This transcription has been made available in partnership with the Huddersfield Local History Society to mark the 150th anniversary of the Incorporation of Huddersfield as a Municipal Borough. For details of events and research resources relating to Huddersfield 150, please see the society's web site.
Table of Contents for Jubilee History of the Corporation of Huddersfield: 1868 to 1918 (1918) by Owen Balmforth:
Any account of the work of the Town Council would be incomplete which did not include some reference to its work in connection with the present war. Ever since the war began, four year ago, the two Mayors, Alderman J. Blamires and Alderman Jessop, devotedly helped by the Mayoresses, the members of the Council assisted by the general public, the school teachers, and the clerical staffs of the various departments, have worked nobly and energetically in numberless ways to meet the varied demands of the time.
Public subscription lists have been promoted for the relief of distress at home and abroad, for sending comforts to the soldiers and sailors, for providing hospitals for the wounded, for housing and maintaining the Belgian refugees, and for augmenting the pensions allowed to dependants by the State. Committees have been organised and hundreds of mestings held for disbursing the funds subscribed; for promoting the success of the various War Loans; for obtaining recruits for the Army and Navy; for increasing the food supply by the cultivation of allotment gardens; and for controlling the Sale of Food in accordance with the Government's rationing schemes. Let us glance at some of this work in detail,
It has been stated that no other town the size of Huddersfield has equalled it in the generosity of its financial contributions to philanthropic funds. The Borough Treasurer, Mr. E. Dyson, has supplied the following list of sums subscribed to the various funds named, in response to appeals made by the Mayor or Deputy Mayor of the Borough:—
|Huddersfield War Relief Fund||24,315|
|Belgian Refugees Relief Fund||4,313|
|French Relief and Red Cross Joint Fund||2,249|
|Serbian Relief Fund||3,340|
|Huddersfield & District Volunteer Corps||3,260|
|Mayor's Troops Entertainment Fund||197|
|Soldiers' and Sailors' Cigarette Fund||4,329|
|Military Hospital Fund||32,179|
|War Horse Fund||1,216|
|Mayor's Russian Red Cross Fund||627|
|Mayor's Poland Fund||934|
|Mayor's Fund for "Huddersfield Hut" for Soldiers in France||1,810|
|Mayoress's Fund for Beds for Wounded Soldiers||1,369|
|Mayoress's Fund for Comforts for Soldiers and Sailors||12,182|
|Mayoress's Red Cross Ambulance Fund||2,486|
|Sick and Wounded Soldiers and Sailors (and gifts in kind—Warm Clothing, Comforts, etc.)||7,475|
|Christmas Gifts for Huddersfield 5th Battalions and 168th R.F.A.||205|
|Y.M.C.A. Flag Day||1,661|
|Huddersfield War Concert Party Fund||201|
|Huddersfield Sailors'Day Fund||1,333|
|Huddersfield Day Nursery Fund||1,240|
|Huddersfield Rose Hay Fund, balance for Royal Infirmary, Huddersfield||141|
|5th Duke of Wellington's W.R. Cadet Battalion||219|
|National Institute for the Blind (St. Dunstan's Institute)||1,172|
|Ambulance Train Exhibition||550|
|...less amount included in Soldiers' and Sailors' Comforts' Fund||-1150|
|West Riding War Fund||1,147|
|Irish Flag Day Fund||431|
|Roumanian Relief Fund||351|
|Lifeboat Flag Day||688|
|Huddersfield National Baby Week||139|
|Syria and Palestine Relief Fund||243|
|Seaman's Orphanage, Hull, Flag Day||104|
|Dr. Barnado's Home||124|
The above list does not represent all the monies subscribed in the town, large sums having been raised for kindred objects by the "Huddersfield Examiner," the Young Men's Christian Association and other organisations.
In connection with the active steps for Recruiting, the 168th Brigade of Royal Field Artillery was formed and equipped locally and during the period of raising and training the Borough Treasurer was the Accounting Officer to the Brigade.
The Local War Pensions involving the distribution of from £200 to now over £300 a week, the financial arrangements in connection with the provision of War Hospital accommodation totalling 2,000 beds, the financial operations of the Food Production, Food Control, and the National Kitchen Committees, the Belgian Refugees' Relief Committee, the Mayor's Fund for providing Soldiers and Sailors with Tobacco and Cigarettes, the Juvenile Organisations Committee and the War Aims Committee, all these have involved additional work upon the Borough Treasurer's Department.
The estate at Royds Wood, Paddock, owned by the Corporation, has been utilized for the erection of an open-air War Hospital, which was built and fully equipped, at a cost of over £30,000, by voluntary subscription. Both the medical and military authorities have spoken in high terms of the value, suitability and efficiency of the hospital. 600 beds are provided, and since its erection, in October, 1915, to October, 1918, no fewer than 17,200 soldiers have been accommodated.
The newly-built Sanatorium for tuberculosis patients, at Bradley Gate has also been placed by the Corporation at the disposal of the military authorities for the use of wounded soldiers.
During the past eighteen months the Education Committee have also granted the use of the two departments at the Paddock Council School as an auxiliary hospital.
The mansion on the Royds Wood Estate, which is now occupied by War Hospital Nurses, was previously granted by the: Corporation for the use of Belgian Refugees. When the Hospital was built, these Refugees were accommodated in smaller houses in various parts of the district. The first convoy of sixty men, women and children arrived in the town on October 7th, 1914. Approximately 450 Refugees have been accommodated in the Borough and surrounding districts. The public have subscribed a large sum of money for their maintenance, but at the present time, in consequence of the prosperous state of trade, practically all the Refugees are able to maintain themselves. The Committee, with Mr. B. Riley as chairman, have devoted a great deal of time in making satisfactory provision for the Refugees.
The local committee for the Relief of Distress caused by the War raised the large sum of £24,315. The Committee was divided into two sections-Military and Civil. In the former section, in addition to money received direct from the State, a sum of £14,387 has been disbursed in support of soldiers' dependants. In the latter section, in consequence of work being plentiful, only £1,425 has been expended in the relief of distress. In addition, £2,000 was handed over to the Prince of Wales' Central Fund, and £2,450 to the local Prisoners of War Fund.
The Women's Committee for providing | comforts for the Soldiers and Sailors have done an immense amount of work in making and forwarding abroad large quantities of all kinds of clothing to men engaged in the Army and Navy, also in supplying hospital requisites. The work has received the approval of the War Office. Hospital requisites of every kind-dressing gowns, pyjamas, blankets, shirts, bedjackets, slippers, etc., including many thousands of bandages, are despatched to Casualty Clearing Stations and Hospitals at home and abroad. Over 70,000 articles have been sent to our local War Hospitals, besides 30,000 to France for the use of French wounded. For the troops in the field, socks, shirts, mufflers, mittens, cardigans, &c., are continually being sent out; to the local battalions of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment 500 pairs of socks per week are sent. Since August, 1914, over 400,000 articles have been sent out, and during last year alone over 101,000 were despatched. No personal appeal is ever refused, whether from a soldier, for his personal needs, or from an officer for the men under his charge.
The fund subscribed has realized up-to-date £18,344, and goods to the value of £10,000 have also been given.
The large Central Committee of ladies and numerous workers in the town and district have exerted themselves most strenuously in this gigantic task.
The Belgian Refugee Clothing Committee was formed on September 10th, 1914. The work finished in June, 1915, as the Belgians were then able to work and look after themselves, and the appeals from away were less frequent. During the nine months 175 men, 158 women, 163 children, a total of 496, were clothed; 26,262 garments were distributed, of which 16,212 were despatched abroad in 47 consignments.
This was handed over to the Women's Committee for Soldiers and Sailors.
This extensive organisation is also excellently managed by the ladies. - Parcels of food are regularly sent to between 500 and 600 prisoners of war, at a cost of £3 7s. 6d. each per month. The food sent is a great boon to the prisoners, as without it they would undoubtedly suffer great privation. The cost of the parcels for October, 1918, was £1,691 8s. 8d. The amount subscribed to date is £16,800, all of which has been expended. All money received goes to pay for the parcels, as the working expenses are privately covered.
The Committee of ladies has worked indefatigably for the success of the organisation.
The Committee for providing the Soldiers and Sailors with Cigarettes has done a great deal of work from time to time in organising various schemes for the collection of subscriptions. Judging from the communications received from the men in the services, the parcels of Cigarettes have been very much appreciated. Mr. E. Robinson is the chairman of the Committee, and Mr. J. V. Rothery the secretary.
The Town Council has granted two sums of £1,000 and £300 to the fund raised for the equipment of the Volunteer Corps.
A large number of meetings has been organised for the purpose of explaining to the public the aims and objects of the war, and for the obtaining of recruits, Many of these have been held in the suburbs, but a series of large and influential meetings, under the auspices of the Mayor, have been held in the Town Hall. The speakers at the latter have included Lord Desborough, Mr. A. Sherwell, M.P., Mr. G. H. Roberts, M.P., Mr. Chas. Duncan, M.P. The last, and one of the most successful meetings, was held on July 31st, 1918, when the principal speaker was His Grace The Archbishop of York (Rev. C. Gordon Lang). A large quantity of literature has also been distributed through the school and other channels.
At the request of the National Organising Committee for War Savings, the County Borough Council, on April 3rd, 1916, appointed a Local Central Committee, comprising nineteen members of the Council and a large number of other representative ladies and gentlemen. The Mayor, Alderman J. Blamires, was elected chairman, Mr. Lawrence Crowther, hon. secretary, and Mr. R. V. Rigby, hon. treasurer, and the first few months were spent in organising meetings at mills, factories, workshops, schools, etc., explaining the Government Scheme and the formation of War Savings' Associations for the purpose of collecting money weekly to be invested in War Savings' Certificates and other Government issues. The work progressed very satisfactorily and in January, 1917, the Committee were invited to carry out a big campaign in connection with the Issue of "The Victory War Loan," which took place in that and the following month of February, during which period Huddersfield contributed a sum of upwards of £4,500,000.
The work of the Committee continued until April, when a request was sent from the National Committee asking that a Campaign should be organised for the purpose of "Food Economy" and immediately a Sub-Committee was formed for this purpose, Mr. C. H. Dennis (Sub-Inspector of Schools) being appointed as Secretary, and, as everyone knows, especially the ladies of the town, the Campaign was carried out most successfully.
In the Autumn of 1917, the War Savings' Committee was again urged to devote the whole of its energies to the formation of further associations, and to impress on all classes the absolute necessity of saving and lending money to the Government for the further prosecution of the War.
In October, an issue of National War Bonds was made to which special attention was given by the Press, and an energetic advertising campaign entered upon until early in January, 1918, when the Committee organised a "Tank Week," which was held in February. The Opening Ceremony was performed on the 18th February by Sir William Raynor, J.P. and His Worship the Mayor (Alderman W. H. Jessop, J.P.) presided, supported by a large body of ladies and gentlemen of the town. This week was a memorable one, everybody doing their utmost to make the effort a success. During the week no less a sum than £2,689,000 was invested in War Bonds and War Savings' Certificates, which represents over £24 per head of the population.
The work of the Committee continued until July, when it was again called upon to make another special effort, and a "War Weapons Week" was arranged, with a result that during the period, 10th to 18th July, £604,902 was invested in War Bonds and War Savings' Certificates. The following is a copy of a letter received from Sir R. M. Kindersley, K.B.E., Chairman of the National War Savings' Committee, on the 3rd August, 1918, in regard to War Weapon Week:—
On the 15th August, the first £1,000,000,000 was reached in connection with the War Bonds Campaign which commenced on the 1st October, 1917. Huddersfield's quota per week was put down at £53,000, equal to 10/- per head of the population, and for the period, 1st October, 1917, to 15th August, 1918, the amount invested in War Bonds, was over £105,000 par week, or more than double the quota asked for, which placed Huddersfield in the Seventh position in Great Britain, per weekly quota per head of population, and the following is a copy of a telegram received from the Chancellor of the Exchequer in reply to congratulations sent from the Huddersfield Committee:— "Very gratified to receive telegram of congratulation. Recognise what a splendid contribution Huddersfield has made in the past to National War Bonds, and I rely with confidence upon a continuance of their generous and patriotic efforts. — Bonar Law."
Since the formation of the Local Central Committee, £9,384,925 has been invested in War Loans and War Bonds, and £1,166,592 14s. 6d. in War Savings' Certificates, besides which large sums were invested by townspeople in the various issues of Exchequer Bonds.
There are at present 271 War Savings' Associations in existence, whose members are investing money week by week.
On May 4th, 1916, the first meeting of the Schools' Thrift Sub-Committee was held at the Town Hall.
Mr. Councillor George Thomson, J.P., Chairman of the Education Committee was appointed Chairman. The object of the Committee was to stimulate "saving" in all possible ways — money, glass-ware, paper, string, etc.
A Mass Meeting of Teachers was held at the Technical College, on Friday, May 19th, to discuss the best means of attaining the end in view, and it was decided to continue, for the present, the system of saving through the Schools' Saving Banks, and as a pupil accumulated 15/6, to advise the parents to transfer the same into War Savings' Certificates. In the case of schools having no School Bank, it was decided to introduce the system of saving by purchasing 6d. stamps and affixing them to a War Savings' Card. At the same time, a scheme was adopted for the systematic collection of jam jars, glass-ware, etc. and their disposal.
As a result, every school or department in the Borough was affiliated as a War Savings' Association. Just before the Christmas Holidays, 1916, War Savings' Christmas Cards with a coupon attached (the coupons being exchangeable for a free sixpenny stamp) were distributed to all children on the school registers between the ages of 5 and 14.
14,761 cards were distributed. By February 9th, 1917, 460 of these Christmas Cards had been filled up and exchanged for War Savings' Certificates. The great "War Loan" week was now at hand, and to encourage the boys and girls to complete their War Savings' Cards by the 16th February, an offer was made to add two stamps to the first 3,000 Christmas Cards filled in with 29 stamps, and one stamp to cards belonging to children who had already filled up their Christmas Cards. The offer was taken up with enthusiasm. On several days every 6d. stamp in Huddersfield was bought up, and teachers ordering £50 worth and upwards of stamps were fairly common.
During the week, February 10th to 16th, 2121 cards were filled up and exchanged for War Savings' Certificates. By the end of February, 11,581 Certificates had been obtained by the children, representing a sum invested of £8,975 5s. 6d.
In the meantime, large numbers of bottles, jam jars, etc. were collected by the children and up to date a sum of £116 14s. 4d. has been realised by the sale of these. This sum has been invested in War Savings' Certificates, and will be expended in some way hereafter to be determined by the Committee.
In September, 1917, a new War Savings' Card — The Santa-Claus Card — was issued to school children making application for them, and through the kindness of certain local gentlemen, a sixpenny stamp was given to each child who, having placed 30 stamps on its card, handed the card to his teacher on or before December 19th. 1,273 War Savings' Certificates were obtained in this special effort.
The pupils have obtained Certificates regularly since that date, and by August 31st, 1918, 21,800 Certificates had been purchased by school children, equivalent to an investment of £16,895. Besides these War Navings' efforts, the scholars have accomplished a great deal of other useful work, among which may be mentioned the following. A large number of sand and chaff bags have been made for the military authorities; thousands of mittens, scarves, shirts, bandages, &c., have been made for the soldiers; collections were made in the schools for the Sailors' Flag Day, which realized £76; the "Jack Cornwell" Memorial Fund and the Belgium Famine Fund. For the last three years the money realised by the Annual School Concerts in the Town Hall, has been handed over to the various War Funds, as follows:—
In July, 1916, the pupils at the Girls' High School, by an Entertainment and Sale of Work, realised the sum of £200, which was handed over to the British Red Cross Society and the Star and Garter Home, at Richmond, for totally disabled Soldiers and Sailors.
The huge task in connection with the work of National Registration was undertaken by the Town Clerk's Department. With voluntary assistance of a large number of helpers, about 75,000 names were speedily registered. It will be seen how onerous this work is when it is explained that there are between six and seven thousand alterations annually, owing to removals and changes of address.
The Local Tribunal, appointed under the Military Service Acts by the Town Council, held its first sitting December 2nd, 1915, and up to date has held over 100 meetings. The Tribunal has dealt with about 30,000 claims for exemption from military service. Mr. Ald. J. Blamires was chairman until August, 1918, when he resigned in consequence of serious ill-health, Mr. Ald. Jessop being appointed his successor. The Advisory Committee which deals with similar claims prior to them coming before the Tribunal, has held a much larger number of meetings. The chairman is Mr. Robert Ramsden.
Prior to the Spring of 1917, there were no Allotments in Huddersfield under the Corporation, although there were some under private management.
In December, 1916, the Corporation in view of the food shortage appointed a Committee, with Mr. J. H. Robson as Chairman and Mr. Coun. Topping as Vice-Chairman, to consider what could be done in the way of food production by the encouragement of Allotments.
Considering it advisable to get independent expert advice and help, the Committee approached several gentlemen who consented to be co-opted members of the Committee and to give their services.
The Committee so constituted had first to consider the provision of suitable land, and it was decided to try and arrange to take over land owned by the Housing and other Committees. This land was mostly in the occupation of Farmers who, at considerable sacrifice, allowed the Committee to take over at once the land required for the Allotments and they asked for no compensation.
The land immediately taken comprised about 9 acres, which was divided into Allotments of 200 square yards each. It was also decided, as an experiment, to take over three tips, namely, Carr Pit, Meltham Road and Waterloo for Allotments and this provided another 6 acres of land. The tips were split up into lots of a size to suit the individual applicant; there are now some 44 tenants.
That the movement was a great success, was proved by the Show of Vegetables held in the Town Hall at the close of the 1917 season.
The 1918 season brought a greatly increased demand for land for Allotments which demand was met, and the Committee now has under its management over 60 acres of land in the occupation of more than 1,000 Allotment Holders. There are some 40 sites spread all over the Borough, from Bradley and Sheepridge on the North to Taylor Hill and Lockwood Road on the South and from Waterloo on the East to Outlane on the West.
Further, the Committee have under direct cultivation some 20 acres of land at Heaton Lodge, which had practically gone out of cultivation. This year the bulk of this land was under potatoes, and it has produced 100 tons, which have been sold at 8/- per cwt.
The Committee have given a very healthy stimulus to gardening throughout the Borough, and there can be no doubt of the social and moral advantages which have accrued.
Mr. J. R. Clynes, M.P., the Food Controller, said at the Ministry of Health, on August 14th, 1918: "We had reason to be thankful for the good harvest, and for the large family of small Allotment Holders, who had worked well to supplement the yield of agriculturists all over the kingdom."
This Committee commenced its work in September, 1917, the Committee being constituted as follows:—
The Mayor (Ald. W. H. Jessop, J.P.) and Alderman Calverley were appointed Chairman and Deputy-Chairman respectively.
Office accommodation was obtained at the Temperance Hall, Princess Street, and a staff consisting of an Executive Official (Mr. L. G. Thornber, the Education Committee's School Inspector) and nine clerks commenced work on Monday, September 24th, 1917.
Their first task was the rationing of sugar to manufacturers, caterers and institutions, and afterwards the issuing of sugar Cards to the general public. Sugar was rationed to individual consumers as from January lst, 1918.
In all, 170 manufacturers were allotted sugar to the amount of 2,093 cwts. for a six monthly period; 130 caterers were allotted 294 cwts. for the same period, and 75 institutions 148% cwts. 105,000 Sugar Cards were issued to individuals, giving an allowance of 110 tons per month, this being distributed to the general public through 388 retailers.
From the first, the rationing of Sugar was a success.
In the latter months of 1917, and the month of January, 1918, the Committee were much concerned at the numerous and long food queues prevalent in the town-particularly queues for Butter and Margarine. On several occasions large stocks of Margarine were commandeered from a multiple shop and re-distributed to retailers, but this method was not a great success, and the Committee decided to adopt a local rationing scheme of an elastic nature.
As Huddersfield is the natural distributing centre of a much larger area than the Borough itself, the neighbouring Food Control Committees were invited to a Conference at which an outline ration scheme was submitted, discussed, and ultimately adopted for Huddersfield and 24 neighbouring Food Control Areas. An Executive Committee was appointed to adjust supplies.
The necessary arrangements for the whole area were carried out by the Huddersfield Food Control Committee, and by February 23rd the whole of the population in what might be called the Huddersfield Rationing Area were obtaining Butter and Margarine on individual food cards, the ration being 4 ozs, per head.
The difficulties in carrying out the scheme were very great. Butter and Margarine were not, as yet, supplied to retailers according to the number of their registered customers, but the Executive Officer had to requisition supplies weekly from shops having excess stocks and re-distribute these through the local wholesalers.
During the period, 25th December, 1917 to March 25th, 1918, Margarine to the value of £4,698 10s. 4d. was thus requisitioned and re-distributed. But from March 25th onwards, a much more satisfactory scheme was introduced by the Ministry of Food, by which the Margarine for the whole area was sent direct to the Executive Officer and by him distributed, partly direct, but mainly through the wholesalers to the retailers in the Huddersfield area. The weekly quota thus distributed is 19 tons 13 cwts.
While the Butter and Margarine difficulty was being dealt with, there came a very serious shortage in Meat. From January 7th onwards, the supplies to Butchers were cut down to 50 per cent. of their supplies in October, 1917; a new and successful method of Meat distribution was evolved, leading to the formation of a Meat Supply Association, consisting of most of the retailers in the town, and the buying of live stock and the distribution of meat on a co-operative basis. Occasionally, the markets failed to produce supplies, but the Area Live Stock Commissioner of the Ministry of Food requisitioned cattle for the Food Control Committee and saved the situation.
Meat, however, was not rationed to the general public; but the Ministry of Food decided to introduce a National Meat Rationing Scheme. The issue of individual Meat Cards to the general public was a huge task, in which pupils from the Technical College and the Girls' High School and teachers from the Elementary Schools of the Borough lent very efficient help. The Meat Rationing Scheme came into force on April 7th and worked very satisfactorily, Meat being distributed through 81 retailers to a Meat population of 103,000 persons.
The coupon system of the Meat Card was found to be very elastic and easy of modification according to supplies available. Meat coupons were made available for Bacon and Ham, other forms of Meat, Meat Meals, etc.
Meanwhile, it was found that the Meat Ration was not adequate to the needs of manual workers, and the Rationing Scheme was modified by issuing Supplementary Ration Cards available for Bacon and Ham, Meat, other than Butchers' Meat, or Meat Meals to workers engaged on heavy manual work. Supplementary Ration Cards were also issued to adolescent youths of 14-18.
2,120 books were issued to youths and 15,566 to heavy workers.
But, so far, the National Rationing Schemes were for Sugar and Meat only, and the Ministry of Food saw the need of absorbing all the various Local Rationing Schemes into one National Scheme. Accordingly, individual Ration Books, containing coupons for Sugar, Fats, Meat (including Bacon), Lard, and allowing of extension to other commodities were distributed, and the Scheme came into operation as from July 14th. The issue of the books was the biggest task undertaken as yet by the Food Office Staff, and as the Schools in the Borough were closed for an epidemic, the Teachers and other Officials of the Education Committee lent willing help, and to them the Food Control Committee accorded their grateful thanks. By July 14th, 105,844 Ration Books and 15,104 Supplementary Ration Books had been issued. There were still left upwards of 2,000 applications forms without addresses, but these were gradually cleared and books issued.
The remaining period has been a comparatively quiet period at the Food Office, clearly showing the success of the rationing scheme. But in the month of August upwards of 40,000 forms were dealt with by the Food Office Staff.
The latest rationing statistics for the Borough are as follows:—
|Butter & Margarine||372||105,097|
A National Kitchen's Sub-Committee has been formed and premises rented at Aspley from the Education Committee. This first National Kitchen was opened by Alderman Calverley, on Tuesday, 30th July, 1918. The staff consists of one supervisor and four assistants, and 380 to 400 dinner tickets are being sold daily.
In common with other large employers of labour, the Town Council is paying to many of its employees a liberal allowance in the shape of war bonus. This bonus ranges generally from 16/- to 25/- per week to various classes of employees.
The number of Corporation employees who have joined the Forces is 678.. The Council is generously paying many of these their full salary, less military pay and allowances. The number of casualties among the employees is 55 killed and 54 wounded, and the number who have been discharged from the Army is 76.