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An early Christmas Gift - WVS Bulletin

The blog is a wee bit late this week, but for a very good reason, and we hope you will forgive us. It will also be the last of the year as I am off on my Christmas Holidays.

We have decided to give everyone an early Christmas present, one that the elves here have been working on for over 3 years.

Today sees the culmination of our Bulletin project!

We have painstakingly scanned, OCR’ed and edited all 419 editions of the Bulletin/Magazine from 1939-1974 and loaded them onto our online catalogue. You can now search the entire text, and then view and download the original documents.

All for free!

Try a search today

This is our first major foray into the world of providing access to our archive material digitally and we hope that it is a big success. There are 8,444 pages which contain stories from around the country of WVS and WRVS work covering 35 years; from tales of the evacuation, to welcoming the Ugandan Asian Refugees as well as Food Flying Squad competitions.

If you enjoy ‘Spinach and Beet’ every month, you can read every unedited edition, and indulge yourself with hundreds of recipes from ‘food news’.

Family historians will love all editions after 1961 which include the names of all recipients of the WVS Long Service Medal!

There is so much to discover, where will you begin?

It‘s all part of the continuing development of our collections, opening them up as a resource for all to enjoy and explore. This though is just the tip of a very large iceberg. The Bulletin represents only 0.05% of our collection and we are going to need your help in the future to make access to more available.

If you want to know more about the Bulletin and Magazine keep reading, as we’ve posted another blog below with a few details.

Happy Christmas

Posted by Matthew McMurray, Royal Voluntary Service Archivist at 08:02 Thursday, 10 December 2015.

Labels: WVS Bulletin , Christmas present, Online catalogue, spinach and Beet, From the Centres, Food news, Long Service Medal, Food Flying Squad, Ugandan Asians, WRVS Magazine

Helping say goodbye to Sir Winston Churchill

This Saturday, 24 January, 50 years ago, one of the greatest Britons to ever live died at his home in London. That man was Sir Winston Churchill.

The WVS as ever played its part in helping the people of Britain to pay their respects to a man who had helped this country through its darkest hours.

This report from the WVS Bulletin from March 1965 tells the story of the WVS efforts to assist at the Lying in State a duty they had performed only 13 years previously for King George VI.

WVS has sent a cheque for £1,040 to the organisers of the Winston Churchill Memorial Fund, the amount generously contributed by the 82,400 people who had hot drinks from WVS while waiting in the queue, during THE LYING IN STATE.

SINCE WVS served hot tea and Bovril to the public waiting in the queue during the Lying in State of Sir Winston Churchill, many appreciative remarks have been made about their work.

On the Friday, a member in uniform, when doing her shopping in Westminster was at the first shop— and much to her embarrassment— taken to the head of the queue as the shopkeeper said she must be tired. At the second, someone proposed three cheers for WVS, and at the third the member was again sent to the head of the queue. Later, while looking at the window of a local store, where a bust of Sir Winston Churchill was displayed, this same member was again the centre of attention. The men said that they were so glad to have this opportunity of thanking WVS—one of the men recalled their work for the services during the war and the other remembered the care taken of his mother and father who were bombed out. At this moment, three more men arrived who had waited five hours in the queue, the night before, and who wanted to say that they thought that WVS was doing marvellous work.

The Chairman visited the WVS at the site on several occasions and surprised many workers by being there at midnight on the Thursday. She talked to everyone on the Food Flying Squad vehicles and, on crossing to the Lambeth side, found that the workers were both short-handed and slaving away in the dark. The workers had got used to the perpetual gloom and were dispensing tea and Bovril—the latter a generous gift from the makers—at a great rate to the queue which at that time spread as far as County Hall. The Chairman characteristically wasted no time in despatching to Headquarters for two extra helpers to make up the full complement. She then herself returned to Headquarters with a colleague to look for emergency lighting. Sometime later, they returned with a supply of red candles and jam jars and the workers served the hot drinks by their glowing light.

The Chairman tells a story of how she arrived at the canteen on one occasion to find a policeman holding a carry cot and passing the baby into the vehicle with: ‘he has to be fed’, and he was fed without more ado, the mother sitting on a large carton of plastic cups.

Posted by Matthew McMurray at 00:00 Monday, 19 January 2015.

Labels: Winston Churchill, WVS, WRVS, RVS, Heritage Bulletin Blog, Lying in State, Embankment, Bovril, Food Flying Squad