Correspondence from August 8, 1914

Watford MP Arnold Ward, being elected in 1910.

Watford MP Arnold Ward, being elected in 1910.

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Nostalgia Editor

Lord Clarendon has sent out the following circular letter: —

Dear Sir, – War is declared with Germany, and the Reserves, both naval and military, are called out.

None of us now living can remember a state of affairs in which our country has been so deeply interested as the present. We cannot foresee, therefore, what will be required. There is no doubt, however, that there must be many needs among the dependents of those who are called out to defend their country and possibly also among those who will lose their employment. There has been no time to convene a county meeting, but one thing is certain, and that is money will be required at once to alleviate many wants.

If, therefore, you feel disposed to offer a contribution towards this most desirable object, may I request you to forward it to the Mayor of the City of St Albans, the Mayor of the Borough of Hertford, the Mayor of the Borough of Hemel Hempstead or the chairman of any district council in the county, or if you prefer it, to the Clerk of the Peace at Hertford.

Yours faithfully, (Signed) “Clarendon,” Lord Lieutenant.

 

Sir: — It is rumoured that more than one factory in Watford operating upon material mainly derived from abroad, the supply of which will be cut off by war, are likely in the near future to close down.

As this would inevitably cause great distress, I would be glad to co-operate with my neighbours in forming a committee for the purpose of providing and raising funds to assist the local authority in meeting immediate want arising from that cause. I shall welcome communications and especially the offer of a room in Watford where the subject can be discussed.

Yours faithfully, “Ebury,” Moor Park, Rickmansworth

 

Dear Sir: — At this time of great anxiety I am sure I shall not appeal in vain to my fellow citizens in Watford to do their part and to do it nobly. We cannot all take up arms, but, nevertheless, we all have certain serious responsibilities and I pray that Almighty God may help us to realise them and to live up to them.

To those who are in comfortable circumstances I would say do not purchase food or anything else in such quantities as can only tend to inflict serious hardships upon the poorer classes.

To the tradesmen of our town who sell food I would say, if there are selfish people in our midst, decline to serve them, except with normal quantities. Remember you have a duty to the community.

 To all my fellow citizens I would say “Keep calm, have a good heart, let there be no so-called ‘mafficking’ [boisterous public celebrations] in our streets.” May we endeavour to bear ourselves with composure whatever my happen, trusting in Almighty God.

I am calling a special meeting of the council on Friday at 6pm, and in all probability steps will then be taken to call a town’s meeting without delay.

I am, yours faithfully, W.F. Goodrich, chairman, Watford Urban District Council

 

Sir: — Please permit me to say in your columns that while I am serving with the Herts Yeomanry, no letters will be forwarded to me.

Yours faithfully, A. Ward, Lieutenant, Herts Yeomanry

NOTE: Arnold Ward was the town’s MP from 1910 until 1918. For the 1918 general election the Conservative party dropped him as candidate in favour of Dennis Herbert as it was the first general election in which women could vote and Ward had been passionately anti-suffrage. Herbert won the seat and remained Watford’s MP for the next 25 years.

 

Dear Sir, – I write to draw attention to a practical suggestion of the Board of Agriculture to everyone who has any garden.

 It is not too late to sow seeds of carrots, turnips, onions, radishes and perennial beet spinach. A penny packet of either will yield food for many meals and be much more wholesome than tinned vegetables. The seeds must be sown thinly and protected from birds by lines of black thread or by wire netting.

Yours faithfully, Rachel E. Barrett

 

Sir: — May I offer a few very simple suggestions as to how those of us who are, of necessity, non-combatants can best help our country at the present time?

Perhaps the best help of all will be that which we may be tempted to think merely negative, viz., keeping on quietly with our usual duties, without fuss or panic, practising self-control in thought, word and deed – not hoarding up either money or stores of food for our own family use.

I have already heard an instance in which want of thought as to this has led to the temporary closing of a provision store, to the detriment of its poorer customers.

Then, as more positive help, cutting off all luxuries in food and drink, and restricting the use of all food, of course, with due regard to health; being ready to help with money and, if possible by personal service, those who must inevitably suffer, through the absence of the breadwinner.

The best way of doing this will surely be not by isolated effort, but by co-operating heartily with the local clergy and others to whom those in distress are already known.

Yours faithfully, A Constant Reader

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