Friday, 18 May 2018

Making Hospital Bags

From Woman’s Weekly, May 18th 1918. 

What Every “Hospital Blue” Likes To Have.

A Way in Which We All Can Do Our “Bit” for Lady Smith-Dorrien’s Hospital Bag Fund.

OUR soldier lads travel pathetically light; I mean, of course, as regards their own personal belongings, for their official kit and equipment is alarmingly burdensome, as we know who so often have them in heavy marching order.

It is only when Tommy is wounded, when he has achieved "a Blighty one," and is being borne carefully and tenderly to a hospital at home, that he is able to carry with him his small treasures and have the satisfaction of knowing that they are beside his cot, ready to hand.

Now, there are so many of us who simply long to help in the great cause, and yet wonder how we can do so; we seem to have so few pennies, so little time.  Maybe we are busy house-mothers, with even more household tasks than usual now that prices are so high and help so scant. Or perhaps we are on munitions, or doing whole-day jobs; or, alas! we are the "laid by" ones of sofa and sick room.

How can we help brave Jack and Tommy when they most need help?

Here is one very practical answer—we can do our share towards that clever and widely spread organisation-of a soldier's wife—Lady Smith-Dorrien's Hospital Bag Fund.  Surely we can each find the necessary piece of material and make one bag to hold all those sacred personal belongings that the sick soldier cherishes so fondly.

When Tommy is in hospital he likes to know that his pet possessions are close to hand.  His khaki uniform and heavy coat are put away, out of sight, but the things from his pockets he is allowed to keep in one of these cretonne bags hanging at the top of his bed.  It is nice to have the photographs of the dear home folk within reaching distance.  Then "somebody's" letter can be taken out of the bag and read over again if Tommy feels a wee bit homesick.

WE need not be skilled sempstresses.  Really, these bags are simplicity itself; all that we must be careful about is so easy to remember.

Make your bag so that it is 12 inches by 14 inches long when finished, and see that it has two separate tape drawstrings.  A single one run round twice is not permissible.  And two inches from the bottom of the bag sew firmly—all round, mind—a label of white glazed calico, measuring 2 inches deep by 4 inches long. 

BAGS can be made of any strong, new washing material, but the writer has a little "notion" of her own that you may care to borrow.  You might use old linen shirt collars and cuffs, when available, for the labels.  Choose the gayest and prettiest of cretonne for the material.  Our little diagrams will help you.  ...

If you belong to a sewing party, you might each provide a separate bag for this good cause.  In this case tie the bags in tens, unfolded, and send them to the depot, 26, Pont Street, S.W. 1. From the depot, as you know, you can borrow a pattern bag if you wish.

Just to show how impartial is the generosity of the fund, we would tell you that French, Belgian, Italian, Serbian, and Roumanian soldiers have rejoiced over their gifts of bags, and, of course, so has every soldier of our own race and colonies.

Figures are dull things sometimes— not always.  Send for the leaflet of this fund, and you will revel in such figures as two millions, six hundred thousand, five hundred and ten—when you realise that they mean a bag for the cherished personal belongings of that number of brave fighting lads!

It is sad to reflect that the large demand for these bags still continues—but it is a fact.

Let us all determine to provide at least one during the coming month. There are few women who do not have at least an hour or two every day to spare.  It would be dreadful to think that some poor soldier lacked a bag for his treasures while we could so easily make one in an evening's leisure.

[The tone of this article is much more sentimental than other appeals for Lady Smith-Dorrien's scheme - for instance here.  It's also a bit muddled - it starts off saying that he is only able to carry his 'small treasures' with him when he is wounded - in fact, as the writer says later, the bag was to contain the contents of his pockets, when his uniform was removed. 

'Hospital Blue' refers to the uniform worn by wounded soldiers when they were well enough to be out of bed.]   

Friday, 11 May 2018

Games For The Men

From The Times, May 11th 1918. 


Sir,—Now that all your readers know what D.G.V.O. stands for, may I ask again for one of his activities entrusted to me—games for the men?  To my last letter the girls' schools answered munificently, the boys’ decently, while my old and trusted friend the general public was a surprisingly bad third.  My fault entirely: the public never fails the armies, but I forgot to remind it that every house has one game outdoor or indoor, left—the game I am asking for now.  The fact is these things are a bother to pack.  I know, having got off 5,000 this week.  Still, it can be done, and who cares for trouble to-day?
Yours faithfully,
Address for sending, D.G.V.O.'s depĂ´t, 45, Horseferry-road, S.W.I.

[The previous letter from John Penoyre, which evidently had not received a good response, was published at the beginning of March, here.   The D.G.V.O., for those who don't know, was teh Directory General Of Voluntary Organisations, Sir Edward Ward.]

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

National Wool Collection

From the Amman Valley Chronicle, 9th May 1918.


Wool is much needed for making clothing and warm blankets for our sailors and soldiers.  Will children or anyone do this little bit of Voluntary War Work, and help to keep up the supply by gathering the tufts of sheep’s wool left on hedges, moors, and hundreds of other places. 
Last year the collection of wool was a great success, and it is hoped that this season even a larger amount may be saved.  Now is the moment to do this, before the sheep have lost their winter fleeces.  The wool need not be cleaned in any way, but thorns, sticks, and bits of wire ought to be removed.  Wool should be sent to Lady Amhurst, Sheep's Wool Depot, 23, Queen's Gate Gardens, London, S.W.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Shortage of Domestic Servants

From the Illustrated London News, May 4th 1918


CONSCRIPTION for women is "in the air."  It will be cruelly hard upon thousands of people, especially upon elderly delicate parents, whose whole comfort—whose very existence almost—depends on the ministrations of young, healthy women, daughters and paid attendants.  But we must remember that nothing can be anything like so terrible as allowing the Germans to tread as conquerors our sacred soil.  It is all sacrifice, all horror, this awful war!  Lives devastated, homes broken up, the present and the future rendered dark and wretched!  It is all a choice of evils, and we must just realise that everybody has simply got to endure anything rather than see England under the German hoof and England's daughter-nations enslaved!

Meantime, however, as the call for the services of young and strong women for the State is already so heavy, the service of the homes of the country is sadly "under-womanned."  The demands of such women as remain in domestic work have grown exorbitant.  Here is a genuine reply to an advertisement for a general servant for one lady in a flat:  "My age is twenty-five, and I require a salary of £45 to £50, and all found.  Flat must not be too big, and I require a very nice bedroom.  I wear uniform in mornings only, and no caps at any time."  Many houses are quite servantless; and hospitals and asylums, too, are unable to get the domestic labour done, and wards arc closed in consequence.  National kitchens where really refined and good cooking is done may in part be the remedy; and might "come to stay."

There are in London and elsewhere "service flats," where tenants have their own furniture and private rooms, but go to a common dining-room for meals, and have their apartments kept clean by the servants of the proprietor.  In every case, I believe, these are most successful; it is almost impossible to find such a flat vacant, though the terms are very high for rent, service, and food.  The extension of this system and National kitchens may make an immense difference to women's lives in the future.  In the United States, where our present (and possibly only temporary) difficulty in getting domestic workers is chronic and of old standing, service flats—"apartment houses," as they are called in New York—are very numerous, and serve many thousands of people as homes.  Yet there are obvious objections to the system, especially in bringing up a family.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Telephone Manners

From Woman’s Weekly, 4th May 1918.



A SWEET voice is much to be prized by its possessor, for one of the most charming social attributes of any woman is a musical speech.
But the commercial value of a pleasing voice is seldom considered. Yet a pleasant voice has its commercial value.
A man who is at the head of a very large business, in speaking of his private secretary, a woman of much poise and initiative, said that he was first attracted to her and made conscious of her good qualities by her pleasant voice over the telephone.  He said that he had had little occasion to speak with her himself, and would perhaps never have thought anything about it had his wife not said to him one day:
"I am so glad that you have got rid of that disagreeable girl who used to answer your telephone. The girl you have now has such a nice voice."
The business man was very much surprised.  He began to watch the new girl, to call her up himself, and he always found her invariably courteous, and her voice over the telephone most pleasing.
"How is it," he asked one day, "that you do not seem to have any telephone temper?"
The girl said:
"If you have ever worked, as I did, on the switchboard of a large telephone company, you would know that there is a real meaning in the phrase, 'When you 'phone, smile.'
"Some people seem to hide behind the telephone to be disagreeable.  So I have tried to cultivate a pleasant voice, for I know that the impression created over the telephone means a great deal.  It is very easy to have your feelings wounded, I know, for I have been sharply spoken to so many times. I used to be very indifferent about it, but one day it came to me that if I would try to be as pleasant as I could be over the telephone, perhaps other people would do the same."
From that little talk a new system grew up in that big business office.  The manager called in all of the employees and gave them a little talk.  He said:
"The war has made it impossible to carry along business on just the same lines as in former years.  Every department must be up to its very best efficiency standard if we are to get the results we should get, and one of the ways to do this is to keep ourselves in a good humour, for good humoured people can always turn out better work than those who are in a bad or an indifferent frame of mind.
"So I have decided to ask all of you to try to mend your office manners.  I do not mind asking you to do this, because I am going to try to mend my own.  I think we have all fallen into a habit of indifference, and at times of insolence, because we have felt that our business is a big business, and that we do not have to cater to trade.
"This is not true, for no business good as it might be, and unless we take a pride in our work we shall certainly lose in the end. "
So, from the pleasant voice of a girl over a telephone a movement was started in that concern which has added greatly to a successful business.  Won't you copy her?

Monday, 30 April 2018

Extra Rations For Women Workers

From the Nottingham Evening Post, 30th April, 1918.



In justice to many women workers I wish to lay before the public what appears to me to be at least an overnight on the part of the Food Control authorities as to what constitutes heavy work for a woman.  My work causes me to handle from 250 to 300 heavy articles per shift.  These are "up ended" twice. and moved backwards and forwards and handled in other ways.  I am lifting at least 5 tons of metal per shift.  I should think this is heavy work for women, yet I have been refused the supplementary ration of meat other than butcher's meat because my occupation is not on the schedule.  There are many women who exert themselves as much as I do, and some even more as I have been able to observe.  They also have been refused for the same reason.  If one considers that 11½ hours' actual work and 15 hours away from home constitute the night shift duty, it must be admitted that work under these conditions is heavy for a woman, and I write this on behalf of women who have done and are doing their bit in the great struggle for right and freedom, in the hope that the food authorities will make full inquiries into the nature of the work done in the various workshops before refusing extra food.—FAIRNESS TO ALL.

[A later letter from a woman doing similar work made it clear that they were working in a munitions factory, and that men in the factory were getting the supplementary ration, including the foreman whose job it was to supervise the women rather than do the heavy physical work himself.] 

Friday, 27 April 2018

Preserving Eggs

From the Denbighshire Free Press, 27th April 1918. 


The Food Controller has issued an Authorisation under the Food Hoarding Order 1917, permitting any person to acquire eggs for the purpose of preserving them for use in his own household, but any person desiring to preserve eggs must first notify the Food Control Committee of his district as to the number which he intends to acquire for this purpose.  The Food Control Committee have power, if they think it necessary, to fix the maximum number of eggs which may be purchased for this purpose by any person.  Eggs are likely to be very dear during the next winter, and house-holders would be well advised to preserve them now.

[Eggs were preserved at that time by storing them whole (in the shell)  in a solution of isinglass.]