Heritage Bulletin blog

The Heritage Bulletin Blog ran from July 2012 to January 2020, covering a huge range of subjects, from a day in the archives, to extracts from the WVS bulletins, and histories of various WVS/WRVS services.

It’s 219 articles have become a valuable resource in themselves, why not search them or just browse to discover something new.

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WVS and the Queen's Dock, Glasgow.

If you have been watching the Commonwealth Games coverage on the television then you will probably know that the games park is built on part of the old Queen’s Dock. Built in the 1870s the docks went into decline in the latter part of the 20th century and were filled in with rubble in 1977. During the Second World War they were a vital part of the War effort receiving supplies from across the Empire to fuel our fighting forces.

As part of our work in Glasgow through the war we ran several Mobile canteens in the city, some of which served the docks. The Queen’s Dock was one of these.

In the Archive we have the Glasgow mobile canteen day book which lists the daily trials and tribulations of the canteens on their daily rounds. Below are just a few of the entries about the Queen’s Dock.

12 November 1941: “Queen’s Dock complain about shortage of Soup Spoons. Say only 4 on Canteen. Have supplied with 1 doz from drawer”.

24 November 1941: “Tel. message from Queen’s Dock saying they were short of food and could they have more Pies & Sausage Rolls and teabread. Phoned Princes dock to see if they had any food to spare but they were just getting busy & thought their food would all be required. Phoned Reids and they will be able to give us 14 pies, 2 to 3 doz Sandwich rolls & extra tea-bread. Mrs Brunton, driver of the Queen’s Dock Canteen calling for it”.

25 October 1942: “Queen’s Dock were practically sold out by 12 o’clock owing to great number of troops – brought loaves & took down jam & marg from office – Phoned Mrs Stephenson & asked if we could take 12 doz Cakes ordered for Parade and give them Biscuits instead – She initially Agreed & at parade Lady Dollan said that Biscuits were quite sufficient.”

Posted by Matthew McMurray at 00:00 Monday, 28 July 2014.

Labels: Commonwealth Games, Queen's Dock, Glasgow Mobile canteen, WVS

A volunteer's perspective - What I've been up to:

Pete Franks

A lot has happened since I last wrote something for the Heritage Bulletin back in July 2012. It is hard to believe that over two years have gone by.

Back then I was helping in the massive effort to repackage all of our Narrative Reports, a small contribution to the 120,000 that between us we managed to do.

Since then I catalogued all of the posters we have in the collection here in Devizes which you can now see on the online catalogue.

For the last year though I have been immersed in the world of marketing photographs from the 1990s and early 2000s. When I started I was presented with eight boxes of photographic prints, negatives and CD-roms, all of which had very little discernible order! My job for the last 12 months has been to try and put these back in their original order or where this is impossible to impose something logical.

As I leaf through the thousands of pictures there is the joy of disposing of the utterly irrelevant, such as pictures of dogs, hands and plates of food; pictures with little or no long term historical value. Also the elation of finding one of the pictures amongst the thousands in a publication and being able to reunite it with its context; a eureka moment (especially when I have remembered the picture from several months before).

I had a short break (escape) to take photographs of our collection of enamel badges (I’m a bit of an amateur photographer), before diving back in. Currently I am laboriously writing reference numbers on the back of each image, a task which is almost at its end (I hope to finish in October, Phew!)

I guess when that is done, I’ll have to scan then in and then catalogue them. Might be let off in 2018! In time for the 80th Anniversary!

When I requested this job all that time back, I fondly remember our Archivist, Matthew saying “be careful what you wish for, you may get it” I certainly have!

Posted by Pete Franks at 09:00 Monday, 21 July 2014.

Labels: Pete Franks, Photographs, Marketing, Dogs, Food, Badges

Spinach and Beet - Part 3

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


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

Reports from Everywhere - July 1964

In an expansion of our series of blogs from the WVS Bulletin we’ll be bringing you some REPORTS FROM EVERYWHERE from the WVS Bulletin in the current month, 70, 60 and 50 years ago.

Our first is from July 1964.

Draught-free wards
The Door for the Pantomime Ward which WVS is paying for out of profits from the trolley, which it runs for the War Memorial Outpatients Canteen, Wrexham consists of opaque white plastic overlapping flaps which do not need to be opened. You just push the trolleys through and they close quietly afterwards; this does away with screens and keeps the ward draught free. The canteen operates six days a week.

Putting rhythm into life
Our ‘Beat’ nights at the local mentally handicapped hospital are much enjoyed by audience and Golborne WVS members. We now have a splendid rota of members going weekly to sing, play and talk to inmates.

Unusual service
The ancient Parish Church of East Farleigh, Kent, was filled to capacity on Whit Sunday morning for the monthly family service. But this was a very special family service, for it was also a clothing gift service. The Vicar, the Rev C J Caley, had appealed for children’s clothing for the WVS, and what a wonderful response he had. The children arrived with bulging parcels of all shapes and sizes, many of them containing half a dozen or more garments. During the singing of the second hymn the children walked in a procession round the aisles and handed their parcels to the Vicar at the chancel steps. WVS members in uniform were kept very busy stacking them into the Lady Chapel. It is difficult to estimate just how many garments were handed in, but it was at least 700, probably nearer 1000.

Putting them up
One Saturday night at the end of May, Lymington Police rang up the WVS Centre Organiser to say that a coach load of 41 old age pensioners from Eccles on their way to a holiday at Sandown, Isle of Wight, had missed the last ferry. Where could they spend the night?
Lymington is lucky in having a famous community centre, and the Warden readily gave permission for it to be used and came with his daughter to help the caretaker and her son to prepare for the party. Blankets were urgently needed and the local hospital came to the rescue. Two WVS members went to the centre to see the old age pensioners settled. After a meal in a restaurant they were soon fixed up in ten beds and 31 armchairs, in five different rooms. The Deputy Warden spent the night there and at 6:30 WVS were back to make tea before the party set off again.

Effort for WVS

WVS were most impressed when one of the mothers in Banstead brought in a large bag of wool which she had unravelled and washed from garments the children had outgrown and were not good enough to hand on. She thought WVS were helping her and it was just something she could do to help them. It was very welcome for squares as stocks were getting low.