Lady Mary's diary: Sept 4th 1918
The collection of blackberries has begun in my pump-room. A few of the hundred baskets arrived, oceans of bb juice flowing all over the floor. To go to Whitchurch, Hants. Helped all I could.
note: In the latter years of the war, increasing losses of shipping to U-boats in brought a fear that the country might begin to starve. Rationing had started at the end of 1917 and a government committee was set up to find ways of using every available natural resource to feed the people.
Schools in 1918 were asked to ‘employ children in gathering blackberries during school hours’ and thousands of children took part in what became known as the Great Blackberry pick.
The fruit was packed into specially provided baskets of a regulation size - 28lbs - and sent off by train to jam factories where it was made into blackberry and apple jam for soldiers.
In return cheques were sent to teachers who were authorised to pay the pupils 3d a pound for their efforts.