In this feature to commemorate the First World War, we will bring you the news as it happened in 1917, as reported by the Morpeth Herald. All material is published with kind permission of the Mackay family. We thank them for their support and generosity in allowing us access to their archive.
Sugar (Registration of Retailers) Order, 1917
Pegswood Co-Operative Society, Ltd
To the Members,
Your society is certified as a Retailer of Sugar. On receipt of your Sugar Card, bring it to the store and register. Your own society will be able to supply you when order becomes operative with the same quantity and quality of sugar as any other business firm.
The cards of members residing outside of Pegswood will be collected by grocery travellers.
MORPETH WAR SEWING MEETING
Sir,— Will you kindly once more insert in your widely-circulated paper an appeal for funds to enable the Executive Committee to continue the work of providing our fighting men with shirts, socks, etc., this winter?
Our hon. secretary reports we have given out more than 10,000 garments since we began the meetings.
We have had no work meetings during the summer months but as the men have needed, and been supplied, the same as usual, our reserve stock has been quite used up. We give the preference to local men, as much as possible, but the endeavour of the committee is to help as widely as circumstances will permit.
The increased price of wool and shirting obliges me to ask Morpeth people to support generously their town’s sewing meeting and empower the committee to send this winter (as in the past three winters) the comforts so highly appreciated by our men in the trenches of France and Flanders.
All donations will be gratefully received and acknowledged by me. Thanking you in anticipation.— Yours, etc.,
(Mrs) M.F. ATKINSON. Hon. Treas.
MORPETH TOWN COUNCIL
The monthly meeting of Morpeth Town Council was held on Tuesday evening. The Mayor (Councillor J.R. Temple) presided.
The Mayor made reference to the fact that Lieut.-Colonel John S. Purdy, youngest son of the late Mr Geo. Purdy, Morpeth, of the Australian Army Medical Corps, had gained the D.S.O. for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.
An application was received from the military asking for permission to use the ground known as the Castle Banks and The Terrace for the purpose of the drill.— On the motion of Ald. Duncan the ground asked for was granted.
In the committee minutes of the Urban District Council the following report appeared: Ald. Norman proposed that a protest be made by the Council against the way in which the Chief Constable was obscuring the lights that he had previously sanctioned. Five lamps were granted — two in Newgate Street and three in Bridge St., and only four were allowed to be used.
He moved that a very strong protest be made to the Chief Constable. This was seconded by Mr Elliott. It was agreed that the surveyor interview Supt. Marshall and report to the Council.
The Surveyor stated that he had seen Supt. Marshall. He had asked if the present lighting was the utmost they were to be allowed, and he said that it was. He informed the superintendent that the Council had met last Friday night, and that the bulk of the members had expressed dissatisfaction with the present condition of things, and wanted to know if some improvement could not be effected.
He told the superintendent what he had in his mind was to put incandescent burners in the lamps and paint the lantern over with green paint. He replied that the incandescent burner was showing too much light. He told the superintendent that that was caused owing to the lamp not being sufficiently shaded. The superintendent then said that he had no objection to him (the surveyor) trying an experiment to colour the whole lantern with green paint in order to improve the lighting without creating a glare on the road.
He also told him that the lamp at Hopper’s was showing too much light, and that it would be a serious matter if any lights were about during a Zeppelin visit, for they might not get any warning.
Ald. Norman said the Council would agree that the lighting of Morpeth was most unsatisfactory, and they seemed to be penalised more than any other town. They had to suffer in Egyptian darkness, and not because it was unsafe to have a stronger light than they had. The only privilege they were asking for was that they should be treated the same as other towns.
They had asked their surveyor to meet the superintendent of police, and his opinion differed very largely from that of General Sir Francis Lloyd, who was controller of the service in London, and had to do with the air raids. Sir Francis certainly ought to be an authority on the subject, and in his speech yesterday he said that there had been no air raid in the dark in London. The darkness had baffled the enemy. If they did not attack London they could not attack Morpeth in the dark.
When a deputation met the Chief Constable they were told that there were no accidents. Well, he need only mention that two gentlemen had their faces badly cut, and one, a stranger to the town, who had come in collision with the railings in front of the Town Hall, had to go to the doctor and get his face stitched. Others had their limbs dislocated. They had had accident after accident owing to the dark nights and no lights at dangerous places. Why should they have to put up with all that?
They were not unpatriotic nor did they want to expose Morpeth more than it ought to be. How could the town be seen by enemy aircraft if the town, within three minutes of receiving the warning, can be put in darkness. They had two or three small lights and it was just a mockery to call them public lights. They were paying for the light.
He moved that the Council send a very strong protest to the Chief Constable. If the present lighting was the utmost they were going to do for the town, then they should proceed to a higher authority and see if they could not get something more in the way of light. Last week at Newcastle one could see the naked lights from the end of the street. He did not think the risk was greater at Morpeth than Newcastle.
For the time being he suggested that every accident should be tabulated and reported to the police to convince them that there was danger to the public of Morpeth at nights. Let them have Morpeth lighted in a commonsense way.
Mr Charlton: The police know their own business best and so do we. We should not interfere in this matter. I propose that no action be taken. Let it lie in the hands of the police to do what they think best.
Mr Grey remarked: You have not put the motion.
Mayor: The motion was in the committee minutes and was carried.
Mr Charlton said he wanted to know and would ask the surveyor why the caretaker at the hospital — a lady — was put in the wages book as a man. She was receiving a war bonus the same as a man. He wanted that question answered.
In his opinion it was wrong to put her in the wages book along with the men. It had never been voted by the Council to give her a war bonus. If she was to get the bonus along with the men then why not give it to the other women employees of the Council.
“I want the surveyor to produce the wages book,” added Mr Charlton, “and I will show that she is receiving a bonus. It is a down-right shame, and there you are.”
The Surveyor, in reply, said: So far as all the employees of the Council are concerned, I practically pay them all.
When the bonus was granted by the Council I asked the question: “Does this apply to all employees?” and the Council said “Yes.” I applied the bonus to all the employees with the exception of Mr Wood, the woman who cleans the offices, and Mr Guy. The latter has since got a bonus on his own application. All the others were put on the bonus.
Councillor Armstrong proposed in the Council at the time that the system of a war saving bonus should be adopted, and that all the employees should be induced to take advantage of it. The majority went in for it. Mrs Tait at the hospital wanted to go in for it as well, and asked me to pay the bonus weekly and put her stamps on in the same way as I was doing for the men.
That went on for two years, and recently, for some reason, the Town Clerk, instead of giving me the cheques to pay the women as usual, decided to send them out. The fact of the matter is that one of the cheques was late, and Mrs Tait complained that she had not got it for several days, which caused her some inconvenience.
She said it would be convenient to her if she was paid every week instead of every month. Frequently it was necessary to advance her money and give her “sub.” After she asked me to pay her weekly it never made any difference to me except a little more work.
The wages book was seen for the purpose of examination, and this is one of the things it was wanted for. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than to show my books to any councillor or anybody else. If anybody can find anything in my books not correct they are welcome to find it and bring it up here. I have a strong objection to these perpetual pinpricks, which are trotted out now and again. Only a few weeks ago we had a similar thing.
Mr Charlton: He is getting beyond his facts. He had made a speech over it, when I asked him to answer a question.
Surveyor: I have a right to explain.
Mr Charlton: I will agree on a certain point in his answer, but I will ask him again, why Mrs Tait was given a bonus without the authority of the Council. If he can prove that she was given the bonus the same as the men then I will accept it.
Ald. Norman: The Surveyor has made it quite clear. At the time he asked if all the employees were to be put on a bonus and the answer was in the affirmative.
Mr Charlton: It was never sanctioned.
Ald. Norman: She is one of our employees.
Mr Charlton: What about the others?
Ald. Norman: They are only part time.
Mr Charlton: Oh, no.
Surveyor: Everybody on full time were given the bonus.
The matter then dropped.
ROLL OF HONOUR
AYNSLEY:— Killed in action, September 20th, aged 19 years, Private John Barnett, Cheshires, eldest son of George and Elizabeth Aynsley, 14 West Greens, Morpeth.
ALLEN.— Died of wounds, Sept. 28th, 1917, aged 23 years, Sergt. John George Allen of Bedlington Colliery.— Sincerely mourned by his uncle and aunt and family, George and Mary Jane Chilton of Bedlington Colliery.
MOOR.— Killed in action, August 26th, Private Oswald Moor, Callaly High Houses and youngest son of the late George and Ann Moor, Mitford.
ROBSON.— Died of wounds received in France, on September 11th, 1917, Sapper W.J. Robson, late R.E., dearly beloved son of William and Mary E. Robson, 126 Pont Street, Ashington.
SANDERSON.— Killed in action, September 30th, Private R. Sanderson of Barrington, youngest son of the late George and Mary Sanderson, late of Ashington.— Ever remembered by his loving brothers and sister and brother-in-law, Hannah and Clark Leighton.
SANDERSON.— Killed in action, September 30th, aged 30 years, Private R. Sanderson, 20205, N.F., seventh son of the late George and Mary Turnbull Sanderson, Sixth Row, Ashington and Double Row, Barrington.— Ever remembered by his loving brother and sister-in-law, Lance-Corporal James (now wounded in Sheffield Hospital) and Mary Sanderson, Half Moon Inn, Stakeford, Choppington.
SUMMERS.— At East Cottingwood, Morpeth, on October 1st, aged 67 years, James, the dearly beloved husband of Mary Alice Summers.
THE PLAYHOUSE, MORPETH
We all know and realise the great and glorious spirit of France, which shall never die, and in “Comrades,” booked for the first half of next week, there is attached to it a wistful impertinence all its own.
Laid in one of the pretty villages of our gallant ally, where the man and maid pledge their beloved country, there comes the clarion call. “To Arms.” Given to us in this rare story there are the types of the men who guarded their land from the ravages of the Hun, sustaining the spirit of a race which was never so courageous as at the moment of its seeming death.
The special feature for the week-end is “The Cobweb” — the story of a man strong in body and will, who declares that modern civilisation is flabby.
There will also be filmed an up-to-date description of the history of the war.
And other good things for the future are on their way.
MORPETH BOARD OF GUARDIANS
The monthly meeting of the Morpeth Board of Guardians was held on Wednesday. The Hon. and Rev. W.C. Ellis presided.
The Clerk reported that the casual ward was closed for the period of the War and that the military were in occupation.
MORPETH PIPE BAND
Under the auspices of the Morpeth Highland Pipe Band a whist drive, followed by a dance, took place in the Soldiers’ Institute last Friday evening. There was a very large company present, and the proceedings were of a most enjoyable description.
The band is in need of funds to extend its operations. In January last a committee was formed, with Mr C. Eltringham, of the London Joint Stock Bank, Morpeth, as secretary and treasurer, with the object of raising a fund, and, at the same time, opened a list of honorary members at an annual subscription of 5/-.
The president of the band is Mr Geo. Renwick of Springhill, who in the first place presented the drums and uniforms which the band now possess. The principal object the band had in view in holding the whist drive and dance was to provide funds for the provision of more uniforms and instruments as they wish to increase the number of players.
A large company took part in the whist drive. After the whist drive an enjoyable dance followed.
Every member of the band has joined in the local Volunteers.
Under the direction of Pipe-Major L. Strong the band has made good progress and deserves every encouragement from the townspeople.
MORPETH RED CROSS HOSPITAL
The Commandant wishes to acknowledge the following gifts with thanks:— For vegetables, fruit and flowers, the pupils at the Council schools, Mrs Orde (Nunnykirk), Miss Jones (West View), Mrs Cookson (Meldon), congregation of St. James’s Church, Mrs Jobling (Howard Castle), Mrs Spencer (Netherwinton); ash trays, Mrs Poynting; jam, Mrs Righe; cigarettes, Mrs Shaw; cushion, Mrs Thompson; eggs, Mrs Pringle (Tritlington), papers, Miss Davison.
A meeting of the Northumberland Presbytery was held in the minister’s room at St James’s Church, Alnwick on Tuesday. The Rev. J.A. Wilkinson, moderator, presided.
The Clerk stated that the Rev. W. Gibson Smith of Thropton had been active in the national service for some months, and had now been chosen for the Volunteers and given a commission from the King. He would have charge over a wide district, and they congratulated him upon the honour conferred upon him.
The Rev. Jos. Reavley, minister of St James’s Church, Alnwick, who has just returned from France after doing duty with the Y.M.C.A. and appeared in officer’s uniform, was given a warm welcome. He was asked to give some account of what he had experienced in France.
He thanked the Presbytery, and spoke of roughing it on his journey home. He mentioned with fervour the grand work done for our soldiers at the Front by the Y.M.C.A. If it were not so, God help our soldiers there. But for the Y.M.C.A. there was nothing to stand between the men and despair. Its kindly shelter was a bit of salvation for the soldiers, who were cheered up and strengthened.
He did not think the Presbytery had suffered in sending members out to France to help the men.
Mr Reavley then referred to a promised visitation to Embleton, instead of which he went to France, where he had had the most strenuous time he had every had in the whole of his life, sometimes under the strain being almost breaking down.