of praise and joy and thanks and hope, well attended, reverent, hearty, charged with deep feeling. The evening congregation at S. John’s filled the church and the singing was noteworthy.

Then on Saturday, July 19th, the merrymaking. Our special correspondent tried in vain to be in two places at once. Yet even so he could wax eloquent on the proceedings both on the Sports’ Ground and in St. John’s Hall had not the Editor ruthlessly refused to allow adequate space. But no pen could do justice to the loyal, happy fellowship of the many workers, to the spirit of the crowd, to the joy of the children over their (unexpected) medals, to the feasting and the music, to the sports and the cricket and the dancing, to the fireworks and the great big blaze.

The Hall and all who worked there were taxed to their utmost capacity; dinner for near 100 of the demobilised; dinner for the workers; tea for 220 children; tea for 50 older folks; tea for the workers; tea for 25 scouts. A kaleidoscope, a transformation scene, a hurly-burly, yet an orderly hurly-burly. All that was wanted and nothing that was not wanted, and what more could anyone wish than that? Great credit and great thanks to the catering committee.

As for “God’s out-of-doors,” we had no procession and no cenotaph, yet probably not one old or young forgot those whom we could not see with us, yet who were with us none the less. Not one forgot to salute them. Therein lay the deeper message and meaning of all the day’s proceedings. This thought was with us even while we danced or raced, jumped or tugged or sang. All went merrily none the less. And this again is homage to the Sports Committee and to their indefatigable president, Colonel Nash.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, August 1919 (D/P120/28A/14)

Proud to be able to give pleasure to those to whom so much is owing

Earley girls entertained wounded soldiers.

Girls’ Club

About 30 members of the club, accompanied by Miss Bowden, went up to Struan House V.A.D Hospital on Saturday Jan 11th and gace a concert and entertainment – consisting of singing and country dancing – to the wounded soldiers there. Miss Bowden contributed some popular songs with choruses to the programme, which gave great pleasure. The performers were most enthusiastically received, and all enjoyed themselves very much and felt proud to be able to give pleasure to those to whom so much is owing.

Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P192/28A/15)

Europe seething with Bolshevism

Florence Vansittart Neale was terrified by the prospect of Europe-wide revolution.

3 January 1919

Europe seems seething with Bolshevism.

P[hyllis] slowly gaining ground. H & I picked up Seymour Barrow to see P. Found her fairly well. Not quite so good a night… Fancy dance at hospital. P. lent Russian dress to Sister Bonsall.

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

Garments are so very urgently needed for the wounded

Burghfield people continued to make clothes and hospital supplies for wounded soldiers.

Holiday House

The Committee regret that they are unable at present to arrange for any Evening Entertainments &c, due to the Lighting restrictions.

The Holiday House work party wish to thank all those who so kindly subscribed to the thousand penny fund, which was raised in answer to the appeal for funds from the Reading Depot. The amount subscribed more than reached our expectations, and we were able to send the sum of £7 10s 0d in all to the depot, £3 (i.e. 720 pennies) profits on a Whist Drive and Dance at Holiday House, and £4 10s 0d (i.e. 1,080 pennies) collected.

The Work Party would be glad to welcome more workers, as garments are so very urgently needed for the wounded, and also any help in providing wool for “operation” stockings.

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

Maypole dance for wounded animals

Maidenhead children helped raise funds for wounded army animals.

20th June 1918
Sixteen children were taken this evening to do a Maypole Dance for a fete in aid of the Blue Cross Society.

Log book of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1, p. 421)

Men from the Canadian Camp join local fundraising efforts

Canadian soldiers helped entertain the locals and raise money for the Red Cross.

Holiday House

A concert and entertainment were given on Friday evening February 8th, with the object of helping the funds of the Red Cross Working Party, at Holiday House. Various popular items were contributed by men from the Canadian Camp, as well as the local talent…

On the suggestion of Corporal Moore of the Canadians, the room was cleared on the conclusion of the entertainment for an impromptu dance for a short time to finish up the evening. Altogether a successful evening, and £3 handed over for the Red Cross.


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

“The Irish prisoners give us little peace and quiet”, dancing and singing

The Irish internees at Reading seem to have been partying all night, according to an aggrieved warder. (His request was denied, and he was forced to stay at Reading.)

HM Prison
Reading
3rd Jan. 1918

Gentlemen,

I beg to state that after the sick leave that has been granted to me since November last, I feel able and fit to return to duty again. I attribute my illness to the causes, viz to anxiety and over work created by the unexpected additional duties in connection with the interned aliens here, particularly with the canteen and the large daily dealings with tradespeople in Reading and elsewhere by the prisoners; also to my occupation of the Chaplain’s quarters. When it was arranged that I should occupy that house, I had no idea that any sounds from the Female Wing when the wing was in use, could be heard so easily in the quarters. We soon discovered, however, that the Irish prisoners give us little peace and quiet between 7 pm and 10. There was shouting and cheering, drilling, chorus singing, violin and flute playing with step-dancing, besides much walking and running up and down stairs, all of which we hear evenings most plainly and which disturbed the peace and quiet I ought to have enjoyed after my trying day’s due. I then was going down the hill in health, and the quarters under the conditions stated told upon my nerves, general health, as well as upon my wife’s health.

I have now been in the service 33 years, nine of which have been as Steward, and have always endeavoured to perform my duties loyally and with enthusiasm. Owing to present conditions, the extremely high cost of living, and to my family circumstances which have already been brought to your notice by the Governor, it would be a very great hardship to my family if I am compelled to retire from the Service now. I should therefore be grateful if the Commissioners will allow me to resume my duties and transfer me to another station where I may have the advantage of a more bracing climate and of enjoying better health.

I am
Gentlemen

Your obedient servant

Matthew W Loan
Steward

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

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…)

We all need so much help in this troublous time

The vicar of Maidenhead St Luke urged parishioners to commit themselves to God, with the usual Lent self-denial double by the nation’s needs.

Dear Friends and Parishioners, –

The Lenten Season calls us as Church-people to make sacrifices, even of innocent pleasures, so that we may by self-discipline train ourselves to be soldiers of Jesus Christ. The Nation this Spring reinforces the call of the Church. Let us each make up our mind to forego some luxury or pleasure, young and old alike. One may give up sugar, another beer or whiskey, another tobacco, another dancing, another perhaps entertainments. All of these seem trivial things, but I suppose little things are harder to forego than great… And prayer and worship are called for…

May I ask all who can do so – and many can find time if they try – to come to one or other week-day Service, as a definite act of trust in God, Whose help we all need so much in this troublous time, both for ourselves, and for those we love in hardship and danger overseas. We have only arranged three special Services for Men at present, on account of the stress of the war. I hope they will be well attended. The Friday-afternoon services will, we trust, meet specially the needs of the older members of the congregation, to whom darkness is an obstacle. The Wednesday-night Services at 8, and the Friday War Intercession at 7 will, I earnestly hope, be made use of by very many.

If any require an object for their self-denial, I can suggest two: first a Church one – the Free Will Offering Fund, which much needs new members; secondly a State one – War Saving Certificates…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY

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

A little Belgian girl dances the hornpipe

A young refugee had learnt English folk dances in her time in Berkshire.

CHRISTMAS SOCIAL.

On Wednesday, Jan. 5th, the usual Christmas Social was held in the Brownlow Hall at 7 o’clock. The dancing in the hall was varied by songs given by Mr. Thompson, who sang comic songs by Mr. Harry Lauder and others, also by the old English horn-pipe dance, remarkably well danced by a little Belgian girl, Angele Derboven.

Warfield section of the Winkfield District Magazine, February 1916 D/P151/28A/8/2

May Day celebrations in Earley

Earley schoolchildren did not forgo their idyllic spring festivities on May Day, but they supplemented the maypole, country dances and crowning a May Queen with a collection for Reading War Hospital.

30th April 1915

As May 1st comes on a Saturday this year, the May Day celebration took place today. The usual lessons were discontinued at 3 pm, & the children adjourned to the playground, where, in the presence of 300 parents & friends, May Marshall (previously chosen by lot) was crowned May Queen by Miss King. The following programme was the gone through:

Programme
Song “Welcome, welcome lovely May”
Country dance “Gathering Peascods”
Country dance “Hey Boys”
Song “Come Lassies & Lads”
Plating of maypole
Morris dance “Laudnum Bunches”
Country dance “Hyde Park”
Infants’ Game “Looby Loo”
Country dance “None such”
Song “Come ye young men”
Morris dance “Rigs o’ Marlow”
Country dance “Lord of Caernarvon’s Jig”
Country dance “Newcastle”
Infants’ dance “Corkscrew”
Song “Now is the month of Maying”
Country dance “If all the world were Paper”
Country dance “Old Mole”
Infants’ dance “Sir Roger de Coverley”
Country dance “Sellenger’s Round”
God save the King

A collection among the spectators at the end of the performance amounted to [blank], which was given to the funds of the Reading War Hospital.

Earley CE School logbook (SCH36/8/3)

It’s a long long way to Tipperary … from Newbury

Girls attending a youth club at St Nicolas’ Church in Newbury put on a concert to entertain Belgian refugees. It isn’t clear if the ‘Tipperary’ mentioned is the famous ‘It’s A Long Long Way To Tipperary’, which was very popular during the war, or another popular song of the period also called ‘Tipperary’.

Social Evening for the Belgians
On December 16th, the members of the Girls’ Club invited some of our Belgian guests to an Entertainment in the Parish Room. Thanks to Mr.Stillman, a splendid stage was provided with first-rate lights. The first part of the programme was undertaken by the Ladies of the Thatcham Fruit and Flower Farm, whose charming rendering of “Dresden China,” with its stately dance was loudly encored. They also gave some French and English songs, and Miss I. Flint contributed a Violoncello solo. Mr. Witts’ “Tipperary” raised rounds of applause, the chorus apparently equally well known to both English and Belgians. The Evening closed with the singing of the English and Belgian National Anthems.

Newbury parish magazine, January 1915 (D/P89/28A/13)

Miserable digs – but song and dance by the keenest soldier enlivens life

Percy tells his sister some of the lighter side of army life.

St Albans
Oct. 22.14

My dear Florrie

… Last night I learned that Dean Bleaken does not arrive until the 28th. By then I should have commenced my training, and have more regular hours than at present, which will enable me I hope to use Mr Image’s introduction. It will be rather funny if I meet our Brigade Major there. His name is Capt. Shenton of the Somerset Light Infantry. A fine fellow with a most musical voice. He is apparently a great friend of Canon Glossop here, so it is quite possible that I may therefore meet my Brigade Major outside the office later on.

I expect to change my billet on Saturday (of this I will give you prompt notice) as the condition of affairs where I am is too miserable and hopeless for words, so do not write to me at the above address after you receive this until I write again.

Every other night I am sleeping at the Brigade office, so that, in the event of a night alarm there will be an intelligent fellow here to get the Brigade together!!

There are all sorts of rumours as to our next move, but I really don’t think anyone knows what is going to happen to us. Probably it will depend upon how the war goes, and if it goes favourably, I don’t suppose we shall see foreign soil this side of Christmas.

I dare say you know, the men of this Brigade belong to the lower classes of South London. There is a sprinkling of swells and decent fellows, but mainly they are rough – very rough.

One fellow, “Dave” is a hefty baker’s lad for whom I already have a great fondness. As Capt. Holliday says, no matter what you ask him to do, he’ll have a dart for it – he’s a kind of Horace, only much more boyish. If he hasn’t anything to do, he’ll find a job. Today I found him voluntarily scrubbing the doors and paint generally, just to pass the time away, pausing now and then to execute a vigorous sand dance to the music hall ditty he was singing in the real Bermondsey style.

Now I am just off to try and fix up my new diggings, so I’ll say good night.

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer to his siter Florence (D/EZ177/7/3/13-14)