Never completed on account of the War

Roadside memorials required permission from the council.

MAIDENHEAD: CRAUFURD RAILWAY ARCH

The Committee have received a report with reference to the widening and improving the Craufurd railway arch on the main road between Maidenhead and Marlow.

An agreement was arrived at between the County Council and the Maidenhead Town Council, in 1914, whereby the Council agreed to pay one half of the then estimated cost.

It appears that the arrangements for a grant from the Road Board were never completed on account of the War. Having regard to the increase in the estimated cost of the work, the Committee cannot recommend the Council to contribute thereto.

The Committee recommend, however, that caution posts be erected at the bridge approaches.

WAR MEMORIALS

Maidenhead.

Application has been received from Maidenhead Town Council for the erection of a War Memorial on the Bath road (High Street), Maidenhead.

The Committee recommend that no objection be raised – provided that certain suggestions as to the surface of the roadway are carried out, and that no expense is thrown on the County Council.

Arborfield Green.

An application has also been received from Mr John Simonds for permission to erect a War Memorial opposite the pond at Arborfield Cross.

The Committee recommend that no objection be raised to the proposition.


Highways and Bridges Committee report to Berkshire County Council, 11 October 1919 (C/CL/C1/1/22)

Releasing one or more surveyors for service in the Army

Local authorities planned to work together to release senior surveyors for military work.

Report of Highways and Bridges Committee, 6 July 1918

MILITARY SERVICE OF SUB-SURVEYORS

The Committee have had before them the question of pooling the services of all the Surveyors of the various road authorities in the county with a view to releasing one or more for service in the Army. A conference of the Road Authorities in the county has been held and all the representatives present signified the willingness of their respective authorities to co-operate.

Report of Berkshire County Council Highways and Bridges Committee (C/CL/C1/1/21)

“The increase is of course due entirely to the greatly enhanced cost of labour and materials since the war commenced”

The County Council was affected by several war-related matters.

Report of Finance and General Purposes Committee, 30 April 1918

PRISONERS OF WAR

An application has been received from the Committee of the Rifle Brigade Prisoners of War Help Fund, asking if the Council would consent to regularly contribute to the Fund for the benefit of the men belonging to the County who are prisoners of war.

The Finance Committee make no recommendation.

Report of Highways and Bridges Committee to Finance and General Purposes Committee, 30 April 1918

TYLE MILL BRIDGE

At the request of the Road Board, the Committee have undertaken the work of strengthening Tyle Mill Bridge sufficiently to take the loads of timber from the Canadian Forestry Corps Camp at Ufton to Tyle Mill Siding. Skilled labour is being supplied by Messrs J K Cooper & Sons of Maidenhead, who are carrying out the work with the approval of the Road Board, payment to be made on a percentage basis. The Canadian Forestry Corps is providing the reminder of the labour and other facilities. The cost of the work will be refunded to the Council by the Road Board.

Report of Public Health and Housing Committee to F&GP, 30 April 1918

ABINGDON HOSPITAL

The Committee have had under consideration as scheme for the provision of additional accommodation at the Tuberculosis Hospital, Abingdon, which is urgently required, mainly for the treatment of discharged soldiers and sailors belonging to Berkshire….

It is pointed out that the cost of the scheme would be considerably in excess of the £150 per head which the Local Government Board fixed in pre-war times as the maximum to which their grant would then apply, but the increase is of course due entirely to the greatly enhanced cost of labour and materials since the war commenced.

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/21)

Damage caused by the continual trial trips of the instructional lorries of the Royal Flying Corps

The air war was causing problems on roads back home in Berkshire.

MILITARY REQUISITIONS

Road over Swinford Bridge

A military requisition has been issued for the repairs to the road over Swinford Bridge carrying the brick traffic from Chawley Works to the Oxfordshire Aerodromes. The road belongs to Lord Abingdon and is in a bad state of repair. As Lord Abingdon is unable, owing to lack of labour and materials, to do the work, the Committee have – at the request of the Road Board – undertaken the repairs, and an estimate of the cost has been forwarded to the Finance Committee.

MILITARY TRAFFIC: Damage to roads
Extraordinary military traffic, Ascot and Windsor Road

Damage has been caused by extraordinary military traffic between Lovel Road and “The Squirrel” by the continual trial trips of the instructional lorries of the Royal Flying Corps stationed at Ascot, and damage was also done in Hatchet Lane. The lorries have since left…. Owing to this damage the amount of last year’s estimate for the repairs to the whole of this road has been increased by £1,640.

Berkshire County Council Highways and Bridges Committee report, 20 April 1918 (C/CL/C1/1/21)

Tonight a plane came down in flames

Sydney Spencer got some help from a couple of old friends.

Saturday 20 April 1918

I rose at 6 am. Breakfast at 6.45. Went off to D-ns in the mess cart 18 miles from here to get mess stuff & personal stuff for the officers of the Battalion. While in D-ns met Private King who left Killinghall in August 1915 for France! He helped me a lot in getting mess stuff. Spent about 300 francs. Fearful business getting stuff. Also met Pryse, a Welshman who was at Oxford with me! Got back at 6. Mess cart & French roads succeeded in giving me a fearful headache.

Last night German plane bombed H-s-t about ½ a mile from here. Tonight a plane came down in flames at about 6.30.

10 new officers arrived on scene today.

Diary of Sydney Spencer, 1918 (D/EZ177/8/15)

Comforts for Road Construction and Quarrying Companies in France

Berkshire County Council was unwilling to spend ratepayers’ money on gifts for roadworkers helping with the war effort.

Report of Finance and General Purposes Committee, 19 January 1918

ROADMEN IN FRANCE

An appeal for a subscription out of County Funds has been made by a Committee formed to organise and collect money for providing extra necessaries and comforts for Road Construction and Quarrying Companies in France. It is pointed out that these men are not provided for in the organisation controlled by Sir Edward Ward for the distribution of comforts for troops overseas. The appeal states that the Local Government Board is prepared to sanction a subscription by any Local Authority up to £100.

The Committee feel that no case has been made out for subscribing to this object out of the Rates, and they are unable to recommend it, but think that the appeal should be left to be dealt with by individual effort.

WAR ALLOWANCES

The following recommendation of the War Allowances Section are submitted for approval:

That the allowance granted to A W F Myatt, killed in action on 3 December, 1917, be continued to his dependants for six months from the date of his death.

The Section have considered the effect of the increased payments under Royal Warrant of the 4 December, 1917, in connection with both married and unmarried persons serving with the colours, and recommend that in calculating allowances the following principles be adopted:

Single Men: The full increased pay to be deducted.
Married Men: The full increased pay to be deducted.

The allotment previously paid by the man but now paid by the Government not to be deducted.

Owing to the fact that it will now be difficult to separate Merit Pay from Ordinary Pay and to ascertain in most cases the actual pay receivable as “War Pay” under Clause 3 of the Royal Warrant, the Section recommend that the pay to be deducted shall be the minimum rates set forth in Clause 3 of the royal Warrant, viz:

Private 1s 6d per day
Lance-Corporal 1s 9d per day
Corporal 2s 0d per day

On the receipt of the Quarterly Return, if any persons serving is [sic] found to be in receipt of more than the above rates of pay the excess shall be deducted whenever such excess brings the total Army pay and allowances above the civil pay as at August 1914, plus 25 per cent, but not otherwise.

Berkshire County Council minutes C/CL/C1/1/21

Tar will only be permitted to be used on roads which are of national importance

Berkshire’s roads and bridges continued to be damaged by the war effort, and it was now hard to find supplies for repair.

Report of the Highways and Bridges Committee, 5 January 1918
MILITARY TRAFFIC

Cumnor Hill and Swinford Bridge Road
Pending further consideration of the question of issuing a Maintenance Requisition for repairs to this road till 31 March next – necessitated by the haulage of bricks from Chawley Works to Witney Aerodrome – the Chief Engineer of the Southern Command has sanctioned exp3enditure up to £100 for immediate repairs, and the necessary materials have been ordered.

Oxford and Faringdon Road
The War Department have confirmed the proposed contribution of £155 towards the cost of repairing the Oxford-Faringdon-Lechlade road, and the works are now in hand.

TAR SUPPLY
Tenders have been obtained for the supply of tar for the year 1918-19. No tar can now be purchased except under licence issued by the Ministry of Munitions; the quantity available for the ensuing year for road purposes will, the Committee are informed, be much restricted and will only be permitted to be used on roads which are of national importance. The application made in December last for the purchase of 20,000 gallons in advance did not meet with success, as the Ministry would then only issue a licence for tar to be used before 31 December 1917. A return has been made to the Road Board of the approximate wquantity of tar required during 1918 for “scheduled roads” (i.e. roads of natonal importance).

BRIDGES
Tyle Mill (no, 125)
The reconstruction of Tyle Mill Bridge was postponed on account of the war, but the Acting County Surveyor now reports that it is in a very serious condition and notices have accordingly been erected to the effect that the bridge is insufficient to carry weights exceeding two tons; and also prohibiting the passage over the bridge of heavy motor cars.

It is understood that the hauling of timber from Ufton Camp to Tyle Mill Siding is contemplated and the attention of the Officer Commanding at the Camp has been drawn to the condition of the bridge.

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/21)

Should PoWs repair the roads?

Berkshire County Council’s Highways and Bridges Committee told the councillors of the impact of the war on the county’s roads.

Report of Highways and Bridges Committee, 6 January 1917

ESTIMATES, 1917-1918

The Committee propose to frame their Estimates for the financial year 1917-18 on the policy adopted for the year 1916-17, which aimed principally at keeping in good condition the main tarmac trunk roads in priority to other roads, and doing a liberal amount of tar-spraying. Owing to the enormous amount of heavy military and other traffic which is constantly damaging the roads, the high cost of labour and materials, and war conditions generally, it becomes increasingly difficult to even carry out the restricted policy except at a comparatively high expenditure.

MILITARY TRAFFIC

Ascot and Blacknest road.
The Committee understand that a recommendation by the Road Board for the payment of a substantial amount to the County for making good the damage done to this road is at present receiving consideration by the War Department.

Military Requisitions.
A requisition has been received from the Military Authorities for the carrying out of road improvement works at Northcourt Avenue, Reading. An estimate of the cost has been forwarded to the Finance Committee.

Census of traffic. In view of the damage which is still being done to main roads in the county by military transport traffic, the Committee have arranged for a month’s census of traffic to be taken at points on the Bath Road and the Reading and Ascot road.

POST-WAR ROAD IMPROVEMENTS

The Chairman of the Committee and the Acting County Surveyor attended a Conference at the offices of the Road Board on 27 November last on the question of works of road reconstruction and improvement likely to be undertaken at the conclusion of the war, or works which it might be desirable to promote to afford employment for capital and labour. Highway Authorities were asked to co-operate with the Board in preparing a schedule of works. The principle generally agreed upon was that such works should be confined to the strengthening and improvement of existing road crusts only; and should not include widenings or construction of new roads.

The Committee propose to furnish the Road Board with a list of roads in Berkshire which will probably need reconstruction or resurfacing. The Board have been informed that the Council do not, of course, bind themselves to carry out all or any of the works included in the list.

STEAM ROLLERS

It is anticipated that the first of the three new road rollers on order to replace those taken by the Military Authorities will shortly be delivered, but some time must elapse before the remaining two are received, as the manufacturers are busily engaged on war orders, and can only proceed with County work on a certificate from the Ministry of Munitions.

PRISONERS OF WAR

The Committee have had before them a resolution passed by the Kent County Council suggesting the desirability, in the national interests, of utilising the services of prisoners of war for the repair and maintenance of highways, and are making enquiries in the matter.

ROAD SERVICE IN FRANCE

In connection with the organisation of a special Corps of experienced Engineers and Workmen for road work in France, a list of eligible employees has been supplied to the Road Board.

BCC minutes, 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

Who should get war bonuses?

The County Council’s Finance and General Purposes Committee met on 9 December 1916 to consider various war related matters, including the awarding of war bonuses to teachers and other council staff.

MAIN ROADS
Under the arrangement with the Road Board of May, 1912, the Council were, during each of the five years commencing 1913-14, to expend a sum of £8,100 on main road improvements. The Highways and Bridges Committee, however, in view of existing war conditions, consider it better not to carry out any of the works which in the ordinary course would have been proceeded with this year…

WAR BONUSES
The Committee have had under consideration a report and a supplementary estimate from the Education Committee on the subject of war bonuses, and having fully considered the whole question in relation to the bonuses granted in other Departments, have adopted the proposals of the Education Committee and recommend that a temporary war bonus not exceeding 3/- per week be granted to certain of the lower paid teachers as follows, namely:

Elementary
Supplementary Teachers. Single, about 246 in number, all female, whose salary (including the proposed bonus) does not exceed £65 per annum.
Uncertificated Teachers. Single, about 161 1in number, all but one female, whose salary (including the proposed bonus) does not exceed £75 per annum.
Certificated Teachers and Head Mistresses. Single, about 104 in number, mainly female, whose salary (including the proposed bonus) does not exceed £104 per annum.

Note: There are a few married teachers in each of the above three classes in addition to the numbers given, but it is thought that the husband’s earnings will in such cases render a bonus unnecessary.
Married Head and Certificated Assistant Masters. About 37 in number, whose total income (including the proposed bonus) does not exceed £156 per annum.
Any special cases of hardship to be considered on their merits.
The bonus to commence from 1 January 1917, and all existing teachers of the above classes to be eligible for it.

School Attendance Officers
That a similar bonus be allowed to male School Attendance Officers whose total income (including the proposed war bonus) does not exceed the scale set out above.

Secondary
A temporary war bonus not exceeding 3/- per week to be allowed to all unmarried teachers whose salary does not exceed £104 per annum, and to married teachers whose joint income does not exceed £156 per annum; the bonus to be paid only to teachers appointed and working in the schools prior to 1 January 1916, and to recommence from 1 January 1917.

Any special cases of hardship to be considered on their merits.

Pupil Teachers
It is not suggested that the war bonus should be given to pupil teachers, student teachers, or monitresses.

School Cleaners, &c
The question of war bonuses to school cleaners, &c, the committee have referred to the Education Works Sub-committee to consider such cases on merits having regard to all the circumstances…

Shire Hall: Caretakers and Cleaners
Applications have also been received from the caretakers and cleaners at the Shire Hall. The Committee have reviewed the existing conditions in each of these cases, but are unable to recommend that the applications be acceded to.

Report of Finance and General Purposes Committee, 9 December 1916, in Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/19)

The Government demands Berkshire’s steamrollers

Military traffic was damaging roads at home, while road mending equipment was requisitioned to use on roads near the front lines.

Report of Highways Committee, 7 October 1916

MILITARY TRAFFIC

The Acting County Surveyor has reported that the road between Didcot and Harwell for a length of about 1 ½ miles, and a section of the Newbury and Abingdon road for a length of a quarter of a mile, have been completely ruined by Military Transport traffic from the camps in the neighbourhood. The Road Board has been informed of the damage and asked to make an inspection of the roads in question.

STEAM ROLLERS

On 4 September, 1916, the Road Board, at the request of the Government, made an urgent request that the three heavy steam rollers belonging to the Council should be handed over to the war Department for use overseas. As the matter was one of urgency, the request was reported to the Chairman of this Committee and the Chairman of the County Finance Committee, who provisionally consented to the rollers being released on the terms proposed by the Road Board, viz that the Treasury should accept a debit for the cost of three new rollers, and that the Ministry of Munitions should give the manufacturers a certificate to enable them to expedite the construction of the new rollers.

In the opinion of the County Surveyor, rollers of a lighter pattern would be more suitable for the work of the County than new heavy rollers, and the Committee have asked the Road Board to arrange for the delivery of one 8-ton roller and two 10-ton rollers. It has also been pointed out to the Board that the Government will effect a considerable saving by the substitution of light for heavy rollers, and a suggestion has been made that the War Department should discharge the cost of the hire of rollers required by the County in the meantime, to an amount not exceeding the estimated saving of £220.

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/19)

The War Department should contribute to road repairs

Berkshire County Council’s Highways and Bridges Committee tackled the thorny question of who was to pay for damage to local roads caused by heavy army traffic.

MILITARY TRAFFIC

In connection with the claim against the War Department for damage to main roads by military traffic, the following estimates were, at their request, submitted to the Road Board:

Ascot to Wokingham Road: Resurfacing sides with tarmac in place of granite, £1541
Wokingham to Reading Road: Ditto, £2394
Bath Road, Reading to Hungerford: Ditto, £3544
Bath Road, Hungerford to Wilts county boundary: Strengthening foundations and resurfacing with tarmac, £4578
Total £12,057

After consideration the Board came to the conclusion that it would be reasonable for the War Department to make some contribution to the proposed expenditure, but pointed out that the works, if carried out, would not only provide the Council with better roads than those at present existing, but would also anticipate, for a number of years, works of renewal which, in the ordinary course, would have to be provided for in maintenance account.

The Road Board state that if the Council will undertake to carry out the works … the War Department will make a contribution of £2800 in settlement of the Council’s claim. In addition to this contribution the Board will be prepared – subject to the approval of the Treasury – to make a grant to the Council, out of the Road Improvement Fund, of £4050, and to advance the balance of £5207 by way of loan, free of interest, repayable by five annual instalments.

As the matter was urgent the Road Board were informed on 24 June, 1916, that the Council would be prepared to carry out the works mentioned in the estimates upon the terms offered…

Reading and Eversley road.
Owing to the heavy military traffic, the main road from Reading through Shinfield and Arborfield has suffered considerable damage. The road has been inspected by the Engineering Inspector of the Road Board; and an estimate of the necessary repairs is being prepared with a view to a claim being made on the Military Authorities.

MILITARY REQUISITIONS

A further requisition has been received from the Military Authorities for the improvement of a private road at Ascot for military purposes at a cost of £92, and the works re being carried out by the committee in accordance with the general authority given to them by the Council. The estimate has been forwarded to the Finance Committee.

Payments to Sub-surveyors.
As these military requisitions throw a considerable amount of extra work on the Sub-surveyors, the committee have asked the Finance Committee to consider whether a proportion of the 10 per cent allowance to the County Council by the Road Board for administrative expenses should be paid to the Sub-surveyors….

WORKMEN’S WAGES

In consequence of the higher wages which are now being paid to workmen generally throughout the county, the committee have considered it advisable to recommend that an advance of wages be made to lengthmen and men employed with the tarring and roller gangs, for the period of the war….

C A Ferard, Chairman
8 July, 1916

BCC Highways and Bridges Committee report (C/CL/C1/1/19)

No vacancies for conscientious objectors

With the introduction of conscription came the thorny question of what to do with conscientious objectors. Some of them were willing to do some kind of national service as long as it did not involve fighting – but it wasn’t easy to find roles. Berkshire County Council gave a frosty reply to the suggestion that they should employ conscientious objectors.

Finance Committee report, 2 May 1916

MILITARY REQUISITIONS

The Highways and Bridges Committee report that, at the request of the War Department, the Road Board are making arrangements for the construction and improvement of roads required for military purposes, and are asking Local Authorities to co-operate in carrying out such works, irrespective of whether the roads in question are public or private roads…

Up to the date of this report three requisitions have been received for works to be done to the following roads:
Ascot, estimated at £94.0.0
Reading, estimated at £11.12.9
Arborfield, estimated at £1294.3.11

CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS

The Government “Committee on Work of National Imprtance” has enquired, through the County Councils’ Association, whether the Council would be willing to employ men, having a conscientious objection to military work, on work of national importance in the County such as sanitary or asylum service.

It is recommended that the County Councils’ Association be informed that the Council have no vacancies for conscientious objectors…

NAVAL AND MILITARY WAR PENSIONS

The Committee have framed a Scheme for the constitution of a Local Committee for the county under the Naval and Military War Pensions etc Act, 1915, and have submitted the same to the Statutory Committee for approval.

Report of BCC Finance Committee, 2 May 1916 (C/CL/C1/1/19)

Berkshire roads damaged by military traffic

Berkshire’s roads were being badly damaged by heavy military traffic.

15 April 1916

MILITARY TRAFFIC

Bath Road

Estimates for re-surfacing a portion of the sides of the Bath Road between Reading and Hungerford and reconstructing the whole width of the road for a length of 1 ¼ miles between Hungerford and the county boundary have been forwarded to the Road Board. Both of these sections of the Bath Road have been considerably damaged by military traffic.

Reading and Ascot Road

The granite sides of the main road between Reading and Ascot have suffered considerable damage by the military transport traffic….

£1,760 claim. A sum of £1,753 6s 0d has been received from the Road Board, in full settlement of the claim of the Council for making good the damage to main roads up to November, 1914. This sum represents the actual cost of the work as certified by an Officer of the Board on examination of the accounts.

Report of Highways & Bridges Committee to Berkshire County Council (C/CL/C1/1/19)

Enjoying Army life and thankful for good health, good companions and good food

A Warfield soldier was enjoying his training.

CONCERT.

On behalf of our Branch of the Voluntary Work Organisation which provides clothing for wounded Soldiers, a concert was held in the Sunday School on March 4th. There were two performances, in the afternoon at 3.15 and in the evening at 7, and the room was full on both occasions…

The proceeds amounted to nearly £30. The kind performers would not wish to be thanked for doing war work, but the members of the work party wish to express their gratitude, and to say how much everybody enjoyed themselves.

C.E.M.S.

A letter has been received from Mr. Dowell from Worgret Camp, Wareham, in which he says he is enjoying Army life and has to be thankful for good health, good companions and good food. He says also he is learning road making, trench digging, coal carting and potato peeling.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, April 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/4)

The County Surveyor offers himself

A letter from the County Surveyor to the Lord Lieutenant was read aloud to the Berkshire County Council Standing Joint Committee on 12 June 1915. It is hard to imagine one of today’s senior council officials volunteering to join the army, even if as terrible a war as the First World War were to engulf the nation, but Fred Hawkins of Berkshire wished to use his abilities on behalf of the nation:

Shire Hall, Reading
11th June 1915

Dear Sir

For a long time I have been anxious to volunteer my services to the Government during the War, but in deference to the strongly expressed opinion of Sir Robert Mowbray and Mr Ferard that my services were more required by the County, I have not hitherto felt justified in doing so. Now, however, matters have taken a different turn.

I understand unofficially that the Road Board in conjunction with the War Office are considering the formation of a Company of Engineers for work either in England or in France and Belgium for construction and repair of roads and bridges, and should such Company be formed, Public Bodies will be asked to release as many men as possible with practical road experience now in their employ.

Although I do not anticipate that my services will be required immediately I have been asked to put myself in a position of being able to take up an appointment at very short notice in the event of my being called upon to do so.

As I arranged for the general repairs to Police Stations to be carried out during the first quarter of the financial year as far as possible, most of this work will be completed by the end of this month, and I, therefore, consider that my present staff, with the addition of Mr Clayton, whose existing temporary appointment would in the ordinary course terminate about September 1st, should be able to carry on my work for the Standing Joint Committee, and even though the supervision generally cannot be so efficient, nevertheless, I feel strongly that it is my duty to give my services to the Government should they be required….

Yours truly
J. Fred. Hawkins
County Surveyor

[The Committee agreed to release him should he find a suitable opportunity.]

BCC Standing Joint Committee minutes, 12 June 1915 (C/CL/C2/1/5)