Commencing to work under pre-war conditions

Things returned to normal as buildings which had been requisitioned were returned to their former use.

17th October 1919
Glad to report that the Central School Classes after spending Tuesday & Wednesday in removals, have now returned to the Central School. At once got the desks with their respective rooms & now am only awaiting the replacing of the cupboards before commencing to work under pre-war conditions.

George Palmer Boys’ School log book, Reading (89/SCH/8/1, p. 161)

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Four years and seven months

Children whose Reading school had been requisitioned got it back almost a year after the war.

12th September 1919
The school was removed from Elm Park Hall to its own premises, on Wednesday, after being carried on there, for four years and seven months. The children attended at Elm Park Hall on Wednesday, but at Battle on Thursday and Friday afternoons. Full time will be commenced on Monday.

Reading: Battle Infants School log book (SCH20/8/2, p. 338)

A fair charge upon the Army Council

Reading Workhouse Infirmary was one of the many buildings taken over as a war hospital.

11th September 1919

Claim against the War Office

Reporting the receipt of a letter from the Ministry of Health stating that they had received the claims made by the Guardians upon the Army Council in respect of the occupation of their premises as a War Hospital for the periods ended 31st March and 30th September, 1918, and the 31st March last, and that they had forwarded such claims to the Army Council for payment. The clerk stated that, with regard to the two first mentioned claims, the Ministry of Health considered that they were excessive, and that he had received from the Ministry of Health, copy of a letter which had been addressed to the Secretary of the War Office as follows:

“I am to add that these claims have been the subject of an interview between the Clerk to the Guardians and this Department, and that this Department are of opinion that the claims constitute a fair charge upon the Army Council.”

Discharged Soldiers & Sailors

Reporting the receipt of a letter from the Hemsworth Union asking the Guardians to support the following Resolution passed by them with regard to relief to discharged soldiers.

“That this Board of Guardians expresses its indignation and disgust in Discharged Soldiers and Sailors being compelled to apply for relief to this Board, and protests against the delay of the Ministry of Pensions in dealing with Soldiers’ and Sailors’ pensions which should be paid on production of the Local Medical Officer’s Certificate, and that a copy of this Resolution be sent to the Prime Minister and other Boards of Guardians for their support.”

Recommending that the Board support the principle of the Resolution.

Report of Finance & General Purposes Committee, Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/59)

Reopening of a school after its use as Hospital

Schools returned to their proper purpose.

Redlands Boys’ School
September 2nd 1919

On this date I, F. W. Holmes-Walker commenced duty as Head Master, on the reopening of the school after its use as Hospital.

Alfred Sutton Primary School
2nd September 1919

School re-opened today. The scholars are working on full time today, Redlands having re-opened and relieved the building of Wokingham Road Intermediate School. The school is working on a trial time table.

Log books of Redlands Boys’ School, Reading (86/SCH/3/30, p. 356); Alfred Sutton Primary School, Reading (89/SCH/37/1, p. 254)

The value of the new buildings, fittings and military adaptations

7th February 1919

War Hospital Displacement Purposes: Poor Law Institutions

The Clerk reported the receipt of a letter from the Divisional Officer, Royal Engineers, Reading, stating that he had been instructed to enquire as to the local feeling regarding the handing back of the Institution to the Guardians, and also whether the Guardians would be prepared to take over at a valuation any of the new buildings, fittings or adaptations to military requirements, which had been constructed.

Also reporting the receipt of a letter from the Reading Education Committee, stating that the Committee wished Grovelands School to be handed to them at the earliest opportunity.

Recommending that steps be taken for the return of the Institution to the Guardians, that the Clerk obtain a schedule showing the value of the new buildings, fittings and military adaptations, and that Mr W R Howell be engaged to prepare a list of the dilapidations to the original premises, such schedules to be submitted to a further meeting of the Committee.

Report of Emergency Committee, Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/58)

Repair the road

Reading Workhouse infirmary (Battle Hospital) had been taken over as a hospital for the wounded.

9th January 1919
Service Road at No 1 War Hospital

Reporting that a complaint had been received from the Commandant as to the condition of the Service Road. The Master reported that owing to considerable traffic in the carting of coal, etc, for the Hospital, the road had become much worn, and to put it in repair would cost about £50.

Recommending that the Commandant be called upon to repair the road and to be informed that the Guardians would hold him responsible for any damage which might occur to the boundary wall.

Report of Building and Farm Committee, Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/58)

Getting the best possible terms from the Military authorities

The army wanted to use the buildings at Wesley Methodist Church in Queen’s Road, Reading.

15 February 1918

Resolved That the Chapel Stewards & treasurer be urged to make the best possible terms with the Military authorities for funds to cover the cost of renovation work & out of pocket expenses during the occupancy of our premises by the Forces.

Wesley Methodist Church, Reading: trustees’ minutes (D/MS60/1A/1)

We hope that 1918 may bring happiness and peace

A New Year message for men from Reading hoped for peace this year.

TO OUR SOLDIERS AND SAILORS ON ACTIVE SERVICE

Dear friends

The vicar has invited me to write a few lines to you who are so nobly and faithfully serving in the Forces, and very gladly I accept the invitation.

I am bold enough to open with the old old greeting – “A Happy New Year”. It is what you would wish us all at home, and in fullest measure we hope that 1918 may bring happiness and peace to you all. Would that we could grasp you by the hand as we say it; for indeed the greeting comes to you with our earnest prayers, and our kindest thoughts….

You to whom these lines are written are scattered far and wide, and some will not read it until many weeks have gone by. But be assured, dear brothers, that the heart of the parish is warm with a real affection towards you all, and there are frequent times when in our intercessions for you we are conscious that at the same moment God hears our petitions for you all and neither time nor distance count with Him in the bestowal of His grace and blessing.

May He guard and guide and bless you all.

Yours very sincerely

Frank Winter.

WEEK OF PRAYER.

The Abbey Hall having been commandeered by the Military Authorities it will not be possible to hold the Meetings usually arranged in connection with the universal week of prayer.

Reading St. John parish magazine, January 1918 (D/P172/28A/24)

Nowhere to go but their billets

A church hall in Reading became the off-duty home for men training to be Pioneers (military engineers).

The Parish Hall has been taken over by the military authorities who intend to use it as a reading room and recreation room for the Pioneer School of Instruction which numbers 400 NCOs and men who on a wet day have no-where to go but their billets. In consequence the Hall will not be available for any other purpose, parochial or otherwise.

The Vicar has heard from Mr Hepple who asks to be remembered to his many friends. Mr Hepple is Chaplain to a West Country regiment in Mesopotamia. He writes in excellent spirits and is enjoying temperature of between 86 and 110 degrees in the shade. When the cold winter days come we will warm ourselves by thinking of Mr Hepple.

Christ Church parish magazine, Noveber 1917 (D/P170/28A/24)

Dismay as buildings are requisitioned

Not every organisation was patriotically delighted to give up their premises to war purposes.

The Waifs and Strays Society received with dismay, as no doubt did many other Church Organisations, the news that the Great Hall of the Church House had been requisitioned for Government purposes, and that its doors were therefore shut against all ‘May Meetings.’ It seemed to the ‘Waifs and Strays’ that a good – perhaps, a better – substitute for their great Annual Meeting would be (in addition to the early Celebration in St. Paul’s Cathedral) an afternoon Service of Thanksgiving and Supplication in a central London church which stood in no danger of being ‘commandeered.’

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, May 1917 (D/P154C/28A/1)

“This year we shall be obliged to keep Lent, whether we like it or not”

Shortages were beginning to affect everyone.

LENT

It seems that this year we shall be obliged to keep Lent, whether we like it or not. Railway travel has been curtailed, food prices are still rising, food is getting scarce, and all the efforts of the nation are to be devoted to winning the war. As Church-people we are used to the season of Lent, but there is a question whether we have kept it as we ought, in fact it is certain that many Church-people have paid very little attention to the Church’s injunctions in this respect. But we cannot disobey the State with impunity, and we should be extremely selfish if we did not do our bit to practise economy, and so help to save the Nation’s food. There are many who might, with advantage, purchase War Savings Certificates, to help the country and to make provision for the future; and we would beg all our readers to do their very utmost to carry out the Food Controller’s instructions, in the spirit in which they were issued. The Germans are not yet decisively beaten – if this is to be done, everyone of us will have to help.

We should like to offer our sincere sympathy to Mr and Mrs Savage on the untimely death of a good son and promising young soldier. Edward George Savage was confirmed at the Parish Church in 1912. He passed away from the effects of pneumonia, following upon an attack of measles… The coffin was borne by soldiers, and there was a following party of the Royal Flying Corps.

We would also offer our sincere sympathy to Mrs Manley on the death of her husband on service, as announced in the “Newbury Weekly News” of February 15th.

The National Schools have had a bad time during the long continued frost: first of all on account of the heating apparatus misbehaving itself; and secondly, on account of the water being frozen. The Managers have endeavoured to remedy the former by adding to the boiler: it is possible that the coke does not nowadays give out so much heat, as certain properties have to be taken out for the manufacture of explosives.

The Parish Room has now been evacuated by the Military, and has returned to its usual state. The soldiers were very quiet and well behaved during their stay there. The occupation brought in a little money to the Parish Room Fund. We trust that outside people, who have been accustomed to use the room, will now appreciate the privilege more. The men who were billeted in the Parish Room desire, through the medium of the Parish Magazine, to sincerely thank all those who so kindly contributed to their comfort during their stay there.

Mrs L R Majendie would be grateful for gifts of material, such as cretonne, for the members of the Mothers’ Meetings to make “treasure bags” for wounded soldiers.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P89/28A/13)

“Glad and proud that we are able to make a patriotic sacrifice”

A Reading church gave up the use of its hall for war purposes.

THE INSTITUTE

As already announced, the Royal Flying Corps have now taken over the entire control of the Institute buildings, and we as a parish may be glad and proud that we are able to make a patriotic sacrifice by surrendering it, and by what sometimes seems harder, attending with equal or greater regularity, meetings arranged elsewhere. The large Hall is still allowed to be used by the vicar for certain fixtures, but notice of these has to be given some time beforehand, and the number is limited.

Reading St. John parish magazine, February 1917 (D/P172/28A/24)

The spirit of the times

Newbury supported the war effort in various ways. The parish church gave up its hall, Sunday School children were displaced, women prayed, and the well-off were expected to donate to government “savings” schemes.

The Soldiers in the Parish Room are grateful for any gifts of papers and magazines for their spare moments. We are glad to know that they find it a comfortable billet, as far as such quarters can be comfortable.

The attendance at the Friday Women’s Service has not lately been kept up to the former standard and we should very much like to see more coming to take part in this weekly act of intercession. Surely in these days there is more and more need of prayer, prayer for others, prayer for ourselves, prayer for our brave sailors and soldiers and airmen, prayer that people’s hearts may be turned to God, and that as a Nation and an Empire we may become more worthy of the victory and peace which we all so much desire.

Owing to the occupation of the Parish Rooms by the military, the boys’ and girls’ Sunday Schools have had to be temporarily transferred to the Day Schools. This involves rather a longer walk on the part of teachers and scholars, but they have entered into the spirit of the times, and put up with the change without grumbling, and we are glad of this.

Our best congratulations to Sergeant Ernest Hill on his promotion.

Since our last issue the Government have started a new War Loan, which it is hoped will bring in a very large sum of money, such as is necessary for the prosecution of the war. It is, clearly, the duty of all who can do so, to contribute to this Loan, but those who have not the means for this should certainly do their utmost, both to be economical in their personal and household expenses, and to try and save up pence and sixpences to invest in the Post Office War Savings Certificates.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, February 1917 (D/P89/28A/13)

Hasten the end of the war with your savings

Newbury churchgoers were encouraged to put their savings in the hands of the government.

The Government is very wisely urging all who can to assist the country in its need by foregoing luxuries of all kinds, and by investing in the War Savings Certificates. To quote from one of their leaflets – “War Savings Certificates cost 15/6 each, and £1 will be paid for each Certificate five years after the date of issue… It will be easily seen what a good investment this is, but still more important it is to remember that all money lent to the Government will help to save the lives of our men by providing our Armies with ammunitions, and so will hasten the end of the war.

The Parish Rooms have been commandeered by the military for the ASC; consequently we have had to turn out, and shall have to conduct our meetings, etc, as best we can.

Our best congratulations to Sec. Lieut. Richard Wickens, one of our old boys, who has been given his Lieutenancy for his excellent services at the front. This promotion does him very great credit.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, January 1917 (D/P89/28A/13)

We try to keep the home fires burning

The vicar of Reading St John had a New Year’s message for men from his parish who were serving their country.

TO SOLDIERS AND SAILORS ON ACTIVE SERVICE

Dear Brothers,

I have been given the privilege of writing the few lines that shall be our message from the parish in the homeland to you as the old year passes and the new year comes. If there ever were a time when the biggest words of goodwill and greeting could be given in absolute sincerity, then it is now from us at home to you whom we would hope to see here also during the coming year. But as this is to be our New Year’s card to you I suppose it should have a motto. Let it be this, which I think expresses the best desires of most Englishmen today:

“Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my Arrows of desire!
Bring me my Spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental Fight
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.”

So are we trying to do what you used in a different way to ask us to do in the song you used to sing: “Keep the home fires burning”.

With every good wish throughout 1917.

Your sincere friend

R W Morley

THE INSTITUTE.

Just as we go to press news comes that the Military are assuming entire control of the Institute. It may still be possible for us to hold one more important meeting in the Large Hall, but a large amount of re-arrangement in our Parochial Programme will be necessary. As early notice as possible will be given to all concerned.

Reading St. John parish magazine, January 1917 (D/P172/28A/24)