No local Tea rationing necessary

Newbury set parameters for the use of potatoes in making bread.

21st June 1918

The Committee considered a recommendation from the Rural District Council with reference to the rationing of Tea, and considered that no local Tea rationing was necessary.

A complaint with regard to the sale of sugar to a retailer was to be referred to the Sugar Commission.

An application for the re-opening of the Bread Business carried on by the late Mr Keep was approved.

The Committee decided that the quantity of potatoes to be used in the manufacture of bread should be 15 lbs, to 280 lbs of flour until the 30th of October next, and 20 lbs to 280 lbs of flour after that date.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Sub-committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

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Registration of retailers of Sweetmeats

Some people had allegedly sneakily acquired two lots of ration cards.

7th June 1918

Applications for registration as retailers of Sweetmeats were considered. The Committee, in view of the Regulations issued by the Ministry, were unable to sanction the same.

The Committee had under consideration certain information which would seem to suggest that two applications had been made, one in this district, and one outside, for supplementary ration cards, which had been granted in each case, and the Executive Officer was instructed to investigate the matter.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Sub-committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

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)

Complaints about rationing

28th May 1918

Meeting of Sub-committee to consider a communication with reference to certain complaints which had been made by a registered customer with regard to the supply of certain food. The complaint, however, was not proceeded with, at the customer’s desire. A communication from the Ministry with regard to supplementary rations was also dealt with, and the Executive Officer was authorised, if necessary, to obtain additional help with the preparation and distribution of the New Ration Books.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Sub-committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

The men have little beyond what they stand in

The Governor of Reading was anxious about how to deal with gifts sent to the Irish internees from home, when they were banned from receiving letters.

Place of Internment
Reading
28 May 1918

1. Will the Commissioners please inform me what I should do with letters that arrive for the Irish interned prisoners – several have come today. I should prefer not to open them, as they many contain money – which would have to be acknowledged, and also as the men would not have the letters, it might lead to questions as to the amount received. I cannot well put them with property as any money orders would lapse. Should they be marked not delivered and returned to Post Office?

2. Parcels – should they be opened & delivered or returned or what is being done?

3. All of the men have requested to write for money and clothing. My instructions at present are no letters or visits. 1 and 3 depend on each other as regards letters. So far I have issued any clothing that has come, as the men have little beyond what they stand in.

Since writing the above, parcels of Jam – sugar – cakes have arrived from Ireland. All are rationed articles, what is to be done with them please.

At present they can be locked up.
CMM

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

The Irish prisoners are to be treated exactly the same as the men already interned

There were instructions for the restrictions to be imposed on the new influx of Irish internees.

24 May 1918

A copy of telegrams received this afternoon from the Commissioners is attached.

My instructions from the Commissioners are that the Irish prisoners when they arrive are to be treated exactly the same as the men already interned here, with the exception that they are not allowed letters or visits.

Consequently they will – unless I receive further instructions – have following treatment:

Cells open 7.10 am to 7.45 pm – unlimited exercise between those hours except at meal times. Smoking – English newspapers (I propose to restrict all Irish ones as I did before – though I still have the list of those formerly approved) – Canteen – purchases from other shops of articles not prohibited by Food Controller – Furnish their cells with comforts &c – Cards – games.

C M Morgan
Gov

Transcription of telegrams received from the Commissioners 24.5.18

No. 1
Handed in at Parliament St
Allow Irish prisoners to smoke.
Commissioners

No. 2
Allow Irish prisoners to purchase unrationed articles of food.
Commissioners

24.5.18
[to] The Governor
Reading P of I

With reference to the recent instructions sent to you to receive certain “Irish” prisoners into your custody, please note that the dietary to be used for such persons will be the Local Prison one, but the prisoners may be permitted to purchase for their use unrationed articles.

A J Ward
Sec:

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

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)

Avoid rationed ham becoming unfit for human consumption

Rationing could sometimes restrict sales beyond what was sensible, allowing food to go off because no one was allowed to buy it:

9th May 1918

An application for the sale of hams was allowed at the maximum retail price of 1s 9 ½ d per lb without coupons in order to avoid the same becoming unfit for human consumption.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Sub-committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

Edible offal versus falling into a sewer

Food rationing had now hit the universities, accustomed to lavish tables. But if John Maxwell Image felt dismayed, he also knew of the privations at the front, and those suffered by French civilians, courtesy of his brothers in law.

29 Barton Road
5 May ‘18

My VDB

Your letter arrived on Friday, and I can’t tell you how it rejoiced me to find you writing in such good spirits. Cheltenham is the place for you, evidently… I am prostrated before… a Communal Kitchen that provides edible food. (So does NOT ours here.)
I am flooded with printed notices from Trinity “in consequence of a change in the Meat Control Regulations”. Butchers’ Meat will, from May 6 (tomorrow), be served in Hall only on Tuesdays and Saturdays. On which days a whole Coupon will be required from each diner.
If he dines without one, or is absent, sans notice, the Fellow incurs a fine of 5/-.

On Mondays and Thursdays, Poultry, Game, Bacon or “edible offal” (!!) will be served instead of Meat. (Note, every item headed with a capital, except “edible offal”.) “And on these days a half coupon only will be required.”

Anyhow, it is “for the period of the war”.

What is to be eaten on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday we are not informed. More “edible offal”?

But the word “Fish” is not mentioned once on these Bills of Fare!

Florence is a genius of a Food Provider. I don’t feel the pinch of hunger. Indeed she and Ruth (the Cook) dish up food that is distinctly “edible”. Salmon, Sole, Bloater, Woodpigeon, etc, and ‘made dishes’ that do the pair credit.

Florence’s two officer brothers write very cheerfully and much oftener than one would expect. Two of their epistles came with yours on Friday, both are in the middle of the great Push, and keep their tails up well.

One had difficulty in getting there. He and his men were stranded within 5 or 6 miles of the British line by the French “borrowing” their “train complete with kits and rations and half their men”.

“The climax (he went on) came when at 2 a.m. this morning one of the party pitched into a ditch which was really the outfall from a sewer. The proceedings were trying for the victim. However he’s quite scraped down now. We dried him in sections before some boilers, and if one keeps up-wind, he’s all right. The worst is, if his kit doesn’t turn up, he has nothing else in France to escape into”.

The other brother sent a very mixed bag. He had been out on a raid the night before. He spoke of cuckoos, housemartins, song birds – lying on his back in an orchard reading the Lady of Shalott, white and blue and tortoiseshell butterflies, – and “when the battery behind us ceased fire for the moment, chaffinches making melody on the trees above” (he must have read Chaucer as well as Tennyson) – then, more sadly, of a “poor old badly crippled woman” who sobbed, in patois, pouring out her troubles to him, and “pathetically asked me whether I would do her the kindness of shooting her! My Captain, who says that he is a well-seasoned soldier, was quite overcome by the incident, so you can imagine that I had to take very great care to preserve an outward calm.”

Most affec.
Bild

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

An increased butter ration

There was a glut of butter, allowing Newbury shoppers a larger ration.


30th April 1918

The Food Control Committees Local Distribution Amendment Order, 1918, was considered and adopted; and the Executive Officer was to notify the Ministry of Food of such adoption.

The Milk (Summer Prices) Order, 1918, was considered, and it was decided that the maximum retail price of milk delivered to purchasers for the months of May, June and July, should be 1s 8d per imperial gallon.

The Committee sanctioned an increase of salary to Mr Kimber and Miss Wallace.

The Enforcement Officer having reported that the accumulated stock of home-made butter was largely in excess of the normal requirements, the Committee sanctioned an increased ration to ½ lb per head for one week.

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

In open boats for about 2 hours in a rough sea

Three Sisters of the Community of St John Baptist had a terrifying experience as they travelled home from India.

20 April 1918

Sister Alexandrina, Sister Marion Edith and Sister Edith Helen, who had left Calcutta March 9th, arrived safely after an adventurous voyage. They had only been allowed to travel with special permission from the Government of India on account of Sister Alexandrina’s state of health, which made it necessary for her to leave India.

Their ship was torpedoed by an enemy sub-marine in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Africa. Then passengers were transferred to the ship’s boats and all were saved. They were in open boats for about 2 hours in a rough sea. The Sisters & their companions were picked up by a British sloop-of-war and landed at Bizerta, where they remained for 4 days. Then they were taken on board a French mail boat carrying troops and were safely landed at Marseilles after a very uncomfortable voyage owing to the crowded condition of the steamer.

From Marseilles they travelled by train to Paris & Havre, & from thence crossed to Southampton.

Owing to rationing orders limiting the quantity to each House of certain articles of food, & the scarcity of others, the Sisters from the other Houses cannot for the present come to the House of Mercy for tea on Sundays, as has been the custom, nor have their meals there when having day’s retreats.

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

“It is incredible the difficulty of getting food here” – are piglets the answer?

One way around savage food restrictions was to buy your own piglet, and fatten it up on table scraps. Florence Image (nee Spencer) was inspired.

29 Barton Road
15 April ‘18
Beloved Signor

The Signora’s ambitious soul now requires Pigs! She learns that ownership of the unclean animal will entitle you to his entire carcase – (at all events, my lord R[hondda] is said to have granted so much to your first pig. She is full of hope and daring, has already purchased 2 little beasts, one white and one black. I, who am of soberer anticipation, went one day to see them – 10 weeks old. How horrible to feed and pamper creatures, not for their good but for their early death! Callous man!

She is just now in from a cycle flurry, thro’ howling wind and drenching rain, to Comberton, 5 miles off – in search of wood for the finish off of her stye for these two little beasts. It appears that the Meddlesome Food Tyrant demands permission and tickets for any member of the Middle or Upper Classes who wants to buy such a commodity as wood – unless it be old tarred wood. She rode first to Barton, where she had no success, but was directed to Comberton 2 miles further away. Her purchase is promised for delivery tomorrow. We won’t boast till it has actually arrived. But it really was a spirited expedition on a day like this.

It is incredible the difficulty of getting food here. We are fresh from a week of it in this house. Two of Florrie’s brothers, hurriedly recalled to the front, have successively been staying here to say goodbye – sickly that! (The most affectionate letter came here from the Colonel of one: he wrote like a father to his son. And another letter to the other brother from his Brigadier, equally flattering. Alas, since that was written, the whole brigade staff has been wiped out, except the Brig.-General himself, who is recommended for the VC.).

Then there was a cousin and godchild of my own – and my sister is staying with us. Finally a friend and his wife from next door – a Fellow of Caius, going out as Botany Professor to Capetown – when their house, No. 31, was gutted of all furniture, spent 4 days with us…

Well, we have 4 one-and-threepenny cards, per week, for meat. You may guess how thorny our task to feed these numbers. Fish we could get, tho’ not good, but, for meat, we had to bow our pride and accept help from our guests…

With our love to you both.

Affec.
Bild

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

Meat rations begun today

Meat rationing was implemented at home.

7 April 1918

Things still going on. Germans not got through.

Meat rations begun today all over England. Only allowed 1/3 of butchers’ meat each a week.

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

The eternal question of Rations

The Dodeka Club in Reading debated rationing and conscription.

The 290th meeting of the club was held on Friday Ap. 5. 18 at Barkas’s…

There being apparently some misunderstanding as to the subject of the evening’s discussion, owing to more than one topic having been suggested, the host skilfully evaded the matter by touching on the “eternal” question of “Rations”. This, together with the possibility of some of our juvenile members being “conscripted”, provided food for an animated discussion, & at 10.50 a pleasant evening was brought to a close.

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

Great reduction in coal ration

Sir Henry Rawlinson (1864-1925) was to be held responsible after the war for some of the tactical decisions which had led to appalling losses at the Battle of the Somme. During the war, however, his star was still bright.

3 April 1918

H to Coal Ration Committee. Great reduction!

Germans not yet begun further big attack. General Gough was sent back. Sir H Rawlinson takes his place.

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