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Accessioning is the process where archivists record new
additions to their collections. Over the last year we have been given over
forty new additions ranging from objects, uniform, photographs, publications,
documents and many others besides. I thought that I would share two recent examples
with you this week.
WVS Canteen Worker
On our shelves waiting to be housed in a new acid free box surrounded
by plastazote is a 12 inch tall carved
plaster statuette of a standing WVS Canteen worker in WVS uniform coat, hat,
scarf and gloves. It was sent into the Chesham
House RVS Community centre in august this year after being brought by the owner
in the 1980s from a shop called Bygones.
Pictured in this blog she is holding four cups with her
fingers through the handles in her right hand and two with the fingers of her
left. She is also holding four milk
bottles against her chest with her left arm.
There are two tea urns at her feet to the right and behind her. On the front of the plinth is incised,
'W.V.S. CANTEEN WORKER’ in a serif script in capitals.
The reverse of the plinth holds a very feint signature
'Margaret H G???????' and a date '1941.5'.
Unfortunately a portion of the hat brim over and behind the right eye
has been broken off and is missing, and a crack around the whole of the neck
indicates that the head has been broken off and replaced. Now it is part of our
unique and very interesting collection it can be preserved and kept safe for posterity.
Lanarkshire Local Office Collection
This was one of the larger accessions of the year and
probably the last to arrive, we look forward to seeing what comes to the archive
next year. The documents which arrived in a large cardboard box was made up of
minutes, day books, Narrative Reports for Strathaven, Strathclyde and East
Kilbride, Quarterly Reports, Scottish Annual Reports, financial records,
emergency Services training programmes and publications. All these records tell
the story of the Strathaven and Strathclyde offices in the Lanarkshire/East
Kilbride districts between 1954 and 2003. One of my favourite items was "WOMEN'S
ROYAL VOLUNTARY SERVICE NOTES FOR MEMBERS" which had a very interesting FAQ
section including one which sounds more like a statement:
“Question: You are a class organisation, middle-class,
choosey and establishment-minded"
"Answer: Come, come, most up-to-date community welfare is
organised on the knowledge of demographic figures. WRVS membership is
representative of the communities in which they live and serve. North Country
folk serve North Country communities. Londoners serve London.
In a new “young families” housing complex, young marrieds
serve young family needs. In sheltered housing, elderly serve each other. I
suppose you imagine AB’s serve DE’s. you ought to think again!
(Note: Modern demographics have a way to classifying Very
Rich as AB and Very Poor as DE and Middle and Professional classes as C1 and C2.)”
A small group of rug-makers is meeting twice a week at Grimsby to make rugs for London homeless.
Kingsbridge have started the keeping of certificates for domestic poultry keepers, to obtain wire-netting.
Biggleswade salvage stewards collected 2,500 old ration books during December.
In 1944 a Bath member did 1,170 hours of hospital work, in addition to being a VCP driver, a mobile canteen driver, and a worker in a static Services Canteen.
At Tavistock a WVS member, refusing to be beaten by the weather, went out on a sledge and collected 450 articles for the Re-homing Gift Scheme.
Henley Services canteen recently served 20,714 hot beverages, 249 soft drinks and 21,685 sandwiches during one month.
During the last three years WVS as voluntary telephonists have done 10,000 hours of duty at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
WVS members at Smethwick have collected 8,400 stamped envelopes and note paper for the use of wounded soldiers when they arrive in hospital, to notify their relatives.
Two National Savings Centres in Islington, entirely staffed by WVS, have during the past three and two years exceeded the £500,000 and £75,000 marks respectively.
An evacuee train en route through Taunton was able to stop only for eight minutes, but WVS managed to get 630 cups of tea and over 900 buns and sandwiches on board, during those few minutes.
The Army Welfare Officer at Peterborough has asked WVS to operate a “Get you Home Scheme” so that men on leave from overseas who are stranded at the stations at night can be taken home by car.
One work party member at Battle, who very specially “mothered” the relays of men manning a searchlight near her home during the fly bomb attacks, now has an average of seven letters a week from her men now serving overseas.
The WVS Village - Representative at Offley recently received a letter of thanks and congratulations from the Regional Commissioner for the “ excellent services ” rendered by herself and helpers when a Rest Centre had to be opened after an explosion resulting from a collision between two motor vehicles.
Bridgewater Welcome Club are very proud of the mural paintings done by one of the American members. D-Day came before he could finish his picture of the main street of the town, which is left incomplete without the Welcome Club. The Club hope he will come back and put in the finishing touches. He, like so many other of his countrymen, will be sure of a grand welcome.
A large number of gifts from Plymouth for the Re-homing Gift Scheme have been received from people who had been bombed-out themselves and whose offerings entailed real sacrifice. One woman gave some things which she had been treasuring in memory of a sister who had been killed in a raid ; she felt she ought no longer to be sentimental and that the things should be used now to help others.
Ipswich have started a salvage “Something for Nothing Scheme” in which small gifts are exchanged for a certain weight of rags or bones. A bead necklace, for instance, can be “bought” for 56 lb of bones, a teapot for 28 lb of rags, a bicycle bell for 56 lb of paper, etc. The response has been so enormous that the prizes have had to be “put up". Recently, in the same borough, a six-feet pile of bones, which had been stewed down for the dogs, was discovered rotting near a dog racing track and immediately collected !
Posted by Matthew McMurray at 09:00
Monday, 06 April 2015.
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