Sugar for jam makers

Jam makers had good news of a relaxation of food restrictions.

HOME-MADE JAM.

One section of the community may derive benefit from an attempt that is being made by the Food Controller to provide sugar for preserving fruit. Those who have fruit bushes, trees, or plants in their gardens, and who desire to convert it into jam for domestic consumption, are informed that an endeavour is being made by the Sugar Commission to supply ‘some sugar for this purpose provided stocks are available.’ It must be understood that the notice is addressed to ‘private growers who wish to preserve their fruit on their own premises.’

The sugar is to be obtained through the local grocer, who will receive supplies according to the advice of the Commission, quantities being specially allotted by name of customer. Application forms should be asked for at once from Mr. C. S. Rewcastle, care of Messrs. J.V. Drake and Co., 10 and 11, Mincing lane, E.C.3. A stamped-addressed envelope must be enclosed, and no correspondence will be entered into. The notice indicates that purchasers of fruit for preserving need not apply.

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

Internees “often express the wish to be able to fall asleep and not to be awakened until it is time to be released”

The Cusden brothers, interned in Germany, were grateful to family and friends back home in Reading for sending them food parcels.

Dec 1st 1916
Dear Lucy

Since last wrote are very much obliged for parcels up to C. With exception of jam everything has been coming in perfect condition and all has been much appreciated.

Unfortunately the jam tins have often leaked, usually at lid. The parcels take two or three weeks on the way so unless lids are quite tight liquids find their way into rest of parcel. Carr’s biscuit tins were I think the worst. They were this shape [small sketch of oblong] and lids did not fit at all. Usually the juice escaped leaving the solid. Some of the other tins were allright. I know you have a lot of bother in packing anything like this, but it is better to let you know exactly how the things come.

Was pleased to note that the batch of drawings arrived safely. Apparently you did not recognise the self-portrait which was sent, as you don’t mention it, but it was a very good portrait of me. I don’t know if I have changed much since you last saw me.

On other side is [a sketch of] a rough idea of an early morning scene. Waking the sleepy ones up for the morning line-up in order to be counted. Some persons always find it so difficult to get up, they don’t see the use of it! Persons often express the wish to be able to fall asleep and not to be awakened until it is time to be released, however near or distant that may be. Perhaps it won’t be so long after all.

Father asks if I would like a little drawing paper sent. I should not mind a little, I can obtain some here, but it is rather dear. A little middling stuff and some cheaper sort just for rough practice. Many thanks for same. Swiss bread still coming. I presume that under new system you will not need to send at all. As a matter of fact supplies of bread have been coming into the camp for several weeks past, so in any case you need not send any more to us now….

Vic’s leg is practically quite well, and we are still keeping reasonably well.

With love to all
Your affectionate brother
Albert

Letter from Albert Cusden in Ruhleben to his sister Lucy Cusden, 57 Castle Street, Reading (D/EX1485/4/4/4)

“It is a long time since bread from England has arrived without being mouldy”

Albert Cusden, one of four Reading brothers interned in Germany, and a talented amateur artist, wrote to his parents. They were dependent on food supplies sent from home, as their captors had little to go around due to blockades of trade. Some of Albert’s Ruhleben drawings are in the BRO archives.

Aug. 14th 1916
My dear parents

Since my letter to Lucy, very many thanks for parcels from S to X. Everything arrived in good condition with exception of bread. As I mentioned before, it is a long time since bread from England has arrived without being mouldy. Everyone makes same complaint, so it must be weather. The Swiss bread has been coming regularly to Arch & Dick in good condition and is sufficient for us. I presume that before receiving this you will have stopped sending any more from England as advised. Could someone drop a card to Mrs Miller and inform the Sawyers not to send any more bread either. Arch wrote to Mrs Miller a week or two back asking her not to send any more with cheese as she had been doing, but now it is better than none at all. The Sawyers’ toasted loaf had been coming all right, but last twice has been bad, so would be better not to risk any more. As an example, on Saturday four parcels came for us, being from home, Mrs Miller, Mrs West & Aunt Eliza. Each contained bread, I think seven loaves in all, which had to be thrown away being mouldy right through. So it would be a pity to risk any more, and as said before the Swiss is enough. Could you perhaps also drop card to Mrs West thanking her for parcel, as I cannot write her this week, and it would stop her from sending any more a little earlier. The biscuits she sent with bread were all right. The home made jam was extremely nice. Congratulations to Edie from us all. Hope she and the baby are both getting on perfectly. I must say you kept it very secret, no-one having a word of the coming event….

Dick received parcel from Poole through Mrs Ward of Donnington Gardens and acknowledged it to Mrs Ward as he had not Poole address and suggested she might send letter on. Since your letter came to me, he has written Mrs Ward, so I suppose it is now all right.

Probably this week will send off some sketches, mostly head studies. Should like you to put them by for me until I return, whenever that will be. I have been doing a deal of portrait sketching of late, and in most cases the fellows have sent the sketches home. I get the practice, the sitter the sketch, and I have no trouble in finding sitters. In one or two cases have later on commissions. We are keeping well, and you are all the same?

With love to all,

Your affectionate son,

Albert

Letter from Albert Cusden in Ruhleben to Mrs J Cusden, 57 Castle Street, Reading (D/EX1485/4/4/2)

“Marmalade, marmalade, & not a pot of jam for weeks”

Percy Spencer was normally very grateful to his Florence for her frequent presents. But occasionally she made an inopportune choice of item:

27.6.16
My darling sister

Thanks for all your delightful letters & parcels. By the way the tin of marmalade was the best joke ever cracked. Some of the fellows on first coming out get “bully” sent them, but to send a tin of marmalade after it’s been marmalade, marmalade, & not a pot of jam for weeks, and I had the previous day remonstrated with the QMS for not giving us our fair share of the minute jam supply was an accomplishment that will never be surpassed in the war.

We’re having a driving wearing time and I don’t expect to have a moment for a long time, so please accept postcards with all my love, & don’t think I’m neglecting you.

How I should love to be with you at Abingdon – dear old place.
Your loving brer
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer to Florence Image (D/EZ177/7/5/20)

Comfort parcels for PoWs

The people of Ascot donated generously towards parcels of food and other comforts for British PoWs in Germany.

HARVEST THANKSGIVING SERVICES were held at All Saints Church on Sunday, October 3rd. The Choir, though much thinned in numbers owing to the war, sung admirably, having been carefully trained by the Choirmaster, Mr. A. Tustin. The Church was beautifully decorated with flowers, fruit and vegetables. Afterwards, these offerings were distributed – the grapes to sick and aged parishioners; the apples and vegetables to the Priory Orphanage, the Nursing Home, and elsewhere.

On the previous Sunday a suggestion was made that “comfort parcels” should be sent to British prisoners in Germany. The response to this invitation was really remarkable. Cocoa (70 tins, and some tablets), biscuits (28lbs.), condensed milk (24 tins), wool and knitting needles, jams, tinned fruits and vegetables, raisins, macaroni, soap, tobacco, chocolate, peppermint, socks, etc., and gifts in money (including sixpence from a little girl who brought her coin to the Altar) were contributed and were eventually passed on to the Church Army whose officers had guaranteed that all these “comforts” should reach the prisoners safely.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine November 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/11)