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.
Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday or as many now refer to it
Pancake Day, in the past this was a day when many Christians prepared to fast
or abstain from rich ingredients used in food such as pancakes. Today there are
plenty of options in the shops from readymade mixes, readymade pancakes or
buying flour and eggs etc. to make them from scratch. However, during World War
II some foods such as eggs were not always as plentiful or they were rationed.
In March 1943
an article was published in the Bulletin to inspire those
celebrating Shrove Tuesday.
VARIATIONS WITH A BATTER: Thanks to "Lease-lend"
we can still make a pre- war batter with real eggs. The dried eggs, whether in
tins or sold loose, as most housewives will now realise, are excellent in all
types of cooking. For batter particularly, they not only increase the food
value, but also help the colour and texture of the mixture.
During the making of the batter, it is essential that all
ingredients are smoothly mixed and well beaten, and success depends on
lightness which is obtained by the introduction of cold air in the beating, and
a high temperature in cooking.
The following are some ideas which the housewife may find
useful in varying the simple foundation batter: Foundation Batter.-4 oz. flour,
1 tablespoon dried egg, 1 oz. dried milk, 1/2- 3/4 pint water. Pinch of salt.
Sieve the flour, salt, egg and milk together, and mix with sufficient water to
make a stiff mixture. Beat well, add rest of water and put aside for one hour.
1. BAKED AS FOR YORKSHIRE PUDDING:
chopped cooked meat, 1/2 lb. sausages, grated cheese and Worcester sauce, 3/4
lb. mixed cooked vegetables, scraps of cooked or tinned fish, plain sweet
batter dredged with sugar before serving, 3 oz. of dried fruit or 1/2 lb. fresh
fruit (dates, prunes, apples, raisins, sultanas), or plain batter served with
syrup, jam or chocolate sauce.
Pancakes.-Stuffed with any of fillings mentioned above, or with fried potato
and pickle or chutney. Served with a sweet or savoury sauce. Rolled or on top
of each with the filling between. Cooked “dry " as for dropped scones
which can be eaten hot stuffed with a filling, or cold spread with butter, or 1
teaspoonful baking powder added to mixture and tablespoonfuls dropped into hot
fat and served with bacon.
Coating.-The liquid reduced to half in the basic recipe and used for coating,
dried fruits (prunes and apples), fresh fruit, slices of cooked vegetable,
croquette mixtures, or small strips of stale cake or bread moistened with
Steaming.-Increase the amount of flour by 1 oz. and use any
of the variations mentioned above.
Note: For a lighter and richer batter add an extra egg and
reduce the amount of liquid equivalent to this. Sugar tends to make a batter
heavy, therefore dredge sweet batters with sugar after cooking.
Of course pancakes aren’t just for this time of year as
demonstrated in this week’s photograph. A WVS Rally at Warmwell Airfield taken on
15/10/1957, where eight WVS members of the Swanage emergency feeding team made
and cooked small pancakes on an improvised hotplate cooker with oven at a WVS
Rally at Warmwell Airfield, Dorset. Two
members cooked the pancakes while others made the batter. On the table is the shield they won when they
came first in the Dorset Emergency Feeding competition.
Enjoy your pancakes!
This week we are very excited to bring you our first Vlog focusing on the Islanders of Tristan du Cunha who were evacuated to Pendell Military Camp in 1961. You can also read about this below.
Hello and welcome to our first vlog we will be posting one
every other month so we hope you enjoy. My name is Jennifer I am the Deputy
Archivist; today I will be talking about why the islanders of Tristan du Cunha
gave WVS Caterham and Godstone, Surrey a model of one of their long boats in
Tristan, is the name of both a remote group of volcanic
islands in the South Atlantic Ocean and the main island of that group. Tristan
da Cunha is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension
and Tristan da Cunha. From August 1961 there were a series of natural disasters
including landslides before the eruption of the volcano in October which
threatened the community living on the island. It was decided that all the
inhabitants should be evacuated to Britain; they were guaranteed a warm welcome
and who was there to greet them? The WVS of Course!
Five days before their arrival, a team of 200 enthusiastic
volunteers from Caterham and Godstone prepared Pendell Military Camp. WVS were
determined that the huts, which were to be the islanders home for a few months
were as homelike as possible; beds were covered with afghans, a little bowl of
flowers was placed in each hut, grime in the kitchens was scrubbed away, table
cloths were laid and the cupboards were stocked with provisions.
Meanwhile the former NAAFI Canteen was getting its facelift;
curtains, chairs, tables, and a billiard table lent by NAAFI, were put in
place; the children's playroom was filled with toys and hung with balloons; the
WVS Office and Information Centre was prepared, and a little shop stocked with
things to meet the immediate needs of the islanders; of course a WVS speciality
was installed, a Clothing Store.
Just after noon on a very cold Friday in November the
They stayed at Pendell for three months and then moved to
Calshot, on Southampton Water, where the houses of a disused R.A.F. Station had
been prepared for them, with as much effort and enthusiasm, by the Hampshire
WVS. Centres throughout Hampshire made 300 pairs of curtains, for which 1,400
yds. of material were needed, 1,800 yds. of ruflette tape and 6,000 curtain
hooks. I wonder how much space they had left in the office or indeed their own
homes. The islanders were really appreciative for everything WVS did for them
and presented Caterham WVS with a model of a typical Tristan da Cunha long boat
which they made themselves. Today the model lives in the Archive.
The winter of 1962 was particularly harsh especially
compared to the climate of the islands, several suffered with illnesses and as
with many a long way from their own homes felt homesick. So The Royal Society went on an expedition to
the Island in 1962. They reported that they had been able to live in the
settlement and that the boats were still intact. Hearing this news, the
islanders began to agitate to return home. Over a two year period small groups returned
to the Island with everyone having returned home by November 1963. In the meantime
WVS helped the islanders settle into their temporary homes with all their usual
services but also demonstrating gas or electric stoves and holding children’s
After two years in England the islanders all returned home
to Tristan da Cunha, the last group left
on the Bornholm, with 27 tons of potatoes for eating and 100 tons of
other stores including six months' provision of flour, tea, sugar, salt and
It was reported in the Bulletin December 1963 that “THE
Tristan da Cunha Islanders have gone home in the spirit of determined
independence which characterises them. The parting was sad, for them and for
WVS, who since their arrival in England in November 1961 have looked after them
and become their friends”.
This week we return to the Mauretania and the adventures of
Miss Yellowley on her way to the South East Asia Command.
We rocked all night and all day of Monday the 22nd
most of the party were sick, I stayed in bed all day living on two day biscuits
and an apple.
Tuesday 23rd nearly everybody feeling better got out
of the bay and in the straits it’s a lovely day sun shining beautiful and feels
quite warm we are all up on deck enjoying the sun at 11 o’clock we shall be
having lifebelt drill. The time has been put on 1 hour and already we can feel
the difference in the weather we are passing the coast of Spain and can see the
hills in the distance. After lunch sunbathed until time to dress for dinner,
the food here is excellent. After dinner we went to an open air concert on the
deck it is a glorious moon light night and the deck is floodlit and everybody
sitting around on their life saver. Babs sang two songs for the troops and
quite a number of chaps sang and various other things it was very good and we
enjoyed it very much. While we were listening to the concert we had passed by
the rock of Gibraltar about 9o’clock it was all lit up but I was very sorry I hadn’t
seen it, we are now in the Mediterranean.
Wednesday 24th it is a lovely day the sun is
shining beautiful and it is getting quite hot. Everybody on deck is gradually
getting into shorts and sun bathing and the sea looks divine, we are on deck
sewing for the troops, the piles of sewing are gradually getting bigger and it
looks as though we’re in for a good time. We can see the Libyan coast and we
have come in quite close to Algeria, we had really good views of these places.
In the evening there was a concert and dance for the troops on the lower deck,
it was jolly good and ended another grand day.
Thursday, a lovely day we did the usual things sitting about
and sewing etc. passed the island of Pantelleria off the Sicilian Coast. In the
afternoon we passed Malta not very close to it and that will be the last land
we shall until we reach Port Said on Friday morning. In the evening we went to
the pictures and saw Sonja Heni in “Wintertime” enjoyed the skating scenes very
much but the story was poor, after the pictures there was a dance and concert
in the officers lounge and that was very good and I had a good time at midnight
the clocks were advanced one hour, now we are two hours ahead of British time.
Friday we all woke up feeling tired but got up on deck and
the skies were very grey. Soon after it started to rain and we went inside and
squatted down anywhere we could find a spot. After lunch the sun was shining
again and we were on deck until dinner, there was a grand concert in the
Officers Lounge for the troops and the girls were invited it was very good
indeed. At midnight the clocks were again advanced one hour, that is 3 hours
since we left England. Saturday about 9o’clock we were just at the entrance of
the Suez Canal, it was a glorious sight …
We will join Miss Yellowley again in a few weeks when she travels
through the canal and there is more sewing to be done.
Posted by Jennifer Hunt, Deputy Archivist at 09:00
Monday, 13 February 2017.
Services Welfare, ,
Suez Canal, ,
Hello I'm Elaine and I have just joined as volunteer here at the Archive & Heritage Collection. This is my introductory challenge, researching Clothing Stores in my local town of Swindon. I hope you enjoy reading it ...
By the late 1950s the WVS had
become experts in dealing with the provision of clothing in times of crisis.
This was not surprising given the extensive experience that had been gained in
the distribution and handling of garments during the war when, “at a conservative
estimate, fifty million garments were sorted and distributed” to those who had
been evacuated and bombed out, and who were left with literally nothing. This
meant that often items had to be sourced from areas unaffected by the bombs,
transported, sorted and then distributed according to need. It had been a huge
undertaking that had required considerable organisational skills.
As the war came to an end however,
the need for the WVS clothing services did not diminish, with garments urgently
needed in liberated Europe. This was followed a decade later by the Hungarian
crisis, and again in April 1959 when an appeal from the United Nations Relief
and Works Agency in Beirut resulted in the WVS collecting, sorting and bundling
1,000 tons of processed clothing – that’s 2,548,997 garments - to help refugees
in Lebanon, Jordan, Gazza and Syria.
Following the press appeal for
clothing donations by Lady Reading at the beginning of November 1959, Miss
Honeychurch, a reporter from the Wiltshire Evening Advertiser paid a visit to
the Swindon branch of the WVS on Victoria Road. She was astonished by the
amount of work that the WVS continued to do several years after the end of the
war, and following the establishment of the Welfare State. In her report she
emphasised how in addition to international appeals the local office provided
vital practical assistance to many of the town’s residents in their times of need.
It was particularly important for the provision of clothing and Swindon was consequently
“one of the busiest centres in the whole region” for this form of help.
Swindon was a new industrial town
with a rapidly expanding population, to which people often came with little as
they searched for work. Like elsewhere in the country, the WVS clothing service
was also used by single parent families, the elderly, those who had been struck
by illness or by those who had suffered a disaster such as a fire or a flood. All
were identified as having a chronic need and had been given a certificate from
a doctor, N.S.P.C.C worker, or other professional before attending the WVS. As
a result whole families, often with a large number of children, would often be
completely re-clothed, and in some instances this would occur twice a year.
To give this some scale, in the
month that Miss Honeychurch visited the office in Swindon, a total of 28
families were helped with at least 51 children included. This was in addition
to the previous 114 families that had been assisted in the preceding months of
All this meant that there was
often great pressure upon the service in Swindon and the local WVS Secretary,
Mrs Grundy, emphasised to Miss Honeychurch, the on-going need for donations of good
quality clothing from the public, “We never have enough clothing. We have great
difficulty getting sufficient for our needs.”
As a result they often held ‘make
and mend’ sessions where garments that were not of sufficient quality for
immediate distribution could be re-made into other items. Old fashioned white
nighties for example could be skilfully transformed into pillow cases,
petticoats, knickers, and hankies! However, when demand outstripped the
resources available in Swindon, requests for garments often had to be made to the
clothing centre at Corsham.
Corsham was also one of the
centres where the refugee clothing was held before shipping, and despite the
enormous pressure on the home front in Swindon they were pleased to report in
December 1959, that they had been able to send a full van, with several bales
of refugee clothing to Corsham. All on top of clothing a further 29 local