“Many a railway man in his heart loathed the unsportsmanlike order to stop work”

The country was hit by industrial unrest.

Rector’s Letter

My dear people –

As we assembled for our Evening Service on October 5 the glad news came that the Railway strike was over, and that the men would return to work as suddenly as they had left it. During the week of the strike prayer was offered by many that God’s Holy Spirit would grant “a right judgment in all things” to those concerned in the dispute, and the prayer was answered. We recognise the rights of Labour, and we recognise that Trades Unions have a legitimate place in the economic framework, but we do earnestly deprecate the short-sighted policy of “ca’canny”, which damages a man’s self-respect and destroys his honourable pride in his work, and we believe that many and many a railway man in his heart loathed the unsportsmanlike order to stop work suddenly, without even a few days’ notice, in an attempt to hold the whole community to ransom: by the splendid effort of all good citizens, high and low, rich and poor, the attempt did not succeed. Let us hope that wise counsels may now guide our industrial unrest towards and honourable and lasting peace, that will adjust the interests of individual classes and safeguard the welfare of the country as a whole.

Yours very faithfully,

George H Williams

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

Sick at the thought of how we are being let down at Versailles today!

John Maxwell Image was not optimistic about the future. His wounded brother in law was our friend Percy Spencer.

29 Barton Road
7 May ‘19

My dearest old man

Florence … wants to see her wounded brother who is still at St Thomas’s Hospital, poor fellow.

I feel sick at the thought of how we are being let down at Versailles today! Especially at the ingratitude of Belgium, and of Italy – the latter I have heard vigorously defended here. But Belgium!

And the Agitators in Britain!

And Shinn [sic] Fein impudence!

What a future lies before every one in England except the moneygrubber and the Profiteer and their lickspittles.


Tuissimus
Bild

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

“The imperfect supervision of the weak-minded, which has been one of the consequences of the War, may lead to a great national disaster”

Attitudes towards people with learning difficulties 100 years ago may seem uncomfortable today.

Report of Mental Deficiency Act Committee, 12 April 1919

The committee have received an important circular from the Board of Control, dated 8th March 1919, from which the following paragraphs are extracted:
“…
The Mental Deficiency Act had only been in operation for a few months when the outbreak of War and the concentration of the national energies and resources on War activities seriously hampered its administration. It is now of the first importance that full effect shall be given to its provisions….

The demobilisation of the Army and the return of industry to its normal course will bring serious dangers to light. So far as males are concerned, the majority of the mentally unfit have, during the War, been left amongst the general population, or have been discharged to civil life after a brief Army experience, as unfit to stand the strains of War. A fair percentage of these are congenital defectives whose potentialities for reproduction are unimpaired, and whose inability to perform the duties of parenthood properly is admitted. For this reason, and also as a precaution against the possible risk of transmission to their progeny of the parental defect, every effort should be made to deal promptly with such of them as become liable to be dealt with under the Mental Deficiency Act. The necessity for the existence of adequate measures for the protection of young defective women, on demobilisation, is obvious. Many such, owing to the present scarcity of labour, are now employed, but they will be the first to receive discharge, and the first to be thrown on their own resources, when more efficient labour is available, and the demand for female employment is reduced.

There is unfortunately no doubt that the imperfect supervision of the weak-minded, which has been one of the consequences of the War, has resulted in a substantial increase of venereal disease among the population, and that the provision of effective control is an essential and urgent step needed to avert a great national disaster…

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

“It is not only the world of nature that is pulsing with the promise of new life, we are all hoping to see a better world after the terrible days of war”

The vicar of Wargrave had a postwar Easter message.

Lent

Easter comes late this year and “Lent”, which means “Spring” should be full of the promise of its name. But it is not only the world of nature that is pulsing with the promise of new life, we are all hoping to see a better world after the terrible days of war. So our thoughts turn to the Terms of Peace and we pray for the statesmen concerned that they may be filled with the Spirit of wisdom and counsel.

We could not find a better subject for Lenten thought, prayer and effort than the Terms of Peace.

When we think of the Paris Conference we pray for such a Peace as may advance the Kingdom of God. We know that God rules over the affairs of men and is working His purpose out through human history. The policy of nations may be so directed as to obstruct His purpose. When this is so we learn from history that man may obstruct but cannot frustrate God’s will. God overrules the stubborn policy of Pharraoh and with a mighty hand He brings His people out. But it is also true that the policy of nations may be harmonious with the will of God. It is so when the endeavour is to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke. “Happy is that people; that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people whose God is the Lord.”

When we think of Industrial Peace in our own country we know the terms upon which it can be secured, they are to be found within the circle of family life, where they are reorganised as being ordained of God. For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body. And whether one member suffer all members suffer with it; or one member be honoured; all members rejoice with it. “Let nothing be done through strife of vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love.”

When we think of inward troubles, each one of the plague of his own heart, we know Who has made Peace through the blood of His cross. The terms are open to us without money and without price. “Come now, let us reason together, such the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” “Repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so injury shall not be your ruin.”

“Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”.

The Book of Revelation has a special message for such times as we have passed through during the last four years but it is not easy to understand. Perhaps there are some people who will like to make it a subject of special reading during Lent.

Wargrave parish magazine, March 1919 (D/P145/28A/31)

The terms of peace

A Berkshire vicar guided his flock in thoughts about how the post-war world should look.

Crazies Hill Notes

On the Sunday Evenings during Lent a course of sermons will be preached by the Vicar, Subject:- The Terms of Peace.

i. Between the Kingdoms of the World
ii. Between Capital and Labour
iii. Between Members of a Family
iv. Between God and Man
v. Between a man and his own heart

May this coming season of Lent be a time of rich blessing to us all, drawing us closer to our Lord in prayer and self-denial, so that the Easter Festival may find us prepared to rejoice in His glorious Resurrection.

Wargrave parish magazine, March 1919 (D/P145/28A/31)

“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)

Pray for co-operation and the spirit of unity among all classes

There were still problems to face.

YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED –

For the Peace Conference and all its members.

For all our men serving at home and abroad.

For the Chaplains to the Forces.

For a peaceful solution to all Industrial Problems.

For co-operation and the spirit of unity among all classes.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

Important changes at the Hospital after an interesting but difficult year

The war’s end meant changes for Newbury District Hospital.

Newbury District Hospital : The Thirty-Fourth Annual Report and Balance Sheet for 1918

For the year ending December 31st, 1918:

There have been important changes at the Hospital during the past year, and in many respects, the period under review has been an interesting but difficult one.

Miss Atkins, whose services as Matron are well known to the Subscribers, left in August last to be married. Having regard to her long arduous and successful work in the Hospital the Committee took upon themselves to present her, on behalf of the Subscribers, with a sum of £25 on leaving. The Subscribers are asked to ratify this grant.

Sister Biddle also left in August to take up another engagement. Miss Atkins was replaced, as Matron, by Miss Phoebe Jones, whose testimonials were of a very high character. She entered on her duties at a time when the work was very heavy, and as the Nursing Staff, for some time afterwards, was very inadequate, the Committee recognise that her position was a difficult one. Every effort was made to replace Sister Biddle, and to put the Staff on a satisfactory footing in other respects, but it was not until October that the situation was somewhat relieved by the engagement of Sister White.

Shortly afterwards the outbreak of Influenza put a further strain on the Hospital, as a large number of cases of pneumonia were received. Practically all the Probationers were laid up by Influenza, and to add to the difficulties the Matron herself was attacked, and after being laid up in the Hospital for some time was obliged to go away to recruit.

During her absence Sister White was in charge and proved herself efficient, but it became obvious that the Staff was over worked, and must be strengthened as soon as the general scarcity of Nurses would allow it.

On the advice of the Matron the Committee, late in the year, authorised advertisements for a third Sister, and some other additions to, and alterations in, the Nursing Staff. As it was not possible to make this addition immediately it became necessary to relieve the Staff by closing one of the Annexes, and reducing the number of Soldiers in the Hospital for some weeks. Throughout this period the domestic Staff was, as it still is, a source of anxiety, it being necessary to depend to a great extent on temporary assistance.

It will be seen from the statistics annexed that notwithstanding these difficulties, an unusually large number of Patients were treated in the Hospital during the year. As compared with 1917 Civilian Patients increased by 104 and Soldier Patients by 38. It would have been impossible for the small staff to cope with this work without the help of the Newbury Voluntary Aid Detachment and some other ladies, all of whom rendered most valuable assistance.

Since the retirement of Dr. Heywood, Dr. Kennedy has been responsible for Soldier Patients, Dr. Adams giving his assistance as regards surgical matters when required.

The Rev. W. S. Edgell undertook the duties of Hon. Secretary on the retirement of Mr. Savill in April.

The Committee has again to acknowledge the general interest in the Hospital evidence by the gifts of vegetables, supplies and other useful articles throughout the year. The Newbury War Hospital Supply Depot has again furnished many requisites, and Miss Wasey again organised a successful Pound Day and also presented fittings for the Anaesthetic room. Mrs. Wombwell, Mrs. Rooke and Menstone House School made very liberal donations for the entertainment of the Soldiers at Christmas. Mr. Wombwell, Mr. R. Beynon, Mr. Hogg, Mr. Cotterell, Mr. Johnson and others shewed their interest by gifts and in other ways.

Hearty thanks are due to all the members of the Medical Staff, upon whose time the Hospital has made large demands.

The Committee also desire to thank Mrs. Sharwood-Smith, the Commandant, and the Officers and ladies of the Newbury Voluntary Aid Detachment, who have done very valuable work.

Miss Cecile Boldero, the Assistant Commandant (latterly Commandant) was most helpful in the difficulty caused by the deficiency in the regular Nursing Staff.

Miss Salway has again given massage and special treatment to Soldiers, for which the Committee are most grateful, and thanks are due to Mr. Alleyne for taking charge of the recreation room.

Thanks are also due to the former and present Matrons, and the Sisters, and Nurses, for their services during a very strenuous year. In addition to their heavy nursing duties they have had to meet difficulties in catering, and the want of a permanent and sufficient domestic Staff. The economic results of their efforts are best shewn by the Statistics annexed as to cost per occupied bed, and cost of food per head. Having regard to the great rise in prices the Committee think these figures very satisfactory.

During the past year, and in fact during the war, few repairs and renewals could be done owing to the pressure of work, and a thorough overhauling of the Hospital is required now that the soldiers have gone. A considerable expense will be involved. A sub-committee has been appointed to report on the necessary repairs and renewals and on certain structural alterations. The most pressing work upstairs has been done, but the sub-committee has not finally reported. An important matter to be considered is central heating, and some other mode of heating the passages, etc. this is most desirable, and perhaps necessary, but the expense would be very large. The question of the disposal of the temporary Annexes is under consideration: one of them is now clearly unnecessary, and it is doubtful whether either of them should be retained.

In this connection it may be mentioned that when the soldiers left, the Chairman received from the Southern Command, Salisbury, a cordial letter thanking the subscribers and the committee for the generous provision made for soldiers during the war, and the care bestowed on them.

W. Walton, Chairman

W. S. Edgell, Hon. Sec.

Newbury District Hospital annual report (D/H4/4/1)

Obtaining land for settlement of ex-service men

It was hoped that many ex-servicemen could settle down to farming in a small way.

LAND SETTLEMENT

An important letter from the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries dated 18 December, 1918, inviting the immediate attention of the Small Holdings and Allotments Committee to the question of obtaining land for settlement of ex-service men, has been received.

The following points were suggested by the Board as matters for the Committee’s action:

1. In selecting land for settlement the co-operation and assistance of the Agricultural Executive Committee should be invited.

2. Landowners should be invited to inform the Council of any farms which will shortly become vacant so that, as far as possible, disturbance of tenants who are farming well should be avoided.

3. Councils should not wait until offers of land are received. They should themselves select land in those districts which are most suitable for the establishment of successful small holdings.

4. The Small Holdings Committee should be adequately staffed and it is necessary that the Staff should be reconstituted at once.

5. The assistance of men who are specially interested in the question of land settlement should be secured on the Committee.

6. It is desirable that every Small Holdings Committee should include at least one representative of labour.

A letter will be addressed to all landowners in the county to ascertain whether they can offer suitable land for the purpose.

Berkshire County Council Small Holdings and Allotments Committee minutes, 18 January 1919 (C/CL/C1/1/22)

Shot through the head

News of the last days of Berkshire soliders continued to trickle in.

Casualties

Sergeant A E Bolton (2nd DG, Queen’s Bays), died in France; Private W H Brown (8th Royal Berks), twice wounded, and prisoner since last April (omitted before); Frank Hicks (2nd Royal Berks), at last officially presumed killed on 9th May, 1915; W Painter (RE), wounded and gassed; J W G Phillips (RAF Labour Company), killed; H J Pembroke (1st Royal Irish Fusiliers), killed in action, 1st October, 1918; G H Poulton-Smith (RGA), wounded; died (of pneumonia) in Italy.

Captain Bullivant’s Death

One day last September, his unit, the 1st Middlesex Yeomanry, was holdig a line of out-posts in Palestine, when a Turkish column was reported to be moving across the front. He rode forward with an orderly to reconnoitre, sending his trumpeter back with orders for the squadron to follow. When they did, however, they at once came under fire, and had to go into action (no doubt dismounted), without having see him or being able to gather which way he had gone in the tangle of ridges and valleys; and the engagement continued for some hours, finishing up in the dark, miles from where it began. Search was made for him early next morning, and a patrol brought in his body. He had been shot through the head, and “must have come right on to them when he galloped over the ridge”, writes his subaltern. His orderly had had his horse shot, and could not himself be traced at the time of writing. A gallant death: but a sad loss to his family and to this parish, in which he took great intrest, and in whose affairs we hoped he was destined to play an active part. He was a Rugby and Cambridge man.

Lieut. Alfred Searies has made a wonderful recovery, and been home on leave. He was buried and damaged while occupying a “pill-box”, and only recovered consciousness five days later in hospital. His MC has been duly awarded him.

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

Whom could England put in place of Lloyd George at this juncture?

The upcoming General Election was a historic one – the first in which all men over 21, and at least some women (married women over 30), could vote. The new Labour Party appealed to the working class new voters.

6 Dec. ‘18
My very dear old man

The Poll (but possibly you already know this) will be taken on MTWOF (16th to 20th)…

As for the election – I’m not “enthusing”. I only seem to fear it is Eclipse and the rest nowhere. Whom could England put in place of Lloyd George at this juncture?

We shan’t make Germany cash up, but under any other leader we should secure less than under him.

Beattie and Foch have ‘guts’ and are not timorous of Ultimatums – but these civilian tin-gods! I really half think that one of the Labour men would be more solid and less certain to be weakened than the creatures we are sending. The Hun will play upon Wilson’s vanity for bossing, and England, as usual, will cringe. Carson wouldn’t! O that he could have gone.

Ever affec.
Bild.

Her wounded brother, after whom you kindly ask, is still in St Thomas’s Hospital. It will, I fear, be a very long time with his left wrist – but I can see the great progress in it already.

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

“All news from Russia is horrible, and it is like seeing a criminal lunatic asylum self governed”

Lady Mary Glyn was struggling to cope with the wartime shortage of domestic servants.

30 Half Moon Street
Oct 4 1918

My own darling

I have stayed in bed till luncheon time trying to understand all the dazzling news of these victories, but the fighting is dreadful, and the struggle far from over. How glad you will be to have Armentieres in our hands again.

I am still without a maid. The really good ones can get enormous wages & I must try to get a more settled establishment before I can make anyone comfortable. It is so absurd when everything of domestic bliss hangs upon a nonexistent kitchen girl.

Ressington in today’s Morning Post is good – I hope you see it? – on the American army & methods. All news from Russia is horrible, and it is like seeing a criminal lunatic asylum self governed….

Very own Mur

Letter from Lady Mary Glyn to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/5)

Killed instantaneously by a shell

Working in labour groups doing manual logistical work behind the lines could be as dangerous as actually fighting in the trenches.

We offer sincere sympathy to Mrs Canning, whose son Arthur has been killed in France, and also to Mr and Mrs Joseph Bosley who have also lost a son, Francis James. He was working with a Labour Battalion behind the lines, and was killed instantaneously by a shell.

Brevet Lt-Col. B J Majendie, DSO, recently commanding the 4th Batt. King’s Royal Rifles at Salonica, has been promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General in command of the 65th Infantry Brigade.

Capt. Wilfred Belcher has been promoted to the rank of Brigade Major.

RED CROSS WORK PARTY

The total amount collected from January to December, 1917, was £22. 8s. 6d. Twenty-three meetings were held during 1917, working for about 12 different objects, some two or three times during the year.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, July 1918(D/P89/28A/13)

Workmen “called up” for the war

A printer could not fulfil his firm’s orders due to losing most of his employees to the war.

10 May 1918

Office Papers could not be sent as usual for the week because the printer had not been able to send the forms which had been ordered some time before, owing to lack of workers, his workmen “called up” for the war.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

“The increase is of course due entirely to the greatly enhanced cost of labour and materials since the war commenced”

The County Council was affected by several war-related matters.

Report of Finance and General Purposes Committee, 30 April 1918

PRISONERS OF WAR

An application has been received from the Committee of the Rifle Brigade Prisoners of War Help Fund, asking if the Council would consent to regularly contribute to the Fund for the benefit of the men belonging to the County who are prisoners of war.

The Finance Committee make no recommendation.

Report of Highways and Bridges Committee to Finance and General Purposes Committee, 30 April 1918

TYLE MILL BRIDGE

At the request of the Road Board, the Committee have undertaken the work of strengthening Tyle Mill Bridge sufficiently to take the loads of timber from the Canadian Forestry Corps Camp at Ufton to Tyle Mill Siding. Skilled labour is being supplied by Messrs J K Cooper & Sons of Maidenhead, who are carrying out the work with the approval of the Road Board, payment to be made on a percentage basis. The Canadian Forestry Corps is providing the reminder of the labour and other facilities. The cost of the work will be refunded to the Council by the Road Board.

Report of Public Health and Housing Committee to F&GP, 30 April 1918

ABINGDON HOSPITAL

The Committee have had under consideration as scheme for the provision of additional accommodation at the Tuberculosis Hospital, Abingdon, which is urgently required, mainly for the treatment of discharged soldiers and sailors belonging to Berkshire….

It is pointed out that the cost of the scheme would be considerably in excess of the £150 per head which the Local Government Board fixed in pre-war times as the maximum to which their grant would then apply, but the increase is of course due entirely to the greatly enhanced cost of labour and materials since the war commenced.

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/21)