No reason for uncleanliness

A mother tried to blame her child’s headlice on he husband’s return from the Front.

13th November 1917

Mrs Penfold of Tyrell’s Buildings called to see Head Teacher & protested against the treatment of her child re. verminous notice for exclusion, on the grounds that she had to work hard to support three children & a husband, a discharged soldier unfit for work.

Mistress explained that this was no reason for uncleanliness & showed her what to do & how to do it & to take her child to the clinic again for re-admission into school.

Log book of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1, p. 404)

The quality and price of “Government Beer”

The Dodeka Club talked about various matters to do with food and drink. The members were mostly associated with a local Congregational Church, hence the reference to some being deacons, who held a position of some responsibility. The government had just introduced legislation weakening the strength of beer, while increasing taxes on it.

The 287th meeting of the Dodeka was held at Penfold’s on Nov 2nd 1917.

In the early part of the evening some considerable amount of discussion took place with regard to the quality and price of “Government Beer”. The secretary notices that the Deacon members took an animated part, and it was finally described as “Arms & Legs”.

Despite the restrictions of the Food Controller and other difficulties, the host provided very excellent refreshments…

The host having stated that sufficient notice of the meeting had not been given for him to provide a paper, a discussion took place regarding Government Methods, more particularly with regard to the Sugar Ration.

Dodeka Book Club minutes (D/EX2160/1/3)

“A great want of confidence in Politicians, the War Office and the judgments of Tribunals”

Members of Reading’s Dodeka Club discussed the thorny question of conscription. The evening’s host was considering whether it was time for him to join up voluntarily.

The 282nd meeting of the club was held at Goodenough’s on March 2nd, 1917.

… Gibbons introduced a friend, Lt de Villiers…

…After refreshments the host suggested as a commencement for discussion the question of “National Service”, and pointed out that he personally was requiring advice as to the advisability of volunteering. The experience gained after the Military Service Act and the Derby Scheme gave one a great want of confidence in Politicians, the War Office and the judgments of Tribunals. The host feeling great doubt in his mind as to whether justice would be done to the great body of business men in the country.

Penfold started the ball rolling in the discussion, by asking if members were liable to prosecution under the Defence of the Realm Regulations, should any decision be arrived at, a military representative being present. Some discussion then took place regarding the action of Tribunals, the necessity or otherwise of National Service, compulsion and reduction of the number of shopkeepers. A very pleasant evening was concluded with some submarine stories of a rather fishy nature and a pun relating to Bagged Dads by Gibbons.

Dodeka Book Club minutes (D/EX2160/1/3)

The Force of Right vs the Right of Force

A Reading book and discussion club tackled a deep philosophical question about war:

The 277th meeting of the club was held at Penfold’s on Oct 6th 1916…

A very interesting paper was read by the host, Contrasting the Force of Right with the Right of Force, especially emphasising the mistake of Germany in relying upon the latter. A discussion followed.

Dodeka Book Club minutes (D/EX2160/1/3)

A pretty pass

The Dodeka Book Club in Reading was a small group of 12 men who all belonged to Trinity Congregational Church. They met regularly to share books and discuss topics of interest. At their first meeting after the outbreak of the war, they talked about the war and chose a number of war-related books to buy and circulate.

October 2nd 1914

The following new books were voted in:
“Memoirs of the Kaiser’s Court” proposed by Morris 10/6
“Germany and the next War” proposed by Penfold 2/-

“Men around the Kaiser” proposed by Ridley 2/-
“Germany’s swelled head” by Johnson 1/-
[Two other books unrelated to the war.]

The host [Mr Gibbons] then delivered his paper on the “European Situations”. Drawing attention to the fact that his last subject was the “Progress of Nations”, he stated we had arrived at a pretty pass now. This big industrious nation of ours had been brought face to face with a sudden crisis and that she had met it with confidence and spirit spoke volumes from the strong course steered by the statesmen who form our Cabinet. “A serious war tomorrow would prove to our cost that the Army is not of the Old Stamp” said a British General a few years back. General French knew different to this and events have already shown our modern army in all its branches is probably superior to any army of the old stamp and no army in the world possesses a finer record than ours. The military preparations of our country had proved to be of a thorough character. British interventions in the European Situation has had the primary effect of stiffening the military power of France and Russia and has contributed largely to the great check given to Germany’s invincible army. In Russia it has been the means of uniting her disaffected provinces.

The host then went on to show that Germany’s great task, to which she subordinated everything else was to dispute the British claim to supremacy at sea. Germany boasts an invincible Army and England an invincible Navy. Events may prove there is no such word as “invincible” as applied to warfare. There was a great responsibility resting upon the shoulders of Sir John Jellicoe and he hoped the nation would never forget it. In conclusion, Gibbons said the war was more serious for Germany and the Western Powers than for Russia and the Balkan States whatever its termination as the latter being backward in civilization stood to gain by the war in a general awakening and throwing off of despotic powers.

Dodeka Book Club minutes (D/EX2160/1/3)