Blackberries!

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.

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Explore Voices from 1918 by day, month or person here on the blog or on our five Twitter feeds: @Voicesfrom1918 @LadyMonkswell @MarieStopes1918 @JamesSansom230 and @OliveHarcourt.

We have also recorded three audio podcasts entitled The year the World Changed by Mary Monkswell

Voices from 1918 has been developed by artists Sharon Hayden and Alastair Nisbet in partnership with Wimborne Community Theatre, Dorset History Centre and the Priest’s House Museum, Wimborne with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Thanks to all who have helped us with this project: Maria Gayton and staff at Dorset History Centre where we found Lady Mary Monkswell’s diaries; Joan Cocozza, ward of nursing auxiliary Olive Harcourt; Portland Museum where we found James Sansom’s diaries; the British Library and Wellcome Libraries; Priest’s House Museum in Wimborne and Gill Horitz from Wimborne Community Theatre.

We’ve used a new simpler type of blogging system which we beta tested for indie developer Janis Rondorf of Instacks software.

Posts are created as simple text files with a few lines of Markup instructions. These are dropped into a folder on the webserver and the post is added without the need for individual formatting or logging in. This made it easy to upload lots of posts quite quickly.

We’re always happy to share more details about anything - just email us using the link at the bottom of the page

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