Thursday 25 October 2012

Book Review - First World War Britain

First World War Britain by Peter Doyle



A readable overview of the main issues faced by those living in Britain during the First World War. It covers a wide range of issues from family life, food and rationing, munitions factories and female workers, transport to entertainment. It also sets out the context of life prior to the outbreak of war, international relations and movements for social change.

The book is general in its outlook with many of the examples being London based but there are some from other areas for example the 1916 explosion at the gunpowder Mill at Faversham, Kent and the coastal bombing of Scarborough and Hartlepool in 1914. However although home front issues affected everyone in the country the impacts would have been different according to local conditions. The stories of how they affected people are played out in the detail of the individual cases and examples in local documents and hopefully more of these will emerge in the run up to and during the centenary.

There are references in the book to people having higher levels of disposable income from War work which they used to spend on necessities such as food which in turn led to improvements in health. However I’m not sure how this fits with the increased food prices, debates of the war wages committee and the industrial unrest in Yorkshire during 1917. It would be an interesting subject to compare the health statistics for Bradford before and after the war and if a change is identified to ascertain what conditions might have affected that change.

There is generally less awareness of home front issues in WW1 than WW2 and this book provides a great introduction to those issues for those coming to the subject for the first time.

Friday 5 October 2012

Be Prepared - Scouting Roll of Honour

Be Prepared is the Scouts motto and they certainly seemed to be with large numbers enlisting in the first few months of the First World War. 


The Bradford Telegraph and Argus published in December 1914 a list of 144 men from Scout groups across the country that had already joined to serve with the colours. This lists gives the regiment to which they joined as well as their position within the Scouting organisation. A number joined the Bradford Pals and the Royal Field Artillery and other local regiments but there is also one example of someone joining the Canadian Volunteer Force. Another states he is joining  the Bradford City Volunteer Force which acted as a home guard in Bradford. I was sorry to see that two men had unfortunately died before the list was published only a few months after they enlisted.

Thursday 26 April 2012

Bradford Royal Eye and Ear Hospital

The Royal Eye and Ear Hospital was a subscription hospital which treated some of the first wounded soldiers to arrive in Bradford in October 1914. It continued to treat wounded soldiers throughout the war although numbers decreased as other provision was made in the city. It also played an important service in removing foreign objects from the eyes of munitions workers treating at least 5,000 cases during the course of the war.

Friday 20 April 2012

Bradford & District Heritage Trails

There are many heritage walks around the wonderful historic city of Bradford and wider district available online I have brought them together into one long list. If you know of other online heritage walks please email them to me and I'll add them on. Happy walking.

City Centre
Bradford Canal – virtual walk as it is today
Bradford Faith Trail – faith heritage

Region wide
Bradford Media Map – Film Heritage 

Coach Road to Shipley Glen – coming soon
The Ferniehurst and Baildon Green Walk – coming soon
Lost Hamlets Walk – coming soon
Threshfield and Low Baildon Walk – coming soon



Ilkley Blue Plaque Walk – Walk 2  




Wednesday 18 April 2012

April – umberel – Wonderful Yorkshire Dialect

It’s a poor heart ‘at doesn’t rejoice an welcome April. It isn’t only what it brings, but what it promises. Ov coorse ther’s allus some exceptions. A chap ‘at hasn’t a umberel an cant afford to buy one is badley off, but even then ther’s few things easier to forget. Awm rather forgetful mysen, but aw’ve nooaticed ‘at if yo goa aught wi one ‘at’s worth abaat tuppence hawpeny, yo’re sewer to bring it hooam safely, its nobbut when yo have a silk en ‘at’s worth summat like ten shillings ‘at yor mem’ry leaves yo.

Hartley, John 1910 The original Clock Almanack in the Yorkshire Dialect

Friday 13 April 2012

Titanic - Bradford connections

Two very different people with strong connections to Bradford were on the Titanic – one, REVEREND THOMAS ROUSSEL DAVIDS BYLES, was Roman Catholic priest the other, HERBERT KLEIN, a Jewish barber, one a passenger the other a crew member, one’s grandfather had founded the Bradford Observer newspaper the other was born in Bradford – both lost their lives.

Also the sister of the 5th Mate, HERBERT GODFREY LOWE, desperately waited in Bradford for news having had another brother on board a ship that sank only a few months earlier in Australia.

Reverend Thomas Roussel Davids Byles a Roman Catholic preacher was the grandson of William Byles who founded the Bradford Observer. He was travelling to America to officiate at his brother’s wedding. He was regarded as a hero providing absolution and prayer to those who went down with him on board the ship. 

Roussel Davids Byles was born in 1870 in Kirkstall, Leeds the eldest of eight children. Roussel’s father, Alfred Holden Byles, was the first pastor of Headingly Hall Congregational Church and his father was William Byles, born in Oxfordshire but of Huguenot descent, founder of the Bradford Observer in 1834. 

Roussel was 21 when his Grandfather, William Byles, died in 1891 leaving an estate worth £17,303 According to the National Archives Currency Converter that is equivalent in today’s money to a millionaire. Roussel’s uncle William Pollard Byles took over the newspaper and its name changed firstly to the Yorkshire Daily Observer and then just Yorkshire Observer in 1909. The paper was amalgamated into the Bradford Telegraph and Argus in 1956.

The Yorkshire Observer printed a tribute to Roussel Byles which provides wonderful insight into his character
“Roussel Byles abandoned the religious [Huguenot] views of his forebears, but he inherited their sturdy courage and endurance. As a boy he was exceptionally clever, especially in mathematics. He won, I think, a scholarship at Roussall [School Fleetwood, Lancashire], and another, later on, at Balliol [College Oxford]. When he joined the Roman communion he studied at St Edmund’s College, Ware. Small in stature and physically frail, he was prevented from taking part in the strenuous part in the life of his church which he would have liked, and he was given charge of a quiet country mission in Ongar, Essex. There, as elsewhere, he won the affection of all with whom he was associated.
Yorkshire Observer 27 April 1917

Roussel changed his name to Thomas Roussel when he converted from his father’s protestant faith to be baptised into the Catholic Church in 1894. He was ordained in 1902/3.

Thomas Roussel’s mother, Louisa Bridget Byles (nee Davids), died in 1898 when he was 28 and his father, Alfred Holden Byles, unfortunately died 22 December 1911 just a few months before the Titanic set sail. Alfred left a significant estate of £5926 16s 9d probably including the inheritance received from his own father, William Byles.

Thomas Roussel Byles was travelling to America on the Titanic as a second class passenger to officiate at the marriage of his Brother William Byles to Miss Katherine Russell. He made arrangements with Captain Smith to have the use of space on board the Titanic in order to say mass and he took a portable altar on the journey for the purpose. He wrote to his housekeeper while anchored at Cherbourg saying that “everything so far has gone very well, except that I have somehow managed to lose my umbrella.” 

On Sunday morning April 14th 1912 Father Byles offered what would be his last mass for the passengers of the Titanic. He apparently preached “on the need for the men to have a lifebelt in the shape of prayer and the sacraments to save their souls when in danger of being lost in spiritual shipwreck in times of temptation, just as men require a lifebelt to save themselves when their lives are in danger of being lost in an actual shipwreck.” 

When the Titanic struck the iceberg there are many reports that Father Byles went about calming the passengers, offering prayers and absolutions (New York Telegram). It is also reported that he was offered a place in a lifeboat on two occasions as he helped other passengers climb aboard but he refused to take a place himself.  When all the lifeboats had gone he is reported to have gone to the end of the boat deck and led a large group of people kneeling around him in prayer.

When his brothers William Asdaile Byles, of Brooklyn, Laurence Meredith Byles, a New York broker, and Alfred Winter Hunter Byles, of Omaha Nebraska, heard the news they made many anxious enquiries (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle & New York Times). Thomas died that night and his body was not recovered.

His brother William believing it to be bad luck to postpone went ahead with the wedding on Saturday 20th April. After the wedding ceremony was a mass for Thomas Byles (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle). 

His will left an estate of just £32 10s (approximate to £1,500 in today’s money) his sister Edith Mary, wife of Arthur Stanway Le Mare, was to administer his estate. 

The Yorkshire Observer published a family tribute to Thomas Roussel presumably written by his uncle William Pollard Byles who was now the proprietor of the newspaper
Survivors “spoke with enthusiasm of his conduct when death faced them on the waters. He displayed ‘great heroism and fortitude’ says one account, ‘during the dread hours preceding the sinking of the vessel... giving comfort and absolution to those who wished for the last rites of the Church... His friends, who knew his indomitable spirit, felt that the great catastrophe, in which he made so brave an end, gave him in death the chance that life had withheld, by revealing the heroism that was in him. His strong faith in the life after death, of Christian promise, is shown in a letter which I received from him dated on Christmas Day 1910... ‘I send you what I think is the finest poem of modern times.’ The poem he sent me was that gorgeous ode, Francis Thompson's 'The Hound of Heaven' one line of which -

‘Adown Titanic’s glooms of Chasme’d feared’

- Has a tragic appropriateness at the present time... there seems to be something appropriate also in one of the ‘nightmare’ verses to which the letter refers, and which, perhaps, I may be forgiven for quoting...

‘And for all heroes who in Argo sail
There lies a golden calm beyond the gale;
After long journeying a haven fair,
Alike for those that win and those that fail.

Roussel Byles – and those who perished with him – have found – one hopes, a haven fairer than that to which they were bound. It was not their lot to be rescued, in an earthly sense, but ‘he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved' "

                Yorkshire Observer 27 April 1917

Herbert Klein was one of the three barbers on board the Titanic, his wife failed in her attempts to receive compensation from White Star Line. 

Herbert Klein was the eldest son of the Jewish couple Daniel Kleyn a tailor born in Poland and Bertha Brash from Germany. He was born in 1878 in Bradford, and appears in the birth registers as Henry Kleyn. The family weren’t in Bradford for long, Daniel and Bertha had actually married at the Jewish Synagogue in Belgrave Street, Leeds in 1877 and by the time Herbert’s brother Louis was born in 1880 they were back in Leeds. 

By 1901, age 22, Herbert was a hairdresser, a year later, in 1902, he married Leah Nora Goldman in Leeds (also known as Cissy) the daughter of Elkan Goldman originally from Russia.  In later years Elkan had a large boot and shoe factory called ‘Elkan Goldman & Son’ of 22-24 Lady Lane Leeds.

On the 1911 census Herbert was working as a hairdresser for the White Star Line and had a daughter Bella born in Liverpool in 1895. He had worked on the White Star Line’s Teutonic ship for eight or nine years before serving on the Titanic; the Teutonic at that time was travelling from Liverpool to Montreal and Quebec in Canada.

The barbershops (picture at bottom of link) on board cruise liners at the time were packed with novelty items for sale from postcards of the ship to decorative china.  The barbers needed to make money selling these souvenirs as they were reliant on tips from their customers for income.
“Barbers on some of the favourite ocean steamships do quite a lucrative business selling the photographs of the vessel... sold at a trifle beyond ordinary price. It is the odd passenger —perhaps the economical one—who does not want a picture of the ship in which he has safely crossed the sea. There is no more appropriate souvenir of the voyage.”

By 1911 the family had moved to 56 Oakley Road, Southampton with Bella now 6. In the autumn of that year Herbert and Leah had a second child Flora. She was only a few months old when her father had to leave to board the Titanic at 6am on the 10th April 1914. According to newspaper reports it was a surprise to the family that he had decided to transfer to the Titanic. He was to meet up with his brother Emanuel, also a hairdresser on ocean liners, on reaching America  (Leeds Mercury & Yorkshire Observer 19th April 1917).

Herbert was one of only three barbers on board the Titanic and travelled second class. It is not known what happened to Herbert. His body, if recovered, was never identified. August Weikman the chief Barber was in the barbershop on Sunday April 14, 1912, at 11.40 p.m. and did not refer to Herbert in his affidavit so it might be assumed that he was elsewhere on board.

Herbert died aged 33, his will left his estate of £200 to his widow Leah Klein. Leah tried to sue the White Star Line in August 1912 for compensation for the loss of her husband but the company contends that there was no contract of service and that Mr Klein merely signed the ship’s articles to satisfy the Board of Trade Requirements.  The Titanic log books state that Herbert was paid £4 monthly but also records that after the tragedy the balance owing due to wages was nil.

Another crew member 5th mate, Herbert Lowe, had a sister living in Bradford who was concerned for his safety 

Harold Godfrey Lowe and his sister Annie May were both born in North Wales to George and Emma Lowe. George was originally a jeweller and watchmaker but later turned his hand to become a landscape and cattle painter and Emma a hotel manageress.  Harold might have got his passion for travel from the many visitors that they had to their hotel as he ran away to sea aged just 14 to escape a job as an apprentice.

He quickly rose through the ranks and when he set foot on the Titanic in Belfast on March 21st, aged 29, he had been promoted to 5th mate. He had only been with the White Star Line for 15 months and the Titanic was to be his first Trans Atlantic crossing. He gave details to the American Inquiry of the trial tests in Belfast Lough including safety procedures and testing the lifeboats.

When the Titanic hit the iceberg Harold was asleep in his cabin. On waking he quickly went to help passengers onto the lifeboats. He lowered the first boat only half full and including White Star President J. Bruce Ismay as there were no other passengers on deck at the time. He then  went around to fill another and was himself lowered down in that boat as 5 boats had been launched with no officer to take charge. He stated in his affidavit to the American Inquiry that he fired shots to prevent 2 men from jumping into his lifeboat saying he was afraid of the effect of having more people on board the boat as it was lowered. 

Having helped to row the boat out away from the Titanic’s suction he helped to transfer the passengers onto another boat and then rowed back to save more people from the sea (Worcester Evening Gazette). His statements to the British Inquiry stated that he gathered 5 boats together until they were saved when the Carpathia arrived.

Harold’s sister Annie May had married Claude Whitehead manager of Messrs Julius Whitehead and Sons firebrick makers of Clayton in Bradford. When she heard of the disaster she was in great distress especially as her another of her brothers had been second mate on board the Tathra which floundered in a storm off the coast of Australia only a few months previous on 4th January 1912 (Bradford Daily Telegraph 17th April 1912). On that occasion 24 people had lost their lives, Lowe was lucky to survive. Two brothers, two ships sunk, one lucky family. 

References and Sources 

National Archives currency converter 
Rev Thomas Roussel Byles letter to his housekeeper from on board the Titanic 10 April 1912
Last Mass of Father Thomas Byles Sunday, April 14, 191
Rev Thomas Byles last Mass 
New York Telegram - April 22, 1912 
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle - Wednesday, April 17, 1912
New York Times - April 17, 1912 – Byles brother wedding 
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle - Saturday, April 20, 1912 
Francis Thompson’s ‘The Hound of Heaven’ 
Boot and Shoe factory Lady Lane Leeds 
Photo of interior of barbershop on Titanic 
Ocean: Magazine of Travel, Vol. III, No. 2, September 1889, Page 42 Steamship Barbers and Barber Shops
Leeds Mercury Friday 19th April 1912  
Affidavit of A. H. Weikman United States Senate Inquiry Day 15 April 24, 1912
Bradford Daily Telegraph 17th April 1912
Yorkshire Observer 17th April 1917
Yorkshire Observer 19th April 1917
Yorkshire Observer 27th April 1917
England census records
GRO Birth, Marriage and Death indexes
Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. London, England. Online at
Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Agreements and Crew Lists, Series III: Titanic. BT 100/259 and 100/260. The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England. Online at
Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Registers and Indexes of Births, Marriages and Deaths of Passengers and Seamen at Sea. BT 334/52 and 334/53. The National Archives, Surrey, England. Online at
Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and Successors: Outward Passenger Lists. BT 27/776 and 27/780. The National Archives, Surrey, England.  Online at

Friday 6 April 2012

40,000,000 Eggs wanted - but not the chocolate variety

“I should just like your girls to see the delight on that fellow’s face. He looked like the egg had dropped down from heaven. I believe if a man came along with a £20 note in one hand and an egg in the other he’d take the egg”

National Egg Collection for the Wounded

National Egg Collection for the Wounded© IWM (Art.IWM PST 10836)

The National Egg Collection for the Wounded was started August 1915 it aimed at first to collect a million eggs for the wounded. The scheme proved was very successful actually achieving an average of one million eggs a month. In February 1917 during the special ‘Children’s Week’ 300,000 eggs were collected when the weather was very bad and eggs scarce.

By January 1918 the scheme had sent over seven million eggs to hospitals at home and over 25 million to hospitals abroad. But at this time the national egg shortage had grown, some people, frightened by the orders of the Food Controller and the Board of Agriculture, had disposed of their chickens as they didn’t think they would be able to get food for them. The shortage of imported supplies and increased demands from the hospitals at this time also exacerbated the difference between supply and demand. “There are more wounded than there ever were and less eggs to give them.”

The war office asked for a further quarter of a million eggs per month over and above the existing supplies. An appeal was launched to reach a target of 40,000,000 eggs. People were asked to sacrifice their own eggs for the soldiers.

Poultry farmers could despatch the eggs for free to the Central London Depot, or to one of the 2,000 local depots across the UK, and the eggs were distributed to the hospitals by the war office. People who had their own chickens were asked to give a tithe of their eggs each week. Those without chickens were encouraged to give money so that eggs could be brought.

“You people in your comfortable homes have not the remotest idea what the eggs mean to us out here, to say nothing of the pleasure they give. A chaps been out in the trenches for a year, eighteen months, perhaps 2 years; he’s never seen an egg! He wakes up one morning and finds himself in a clean and comfortable bed. Someone comes along with one of your fine newly laid eggs. I should just like your girls to see the delight on that fellow’s face.”

So when enjoying your eggs this Easter spare a thought to those who sacrificed their lives and those at home who sacrificed their eggs during the First World War.

British Journal of Nursing 21st August 1915
Save our Soldiers, An Appeal for the National Egg Collection for the wounded
Flight, 18th January 1917

Friday 30 March 2012

Clayton Auxiliary Hospital

Clayton Auxiliary Hospital opened in April 1917 it was the female Infirmary block of the North Bierley Union Hospital. It accommodated 114 soldiers brought from the Bradford War Hospital. Prior to this it had been used to train nurses and to accommodate patients displaced by the utilisation of the whole of the whole of the Bradford Union Institution as a War hospital.

In July 1918 it was expanded by the utilisation of 3 hospital tents accommodating 30-40 soldiers.

For more information read the full article.

If anyone has any further knowledge of the use of Clayton Auxiliary Hospital or North Bierley Union during WW1 or of nurses who lived there after this time it would be lovely to hear more.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Bowling Park Colony

Bowling Park Auxiliary Hospital opened on 16th April 1915. It was used until St Luke’s War Hospital was opened in December 1915. It accommodated 80 soldiers brought from the 2nd Northern War Hospital at Leeds and later the East Leeds War Hospital.

The grounds of Bowling Park was also used as a camp for the Second Pal’s Battalion in May 1915 before they moved on to Ripon.

If anyone has any further knowledge of the use of Bowling Park Colony during WW1 or of nurses who lived there after this time it would be lovely to hear more.

Monday 27 February 2012

Conscientious objectors

While researching the Bradford Trades Council minutes three names of conscientious objectors have so far emerged. The Trades Council had even before the war broke out been looking for peace, attending the Ninth National Peace Conference in Leeds in 1913. This effort continued throughout the war as demonstrated by a survey of their members in March 1918 to see if they were in favour of a negotiated peace. They had been adamantly against conscription and working to “safeguard the historic right of individual freedom of conscience.”

One of the conscientious objectors named was Revis Barber (full name Mark Revis Barber) who was the son of the Secretary of the Trades Council. His father Walter had previously been a stuff dyers labourer but was secretary of the Trades Council from at least 1911. He was 50 when war broke out in 1914 and too old to go to the front. He and his wife Alice had four children, in 1911 they report that the eldest two sons, Charles and James, had died, both were in the 1901 census as apprentices age 16 and 14. Their third son Mark Revis Barber was 18 when war broke out and their youngest Walter Vereen Annistage Barber was 13. The Trades Council in December 1918 “agreed to make an application for the release of Revis Barber from the Home Office Scheme having served 12 months imprisonment.”

I don’t know what happened to his two older brothers what caused them to die when they had survived infancy and seemed to be doing well as apprentices, or what happened to his younger brother and whether he too was a conscientious objector.

I have just discovered that Revis Barber went on to be an Alderman of Bradford Council and "supported and led the dream of a University for Bradford for many years. In 1965, Alderman Barber signed the Petition to the Queen to create a Royal Charter, thereby establishing the University; he died very soon after."

The other two conscientious objectors that were named in the minutes were  Mr A Emsley a member of the National Union of Woolsorters and Mr W J Greene. This hasn’t given me enough information to confirm any more details about their families but if you know more please get in touch.


Bradford Trades Council minutes 1914-1918 

There is more information about Revis Barber at the Bradford University Archive

Friday 24 February 2012

Field House Auxiliary Hospital

Field House Auxiliary Hospital opened on 24th February 1915. It was used of the majority of the war (although it was shut for a period it reopened due to the demand for beds) finally closing in February 1919.  At its height it accommodated 88 soldiers and was run by the St John’s Ambulance Brigade. For more information read the full article.

I hope to find time to search more newspapers for details of when the Field House Hospital closed and reopened as no specific dates are given in the Bradford Royal Infirmary annual reports. 

If anyone has any further knowledge of the use of Field House during WW1 or of nurses who lived there after this time it would be lovely to hear more.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Volentines – February

"Ther did used to be a bit o’ fun for th young fowk on the 14th when volentines use to be knockin abaat, but that’s noa longer th’ case. Pictur pooast cards killed th’ volentine craze an they’ve ommost had ther day. All romance seems to be deein aght nah days; fowk have to work soa hard for a livin ‘at they’ve noa time for sich foolishness as volentines. Even love has to tak a back seeat nah, an a lass thinks moor abaat what a chap haddles nor abat what he is. Wimmen are gettin moor independent an men indifferent. Lasses nah days had rayther goa an stand behind a caanter an sarve customers ner stop at hooam to help ther mother an leearn to bake an cook an keep a haase cleean an tidy... an then fowk say they wonder ha it is ‘at young chaps dooant seem i’ such a hurry to get wed as they used to be. An then tak th’ young chaps – what abaat them? What are they dooin? Fooitball i’ winter an cricket i’ summer is all they show onny interest in. Net ‘at aw’ve owt agean gams o’ that sooart, but one cannot help thinkin sometimes ‘at if they’d to give ther muscles a bit less wark an ther brains a bit moor they’d be better for it."

Just one more example of the wonderful use of the Yorkshire Dialect by John Hartley in his 1910 Clock Almanack.

Hartley, John 1910 The original Clock Almanack in the Yorkshire Dialect

Friday 10 February 2012

Recruitment – nicknames for the Pals Battalions

Having relocated the Recruitment text to the main BradfordWW1 site I wanted to make sure the discussion started on the blog wasn’t lost so here it is...

The Leeds City Battalion - later 15th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment(1st Leeds Pals), had been given the rather unfortunate nick-name the "Feather-Bed" and "Titty-Bottle Battalion" in its early formation. Some locals had believed that members were cossetted and had a comfortable time of things; billets, training, issue of uniforms, etc. Instances are to be found in The Yorkshire Evening Post and Laurie Milner provides a good account in "Leeds Pals". Is there anything to suggest that 1st and 2nd Bradfords received similar taunts or had an unofficial nick-name?
AnonymousFeb 2, 2012 10:43 AM

Yes after the First Bradford Pals had first formed they enjoyed a nice life compared to the long hours of daily toil they were used to, including a 2 hour lunch break in which they could wander around the city.

The 'Bradford Pals' by David Raw confirms this "Afterwards many of them reflected that this was the best time of their lives. Compared with the Leeds Pals who were sent off to camp in the wilds of Colsterdale near Masham as early as September the Bradford men knew they were having a 'cushy time' They were determined to enjoy it."

"The fulsome media coverage began to cause a backlash, particularly from relatives of men in the regulars and the Territorials who were failing to get the same attention."

The two Bradford Pals battalions met up with the Leeds Pals at Fovant and together with the Durham Pals formed the 93rd Brigade of the 31st (Pals) Division.

I highly recommend this book which follows the Bradford Pals from recruitment to January 1918 when the British Army was reorganised.
BradfordWW1 Feb 2, 2012 12:21 PM

Many Thanks. It is some time since I read David Raw's book and I will certainly consider your recommendation and buy it this time. I hope to be visiting Owl Trench and Serre in the near future and will pay my respects to the Bradford lads while I'm there.
AnonymousFeb 3, 2012 04:07 AM

Regarding nicknames apparently the 1st Bradford Pals were called "chocolate soldiers" after a handsome brass case containing chocolates and cigarettes was presented to each man by Francis Laidler the owner of the Alhambra Theatre.

Anyone know of nicknames for the other ‘Pals’ Battalions?

BradfordWW1 Feb 3, 2012 04:25 AM

Recruitment and more

I have just transferred the blogs about recruitment in Bradford to the main website and have added the latest update “Reserves for the Pals – Weeding out the unfit.

I want the content of the BradfordWW1 site to cover the main issues faced by Bradford at the time of the First World War and to keep the blog for more informal discussion with you all about the issues.  Please join in the discussions!

I will continue to post updates on my visits to the archives on the blog as and when I have time. I have taken to live tweeting from the archives as so often by the time I have returned home and found time to get to the computer I have forgotten what it was that I had found so interesting/amusing at the archives so it is easier if I tweet about it while I am there.

So please follow my twitter feed where I also tweet notable dates from Bradford’s history or watch the home page where the twitter feed is available.

Sunday 5 February 2012

Yorkshire soldiers – wounded

While going through one soldiers service record I came across a sheet detailing the names of other soldiers who had been wounded. As it included information which may not be available anywhere else I have transcribed it here. I hope it is of use to someone.

2nd Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment
19226              Pte       Smith H           Injured             5.7.18
63431              Pte       Davidson J       Injured             6.7.18
                        Auth O.C.                   Bn 13.7.18

5th Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
62494              Pte       Blenkinsop L    Injured             11.7.18 Admitted
                        Auth O.C. 2/2              W.R.F.A 13/7/18

1/4th Battalion West Riding Regiment
203728            Pte       Haggas E         Wounded         12.7.18           
                        Auth O.C. No 10          C.C.S. 13.7.18
34019              Pte       Hardman J P    Wounded         9.7.18
Auth O.C. No 44          C.C.S 13.7.18

9th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment
????8               Pte       Allon J             W                     12.7.18 Admitted
Auth O.C. No 51          F.A. 13.7.18

Wednesday 18 January 2012

On this day 18th January...

1887 – Manchester Road Baths opened

They were opened largely as a result of corporation and municipal officials being shocked by the large numbers of the “great unwashed” when they went to open Bowling Park on the 4th September 1880.

The Baths were situated midway between West Bowling and Little Horton so that they are convenient to residents from both districts.

It was considered desirable to make provision for a branch free library and reading room, the Free Library Committee paying the Sanitary Committee £40 a year to rent the space. The building is therefore larger than would have been required for baths only.

“It is in gothic style, and the main feature of the exterior is a tower of octagonal form, which rises from the front at the junction of Manchester Road and Cotewall Road. There is an entrance to the building on each side of the tower. The ground floor, on the Manchester Road side is arranged for the free library and reading room. The space is 47feet by 23 feet, a high partition being introduced to form separate departments for male and female readers, the part set aside for the later being reached by a doorway which leads to the women’s bath room. The library will be accommodated in a recess erected at the rear of the reading room, from which it will be separated by a counter, across which the librarian will hand books to borrowers in both departments. The arrangements for the baths are a very complex nature. The department for males is on the Cotewall road side of the building, and it is reached through a spacious entrance hall, from which also the curators rooms are accessible. The swimming bath is very capacious, being 60ft in length and 30ft in width. There are 48 dressing boxes, each with a separate compartment for shower baths. Above these dressing boxes there is a balcony supported by cast iron columns and here there are 10 first class and 19 second class slipper baths and accommodation for vapour baths. This portion of the premises is reached by a stone staircase from the entrance hall. The baths for females are situate on the first floor over the reading room, the accommodation comprising four first class and 8 second class slipper baths; there are also a first class and second class vapour bath.”

The baths were also heated by a new more modern method which enabled the bath to be filled with warm water in a tenth of the time of the old method.

The overall cost of the building was £8,000

It was stated that “to some it will be a matter of regret that in the new premises there is no provision for a Turkish bath, but the town is not badly accommodated in this respect. The Corporation, in addition to having department for the Turkish baths at the Thornton Road establishment, about two years since fitted up premises in Horton Road for use as a ladies’ Turkish bath; and there are also private baths of a similar character in another part of the town.”

The Leeds Mercury, Wednesday November 24th 1886

Friday 13 January 2012

Trim awr sails and hooap for th’ best – wonderful Yorkshire dialect and storytelling

"A new year brings new responsibilities, - new joys an new sorrows, an we mun try to face em wi new strength. It’s like startin wi a new wife, - yo can nivver tell ha things will turn aght. Ther’s hooap one minnit an fear th’ next... Ther’s noa bigger mistak for a chap to mak nor to lay daan a hard an fast line for his futer conduct, for he’ll nivver be able to stick to it, an if he did he’d miss a deal moor nor he’d gain. When a captain starts on a voyage he knows his destination, but that’s abaat all. He cannot tell what storms he’ll meet, an ha far he’ll be driven aght ov his coorse, but he prepares as weel as he can for emergencies, an then trusts to luck. Well, let’s all trim awr sails an hooap for th’ best”

Just one example of the wonderful use of the Yorkshire Dialect by John Hartley in his 1910 Clock Almanack.

Hartley, John 1910 The original Clock Almanack in the Yorkshire Dialect