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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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

Reports from Everywhere - March 1956

ACCRINGTON
Provided the North Western Gas Board with a list of old people known to be living alone so that their gas appliances might be tested, and arranged for an official to visit the Old Folks Club to explain the scheme. This had its sequel when the same official rang up to say they had started on the scheme and that one of their inspectors had been to a house and found three bottles of milk on the doorstep and an old lady in bed upstairs. Could we do anything? We could and did. One of our members went to the house the same day and saw the old lady and her neighbours, but found that the old lady was not neglected in any way nor was her house; her family and her neighbours were looking after her. Why there were three bottles of milk on the doorstep was not explained.

BIRKENHEAD
Occupational therapy is now regarded as an essential factor in the recovery to complete usefulness, in the shortest possible time, of post operation cases. Patients in St. Catherine’s Hospital take lessons, under our care, in weaving, knitting, embroidery, small leatherwork, making and dressing soft dolls and making plastic bracelets and necklets.

EAST GRINSTEAD
A young woman, sent to us by the National Assistance Board with a request for furniture, was visited just before Christmas with some toys for the children. The only furniture in the house was the two beds and the two chairs we had given her. Shortly afterwards a man called at the office, asking, as executor, whether we would receive the residue of the contents of a house for anyone who was in need. The deceased owner had been a member of the Old People’s Welfare Club, and we felt we should help the club first, so one or two oddments were given for the members, but we were able to provide the young woman with four chairs and an armchair, a kitchen cupboard, two tables, a double bed, two mattresses, pillows, bolster, blankets, dressing table, floor rugs, curtains, china, spoons, forks, kitchen ware, brushes, fire-irons, bread crock, baking tins, dishes, etc. When we told the Housing Manager what we had been able to do she said it was the best Christmas present she had ever had, as she was at her wits’ end to know how to help this woman, who was a really deserving case.

HASTINGS
The office was just being closed when an old lady was brought in, having arrived by coach from London and not knowing where she was going. She had no address with her except where she came from in London. The stranger who brought her to us said “ Find W.V.S.—they will be the ones to help ! ” We finally took her to the Police, who promised to find her somewhere for the night. She was collected soon afterwards. The Holiday Home where she had been expected had contacted the Police.

Posted by Matthew McMurray - Royal Voluntary Service Archivist at 09:00 Sunday, 13 March 2016.

Labels: Reports from everywhere, WVS , Accrington, Birkenhead, East Grinstead, Hastings, Gas Board, Occupational Therapy, embroidery, weaving, furniture, holiday

Spinach and Beet - Part 18

This week’s diary of a Centre Organiser comes from April 1951.

WEDNESDAY
If it wasn’t that Miss Rime can type like an angel, and has the most perfect memory for the smallest detail of everything that ever happens in the office, we sometimes feel we couldn’t bear with her another minute. She is a Samuel Johnson “ fan ” and quotes from his writings on every possible (and impossible) occasion—especially when asked to do any job on which she is not particularly keen. We are all very tired of her oft-repeated :
“ Catch, then, O catch the transient hour ;
Improve each moment as it flies ;
Life’s a short summer—man a flower—
He dies—alas!—how soon he dies! ”
—followed by a deeply heaved sigh and a look of martyrdom. Today, however, we felt a new respect for her—and for Samuel Johnson. A woman caller had pestered her with questions : about sickness benefit (“ I really cannot answer that—you should go to the National Insurance Office ”) ; financial assistance (“ The National Assistance Board may be able to help you ”), and so on, until the visitor, seeing she would get nothing from us, said sneeringly : “You don’t seem to know how to help a poor body, do you ? Pushing it all on to somebody else! ” Quick as a flash came Miss Rime’s retort : “ Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it! ”

THURSDAY
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.”

FRIDAY
Had a letter today from a W.V.S. friend in Surrey whose village has hitherto lagged behind in recruitment for the Civil Defence Corps. Knowing that the one subject guaranteed to lure people from their homes is “ Local Rights of Way and Footpaths ” (about which feeling has run extremely high), a Public Meeting was advertised in the local Press . . . “ at which Civil Defence will also be discussed ”— and over 70 people attended. Having well and truly dealt with Rights of Way the audience, now thoroughly roused, responded with enthusiasm to the suggestion that there was equal urgency to join Civil Defence, and enrolment forms were handed round, completed and signed forthwith! “ Of course,” my friend admitted in a postscript, “ my being Chairman of the Parish Council helped a great deal in bringing about the meeting.”

Recipe

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.

Hints : Serve Vitamin D by way of using Cod Liver Oil instead of fat for all fish sauces.
If you want your meringues to look professional, include some Icing Sugar with the castor sugar.

Posted by Matthew McMurray - Royal Voluntary Service Archivist at 00:00 Monday, 08 February 2016.

Labels: Canteens, Rotas, Trolley Shop, Meals on Wheels, Samuel Johnson, Distric Nurse, WVS, Civil Defence

Early days on Christmas Island

Billie and Mary Burgess give news of their first impressions and activities on arrival, prior to the opening of the NAAFI Club on December 3rd, 1956

THE great day had at last arrived and in a few minutes the R.A.F. plane in which we were travelling would be touching down on the new runway of Christmas Island. There below us lay the now famous Coral Island about which everyone is talking. Basking there in the brilliant tropical sunshine, looking every bit like the tropical isles one reads about in fairy tales.

At last, travel-stained and a little weary, and covered in the inevitable dust, we reached the small green bungalow which was to be our home for as long as we were on the island. It had been constructed from disused huts left behind by the American Forces and is an absolute model of ingenuity. A large lounge, bedroom, small kitchen and toilet (including a shower—another memory of the Americans) are all decorated in a cool shade of cream and pale marina green. So hurried were the preparations for our arrival that the painters were literally leaving by the back door as we were coming in by the front.

Bright and early the next morning we made our way to the NAAFI compound and to the large Romney hut where our club-room facilities were supposed to be situated. Alas, we were a little disappointed. Not only was our Centre not completed, but the NAAFI end of it was only in its primary stages. We cautiously asked when it was likely to be finished. They could not give us a definite date, but as soon as the canteen was finished they would be starting on our room. Here we were with all our boxes and packing cases simply crying to be opened up. What were we to do? In the end we decided to open them one at a time and to take (when transport was available) all the more valuable articles back to our bungalow and store them on our verandah. Soon there came to light all the various treasures which W.V.S. members had contributed. The sewing machine was the first to emerge, followed closely by the delightful kitchen utensils, some of which, unfortunately, we shall not be able to put to full use until our tiny kitchen is equipped with the small stove we are hoping will be installed.

We had already approached the Army personnel with regard to a pantomime and, having found out that they were in the throes of producing a Christmas concert, we were determined to unpack next the boxes of costumes in order to help them. That afternoon we discussed with their producer what costumes would be required. They were putting on a little panto of The Christmas Carol as one of their acts in the show, and among the costumes mentioned was a long pair of lace edged pantaloons for Mrs. Cratchett and a frock coat for old Scrooge. Imagine our great surprise and delight when the first article out of the costume box was indeed a pair of unmentionables for Mrs. C. and not long after a frock coat was discovered for the old miser.

A couple of days later we made an impromptu visit to the small but adequate Military Hospital, taking with us a supply of magazines and periodicals. We had a long natter with all the patients and they seemed very cheerful and quite delighted to see both us and the reading material. The chess sets and other games were also a great success. We shall make this one of our regular ports of call in the future.

As soon as our Club room is ready, we hope to start the Scots dancing- classes. In fact we have already enrolled the services of an instructor (a plumber who repaired our leaking tap, which, incidentally, is supplied with water from a converted petrol drum on the roof). A gold-medallist waiter is also among our ardent ballroom followers and he has volunteered to help us with these classes once they are under way.

Most evenings we visit the NAAFI canteen to take orders for ‘ Say it with Flowers’, chocolate orders and Christmas gifts. These schemes are more than welcomed by the boys and we have taken a considerable number of orders.

Posted by Matthew McMurray, Royal Voluntary Service Archivist at 00:00 Monday, 01 February 2016.

Labels: NAAFI, Club, Service Welfare, Christmas island, Soldiers, WVS, Coral island

Reports from Everywhere - January 1966

This week we bring you Reports from Everywhere from 50 years ago this month.

Glasgow’s fairy Godmother
When Mr Rio Stakis opened a new night club in Glasgow, he asked his friend Jimmy Logan to do the cabaret. Jimmy agreed but would not accept payment. The outcome was that Mr Stakis gave Jimmy Logan a cheque for £1,500 which he is distributing to charities.  This has meant that within a year Jimmy Logan has presented a second van to Glasgow WVS Centre for use with the Meals on Wheels in the city.

Forget me not

A patient at the Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital, Beaconsfield, asked WVS whether our trolley carried a stock of rubber bones, as he wanted to send a present home to her dog. We regretfully had to say that we hadn’t thought of that, but finally the patient bought a rag book, kept it in her bed for a bit so that it would get her scent, and gave it to her husband to take home so that the dog would know she had not forgotten him.

Milkman as go between
On Christmas Day an SOS came to the Centre Organiser of Worthing WVS after an old lady had left a note for her milkman saying that she was very lonely and would he please tell the WVS.  The milkman gave the message to the police who told the Centre Organiser who visited her and tried to arrange for her to have tea with a family who had offered hospitality. However, she could not be persuaded to go. She was visited again and it was realised that she was not really fit enough to be on her own. After getting in touch with her relations arrangements were made for her to be moved to a suitable Home where she is having the care she needs.


Posted by Matthew McMurray, Royal Voluntary Service Archivist at 09:00 Monday, 25 January 2016.

Labels: Glasgow, Reports from Everywhere , WVS , Worthing, Beaconsfield, meals on Wheels , Van, hospitality , Milkman, Jimmy Logan

The Silent History of Women

In a sleepless night at the weekend, before I returned to work for the New Year, I was listening to the Film Programme on BBC Radio 4. The episode was about Women in film and included a very interesting conversation with the director Carol Morley, Producer Elizabeth Karlsen and writer/actor Justine Waddell.

Elizabeth Karlsen came out with a phrase that has stuck with me over the past couple of days and one which has led me to much thought. She said that the history of women was a ‘hidden history’, a ‘silent history’ and in searching out and making films about women they were mining silent territory, a lone pickaxe if you will in a vast deserted wilderness.

Our archive deals primarily with the contribution of women to British society in the 20th century so naturally this idea of a concealed past, waiting to be revealed, struck a chord with me. Most have heard of Dad’s Army because of the popular 70s TV show, but few know of the army that Hitler forgot - the “Women in Green”; the Women’s Voluntary Services (WVS).

During the Second World War, the Home Guard, or Dad’s Army as they were known, comprised around one and a half million men, the WVS just over one million members. The WVS was larger than all of the other women’s services combined; the next largest the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) with around 250,000 women.

While Dad’s Army and the other conscripted services ended with the victory of the Allies in 1945, the Women in Green carried on. Around 600,000 women helped us to pioneer the early welfare state, such as developing the modern home care system and fundamentally reshaped British society, and our volunteers continue this legacy in communities across the country today.

The representation of women in film over the past 20 years has admittedly changed substantially, with documentaries covering services such as the Women’s Land Army, the ATS and, the Lumber Jills and WAAF. But, to my knowledge, the WVS has never enjoyed the same treatment. The only WVS centred programme that I know of is Victoria Wood’s wonderful ‘Housewife 49’, a one off drama based on the wartime diaries of WVS member Nella Last. One almost never sees a uniformed WVS member in the background of a period drama, despite one in every ten women in the country belonging to the organisation during WWII.

I sometimes feel a bit like I too am mining that silent territory, shouting to get the remarkable story of those women in green heard. Our archives are full of those wonderful stories of everyday unremarkable heroism which faced down a never ending tide of human misery and hardship created by total war.

Perhaps part of their problem is that their story is unglamorous; dealing with lice infested children, handing out donated clothing to the dispossessed or working in the background sustaining with tea those toiling in the spotlight to put out the fires and clear the rubble created by the Blitzkrieg.

"…our aim is not recognition of success nor are we wishful of public thanks, but we are determined on achievement. No task is so slight that it falls below our notice-no effort so great that it lies beyond our attempt. We fight for our country with unspectacular but unceasing determination."

Lady Reading
The success of the organisation and the vision of its founder, Lady Reading, was in using the everyday skills that women already had and mobilising them to make a difference quickly. It was also to use those who were not eligible for conscription, mostly older women over the age of 40, housewives and mothers.

As talking about the war and one's experiences started to become popular in the 1980s and 1990s, most of these women who had given so much to their country had already passed away and the more glamorous and less constrained younger generation for whom the war brought new opportunities were left to tell the wartime story.  Our archive is now the last keeper of those forgotten memories.

Over the years I have been approached by several documentary makers about creating a programme about the WVS, but all have sadly come to nothing. To return to Elizabeth Karlsen’s view; commissioners want a hook, and invariably a hook that people already know a little about. We however are mining the silent territory, the hidden history of women.

Posted by Matthew McMurray, Royal Voluntary Service Archivist at 09:00 Monday, 11 January 2016.

Labels: Silent History, Elizabeth Karlsen, Hidden History, Dad's Army, Home Guard, ATS, WAAF, Women's Land Army, WVS

Over-sexed and over here - part 2

I said that we would return to the British Welcome Clubs, and here we are with the continuing story of the WVS’s entertainment of our American cousins in Leamington Spa.

After the slightly disastrous opening night of the welcome club, the situation did not seem to get much better; in fact the club lurched from one disappointment to the next.

The biggest issue at the beginning seems to have been the very poor attendance at the club by the American forces, which inevitably left the local girls who had turned up rather disappointed! The club was open two nights per week, and had a varied programme of games, dancing and other entertainments. It soon became clear that the preferred entertainment was dancing and much of the programme came to reflect this, but obtaining a suitable Master of Ceremonies (MC) was a continual issue.

Engaging bands to play was also a challenge and on many occasions, a gramophone had to be hired in. The majority of the records seem to have been loaned from the private collections of the committee members, but there seems to have been a preponderance of classical music discs, and so funds had to be spent on procuring new dance records. When a band was engaged the fee was usually three Guineas!

After about six months things started to get better, attendance was up and they had to start refusing new members (a subscription was payable), though inevitably there were some members who were late with their subscriptions and were being chased for payment.

As with all clubs involving young soldiers some trouble was inevitable. The club hall was next to the NAAFI Bar and there were problems later in the evenings with some men being a little worse for wear trying to get into the club. The military Police were asked to ‘give the club a once over’ each evening.

By far the biggest problem seems to have been finding committee members to take on responsibility. Inevitably it was left to a few individuals to carry the majority of the burden, which at one point led to mass resignations and the disbandment and reforming of the managing committee, and the regular WVS being asked to fill the gaps in helping to organise club nights.

This is not the end of the story. We shall return for the end of the war and the winding up of the club another week.

Posted by Matthew McMurray, Royal Voluntary Service Archivist at 09:00 Monday, 23 November 2015.

Labels: Welcome Club, American, Leamington Spa, WVS, Gramaphone, Band, NAAFI, Military, Soldiers

Mobile Dinner of Champions!

The other day we got an enquiry about the types of food which were served by WVS canteens during World War Two, a question which proved somewhat more difficult to answer than you might think.

While we have in the collection many booklets on food and feeding published by the WVS they are mainly about emergency feeding for large numbers of people in rest centres or in the field, and of these, many seem to concentrate on the practical arrangements such as the erection of field cooking equipment rather than the food itself.

None of the emergency feeding booklets contain recipes, but some contain sample menus, for example the 1960 Emergency Feeding Civil Defence Handbook offers a three day plan.

Main courses were:
Shepherds Pie
Meat and Vegetable Stew
Fried Fish

Desserts were:
Boiled Fruit Pudding
Prunes and Custard

Jam Tart

This didn’t help though with our wartime question.

Delving a little deeper we found two information sheets from a 1940 canteen workers’ training scheme that show illustrative menus and give an idea of the kind of meals the members were trained to cook and serve in the mobile and station units.

Main courses were:
Steak and kidney pudding or pie
Toad in the Hole
Fish Pie
Braised Steak
Boiled Bacon
Roast Shoulder of Mutton

Liver and Bacon

Desserts were:
Stewed prunes and custard
Steamed Fig Pudding
Jam Roly Poly
Fruit tart and custard
Apricot Charlotte
Milk jelly with fruit
Baked bread pudding

However, in practice it seems that few mobile and station canteens cooked their own food, other than preparing sandwiches and rolls; instead they were provided with food by other agencies, such as the British Restaurants, factory canteens, or large bakeries.

The canteens were very busy indeed, and a domestic kitchen could not have coped with the quantities required. Also, during food rationing, it was much easier to make bulk off-ration purchases from such wholesale suppliers, rather than serving home cooked meals.

A day book we have from the Glasgow mobile canteens as well as a balance sheet for a wartime station canteen in Newport, and a small selection of quarterly narrative reports from canteen managers, do though give a good impression of the kind of food and drinks that were actually served.

The canteens served tea, cocoa, coffee (Twinings prepared a special coffee for WVS canteens, but the Glasgow canteen only served Camp Coffee), assorted mineral drinks, a selection of hot and cold meals (mince and potatoes are specifically mentioned), sandwiches and rolls (jam and cheese), soup, pies, sausage rolls, cakes (sugar cream cakes and “tea-bread” cakes). These were supplemented by sales of Cadburys chocolates, large tins of assorted and chocolate biscuits (bought from local factories) and cigarettes.

The canteen food was not free, and as the soldiers and workers paid for it; inevitably some items were more popular than others! Chocolates, pies and sausage rolls usually sold well; soup and sandwiches did not. Sandwiches particularly went out of favour when the weather was cold and the bread went hard!

Posted by Matthew McMurray, Archvisit and Sheridan Parsons, volunteer at 00:00 Monday, 16 November 2015.

Labels: Mobile Canteen, WWII, WVS, Station Canteen, Emergency Feeding , British Restaurant, Jam Roly poly, Charlotte, Steak and Kidney Pudding, Liver and Bacon, Chocolate, Sausage rolls

Reports from Everywhere - November 1955

This month’s reports from everywhere are all on the topic of Darby and Joan clubs.

ERITH
Copy of a letter from a Darby and Joan Club member: “Dear W.V.S., Thank you very much for my birthday card received September 3rd from the No. 1 Darby and Joan Club. It is very nice to think you are not forgotten. I have not been able to come to the Club for over twelve months. I have been very ill, but I am very pleased to say I am much better, but am not allowed by the Doctor to go into any crowded places, so I don’t go anywhere on my own these days. I miss my Friday meetings very much. All you folks made me feel so much at home with you all. You made me feel you really wanted us all there, not just putting up with us. Good luck to the Club and God bless all the W.V.S. that work there, also all the others that make it a success.”

FARNHAM
The Gostrey Club was recently opened. This is a scheme upon which we have been working for over a year. The Club provides a hot lunch, chiropody and library services and tea to people over 60 years of age. The Council have been most helpful in agreeing to let the old Civic Restaurant to us at a low price, and gifts have been received from a number of sources. W.V.S. members worked hard cleaning, putting up curtains and making all the preparations. The opening was attended by 18 old people and many visitors, since which the membership has increased to 45. It was pleasant to hear an old lady saying to a friend, “Yes, I’ve just been to my Club. Oh, it’s like heaven. The chairs are so comfortable and we sit with our feet on a carpet!”

GLOUCESTER
The following letter of thanks has been received from one of the old people to whom we deliver meals-on-wheels : “I am writing a few words of thanks to you and all the kind and willing helpers for their grateful service for we old people and the pleasant faces and the bit of pudding and dinner. Hoping you will not be offended at my writing but you deserve a word of praise for your kindness.”

MAIDSTONE R.D
The one hundredth Darby and Joan Club in Kent was opened on October 5th at Boughton Monchelsea. To commemorate the occasion a silver cup is being given to the Club by the Regional Old People’s Welfare Specialist.

WORTHING
An amusing story comes from Goring Darby and Joan Club. One of our members plays chess regularly with one of the old men. They continued their game during tea, and the Darby became so excited that his opponent suddenly saw he was trying to eat a chessman instead of his cake!

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

Labels: Erith, Gloucester, Maidstone, Worthing, Darby and Joan, Goestry, WVS, WRVS, RVS, Chess, Farnham

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