Heritage Bulletin blog

Heritage Bulleting the Blog

Keep up to date with the latest news and happenings at the Archive and Heritage Collection. Send us your email address to receive notifications of new posts to your inbox, or follow us on twitter.com/RVSarchives

Showing 1-9 results

Spinach and Beet - Part 20

This Month’s Diary of Centre Organiser comes from October 1951

Monday

Wondered why the membership of an exceedingly small “Darby & Joan” Club had risen so remarkably recently, and called in at the newly-arranged hour of 7.30 pm to find out why. The room was packed—and there were more “Darbies” present than in any of our other Clubs. "It’s because we meet in the evenings,” the Club Leader explained. “The ‘Darbies’ promised to come if we changed our time, and they’ve kept their word.” Must pass this suggestion on to other Clubs.

Thursday

Our International Club grows apace, and some of our members are taking evening classes in French in order to be more helpful at it. Conversation overheard in the ’bus this afternoon: Small girl: “Mummy, what is the French for ‘No’ ? W.V.S. Member (in strong, anglicised accents): “Nong.” Small girl: “Oh, I see. ‘No’ with NG added on!”

Friday

A farmer has frequently helped our “Meals on Wheels” service by gifts of vegetables. To-day he brought a basket containing, he said, “Cackleberries.’Two thoughts flashed through my mind: “I love these old country names for things,” and “I wonder if they’re awfully sour and will need a lot of sugar?” The basket, however, contained six dozen EGGS. “Here are your cackleberries,” the farmer exclaimed jovially, and roared with laughter as our appreciation of his joke slowly dawned upon us!

Recipe - Potato Meat Pie

Ingredients
1/2 pound cold meat.
2 cups milk.
1 pound mashed potatoes.
1/2 pound sliced tomatoes.
4 tablespoonsful flour.

1 tablespoonful butter or margarine.

Method
Cut the meat in thin slices and lay in bottom of baking dish. Place sliced tomatoes on top of meat. Over this pour a sauce made of butter, flour, and milk. Finish with a top crust of mashed potatoes and bake.

Posted by Matthew McMurray, Archivist at 09:00 Monday, 15 August 2016.

Labels: WVS, Spinach and Beet, Bulletin, Diary of a Centre organiser, Potato Meat Pie, French, Cackleberries, Darbies

Spinach and Beet - Part 19

This week’s diary of a Centre Organiser and recipe come from April 1949.

MONDAY

Too touched when old Mrs Stoutley pressed a small package into my hand when she came to collect her “Cash and Carry” meals today. “That’s all right, dear,” she said as I took it protestingly. “I’ve just had a parcel from Australia. You give us what we need, I told my husband, and it’s only right we should give you what you need when we can.” Thanked her warmly... and only discovered after she had gone that she had given me a CAKE OF SOAP ! How do I take her remark now?

TUESDAY

Stopped on my way to the office by an elderly man who pointed a quivering finger at my badge. “What crown is that on top of it?” he demanded. “No - I’m not disputing that W.V.S. has earned the right to wear a crown, but it’s not like any other I’ve ever seen. It hasn’t the blue emeralds of the Post Office - and it’s different from the one worn by the Coastguards...” My - frivolous? - suggestion that perhaps our crown is “a female of the species” was treated with contempt. "You ought to know about your own badge,” he grumbled, and I promised to make enquiries. (N.B. Shall enjoy being “superior” - when I know the answer!)

WEDNESDAY

Miss G. came in rather thoughtfully this afternoon from a Hospital Car Service journey. The small boy she had taken for treatment from an extremely dirty looking house had been worried about something he had learned at school that morning. “Teacher said we’re all made from dust,” he said. “Is it true?” Miss G. had felt it best to agree. “Then there’s an awful lot of people going to be born in our house,” he had declared, looking rather scared, “and most of ’em under my bed !” Miss G. admitted she had felt quite inadequate to deal with the situation.

Recipe

Here is a good recipe for individual Simnel cakes

4 oz margarine
3/4 lb mixed fruit
4 oz castor sugar
2 oz mixed peel
2 eggs
1/4 tsp spice
4 oz flour
Grated rind of half a lemon
Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
Almond essence
Salt

Beat the butter and sugar to a cream. Add eggs gradually and beat until the mixture is stiff and uniform. Stir in flour, soda and salt sifted together. Add fruit, chopped peel, spice, grated lemon rind and a few drops of almond essence. Mix well, then place in greased patty tins. Cook in good oven for 35 minutes.

Posted by Matthew McMurray, Royal Voluntary Service Archivist at 00:00 Tuesday, 05 April 2016.

Labels: WVS, Spinach and Beet, Simnel Cakes, Hospital car Service, Soap, Post office, Coastguard, Cash and Carry, Meals on Wheels , Diary

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

Spinach and Beet - Part 16

Today’s Diary of a Centre Organiser is from April 1950

Tuesday

A survey of the town has revealed a “corner” of it which is out of reach of any existing Darby and Joan Club. Mrs Ream has energetically pushed a leaflet into the letter-boxes of all houses there known to be inhabited by one or more people over sixty, inviting them to a meeting to discuss the possible formation of a Club. “I’ve been so busy doing this and that, I even forgot to get my husband’s dinner to-day,” she confessed, and added: “He says the leaflets have gone to my head and that I’ve got a one tract mind!”

Wednesday

It is often difficult to curb Mrs Catte’s bitter tongue, but perhaps a newcomer, Mrs Stranger will prove equal to the task. During this afternoon’s Work Party Mrs Stranger - at our invitation - was telling us a little about herself and the work she had been doing for W.V.S. in the Centre she came from. In addition she told us about her son who had won scholarship after scholarship and had just received promotion after only a few months in his first job. “Isn’t it wonderful how lucky your boy is?” Mrs Catte purred silkily, but there was a glint in her eyes. “Yes,” Mrs. Stranger retorted instantly, “isn’t it wonderful? The harder he works the luckier he gets.”

Friday

Sudden outbreak of a particularly nasty type of feverish cold amongst the helpers, coinciding with an unexpected number of requests for “Meals on Wheels” for ex-hospital patients. Everbody - myself included - rushing around madly, trying to cope with the deliveries by car, bicycle and even perambulator. Returned to the office to find amongst the letters one written in the third person : “Mrs Appleton would not mind a ‘Meal’ on a ‘Wheel,’ provided it arrives really hot and that the food is freshly cooked and not merely re-heated. She never touches liver and does not care for steamed puddings.” “Would not MIND ...!!’

Recipe

from May 1950

Meringue Cake

1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 egg yolks, unbeaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons milk
4 tablesp. butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For meringue top
2 whites of eggs
1/2 cup sugar.

Sift flour once, then measure, add baking powder and salt, sift together three times. Cream butter thoroughly, add sugar gradually, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Add flavouring. Put into greased baking tin. Beat egg whites until foamy throughout, add sugar, 2 tablesp. at a time, beating after each addition until sugar is thoroughly blended. Continue beating until mixture stands in peaks. Spread over the cake batter. Bake in a moderate oven for about 50 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes to cool, then remove carefully from cake tin.

Posted by Matthew McMurray, Royal Voluntary Service Archivist at 09:00 Monday, 26 October 2015.

Labels: Meals on Wheels, Darby and Joan Club, Meringue Cake, Recipe, Work Party , leaflets, RVS, WRVS, WVS, Spinach and beet

Spinach and beet - Part 13

This Month’s extract from the Diary of a Centre Organiser and our recipe come from August 1950.

MONDAY

Found a white-faced Miss MacFee hovering in the doorway when I arrived at the office to-day. “ The telephone’s out of order—and he’s in there,” she flung at me and rushed into the street. A most charming-looking little boy beamed a welcome when, greatly alarmed, I opened the door : his fair, curly hair reminding me of the picture of “ Bubbles ” ; and Miss MacFee’s behaviour seemed unaccountable. However, when I subsequently learned his “history” I felt every sympathy with her and her hurry to telephone the Welfare Officer : the small innocent-eyed person had wrung the neck of a chicken, attempted to strangle a kitten and that morning had nearly throttled his younger brother! (His mother, a Clothing Exchange frequenter, had dumped him on us in despair while on her way to the Hospital with his latest victim.)

TUESDAY

So far the meals for our “ Meals on Wheels ” scheme in the suburb of Nearleigh have been cooked by a local cafe : but with a change of management the quality of them has deteriorated disastrously with a resultant dropping in numbers. Have definitely decided W.V.S. shall do the cooking in future (as we already do for the rest of the town). Proprietor of cafe not pleased at decision and had his own explanation for the fall in numbers : “ They’re so excellent, the meals I serve,” he said aggressively, “ and the old folks feel so much better for them, that that’s why they’re not ordering any more.”

THURSDAY

I realise only too well that I am by no means as efficient as the regular “ Meals on Wheels ” helpers and when I—quite humbly—asked if I should take the place of a member who had fallen out at the last moment I was only “ allowed ” to do so after repeated instructions about bringing back the lids of containers and never leaving a meal without getting the money for it. Was horror-stricken, therefore, when old Mrs. Chaw greeted me with the words : “ It’s my free day to-day ”—but subsequently learned she meant she was free from cooking a meal on Thursdays (and how glad she was to be so), and returned triumphantly with her shilling.

Tomato Puffs

6 firm but ripe tomatoes
Pepper, salt and grated nutmeg
A little melted butter, chopped parsley, chives
1 egg.
Milk
Flour
Fat for frying

Skin the tomatoes and cut into thick slices. Then place on a plate, sprinkling the slices with chives, parsley and nutmeg. Prepare the batter for frying one hour before it is needed. Beat the egg, add a cup of milk and enough flour to make a thick batter. Season well with pepper and salt, adding a spoonful of cold water and melted butter. Beat well. Cover then stand aside.

Have the fat smoking hot : dip the tomato slices in the batter and fry, turning until they become well puffed and a rich golden brown.

Posted by Matthew McMurray, Royal Voluntary Service Archivist at 09:00 Monday, 13 July 2015.

Labels: Tomatoe puffs, recipe, Meals on Wheels, Spinach and beet, WRVS, WVS, Chicken, kitten, Strangulation

Spinach and Beet - Part 12

This month’s extract from the diary of a Centre Organiser came from June 1950

MONDAY

Distribution of Overseas Gift Foods to-day (at the request of the Mayor). Had purposely not sent an invitation to Mrs. Grabber, who has already had more than her fair share. However, she must have got wind of the occasion, for there she was—as usual ! “ No,” she admitted, “ you didn’t send me a card—and it upset me very much.” Then she added, “ But I was not so vexed at not being invited that I wouldn’t come at all ! ”

TUESDAY

Mrs. Kay looked in to thank us for getting her an E.V.W. domestic, and to tell us she is settling down happily. “ Her English is quite good, too,” Mrs. Kay enthused, “ but she mixes up ‘ test ’ and ‘ taste.’ She told me to-day that she thought a plumber should be asked to come along to ‘ taste the drains’!”

WEDNESDAY

An extremely handsome young man brushed past me as I entered the office this morning, and I found Miss Pretty standing by my desk looking flushed. “ What’s been happening here ? ” I enquired briskly. The question was obviously embarrassing. “ Er—that man you saw: he followed me along the street,” she answered. “ Then he came in here to ask if I was doing anything this evening.” “ Well ? ” I prompted, scenting a budding romance. “ When I told him I was free this evening ...” Miss Pretty paused, flashed me a glance and went on quickly : “ He asked me if I would sit-in with his baby so that he and his wife could go to the pictures ! ” (Poor Miss Pretty !)

Rose Custard

Stew 1 pint of raspberries slowly with 1/2 teacupful each of sugar and water. Strain off the juice, measure and make up to 1/2 pint if necessary. Beat 2 eggs, heat 1/2 pint milk and stir it into the eggs, add 1 dessertspoonful of sugar and a pinch of bicarbonate of soda. Leave till lukewarm, then slowly stir in the raspberry juice. If the colour is insipid add a little cochineal. Pour the mixture into a fireproof dish, stand this in a bowl of cold water and put them together into a slow oven. The custard should set firmly without boiling. Turn out when cold and decorate with whole raspberries. Serve with Savoy Biscuits.

Posted by Matthew McMurray, Royal Voluntary Service Archivist at 09:00 Monday, 01 June 2015.

Labels: Rose Custard, Recipe, WRVS, WVS, Baby Sitting, EVW , European voluntary Workers, Overseas Gift Foods, Spinach and Beet

Spinach and Beet - Part 11

This month’s extract from the diary of a centre organiser come from July 1950

WEDNESDAY

A “ Bright Young Thing ” called at the office this morning to make enquiries about WVS at the very moment when I had to leave for an appointment at the further end of the town. Remembering my County Organiser’s words: . . . "Encourage younger women to join. We are all of us ten years older . .. ” and so on, I beamed welcomingly, thrust a copy of “How WVS. can serve the community” and a pencil into her hands and told her to mark the forms of service in which she was most interested. She had left by the time I returned and Miss MacFee handed me the marked leaflet. “KKL” was pencilled against a great many paragraphs and my hopes rose. She had initialled, perhaps, the jobs with which she would be prepared to lend a hand? “No,” Miss MacFee told me dourly,  her name’s Brown— and she says she’ll help with the ACF Canteen.” “ And 'KKL’?” I enquired, mystified. Miss MacFee looked down her nose. “She told me it stood for“ ‘Kouldn’t Kare Less’,” she said.

THURSDAY

Mrs Grouse was holding forth in her usual delightful (?) way at today’s “Make Do and Mend” party. All the vegetables in her garden had failed; her silk sunshade, purchased only last year, had split; a frock, guaranteed “fast” colours, had faded : on and on went the tales of woe. “You’re a pessimist, that’s what you are,” Mrs Bright said at last. “You’re like the farmer who had some chickens. ‘They’re a fine lot,’ somebody told him, but he shook his head‘ The trouble is the old hen hatched out nine, and all of them have died on me but eight,’ he said.” (The rest of us laughed, but Mrs Grouse thought the farmer’s attitude quite natural. “Poor man, I expect the ninth was a pullet and all the others were cockerels,” she commented.)

FRIDAY

Matron inculcates politeness to each new orphan very soon after his or her arrival at the Home. It is impossible, therefore, to suspect an ulterior meaning behind the words spoken by a small newcomer after her first visit to her WVS Godmother’s home. “Thank you so very much for having me,” she said fervently to her hostess. “I've been had beautifully.”

Recipe

With the weather improving and summer coming on we thought we would bring you a salad.

The Salad Clock

Make a French Salad, using cold cooked potatoes cut into rings, cooked peas, carrots and parsnips cooked and diced. Add finely sliced apple and chopped gherkin and mix well with salad cream.

Place on a large serving platter and have layer of dressing on top smoothed over to represent face of a clock. Cut two hard- boiled eggs into twelve slices and place them equally round the face of the clock. Cut Roman numerical figures out of strips of any vegetable but if beetroot is used do not place it in position until the last minute as the colour runs.

Use two sticks of celery to represent the hands of the clock. Frame with slices of tomato alternating with cucumber - or chopped ham and sliced sausage.

Posted by Matthew McMurray at 00:00 Monday, 20 April 2015.

Labels: Matron, Orphan, Godmother, Salad clock, chickens, bright Young things, Spinach and beet, centre organiser , WVS, WRVS, RVS

Spinach and Beet – Part 8

This month’s extract from the diary of a centre organiser comes from the WVS Bulletin, January 1950:

MONDAY

A young woman brought two little girls, dressed identically, to the Clothing Exchange this afternoon. “Hallo, Twins,” one of our members greeted them. “They’re not twins,” their escort retorted sullenly. “Not -  ?” someone else asked, “but they’re exactly alike. How old are they?” “Same age - six; just a couple of hours difference,” was the answer. We looked at each other in bewilderment. Dressed alike, looking alike, born within two hours of each other and yet not twins ? “This one’s my daughter ; t’other one’s my sister. Me and my Mum, we had ’em the same day,” came the explanation. Our members bustled into activity, endeavouring to fit out aunt and niece!

THURSDAY

A would-be member, Miss Hope Less, for who - so far - we have been unable to find a job (“I’m not really good at anything”) joined a Work Party this afternoon at which we were all busy unravelling old knitted garments prior to re-using the wool. She managed, somehow, to spin a positive cocoon of tangled wool around herself and I could see our efficient Mrs. Wright was itching to get her fingers on to the job. Miss Less, blissfully unaware of the emotions she was rousing, giggled happily at the muddle and said, “‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!’” This was too much for Mrs Wright who swept the wool away from her with fierce possessiveness, muttering as she did so: "‘If at first you don’t succeed’ - try another method!” Hastily suggested a pause for tea.

A JANUARY DINNER (a menu and recipe suggestion from the WVS Bulletin January 1950)

Fish Soup

Wash 1 lb. filleted cod or haddock. Remove skin and bones and put these in a saucepan with cold water to cover and a pinch of salt. Add a small piece of celery, chopped, a small carrot and a little chopped onion. Simmer for one hour and then strain. Put some flour into a basin, allowing 1 tablespoonful to 1 pint of soup. Mix smoothly with a little cold water, stir into the soup and boil for a few minutes, stirring all the time. Add the fish cut up into neat pieces. Simmer for five minutes then add 1/2 pint milk and hot water, and chopped parsley. (This makes an excellent supper dish by itself).

Vegetable Pudding

1 soup-plateful chopped vegetabled
3 soaked dinner rolls
1 1/2 oz. margarine
2 eggs
Salt to taste

Wash and dry and well drain all vegetables before measuring. Drain all moisture from the soaked rolls. Melt margarine in a saucepan and stir in gradually the rolls and prepared vegetables. Mix well then stir in the beaten yolks of eggs. Lastly lightly fold in the frothed whites of eggs. Turn into a buttered pie-dish, dab with pieces of margarine and sprinkle with a little grated cheese. Bake in oven until nicely crisp on top.

Cranberry Tart

3/4 lb. cranberries
1/2 pint water
1/2 lb. brown sugar

Wash and pick over cranberries. Put them on with water and sugar and simmer gently until soft. Break up with a fork and cool. Cover plate with short pastry. Spread over cranberries. Place cross-bars of pastry on top. Sprinkle with sugar and bake in hot oven for 1/2 hour.

For the convalescent: Marmalade rolls

Cut some bread and butter in very thin slices. Spread with marmalade and roll up very carefully. Put in a hot oven for 5 minutes until brown and crackly. A wonderful appetiser at tea-time.

Posted by Matthew McMurray at 00:00 Tuesday, 06 January 2015.

Labels: Spinach and Beet, WVS, WRVS, RVS, Diary, Fish Soup, vegetable Pudding, Cranberry Tart, Work Party, Wool, Twins, Clothing Exchange

Spinach and Beet - Part 3

This month’s extract form the diary of a Centre Organiser comes from the WVS Bulletin, May 1950

Wednesday

Our coachload of festival-bound “Darbies and Joans” was held up in a traffic jam on the outskirts of London. After ten minutes or so, impatient hoots and toots began from the motor horns of the vehicles surrounding us, and soon the air was hideous with sound. Drivers’ faces became purple with ill-concealed impatience and remarks—far from complimentary—were hurled at the Police who were doing their best to push to one side the broken-down van which was causing the hold-up. What might have developed into a quite ugly scene was suddenly transformed into a humorous one by a “Bobby” who climbed on to a car and, raising his baton began to “conduct” the orchestra of discordant klaxons. Smiles replaced frowns, and good temper was restored all round!

Recipe – From the WVS Bulletin, January 1949

Frosted Sandwich Loaf - as the piece de resistance;

1 loaf of Day Old Bread. Various fillings.

Mayonnaise. Cream Cheese.

Remove all crusts and cut into slices, 1/4 in. thick at least. Make tiered sandwich block by spreading the foundation slice with mayonnaise, then a layer of filling : spread each subsequent slice with mayonnaise on both sides, leaving the top of the last slice without mayonnaise. Between each slice put a different coloured filling, eg tomato, parsley, egg, corned beef, sardine, lettuce, etc. When complete press very firmly. Soften cream cheese with a little milk, beat until fluffy and frost outside of block completely. Garnish with parsley. Leave in a cool place for at least one hour. Slice crosswise to serve.


Posted by Matthew Mcmurray at 09:00 Monday, 14 July 2014.

Labels: Frosted Sandwich loaf, mayonaise, Darby and Joan club, London, Policeman, Road Rage, conductor, Spinach and beet, WVS, Bulletin