“Some excess in food has been going on” – but families should get more sugar

Food restrictions were well under way in Newbury.

October 18th, 1917.

Maximum Prices

The Committee have fixed the maximum retail price of milk (delivered) as follows:

For the month of October, 2s per gallon, and 6d per quart, and from November to March inclusive, 2s 4d per gallon, and 7d per quart, prices for all other measures to be in proportion.

The Committee have under consideration the question of Meat prices and Butter.

Sugar Distribution Scheme (Manufacturers, Caterers, Institutions)

Very valuable assistance has been given by a member of the Committee, not a member of the Council, in dealing with these applications. Many more applications have been received from Manufacturers than estimated, and a great deal of delay has been caused in issuing the vouchers, owing to the difficulty of getting further supplies from the supplying department.

The rationing under the scheme, of Manufacturers and Caterers, should mean a very appreciable increase in the amount of sugar available for private consumption. The Committee would put on record that such rationing has been carried out strictly under the rules of the Food Control Department, that is for Manufacturers, 11 ½ per cent of their 1915 supply, for the period covered by the immediate authorities, and for Caterers and Institutions, on the basis of 2-7ths of an oz. per meal, with certain modifications to meet special restrictions such as those against afternoon teas for people who live out in Institutions, and allowances against the sugar used in cakes in certain classes of catering business.

Householders Applications

These applications on the whole are not very incorrectly [sic] filled in, a good many being traced who had omitted the address, by names of schools being inserted on the forms. Voluntary assistance has been given in filing applications, writing envelopes, etc, and all sugar cards should be out early this week.

Hotels, Restaurants

We regret to say that the registers required to be kept under the “Public Meals Order” have not been very well kept in many cases, and that some excess in food has been going on. We hope that this is now stopped.

Food Economy Campaign

The Committee have received a communication from the Ministry of Food asking them to set up a special committee for this purpose, but they have decided to deal with such a campaign, as the question arises, at meetings of the full committee.

We received 48 applications for licences to sell sugar, from retailers, 47 licences have been granted, one application being refused by the Committee on the grounds that no legitimate retail business was in existence.

Flour Compensation

The Committee and their staff were given a good deal of work in connection with this matter.

Potato Licences

The Committee received a large number of applications for dealing in potatoes, the majority of which have been dealt with. They have some late applications which have just come in.

Members of the Committee for the Sugar Distribution Scheme had to meet on an average twice a week, to deal with the above, and also in regard to Flour Compensation, and other details of their work.

Newbury Borough: Report of the Food Control Committee (N/AC1/2/8)

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A substitute for certain industrial processes connected with the war

Newbury children were recruited to collect horse chestnuts for use in munitions – which would in turn release more food.

Friday, August 31st, 1917

Teacher on Military Service

The Sub-committee recommend that Mr G F Pyke, a Certificated Assistant Master on the staff at the Newbury CE Boys’ School, who has been on military service since March 31st last, be granted an allowance at the rate of £13 per annum whilst he is holding his present rank in the Army; such allowance to take effect as from April 1st, 1917.


Collection of Horse Chestnuts

A circular letter was received from the Board of Education intimating that the Ministry of Food and the Ministry of Munitions had asked for the assistance of Local Education Authorities in collecting this year’s crop of horse-chestnuts.

It appears that a considerable quantity of grain is at present being used in certain industrial processes connected with the war, and that in order to set this grain free for food, experiments have been made to discover a substitute. This substitute has been found in the horse-chestnut, and it is stated that for every ton of chestnuts which are harvested, half a ton of grain can be saved for human consumption.

The secretary was asked to make the necessary arrangements with the schools for the older boys and girls to assist in collecting the horse-chestnuts in the borough and neighbourhood, and to communicate with owners of property with the view to permission being granted to parties of children to collect the nuts on their premises.

The Sub-committee have made the following arrangements for the temporary storage of the chestnuts:

(a) for children collecting north of Newbury Water Bridge: at Mr J Stradling’s premises (The Newbury Coach and Motor Works), London Road.

(b) for children collecting south of Newbury Water Bridge: the playshed of the Council Boys’ School, Station Road.

Minutes of Finance, School Management and General Purposes Sub-committee of the Education Committee, Newbury Borough Council (N/AC1/2/8)

A bathing grievance on the part of the Women Munition Workers

Public baths offered both a swimming pool and washing facilities – particularly useful for workers living in rented rooms with no bathrooms. In a more modest era, single sex facilities were normal.

Thursday, June 14th, 1917

Analysis of Flour

The Acting Inspector was requested to take action under the Order of the Food Controller and to obtain samples of the flour used by the bakers in the manufacture of Bread.

Baths – Hours for Women

The Mayor stated that there existed a grievance on the part of the Women Munition Workers in consequence of their inability to use the Public Baths on account of the hours on which the Baths were open to women. The present hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday 11 am to 6 pm, Saturday 11 am to 1 pm.

The Committee decided that the Baths should be open to women in addition to the above, on Tuesdays and on Sundays from 9.30 am until 12.30 pm. The baths would therefore cease to be open to men on the two evenings of the week mentioned, and children would not be admitted on Sundays between 9.30 am and 12.30 pm.

Newbury Borough General, Sanitary, Baths and Cemetery Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/8)

Impress upon the children the urgent need for the prevention of waste in food

Schools in Newbury were struggling thanks to the war.

Thursday, May 24th, 1917

Resignation of Teachers

Mr G H Keen, an assistant master at the Council Boys’ School, had been called up for military service on May 18th, and it is recommended that his appointment be kept open for him.

The secretary was instructed to press for the release from military service of one of the Authority’s teachers who since his enlistment had been medically classified as low as C3, and in the event of this teacher being discharged from the Army to appoint him temporarily to the Council Boys’ School.

It may be mentioned that there were eight Assistant Masters in the service of the Local Education Authority before the war; but now there are only two in the whole of the Borough Schools, and one of these is filling the position temporarily….

Food Economy

A letter was received from the Board of Education calling attention to the urgent need for economy in food and especially for saving in bread, and stating that information had reached the Food Controller that there was waste among the children who brought their midday meal to school. The Sub-committee were informed that the matter had been brought to the notice of the Authority’s Head Teachers, and that they had been asked to impress upon the children the urgent need for the prevention of waste in food.

The Sub-committee were also informed that “Empire Day”, Thursday May 24th, was made the occasion in the Borough Schools for giving the children a special lesson on the subject of Food Economy, and also that copies of the recent Proclamation of the King were distributed in the schools.

The Sub-committee considered the question of providing a Public Kitchen for the use of children who bring their midday meal to school, and the secretary was instructed to ascertain the number of these children in the Borough Schools, and to submit a report on the matter to the next meeting….

Finance, School Management and General Purposes Sub-committee of the Newbury Borough Education Committee (N/AC1/2/8)

Stop the lavish display of eatables in many provision and food shops

Some people were keen to ensure the authorities cracked down on food waste.

Friday, May 18th, 1917

Food Economy

A communication from Mr G S Shaw, Hon. Secretary of the Food Economy Bureau, Newbury, was read, drawing attention to (1) the lavish display of eatables in many provision and food shops; (2) the waste of bread; and (3) the waste of other food material suitable for pigs; and suggesting the establishment of co-operative kitchens under the control of the Corporation.

The Committee fully appreciate the seriousness of the matters to which their attention has been called, particularly with regard to the reported waste of bread, and the Town Clerk was requested to issue public warning of the heavy penalties to which persons are liable who in any way infringe the Regulations under the Defence of the Realm Act with regard to such waste.

Newbury Borough Council: Finance, Watch and General Purposes Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/8)

The use of the Wash Common Recreation Ground as allotments

Newbury Borough Council was prepared to hand over a local recreation ground for vegetable growing.

Tuesday, January 16th, 1917

Cultivation of land for food production

A communication was received from the Newbury District Gardeners Mutual Improvement Association, urging the importance of utilising available land for food production purposes. The Committee desire it to be known that they would be prepared to entertain applications for the use of the Wash Common Recreation Ground as allotments, at a nominal rent, the applicants being responsible for the clearing and preparing of the ground.

Cultivation of Lands Order, 1916

A circular letter was laid before the Committee from the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries relative to the Regulation made by Order in Council under the Defence of the Realm Consolidation Act, 1914, with the object of increasing the food supplies of the country by extending the existing powers of providing land for cultivation.

By an Order made by the Board in pursuance of this Regulation, allotment authorities in urban areas are empowered to exercise on behalf of the Board the powers conferred by the Regulation, viz the taking possession of (1) unoccupied land, without the necessity of obtaining any consents; (2) occupied land, by agreement with the owner and occupier, and (3) common land, with the consent of the Board. The Board out that in exercising the powers conferred by the Order, Councils will be acting on behalf of the Board, and that no charge will fall on the local rates. The Committee considered the desirability of utilising the powers thus conferred upon the Council, and, while it would seem that the terms of the Board’s letter preclude the use of such a site as Northcroft, the Committee feel that the owner of the vacant land on the eastern side of Rockingham Road might be approached with a view to the acquiring of a portion of such land, should a demand exist for additional land for cultivation as allotments.

Distribution of Seed Potatoes

A letter from the Agricultural Organiser for Berkshire was received, asking the Council to appoint a local correspondent for the carrying out in the Borough of the scheme for the distribution of seed potatoes, as supplied through the Board of Agriculture. In view of the early date by which returns have to be presented as to any quantity of potatoes it may be desired to acquire on the special terms offered by the scheme, the Town Clerk was directed to pass on the communications which had been received to the Newbury and District Gardeners’ Mutual Improvement Association, with a suggestion that they should utilise the scheme in accordance with any local needs of which they may have knowledge.

Newbury Borough Council: Estates, Markets and Bye-laws Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/8)