“More might spare time from the river or their gardens to pray for the brothers and fathers and friends, who in our defence have neither our pleasures, our comfort, nor our safety”

The vicar of Maidenhead found wartime bread substitutes were inappropriate for Holy Communion.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

Ascension Day and Whit-Sunday have come to us in glorious weather, and we had satisfactory numbers of Communicants and good congregations. Both might have been rather better, for though well up to the level of other years, in this time of stress, I think more might spare time from the river or their gardens to pray for the brothers and fathers and friends, who in our defence have neither our pleasures, our comfort, nor our safety…

St Luke’s is going to ask for some extra donations to wipe off our deficit. Collections have been up in both churches, but the price of fuel, light, etc, has soared like an aeroplane…

Lastly, I have to ask for your consideration in a very delicate matter that needs reverent treatment. We are very fortunate in being able to get a special loaf of bread made for Church use, which is purer and whiter than the ordinary war bread. This, I hope, we shall always be able to get for Sundays, and we are much indebted for the trouble that has been taken by those who supply us with the bread. But frequently there are (in addition to Thursday) occasional week-day Celebrations. Sometimes I can arrange for a special loaf; sometimes it is difficult for me to do so. In these last cases, on week-days I propose to use wafer bread, made in squares that one can break, thus preserving the symbolism of the “One Loaf”. It is made of pure wheat, flour and water, and thus obeys the spirit of the rubric at the end of the Holy Communion Service. And there is no Scriptural or Church Warrant for the use of potato flour, etc, in church bread.

I must ask you to believe me when I say that I do it reluctantly, but I feel that in the circumstances the use of the very crumbly war bread makes devout persons of all schools of thought in the Church feel that something else should be secured that can be more easily and reverently divided. In France, I believe, the Army almost always uses wafer bread for the Holy Communion Service. No one attending the week-day Services will, I think, be made uncomfortable by the change; and old-fashioned people will not be disturbed by any change on Sunday as long as I can get a special loaf made.

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar
C.E.M. FRY

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, June 1918 (D/P181/28A/27)

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Not much to grumble at

The Governor of Reading Prison was defensive about complaints about the food put forward by one of the Irish internees.

Place of Internment
Reading
29 May 1918

W L Cole

1. The Commissioners’ instructions are – no letters in or out – no visits.

2. When formerly here, the Home Office allowed parcels of food &c. Now food is controlled & parcels mean letters to acknowledge.

3. By Commissioners’ orders these men were on Local Prison diet. This does not carry tea or coffee. Further as tea is rationed in Reading, 1 ½ oz per head per week, they could not buy it without coupons, and they cannot write [for it]. Now the diet has been altered – as for the remainder of the interned aliens – they can have tea for breakfast or coffee.

4. They receive 3 ½ oz a head a week, the same as other interned men – Reading maximum ration is 4 oz per week. They receive 14 oz of bread daily, the same as other men. Cereals are limited to 117 oz a head a week.

5. They receive potatoes daily and on most days of the week a second vegetable – leeks – or something else as well – where procurable.

I will give their food today – not much to grumble at. They can supplement that by purchasing non controlled articles.

Breakfast – 6 oz bread, 1 pint porridge, ¼ oz margarine, 1 pint coffee.

Dinner – 2 oz bread, 1 ½ oz salt pork, 4 oz haricot beans, 16 oz potatoes, 4 oz stewed rhubarb (fresh), 4 oz leeks (from garden).

Supper – 5 oz bread, 1 pint cocoa, ¼ oz margarine, 6 oz potatoes, 1 ½ oz salt pork (alternatively with cheese).

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

Bring your own potatoes

Pupils learning to cook during the war had to use potatoes for pastry dough.

28 May 1918

Cookery: Course I. N. Moreton 5. S. Moreton 8. Wallingford C.E. 5

No. 12

Date: May 28th
Time: 1.45-4pm

Lesson: Shortcrust pastry. Tarts [alternative]

No. present: 8

Signature: R. D. Bronsdon.

Girls brought own potatoes for pastry.

Wallingford Cookery Centre Log Book, 1914-1920 (SCH22/8/5, pp. 169-170)

Compulsory powers for the use of potatoes in making bread in order to obtain uniformity within the district

Tea was set to be the next item on the rationing list.

17th May 1918

A Memo. From the Ministry of Food with reference to the proposed system of Tea Distribution based on the registration of customers, was considered. The Committee expressed themselves in favour of compulsory rationing throughout the Kingdom, but considered the ration proposed by the Ministry to be insufficient.

A Circular letter with reference to the National Kitchens Order 1918 as to the desirability of providing a National Kitchen for this area, was considered; but as the matter was under consideration of the Education Committee, it was considered desirable to await the result of that Committee’s report.

The Committee considered it desirable to obtain compulsory powers for the use of potatoes in making bread in order to obtain uniformity within the district, and the Executive Officer was instructed to communicate with the Ministry accordingly.

A special supply of jam having been obtained, the Committee decided that the same should be distributed through the medium of customers’ margarine cards, which were to be specially marked.

Surplus butter was allowed to be preserved up to 10 lbs per person until the 1st July next.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

This year we have got to produce as much food as we possibly can

Winkfield continued to support the troops in various ways.

THE PAROCHIAL WAR COMMITTEE

It is now nearly a year since the War Savings Branch was started. The first Certificate was purchased on April 18th, 1917, and up to date 171, representing £132 10s. 6d. have been purchased and 138 have been taken up.

The Committee are anxious to encourage the spraying of potatoes again this season. The potato crop is of more vital importance than ever this year; we have got to produce as much food as we possibly can and it is our bounden duty to study the subject and get as heavy crops as possible. The potato is the king of vegetables and all other garden crops should be second to it, but every possible step must be taken to guard against disease, and therefore all potatoes should be properly sprayed, for if this is done the crops will be heavier and the disease less prevalent.

Thanks to Mr. Achser’s generosity we have a spraying machine for use in the parish, so the only expense will be chemicals and labour; but as there will be a great demand for the Burgundy spraying mixture orders ought to be given without delay, and since before ordering the Committee must know approximately the quantity required, those who would like their crops sprayed are asked to inform Mr. C. Osman or some member of the Committee, at once.

Miss Hershel is about to revise the Roll of Honour and will be glad to receive information of the name, regiment, and date of enlistment of those who have joined since January 1917, and also of any other changes that may be needful in the roll.

Winkfield section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, April 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/4)

Potatoes and Passover

David Stad was a Dutch salesman aged 27 when he arrived at Reading in January 1916. He was the only Jewish internee.

2 April 1918
R. Koch
2.10.15 S. of S. Order, Defence of the Realm Regn: Internment
The above named Alien was visited yesterday the 1st by Miss D. Thain (friend), of 56 Gladstone Avenue, Wood Green, N.
The conversation was friendly and of personal affairs. The Alien stated he was in good health.
C M Morgan
Governor
[to] The Commissioners

2nd April 1918
D. Stad
17.7.15 S of S Order, Defence of the Realm Regn: Internment
The above named Alien was visited yesterday by Miss Wolfe of 136 Oxford Road, Reading, daughter of the Jewish Rabbi for Reading.
The conversation was about the way he should carry out the rites of the Passover.
C M Morgan
Governor
[to] The Commissioners

2 April 1918
Garden
Have the Commissioners any objection to the garden officer, Warder Coates, having a suit of drill and pair of old boots temporarily, and working in the prison garden? I have one prisoner on medical grounds and another prisoner part time at work – but Mr Coates has volunteered to work himself with them in order to get in the potatoes. This would be better than a larger party who only talk and smoke – besides saving the pay of the other prisoners.
C M Morgan
Gov.
[to] The Commissioners
PS We have suitable stuff in store.

[They received an immediate reply permitting it as a special case.]

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

Experimental baking

The impact of food shortages is reflected in the new recipes for bread tried at Reading Prison.

9th March 1918
Circular No. 41 – 15.2.18

Referring to the above on the subject of the use of potatoes in breadmaking, I have to report that a new supply of Government Regulation flour has this week been obtained from a local firm, Messrs S M Soundy & Son, and an experimental bake produced. The percentage of only 23 per cent. With previous flour 24 was [used?].
Governor

Noted – No doubt the percentage of grain will vary with the flour.
Is the bread otherwise satisfactory?
[Illegible signature]
12.3.18

Yes, the bread is now quite good, we tried adding more water to make a larger percentage, but the flour would not take it up, and the result was bad.
C M Morgan
Gov
13-12-18

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

Trying to ‘do their bit’

Food shortages were encouraging people to take up growing heir own fruit and veg.

Food Production.

The Committee of the Crowthorne, S. Sebastian, Finchampstead and Sandhurst Horticultural Society has decided to hold a Fruit and Vegetable Show during the month of October, the idea being to encourage the cultivation of food to the greatest extent possible. For this same purpose the Wokingham Horticultural Society has just been formed and proposes to hold a Show on Sept. 25th.

In this connection the ‘Wolf Cubs’ are trying to ‘do their bit’ on a piece of ground kindly lent to them.

Will anyone send them along a few seeds, but more especially seed potatoes.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P154C/28A/1)

Grow more potatoes

The need to grow more food inspired lessons for West Berkshire children.

Aldworth
22 February 1918

The children have this week written an essay on the potato and need of extra cultivation this season on account of the shortage of food – Prizes (in the form of seed potatoes) are to be given by Mr Roscoe of Streatley to the children who have written the best essay.

Reading
February 22nd 1918

Schools closed this afternoon on account of Children’s Concerts to be given in Large Town Hall for Wounded soldiers.

A new price for butter

Newbury implemented price controls to stop retailers cashing in on shortages.

January 1st 1918

Home Defence Corps

A letter was read from Second Lieutenant F A Greet asking for the support of the Council to an effort to increase the number of the Newbury Corps so that it might be continued as a separate unit instead of being merged in the Reading Corps.

Food Control Committee

The report of the meetings of the Food Control Committee was referred to from the chair. The Mayor also mentioned that the steps taken by the Committee with respect to the distribution of margarine.

Report of the Local Food Control Committee (appended)

Meetings of this committee have been held on the 29th October, the 5tyh, 12th, 19th and 26th November, and the 3rd, 10th and 19th December.

In October last the Committee fixed the price of English Farmhouse Butter at 2s 4d per lb. subsequently at the meeting on the 19th December, the Committee having fixed a rate for Blended and Imported Irish Butter at 2s 6d per lb, the Committee decided to raise the price of English Farmhouse Butter to 2s 5d per lb….

Potato Licenses.

The Committee have granted licenses to various applicants as wholesalers and retailers. By agreement with the Butchers, the maximum retail prices have been fixed for the sale of Meat within the Area.

It having become necessary to appoint an Officer whose special duty it would be to see that the Orders of the Food Controller were carried into effect, the Committee appointed Mr G W Stillman as Enforcement Officer at a salary of 30s per week….

Complaints having been received as to the sale of Matches and Bread in contravention of the Orders dealing with these articles, prosecutions were ordered by the Committee, and the cases were subsequently dealt with before the Justices.

Newbury Borough minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

“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)

The first War-Time Vegetable Show is a big success

The shortages resulting from restricted imports and the lack of agricultural labour led to efforts to encourage civilians to grow their own vegetables.

June 1917
The War-time Vegetable Show

Schedules, giving all particulars of the War-time Vegetable Show, which will be held on Wednesday, October 3rd, are now ready and can be obtained from members of the Committee, or from MR. H. Coleby, Hon. Secretary, at the Schools. It is hoped that intending exhibitors will read the rules carefully, noting especially numbers 2 and 4, respecting the dates of entries. Certificates of Entries will be found at the end of the Schedules.

November 1917
The Gardeners’ Association

The first War-Time Vegetable Show was held on Wednesday afternoon, October 3rd, and proved a big success. The Committee worked hard and splendid examples of what can be done in Vegetable Growing when men put their backs into it, were exhibited; more potatoes might have been shown with advantage, and the competition would have been much keener. The Judges were loud in their praises of the work that had been accompanied by the Gardeners’ Association in conjunction with the Wargrave Food Production Committee and hoped to find a much more ambitious show next year. The local newspapers contain a complete prize list so it is unnecessary to give it again in the Magazine.

Wargrave parish magazine, June and November 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

Wounded men dig potatoes

Some wounded soldiers helped to feed themselves.

14th September 1917

Payment to wounded men for digging potatoes.

The payment of 3£ divided amongst 8 of the wounded soldiers for assisting in getting up the potatoes for the Hospital was approved.

Maidenhead Cottage Hospital governors’ minutes (D/H1/1/2, p. 345)

Potatoes for victory

Boys in Datchet were growing potatoes to help feed the country, while children in Cookham and their parents were putting their savings in the care of the government, for use in the war.

Datchet National Mixed School
5 September 1917
The potatoes were set, the weather most favourable & the boys are employed in the half-acre “Victory” Plot until further notice.

Cookham Alwyn Road School
September 5th 1917

The War Savings Association continues to do good work. The takings this week were much above the average, and reached £20-5-5.

Log books of Datchet National Mixed School (SCH30/8/3, p. 400); and Cookham Alwyn Road School (88/SCH/18/1, p. 302)

Plant food means human food

Local gardeners were encouraged to use chemicals to increase food yields.

PLANT FOOD means HUMAN FOOD!

Plants must have Food if they are to produce all they are capable of.
Much of the Land which has been newly broken up this season is sadly deficient in Plant Food. Farm Yard or Stable Manure has been very difficult – often quite impossible – to obtain. Unless means are adopted for Feeding the Crops, they will be small and disappointing.

The so-called Artifical Manures are really

CONCENTRATED PLANT FOOD

AND

You can Double Your Crops by their proper use.

We stock all the Standard kinds.

Sulphate of Ammonia and Superphosphate FOR POTATOES.

J. P. WEBSTER, FRHS, SEEDSMAN AND HORTICULTURAL SUNDRIESMAN,
124 High Street, & Station Front, Maidenhead
ALSO AT COOKHAM AND BOURNE END.

The Richer Your Land the Heavier Your Crop by the Use of Fertilisers.
Compete for our Handsome Challenge Bowl and Valuable Cash Prizes at Cox Green War Time Food Show, Aug. 16.

Advertisement in Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)