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 Golfing Society

With the win of the European Ryder Cup team lifting our collective spirits this weekend, it made me think of the WVS Golfing Society.

While not on par with Messers McIlroy and Poulter, the ladies of WVS were keen golfers forming their own society and holding their first event on 17 May 1949 at the Moor Park Golf Club, near Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire. The winners of the Regional Challenge cup on that occasion were Region III (which included Notts, Lincs, Northampton, Leics, Rutland and Derbs). The winning team are pictured in the photograph and were. Mrs Garrett, Mrs Roe, Lady Earle, Mrs Street, Mrs Glover and Mrs Daglish.

The society continued to have yearly competition meetings and by the late 1960s also held spring autumn and winter competitions in 1970 these were at the Swinley Golf Club and Berkhamstead Golf Club. There were also regional WRVS golf societies being formed, the first was in the South East organised by the Tunbridge Wells centre.

After 1970 the trail goes cold, but like the WRVS Lawn tennis Club, it seems to have continued well into the 1990s. WRVS even held a golf day as a fundraiser in 2006 at the Belfry, which was rained off by torrential weather and had to be replayed two months later. Thankfully the 2007 golf day was much less dramatic.

Posted by Matthew McMurray at 00:00 Monday, 29 September 2014.

Labels: Ryder Cup, Golfing Society

Reports from Everywhere - September 1944

Continuing our monthly series, here are some reports from WVS centres 70 years ago this month.

A Falconwood member, acting as train escort during the evacuation, took a Punch and Judy Show with her and gave entertainments during the journey.

Poulton-le-Fylde supply knitting for the Forces to a surgery of one of the doctors, and are delighted with the amount done by the waiting patients.

An Acton member escorted three children to Wales and returned the same day. She said she had not been able to sit still for so long and hoped next time she would be asked to go to Scotland !

W.A.A.F. welfare work is becoming an Elstree speciality : there have been two more weddings, both Colonial, so W.V.S. made all the necessary arrangements as there were no relatives available.

Sandy came to the rescue of a violinist whose E string broke just before an Army concert. There was no music shop in the town, so the W.V.S. Office was appealed to, and in ten minutes an E string was located.

A military hospital is making toys for Birmingham day nurseries, and some of the men have visited one nursery, stayed for tea and repaired broken toys on the spot. A supply of extra nuts, bolts, wheels, etc., are now kept on the premises in readiness for these visits.

In one village in the Uckfield R.D. W.V.S. was asked to produce an eight- week-old baby girl so that an officer, who had just heard he had a daughter of that age, could see what she looked like. The baby was duly found and the officer introduced to her.

About a year ago one of the children at a Perthshire Evacuation Hostel wrote to a donor of an Afghan quilt in Canada, and ever since the child has been receiving letters from the Canadian family. Now the father of the family, an airman, has arrived in Scotland and is to visit the hostel to see his family’s pen-friend for himself.

Posted by Matthew McMurray at 00:00 Monday, 22 September 2014.

Spinach and Beet - part 5

This month’s extract from the diary of a Centre Organiser comes from the WVS Bulletin, April 1951:


Spring colds have laid low several of our more experienced members and the office has been manned recently by some of the newer ones. Felt an “ atmosphere ” when I arrived this morning to find our well-loved District Nurse obviously “ parked ” on a hard chair—awaiting my arrival. Knowing how precious every minute of her day is to her, I enquired anxiously: “ Couldn’t Miss Newcome help you? ” Before Nurse had time to answer I felt an urgent tug at my sleeve, and a fierce whisper warned me : “ She came to ask for a pull-over for one of her children who has had measles . . . and she says her name is Miss Jones. Don’t you think we ought to get on to the Moral Welfare Officer------? ” Had quite a job explaining (after due introductions had been made, and Nurse had departed with a pull-over) that she refers to all her cases in the same manner : “ One of my mothers,” “ one of my husbands,” and so on. Miss Newcome—in whom we have been unable, as yet, to discover any trace of a sense of humour— was only partially mollified. “ I do feel,” she said rather primly, “ that this method of expression is more than a trifle misleading.”

Recipe – From the WVS Bulletin, April 1951

Steamed Suet Pudding
In these days of short meat ration, make the most of any fat the butcher gives you. There is nothing to beat a good Steamed Suet Pudding, sweet or savoury and excellent for young and old.

Basic Recipe :
1 cup Breadcrumbs. 1/2 teasp. Salt.
1 cup Chopped Suet. 1/2 teasp. Baking Powder.
Water to mix.

Mix dry ingredients and mix to a stiff paste with the water. Roll out and use as desired. Steam for 1 1/2 hours but see that water is always boiling and never add water that is not boiling. When bowl is taken from water let it stand a few minutes before turning out the pudding.

Sugarless Sauce to serve with the above :
1 tablesp. Sweetened Condensed Milk.
1/2 pint water, thickened with wetted cornflour. Vary by adding chopped nuts, cherries, ginger or some wine.

Posted by Matthew McMurray at 09:00 Monday, 15 September 2014.

WVS Overseas

The news for the past few weeks has been mostly dominated by horrendous events happening all over the world.  While today the Royal Voluntary Service’s purpose is to help older people, in Great Britain (as anyone who has been reading this blog will realise) this wasn’t always the case. 

WVS had a presence or connections, especially during and after the second world war in both the Middle East and West Africa, doing all manner of works as these extracts from the WVS Bulletin for May 1946 show.

“In Iran and Iraq there was naturally a great deal of Services welfare for WVS to do, and canteens, clubs, hospitality, knitting and mending for the Forces formed the chief part of their work.

In Abadan (Iran) the WVS consisted almost entirely of the wives of the officials of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, who knitted and mended for the troops, did canteen work, raised money for war charities, made clothes for Polish refugees and organised parties for Servicemen.

Iraq also had working parties in Bagdad, and produced hospital supplies for the Middle East, clothes for Greece and for the bombed-out people at home, as well as parcels for prisoners of war. They ran hospital libraries, visited men in hospital and arranged private hospitality for the troops.

In Sierra Leone Services welfare was the main activity of WVS, who ran clubs and canteens for the Allied Forces in Freetown. It also had an information bureaux and organised drives for the raising of money and the collection of rubber.

Nigeria, for instance, felt that some good use should be made of the large quantities of goat and sheep skins which were available in the country, so—over a dinner table at an evening party in 1940—it was decided by a small group of friends to try to raise a little money to produce leather jackets to send to England as comforts for the Fighting Services and Civil Defence. The Fund flourished and the work grew: it christened itself the Windcheater Leather Jacket Fund and it eventually produced an average of 1100 jackets per month, which were sent to England and distributed”

Posted by Matthew McMurray at 09:00 Monday, 08 September 2014.

Labels: Iraq, Iran, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Services Welfare, Goat Skin, canteen, Knitting, mending, Anglo-Iranian Oil company, freetown