A very big business lying in abeyance owing to owner’s internment

In a follow up to a letter of 22 March, the prison authorities had investigated the past of a German internee – which sheds light on the history of dolls.

From further information I have obtained from Stichl today it appears that he ran two sets of business – and his history seems to be:

Some years ago a German Jew named Ephraison started a business in Bradford making dolls’ hair out of wool – before that the hair on dolls was obtained from China & was human hair – often from deceased persons – before that again imitation hair was simply painted on the doll’s head. Stichl saw that Ephraison (who died in 1915) made a good thing out of it – so improved on the invention & started the work himself – as well as being a wool merchant.

The German Firm at Sonnenberg that he started made dolls’ hair only – there is no wool trade there – and the profits were very big – 50% and sometimes 100%, and it became a very big business. It is this part – dolls’ hair – that he disposed of to Mr Guy, both at home and at Sonnenberg – not the wool portion which in Stichl’s case is lying in abeyance owing to his internment. He was a wool merchant not manufacturer.

I will send in Mr Guy’s letter with special note to it – if he replies.

C M Morgan
Gov.

8.8.18

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

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“Of course no English branch of the business can be carried on now War exists”

A suspicious letter from a former business contact in Germany led the authorities to take a look at an internee in Reading. His business used Yorkshire wool to make hair for dolls in toymaking centre Sonnenberg.

Re letter of G Stichl March 18th 1918
Attention should be drawn to this letter from the Mrs D to whom he refers and to say who he is and how he knows her.
J F W 20/3

Papers returned with many thanks. Doms’ connection with Wm Guy & Sons is on record here, but it is not known that the latter firm acquired Stichl’s business or that the branch at Fonneberg had not been interfered with by the Germans; letter posted.

22 March 1918
G Stichl and Mr Doms
20.8.15 S of S Order, Defence of the Realm Regn, Internment

Stichl states:

He had a wool and dolls hair business in Bradford and at Sonneberg (near Coburg). About 1890 he advertised in Yorkshire for a correspondent – received a reply from Mr Doms, who was correspondent in spinning machine maker’s office, Messrs Wild & Co, Leicester. Engaged him and found him useful – a German speaking perfect English and other languages. Was trained by Stichl at Bradford from about 1890-1896 and then became Stichl’s managing clerk at Sonneberg – used to come to Bradford to see Stichl, and Stichl visited him frequently to examine books &c.

Mrs Doms. Cannot remember her maiden name – was a German woman who was his book keeper at Sonneberg. She married the managing clerk Doms. Does not know that she was ever in England. Cannot speak English. Frequently saw her.

About 6 or 8 years ago the business both at home & abroad was disposed of by Stichl to Mr Guy, under the name of Guy & Sons, Doms and Mrs Doms remaining as before, but Mr Doms severed term… [too faint to read].. to see Mr Guy.

States that Mr Guy still has the business and that from letter he has received from Mrs Doms, business is still carried on successfully and has not been interfered with by the Germans – but of course no English branch of the business can be carried on now War exists.

Mr Doms joined the German Army and he now learns from Mrs Doms has been made prisoner by the British Army.

C M Morgan
Governor
[to] The Commissioners

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

A large number of people seem hardly to notice that there is a war at all

The vicar of Earley issued a reproach to those at home not supporting the war but behaving with only their own interest at heart.

The Vicar’s Letter

My dear friends

Winter is fast coming upon us and during the cold and wet days and nights our thoughts naturally go forth to our men fighting for us at the front; and when we think of them and all they have to endure, how can we grumble, as many are grumbling, at the increasing difficulty of obtaining many of the necessaries of life, and how can we be self-indulgent and wasteful, as so many are, in spite of all appeals for economy.

A large number of people seem hardly to notice that there is a war at all; we have hardly yet felt its real pinch, and if all will but share alike, there is no need why we should feel it to a greater extent than we do at present. We are not speaking of Reading or any part of it, for we believe that Reading as a whole has set a very good example, but there are always some people who think only of themselves, and the appeals from the authorities show that the need for self-denial is very great.

We heartily congratulate Mr Sarjeant, our people’s churchwarden, on being elected for a second time to fill the office of Mayor of the borough; he has carried out his arduous duties to the satisfaction of all, and Mrs Sarjeant has ably helped him as Mayoress: may it fall to her lot this coming year to preside at our town’s celebration of peace….

Your friend and vicar
W W Fowler

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the November Diocesan Magazine:

your prayers are asked
For the Irish Convention and the maintenance throughout our own country of the spirit of unity.
For the upholding of the courage and determination of the Allies.
For those suffering from raids…

C. OXON.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:

Frank Hamblin, Frederick Argent, John Bolton, Frederick Winkworth, Albert Neill, George Bolton, Reginald Taylor, Herbert Guy, Albert May, William Allen.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend to your prayers:

SICK OR WOUNDED – George Cane, John Rosser, Harold Jones, Harry Rixon, Victor Gaines.

MISSING – Norman Black.

KILLED – Leonard Dann, Allan Smit, Frederick Nunn.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, November 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

“Wargrave is to be congratulated in this time of War”

Several of the Wargrave church bellringers had joined up, but they were still keeping the peals ringing.

The Belfry:

A Meeting of the Belfry was held on Wednesday, December 27th.

There were present: the Vicar in the Chair, the Foreman (Mr. W. H. Easterling) and 11 members.

The official list of the Belfry now numbers 20 men.

Wargrave is to be congratulated in this time of War, both on having sent 4 Ringers to the Front and on having 14 men and lads still ready to ring the eight bells at home.

The names of the members and probationers are as follows, the names of those serving in His Majesty’s Forces are printed in Italics,

H. Attlesey W. Elsley F. Hanson S.P. Nash
G. Bayliss P. D. Elsley R. Lawrence J. Neighbour
W. Burrows E. Field E. Ladd E. Thatcher
A.E. Cox A. Guy F. Pocock C. F. Shersby
W. H. Easterling W. Herbert J. Preston

FINANCE
It appeared that the most important need, in regard to apparatus, was the provision of eight mats, to take the fall of the ropes as they touch the floor, and a set of Mufflers.

The Foreman was requested to enquire about the cost of suitable squares of carpet.

No resolution was passed in regard to Mufflers. It was suggested that if a set could in an emergency be borrowed from a neighbouring tower a purchase might be deferred until after the War.

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

“I cannot keep from loathing the German vermin”

Lady Mary wrote to her son to Ralph to express her horror at the treatment of British prisoners of war suffering from typhus in a camp at Wittenberg the previous year, which had recently been publicised.

April 11th
In the train

We are reading your General’s Gallipoli despatch and the papers are full of Verdun – and there is the check again in Mesopotamia. The story of Wittenberg is beyond my reading. I cannot read these things & keep my mind clean of loathing of the German Vermin as Collingwood calls them, “not men but Vermin”….

I wonder if you have come across Marmion [Guy], GSO, DSO, I think he is on your Staff BMEF?

I had an amusing talk with a typical Farmer Churchwarden who is an ardent Tariff Reformer, & says there ought to be a determination not to go back to Free Trade if the farmer is to be compensated for putting his farm under wheat & all the labour – that wages must be raised to enable every one to afford a 6d loaf. How? Said the Shoe Manufacturer Churchwarden – how are you going to do that? He was busy turning out one million heels for boots (Army) a month & has a big order for Russia. He gets his leather from France – 26 and 30 tons ordered & now 30 on its way. He keeps only eight men & is doing all the rest with women labour. The farmer was on the tribunal for exempted agricultural labour – a strange agreement was arrived at by them that if the Government had asked for it they should have compulsory service 3 months after war broke out. They were both interesting men, and a sort of labour leader parson Atkins joined in with very real knowledge of all the conditions. His father is an old clergyman in Leicester, who was a working man’s son….

Letter from Lady Mary to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/4)

A gruesome war hospital

Lady Mary Glyn had news of various friends’ fates. Lt Marmion Ferrers Guy (1877-1953) had a half-French wife. He was a career officer in the Lancashire Fusiliers who had joined up in 1900. Craufurd Tait Ellison (1888-1942) was the grandson of Archibald Tait, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, and related to the Vansittart Neales of Bisham. Lady Mary was repelled by the use of a mental hospital for nursing the wounded.

Peter[borough]
March 26th

I like General Blunker so much, & his wife – one of the quiet Irishmen, and a man of great personality. I wonder if you came across him at the Suvla Bay time? They come here for Sunday April 3rd, and we shall have Mrs Guy here the same time. She is very proud of Marmion’s DSO for Dardanelles work. Crawford [sic] Ellison is doing Brigade Major there at Northampton, Johnny Ellison’s son, whose mother was Aggy Tait, and he is a young man with much side on, & swelled head, & no manners. He was badly wounded in the leg in the Aisne battle and will probably be always lame….

[In Northampton] I saw all the Institute people, nurses & Church Army & Red Cross Rooms, under Lilah Butler, and I went all over the new County War Hospital at Duston which the War Office are getting ready for 950 wounded. It is the pauper lunatic asylum, so we are not to call it Berrywood as the soldiers would not like the idea, but as they are keeping on some of the lunatics for farm work, & some are now about the dreary half built and half prepared place I thought it sufficiently gruesome, and I am sure the place cannot be ready for a long time, and I wonder if the War Office mean real business. It is a huge and most unsuitable place, and full of great inconveniences for Staff work. I thought the cubicle being prepared for the 150 nurses dreadful and uncomfortable; the kitchens far away. We went into the Bakery and a dreadful lunatic was crouching on one of the ovens! Another came & jibbered at me in an unexpected place, and the Matron (who was there when it was an asylum) has a sinister cast in her eye and quelled him with a look! She is Scotch and keeps on all the staff of “mental” trained nurses as probationers. It all seems to me to be a tricky affair. The Doctor Superintendent is to be the Chief Doctor, and he too keeps on his staff. I certainly would not care to be sent to Berrywood if I was a wounded Tommy, but it all may come right. It did not attract me….

Poor Pen Graeme, her husband’s death is a great heartbreak. He had just gone back, a stray shell in a back trench, and it was instantaneous. Old “Hoppy”, amazed at the calmness of his womenfolk is terribly upset, & has gone to Devonshire to see the old father whose life was wrapped up in this son. Pen & he had gone to their little cottage on Perthshire his last leave, so I am afraid the old people did not see him then….


Letter from Lady Mary Glyn to her son Ralph Glyn ((D/EGL/C2/3)

A real sacrifice

Lady Mary Glyn wrote to her son Ralph with news of the service of various family friends and acquaintances.

Nov. 25, 1915
Overstone
Northampton
My darling Scraps

We had luncheon & tea with Mrs Guy & Mildred Stewart. Her husband is Staff Brigade Major with General Montgomery and she says they all adore Sir Henry Rawlinson, and all that was best in the Loos Battle was his work. And it was wonderful to hear all that Mrs Guy’s many sons are doing – all fighting, except Lasey who is in “Grandpapa’s Own”, the Inns of Court Battalion, and gets much chaffed.

Marmion was at the Suvla Bay landing & his Colonel Linton was killed just after the landing & when he had stood in water 6 hours, 4 ft 4 deep and more for the landing. Allan Guy has just gone as Private with Public Schools Battalion attached to Fusiliers, and the mother says that she thinks this means for him a real giving & sacrifice, for he has never been a soldier, & only schoolmastering. You will remember Mansel Bowly as Commander of the Fed. In Dardanelles.

I have no news to give you, for I have seen very few people lately, and the newspapers are not much good, for what is news today, is stale tomorrow in these days.

Own Mur
I am always thinking of you.

Letter from Lady Mary to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)

Former bellringers in the services to get pride of place in Wargrave

When the war broke out, the parish Wargrave had been in a state of disarray, as the church had been burnt down by an arsonist (believed to be a suffragette) earlier in 1914. By the time it had been repaired in 1915, the bellringing team had been broken up. It was revived in August 1915, with provision for those former bellringers who had joined up to be regarded as founder members of the new team.

The Belfry

A Public Meeting of Parishioners interested in bells and bell-ringing was summoned by the Vicar for Thursday, August 5th, and there was a good attendance.

The Vicar reminded the meeting that the Wargrave Ringers were in a peculiar position at the time of his institution in Nov. 1914.
Several had shown their patriotism by enlisting for the great war, the bells were broken and melted, the belfry was burned out, and there had been no ringing since the fire on Whitsunday 1914.

The Vicar, Churchwardens, and Ringers had then decided, in meeting, that after the gathering of the usual Christmas gifts from the parish, the Belfry should be dissolved and that it should make an entirely new beginning when the new bells were hung.

The eight bells had now been hung by Messrs Mears and Stainbank. A silencing apparatus was being fitted and the bells could be rung, without being heard outside the Belfry, as soon as the Architect could allow it.

It therefore seemed time to restart a Band of Ringers. The meeting was summoned in order that Ringers might be proposed and elected. When the Belfry Band was thus constituted the Belfry Members would proceed to consider their Rules. But certain preliminary rules should be passed by the whole meeting, to define the range and qualification of membership.

It was therefore resolved:
I. That the Society shall be called ‘The Wargrave Belfry and shall belong to the Sonning Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell-Ringers’, and as such shall be subject to its rules.
II. All members must be Communicants of the Church of England.
III. There shall be Ex-Officio Members, Honorary Members, and Ringing Members.

Members were then elected. It was resolved ‘That all former Members of the Belfry at present serving their Country in Navy or Army be elected Ringing Members and their names be entered first on the list to be fixed in the Belfry.’

The Following were then elected:-
Ex-Officio Members: The Vicar, Chairman and the two Churchwardens.
Honorary Members: Mrs Groves, Mrs Victor Rhodes, Miss Rhodes, Miss Sturges, Rev. A. H. Austen Leigh, Rev. W. G. Smylie, Messers H.C. Bond, A. E. Chenery and V. Wyatt.
Ringing Members: Messers G. Bailiss, W. Burrows, W. R. Fuller, W. Elsley, A. Guy, W. H. Easterling, H. Cox, S. C. Nash, J. F. Neighbour, F. Pocock, W. W. Hill, E. Thatcher.
Probationers: Messers Cecil Burrows, H. Herbert, Charles Fuller.

The Belfry Members then proceeded to pass Rules:-
All Members are expected to attend Church once on a Sunday.
A Foreman and Deputy Foreman shall be elected annually by the Belfry subject to the Vicar’s approval.
All members shall have the right of entry to the Belfry whenever open.
Probationers shall not be Members of the Belfry, but shall be admitted as Members at all times by leave of the Belfry as decided by a majority.
No one but a member, or a member of the Diocesan Guild, shall be allowed in the Belfry except by the introduction of a member, with the permission of the Foreman or Leader for the day.
Honorary Members shall pay a subscription of not less than 2/6 annually.
A list of Ringing Members shall be hung up in the Ringing Chamber, and the selection of the band for each occasion shall be made by the Foreman, who is responsible for a sufficient side.
No person except the Foreman or Leader or such person as shall be requested by the Foreman or Leader to do so shall interfere or criticise during the ringing, and all present in the Belfry shall at all times conform to the wishes of the Foreman or his deputy duly appointed.
Ringing shall always begin with a collect to be said by the Foreman or his deputy, and the Versicle ‘Praise ye the Lord’ with the response ‘The Lord’s name be praised.’
The Bells shall be rung on the following days [the days to be fixed presently].
All Ringing Members shall attend a weekly practice during the winter months; any member unable to be present shall give notice to the Foreman.
No member shall be eligible for Sunday duty until he can keep his place in ringing rounds on 8 bells for 5 consecutive minutes. Any Ringing Member unable to be present at future meetings shall give notice to the Foreman (or his deputy for the time being).
Any Ringing Member who is absent from the Belfry for a space of one month, without having thus previously given notice, shall be considered to have ceased to be a Member of the Belfry, unless he elect to become an Honorary Member.
Any money received by Subscriptions or Donations shall be paid into the ‘Belfry Fund’, of which the Treasurers shall be the Foreman and the Vicar’s Churchwarden, and shall be spent in accordance with resolution at the Annual Meeting held in [month to be fixed presently]. The Fund will be available for small expenses, for excursions to other Towers, a pleasure outing, etc., etc. If money be voted for a pleasure outing, those unable to go through ill-health or other unavoidable cause shall be entitled to an equivalent share.
All money received for Weddings, Funerals, or extraordinary occasions shall be paid into the Belfry Fund, but shall form a separate account. This special account shall be divided at the end of the year among the Members of the Belfry who attended on those occasions and shall be paid out at the Annual Meeting. Notice shall be given to all the Belfry Members when such special occasion arises, and any case of sickness shall be considered by the Belfry.
The Fees to be paid shall not be less than £5 for a day’s ringing; £2 2s. 0d. for two Peals; £1 1s.0d. for a single Peal.
Any Band of Ringers desiring to use the Wargrave Belfry must apply to the Foreman, who will apply to the Vicar at least so long beforehand as shall allow an answer to be sent by post. No more than six such applications shall be entertained by the Foreman in any one year.
The Foreman shall be responsible for keeping order in the Belfry and shall have full control and authority during the time of ringing. Ringers shall obey his orders so that there be no brawling or unseemly argument: And if any Ringer have just cause for complaint he shall appeal to the vicar and shall give the Foreman notice of his intension to do so.
It shall be the duty of the Foreman to keep a record of all attendances during the year.
Any Member wishing to move a resolution at the Annual Meeting shall place a written notice in the ringing chamber 7 days before the meeting. No alteration or addition shall be made to these rules except at an Annual Meeting after due notice.
The Ringers on all occasions shall adhere to the above Rules or forfeit their appointment.

Mr W. J. Fuller has been elected Foreman and Mr. A. Guy, Deputy Foreman.

Wargrave parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)