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)

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Nice Canadian soldiers

The latest visitors to Bisham Abey were probably from the Canadian Red Cross hospital at Cliveden.

23 January 1917
Wounded came in afternoon. Such nice men – mostly Canadians.

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

So many war babies

William Baring Du Pre of Taplow (1875-1946) was MP for High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, and a Territorial Army officer. It is not clear how his family was related to Mrs Lane.

6 November 1916

I to Taplow to see Mrs C Lane, just had baby at Du Pres. She depressed me dreadfully – so many war babies.

Roumania [sic] in such a bad way, to make peace with G soon!!

Seen Mrs C Lane. Says Red X worker in Roumania [sic] is telling Sister Ward R. will make peace with Germany in 6 weeks!!

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

“I was a stranger”: meet the Belgian refugees welcomed to Maidenhead

In October and November we heard about Maidenhead Congregational Church’s involvement with supporting Belgian refugees in the town. We can now update the story, and introduce the families the church supported:

OUR BELGIAN GUESTS.

The response to our appeal for weekly contributions towards the support of a Belgian Refugees’ Home of our own was prompt and generous. The committee appointed by the Church took 14, Fairford Road (the rent of which was guaranteed by the Adult School) and determined to invite a family of about eight persons to occupy it. On inquiry at Folkestone, three families, related by marriage, comprising ten persons in all, were allotted to us, and since Mr. and Mrs. Dykes of Hill Farm, Taplow, had generously offered to receive two refugees into their home while the need lasted, we accepted the allotment, placing eight in Fairfield Road, and two of the men at Taplow. But the two wives pleaded that they might not be separated from their husbands, and the committee felt that the request was reasonable, and must be met. So we have now ten in our home, three married couples and four little girls.

They all lived at Boom, a small town of about 18,000 inhabitants some 12 miles from Antwerp. M. Asselberghs was traveller for a milling firm; M. Van Hoof was the proprietor of a boot and shoe shop; and M. Van der Plannken was a boatbuilder on the banks of the river Rupel. They fled from their home on the approach of the Germans on September 29th and found a temporary refuge in Antwerp. On the day before the bombardment of that city, they were compelled to fly once more, together with tens of thousands of other homeless people, and went on foot to Ostend. After waiting two or three days, they were compelled to throw themselves upon the hospitality of the English people. They have received information that M. Van der Plannken’s house was demolished by shell fire immediately after they fled, and M. Van Hoof’s shop was looted by the soldiery. M Asselberghs and his sister Mme. Van Hoof are acquainted with the French language, the other speak nothing but Flemish. They all profess the Roman Catholic religion. The children attend the Roman Catholic school in Maidenhead, where a Belgian teacher (also a refugee) has been engaged to teach the many refugee children who are now resident in this neighbourhood. In doing what we can help our guests during their stay with us we shall feel that we are not only fulfilling the spirit of our Lord’s words when he said “I was a stranger and ye took me in,” but we are repaying to Belgium a small part of an obligation which seems greater the more we think of it.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, December 1914 (D/N33/12/1/4)