Consolidation of the floating debt will become urgently necessary when peace has been concluded

Local government finances were set to be strained for years to come, thanks to the war.

CONVERSION OF PASTURE

The Committee have received notification from the Berks War Agricultural Executive Committee that certain of the Council’s pasture lands in the parishes of Stanford-in-the-Vale, Charney and Cholsey, scheduled for conversion, have now been transferred to category 4; the field at East Hanney has been placed in category 3.

LOANS

A letter has been received from the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, on the subject of loans, stating that the board has been informed by the Treasury that the provision of capital from Government funds is likely to be impracticable both during the war and for some time after the conclusion of peace, and that any new issue of Local Loans Stock while war-borrowing is still going on or during the period of consolidation of the floating debt, which will become urgently necessary when peace has been concluded, must be regarded as out of the question.


Report of Smallholdings and Allotments Committee to Berkshire County Council, 27 April 1918 (C/CL/C1/1/21)

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Meeting the needs of sailors and soldiers on demobilisation

The County Council – like many others across the country – was giving some thought to what the country could offer the men who had served the country once they had returned home for good. Offering land to set up as small farmers was one proposal.

LOANS

A letter has been received from the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries stating that the President has been in communication with the Treasury with a view to securing some relaxation of the existing restrictions on the issue of loans from the Local Loans Fund to County Councils … in view of a strong desire on the part of many County Councils to prepare schemes for providing holdings for meeting the needs of sailors and soldiers on demobilisation…

CONVERSION OF PASTURE

Applications have been received from the Berks War Agricultural Committee for the Council’s consent as owners to certain pasture land being converted to arable.

Berkshire County Council: Smallholdings and Allotments Committee report, 3 October 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

Ploughing the land

The local committee of the National Relief Fund, which aimed to help people thrown into poverty as a direct result of the war, decided to help out a mother trying to keep her son’s farm going.

21 April 1917
Application for Loan

The following letter from Mr W H Tottie was read:

Mrs Lake, Yew Tree Farm, Swallowfield
This woman has with her husband been looking after a farm for their son who is in the Berkshire Yeomanry. As her husband died recently and she has since then been quite unable to find or pay for labour she now wants assistance towards ploughing the land. A neighbouring farmer will do this for her and he asks £5, but Lady Constance Pasley thinks it could be done for less – say £3 – the Pensions Committee and the War Agricultural Committee have no powers to grant this and I would suggest that our National Relief Fund should help her. It is obviously desirable that the land be tilled. Mr Norland and the War Agricultural Committee have particulars.

Yours sincerely
(Signed) W H Tottie

The Committee decided that Mrs Lake be granted a loan of not exceeding £5, such loan to be repayable six months after the issue of the cheque and to be secured by a promissory note signed by Mrs Lake.

National Relief Fund: Berkshire Committee minutes (C/CL/C6/4/1)

Great and sustained efforts by the staff of the Clerk of the Peace

The Standing Joint Committee heard that the Clerk of the Peace, who did the administrative work for the county Quarter Sessions, was struggling with the shortage of staff due to the war. Meanwhile, a young Berkshire policeman had died from wounds.


The report of the Staff Purposes Committee was presented as follows:
The Sub-committee have received an application from the Clerk of the Peace as follows:-

Sicne the outbreak of war those members of my permanent staff who have not joined the colours have been working under great difficulties, and although I have engaged certain temporary clerks, that assistance has been quite inadequate to carry on the work of the office efficiently without great and sustained efforts on the part of my permanent clerks. Furthermore, the work of my department being of a highly technical nature requiring special knowledge not easily obtainable, the temporary clerks require very close and constant supervision, which has caused an additional strain on the permanent members of the staff. In addition considerable war work has been thrown on me without any extra help – notably the War Agricultural Committee, which has been very heavy.

Owing to the scarcity of clerical labour it has been necessary, in order to obtain temporary clerks, to offer salaries far in excess – in proportion to the work done – of those of the permanent staff. I feel compelled therefore to ask the Committee to reconsider the salaries of the latter (who have all reached their maximums), and respectfully make the following suggestions:-

J. Gentry Birch (married), 28 years service. Present salary £160. 5s. 0d. Maximum to be increased to £180 by two annual increases.
A. W. Longhurst (married), 21 years service. Present salary £150. Maximum to be increased to £180 by three annual increases.
E. Arthur Longhurst (married), 12 years service. Present salary £80. Maximum to be increased to £110 by annual increases of £10.
S. L. Mills (married), 8 years service. Present salary £110. Receive £10 rise.
B. Vivian (single), 8 years service, age 22. Present salary £40. Maximum to be increased to £60 by two annual increases…

Eight members of the staff (including the Deputy) are on active service… I would respectfully ask that a sum be added sufficient to enable me to engage an additional clerk (at about 30/- a week)…

Adopted.

Acting Chief Constable’s report

I regret having to report the death of PC 78, Alfred Mark Thompson, which occurred on 24th August, 1916, from wounds received while fighting in France.

The deceased was a very promising young Constable, who at the time of his death was only 23 years of age, and had served 5 years and 4 months in this Force. He leaves a widow but no children.

Standing Joint Committee minutes, 7 October 1916 (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Temporary shades not effective

It proved impossible to get Winkfield church dark enough to comply with new laws aimed at preventing air raids.

THE VICAR’S LETTER.

MY DEAR FRIENDS.

I want all to clearly understand why it is that we are unable for a few weeks to have Sunday Evening Service in the Parish Church. The new lighting regulations are the cause, but if shades on the lamps had been sufficient to meet the requirements of the authorities there would have been no need to discontinue the Evening Services. To make sure I asked the Sergeant of Police to attend Church on Sunday, January 9th, when it would be lighted up. He kindly came, and after the Service we tried some temporary shades which Mr. George Brown was good enough to bring, but as, in spite of these, the light was still reflected through the unstained windows, the Sergeant reported that only curtains over the windows on the north side and over the vestry and belfry windows could meet the case.

I therefore consulted the Churchwardens and we came to the conclusion that we were not justified in going to the considerable expense of putting up curtains when the Church at Winkfield Row could be darkened at a trifling cost; especially since it was only a question of about six weeks, and by the second Sunday in March we should be able to resume evening service in the Parish Church. Moreover I felt that it might be well to try the experiment of seven Sunday evening services at the other end of the parish, as if it were shown that these were valued, it might be possible another winter to have occasional services there, and judging from the good congregations that have assembled, it seems that the experiment was justified.

You will find in this magazine a leaflet addressed to the women of our neighbourhood by the District War Agricultural Committee. I hope it may meet with some real response, and I should be glad if I can be of any help in explaining the matter or on forwarding the names of any who would like to be put on the register.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,

H. M. MAYNARD.

PARISH NOTES

The following have recently joined His Majesty’s Forces:-

Alfred Brant, Queen’s Own Ox. Hussars.
John Carter, Royal Engineers.
Albert Higgs, King’s Royal Rifles.
Fred Lunn, 5th Rifle Brigade.

Pte. George Chaney has recently been in hospital at the Front, but we are glad to hear that he is now in a Convalescent camp and likely to be completely restored to health.

THE CHRISTMAS PRESENTS TO OUR MEN.- These accounts have been kindly audited by Mr. A. Elliot. They show:

Total Receipts … £24 5 11
Expenditure … 19 5 5½

Mrs. Maynard has handed the balance of £5 0s. 5½d. to Mrs. Ferard for Red Cross work in the parish.

Winkfield section of the Winkfield District Magazine, February 1916 D/P151/28A/8/2

Emergency arrangements for schools

Berkshire Education Committee received the reports of several of its sub-committees on 15 January, and heard how the war was affecting schools.

Higher Education Sub-committee

SECONDARY SCHOOLS: ENLISTMENT OF ASSISTANT MASTERS
The one remaining Assistant Master at the Wallingford County Grammar School has been attested and placed in Army Reserve B. At the Windsor County Boys’ School, Mr F Morrow has left to join HM Army, and Mr Hawtin has been attested under the Group System.

MAIDENHEAD TECHNCIAL INSTITUTE
A letter was received from the Board of Education on 4th January inclosing a letter from the Army Council stating that “the premises in question are required in connexion with a Voluntary Hospital, the administrators of which will be responsible for the payment of the necessary expenses”.

The Board expressed the hope that the premises would be made available accordingly.

This requisition was considered on 8 January and the following resolution was passed:

The Higher Education Sub-committee hereby authorises and directs the Governors of the Maidenhead Technical Institute to carry on the work of the Institute elsewhere and to hand the building over to the Maidenhead Branch of the Red Cross Society without delay.

TRAINING OF WOMEN: CLERICAL AND COMMERCIAL EMPLOYMENT
The Sub-committee have considered the letter from the Home Office (referred to the Committee by the County Council) with reference to the suggestions of the Clerical and Commercial Employment Committee.
The Sub-committee recommend that the demand for such classes in the larger centres of population in the county be ascertained by advertisement; and that if sufficient names be obtained classes be formed provided that it is possible to secure qualified teachers and that the classes can be self-supporting.

School Management Sub-committee

TEACHING STAFF
In addition to the 44 teachers who have already enlisted, 27 teachers have been attested and placed in Army Reserve B. Only three teachers are affected by the calling up of Groups 2 to 9.

AMALGAMATION OF SCHOOLS DURING THE PERIOD OF THE WAR
The Managers of the Thatcham CE Schools will not consent to the Committee’s suggestion that the Infants’ School should be closed, and that both Mixed and Infants should be taken in the Mixed School.
The Managers of Cookham Dean Schools have accepted a proposal for the temporary amalgamation of their two departments under the Headmistress of the Junior Mixed School and the consent of the Board of Education has been obtained on the understanding that the matter will be subject to reconsideration should the arrangement be found to be unsatisfactory in practice.

EMERGENCY ARRANGEMENTS FOR STAFFING
The Board of Education have announced that, in view of the enlistment in response to His Majesty’s appeal of a further number of teachers, the Board rely on Local Education Authorities, after consulting HM Inspector, to make the best arrangements possible for maintaining the schools at a satisfactory level of efficiency. If this is done, they will exercise a wide discretion in the payment of grants. The Board hope that authorities will do all they can to provide temporary substitutes for assistants who have joined the forces. They will, however, expect every effort to be made to provide a properly qualified Head Teacher in each school; but may, in exceptional cases, e.g. small or remote schools, agree to recognise a teacher not fully qualified.

These departures must be regarded as for the period of the war only.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES
A letter has been received from the Educational Supply Association stating that, owing to the very considerably increased cost of articles, they must take advantage of the force majeure clause of their contract. A letter has also been received from Messrs Charles & Son (Kindergarten Materials) asking for an increase of 12 ½ per cent on their contract prices.

By-laws and Attendance Sub-committee

MORTIMER ST JOHN’S SCHOOL
The Sub-committee have considered a suggestion from the School management Sub-committee that this school might be closed for the period of the war. The Managers have agreed to offer no opposition to the proposal… The children would attend St Mary’s Infants’ School.

Agricultural Instruction Committee report [also to the Education Committee]

TRAINING OF WOMEN
The Committee have received a recommendation from the Berkshire War Agricultural Committee that a grant not exceeding £50 be made to the Berkshire Committee on Women and Farm Labour for the training of women in farm work.

A communication has also been received from the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries calling attention to the importance of training women for work on the land, and inviting the co-operation of the Committee in providing such instruction as is required.

It is according recommended that a sum not exceeding £50 be granted to the Berkshire Committee on Women and Farm Labour during the current financial year for the purposes of training women on the lines set out for the organisation by the circular letter of the Board of Agriculture of 29 November, 1915, and for the organisation by that Committee of meetings, where desirable, with the object of forming a register of women capable of undertaking some agricultural work and of farmers willing to employ them.

Reports to Berkshire Education Committee (C/CL/C1/1/19)

Setting up a War Agricultural Committee for the county

Food shortages were a real concern during the war, as German attacks on neutral ships impeded imports. At its meeting on 16 October 1915, Berkshire County Council decided to set up a War Agricultural Committee.

FOOD PRODUCTION
WAR AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE
A letter, dated 18 September, 1915, addressed to the Chairman of the Council by the President of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, forwarding a Scheme for the appointment of a War Agricultural Committee and district sub-committees, was considered.
The principal functions of the Committees will be to organise the supply of agricultural labour; to consider the maintenance of, and if possible, the increase in, the production of food; to obtain information as to the requirements and supply available of agricultural implements and fertilisers and feeding stuffs; and generally to assist and advise landowners, farmers, and labourers.

Proposed by the Chairman, seconded by Lord G M Pratt, and resolved: That the following, being representative of landowners, farmers, agricultural societies and institutions, labour and other persons, be appointed a War Agricultural Committee for the County of Berks in accordance with, and for the purposes enumerated in, the circular dated 18 September, 1915, from the Board of Agriculture; with power to add to their number:

F Anstey
F Bate
J H Benyon
W Brewer
William Cordell
F J K Cross
R Crow
P E Crutchley
Miss G Elliot
C A Ferard
J A Fereman
Aaron Frogley
E Gardner, MP
H Goddard
B C Heath
W J Henman
T Latham
A W Lawrence
Local Manager, Labour Exchange
Capt. F C Loder Symonds
Job Lousley
W A Mount, MP
W Pennington
Miss G Pott
A Robinson
T Rose
Frank Saunders
W Anker Simmons
T Skurray
G F Slade
F A Smith
Harry Wilson Sowdon
E M Sturges
T S Tayler
Rev F W Thoyts
W Weall
H W Weaving
H G Willink

Proposed by the Chairman, seconded by Mr Bate, and resolved:

That the Clerk of the Council be nominated, and authorised to act, as Clerk to the War Agricultural Committee for the County of Berks; and that such other members of the administrative staff of the Council, as may be available and required, be allowed to assist such Committee.

That the War Agricultural Committee be allowed the use of County Buildings and equipment free of cost.

Provided that the above authorisations are given on condition that the arrangements do not interfere with the ordinary work of the Council or their Committees.

BCC minutes (C/CL/C1/1/18)