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.

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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)

“100,000 tonnes of potatoes could be added to the food supply of the Nation”

Winkfield people hoped communal effort would help with food shortages.

WINKFIELD WAR ASSOCIATION.

Mr. Asher has generously presented a spraying machine for potatoes for the use of the parish, but though it was ordered by the Association 5 or 6 weeks ago it has not yet arrived. When it comes it is hoped that we may be able to have a demonstration on the allotments in Winkfield Row and make arrangements whereby the machine can be used to the best advantage.

The Board of Agriculture assert that if small growers of potatoes in England and Wales would spray their crops this year, 100,000 tonnes of potatoes could be added to the food supply of the Nation.
The Association has also taken steps to try and insure that an adequate supply of coal shall be available next winter for those who cannot store coal in large quantities in the summer, and they have applied to the Coal Controller for leave to buy 250 tons at once. No reply has yet been received, but we hope to be able to state that this effort has been successful and give full particulars of the terms on which the coal can be bought next winter.

Owing to War conditions it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep our Choir up to anything like full strength in either men or boys. We should therefore welcome any assistance from the congregation, and in the hope that it will lead to more hearty congregational singing we ask all able to do so to attend the short practices which will be held in the Parish Room every Sunday evening at 6 o’clock.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, July 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/7)

The importance of spraying potatoes this year

The latest technology was put to use to maximise food production.

WINKFIELD WAR ASSOCIATION.

On June 29th a meeting was held at the Men’s Club, Winkfield Row, to discuss how the best use could be made of Mr. Asher’s generous gift of a spraying machine for use in the parish. The Vicar presided and explained the importance of spraying potatoes this year. A working Committee was elected, and anyone wishing to utilize their services should inform Mr. T. Beal without delay.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, August 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/8)

Sacks of waste paper

Winkfield people collected waste paper and grew potatoes for the nation.

WINKFIELD WAR ASSOCIATION.

The Secretary of the War Savings Association reports that we have now 57 members, and 19 War Savings Certificates have been bought. As the Association was only started in the first week in April we may hope that it will not be long before the membership will increase to three figures.

Several sacks have already been filled with waste paper and we hope soon to hear of the filling of many others.

The holders of the new allotments at Winkfield Row have been working very hard, and with favourable weather should reap a good reward. The Government recommend that this year all potatoes should be sprayed to guard against disease, and the Committee hope to be able to arrange for the hiring of a portable spraying machine for use in the parish.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/6)

‘Not many “offer forms” were filled up’ for National Service Scheme

Cranbourne people were prepared to grow food and save waste paper, but were less keen to offer their services.

A Waste Paper Depot has been arranged at the Sunday School. Waste Paper is received every Wednesday afternoon between 2 p.m. and 5.30 p.m.

The Seed Potatoes have arrived and will be given out on Wednesday, April 25th, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. We are grateful to Mr. Belcher for the use of his barn.

A canvass of the Parish in connection with the National Service Scheme has been made, but not many “offer forms” were filled up.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, May 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/5)

No potatoes and poor quality beer

Shortages were beginning to bite for William Hallam in Swindon.

14th April 1917

All the greengrocers shops had notices up “No potatoes”. So we shall have to do without this Sunday. After tea I went along to Bath Rd Reading Room till nearly 8. Beer and stout is now 6d a pint and poor stuff at that price but I got some to-night for supper.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/26)

A peer’s potato plan

Berkshire people were being encouraged to grow their own food. A local peer offered his advice.

Below is a short article which will be read with interest by many of our readers who were present at the meeting which was held on “Food Production.” We desire to take this opportunity of thanking Col. Wedderburn and Mr. Crisp for their helpful counsel at that meeting.

Potatoes
From Lord Desborough

Sir – it may be of interest to some of your readers who have gardens, and who are in want of seed potatoes, to hear of a plan which I have practised for some time.

For every potato which comes into the house has one eye cut out. The eye is put in a wooden tray in a leaf mould sufficient to cover it. When it sprouts it can be planted in the usual way, about the beginning of April. As this house has been used for some time as a Home of Rest for War Nurses, there is a large consumption of potatoes, but it is satisfactory to think that each potato consumed has a chance of producing six others. The surplus of sprouting potatoes can be given to those who can grow them.

Taplow Court, Taplow. Bucks. DESBOROUGH.

Wargrave parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

Great battle of aeroplanes

News came of naval and air battles (the latter part of the Battle of Arras, also known as ‘Bloody April‘), while at home Bisham was ready to plant potatoes in every garden.

9 April 1917

Two German destroyers [illegible]. Great battle of aeroplanes – 50 each side. We lost 28, they 46!!

Hear seed potatoes will go round village.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

The gravity of the situation and the imperative need for all to carry out the instructions of the Food Controller

Various kinds of savings were pursued in Winkfield – but there were concerns as to how poorer people would cope.

WINKFIELD WAR ASSOCIATION.

The Committee organised a Public Meeting in the Parish Room on Friday, March 30th , when there was a large attendance.

Mrs. Boyce gave an excellent address on the Food question, pointing out clearly the gravity of the situation and the imperative need for all to carry out the instructions of the Food Controller, especially as regards to bread; and the point was emphasized that although the labouring man who could not afford so much meat might legitimately take a larger allowance of bread, yet he is now bound to reduce his usual amount by at least one pound a week.

Mr. Creasy also spoke on the importance of War Savings, and proposed the following resolution which was seconded by Mr. Harrison and carried “that all present pledge themselves to co-operate in carrying out the regulations of Lord Devonport and the Authorities on the question of rations to households generally, and to support the War Savings Association to the best of their ability”.

The Committee learning that many Cottagers and Allotment holders found great difficulty in obtaining seed potatoes arranged to buy a ton of seed at once, and Mr. Asher kindly advanced the money to secure them. Most of these potatoes have now been applied for, but a few pecks are still available, and any wishing to buy them should apply to Mr. C. Osman, Winkfield Row.

Arrangements have been made for the saving of waste paper; sacks have been taken by Mr G. Brown, Maiden’s Green, Mr. Eales, Winkfield Street, Mr. C. Osman, Winkfield Row, Mr. Langley, Brock Hill, Mr. Osman, Gorse Place, and also at the Schools, and it is hoped that many will send contributions of waste paper (old letters, circulars, newspapers, but not brown paper) to help fill these sacks which will then be collected and forwarded.

Winkfeld section of Winkfield District Magazine, May 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/5)