Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Eve

The turkey is out of the freezer, the Christmas lights are turned on and our guests are installed in the spare bedroom. Whatever is not done or bought by now will wait until after Christmas. Molly and Poppy are unaware of the vast number of scraps about to come their way.

We are having two weeks off from the computer and family history. But before I turn it off I thought it might be interesting to look at what was happening in Goole a hundred years ago. The following was dated 26th December 1914:

"Christmas, which a keen frost had made "seasonable,'' was a quiet time in this district. There were numbers of people out and about but never before have there been so many men in the port wearing the uniform of His Majesty at the festive season. Some of these are stationed in the town, but numerous others whose homes are in Goole, and who are training in various places, were over on leave. 

"Christmas morning services were held at various local places of worship and each was fairly attended. A band was out playing carols, and quite early the youngsters had commenced Christmas boxing.

"At the workhouse the inmates had their usual treat of roast beef, plum pudding, etc., at noon, in the dining hall, which had been tastefully decorated with evergreens, etc. Numerous gifts of Christmas fare had also been received for them. The distressed poor of the town, affected by the war, were not forgotten, and the distribution, which in the ordinary course would be made on Monday next, took place on Thursday, in order that everybody would have food in the house for Christmas. The Secretary of the Distress Committee and his assistants gave out a large quantity of flour in 1-stone bags, cheese in 1 lb parcels, and tins of salmon together with potatoes. The families of the soldiers and sailors have also received gifts of  coal, and new boots for the children through the Soldiers' and Sailors' Association. Special Christmas greeting cards have been printed for the British civilian prisoners of war in the Ruhleben (German) Camp, and several have been received by the relatives of the sailors interned there. The following appears on the card:—"Xmas, 1914. Englanderlagei, Ruhleben-Spandau, Germany. Wishing you a happy Xmas and brighter New Year. From  -  British Civil Prisoner of War." On the other side is the address, and also the sender's name and barrack number.

"Once again the post office staff have experienced a busy time during the festive season. All the week had been gradually growing, but, as Mr Bennett (the postmaster) explained to the writer, any perceptible increase there may have been over previous years was in the dispatch of  parcels to the troops at the front. One might almost say there was a "special line" this year. All letters and parcels for the soldiers with the fighting forces and for the sailors afloat are, of course, forwarded first to London. The postal staff, both inside and out, was, as former years, augmented, and everything was done to give the utmost dispatch. The members of the public responded to the request to post early, and consequently no delay was occasioned. Breakfast was again provided for the staff at Mrs Clarkson's cafe.

"The boys of Standards VII. and ex-VII. attending the Alexandra-street School gave a capital concert the other evening for the benefit the school football club The programme included sketches of various kinds, patriotic songs, choruses, pianoforte solos, etc , and was greatly enjoyed, reflecting much credit on the coach, W Appleyard. Mr Harlington was the pianist, and Mr I. Schofield (the headmaster) presided, in the absence of Councillor S. G Bevan. The proceeds realised £2. An interesting presentation took place at the Alexandra Street Schools on Thursday afternoon, prior to closing for the Christmas holidays, when Mr Alf Sherburn, a certificated assistant, who has been connected with the schools since he was a boy, and who has received an appointment as headmaster at a school near Ripon, was the recipient of a  turned oak salad bowl with servers. This was a gift from the teachers and scholars, and was handed to Mr Sherburn by the Headmaster (Mr Schofield), who regretted the loss of one his principal teachers, but wished him success in his new position. Mr Sherburn made a suitable acknowledgment."


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