Local News Stories

Various articles and stories which were featured in the local newspaper during World War 1.


Bromley Battlefield - Footsteps to the Past

Council Sets up Battlefield Scene to Help Raise Funds for the War

FEEDING THE GUN ON BROMLEY’S BATTLEFIELD “No Man’s Land” from the Trenches £70,000 raised: How the Money Came in In an effort to raise money to pay for the war, the Government sold War Bonds. Bromley supported this in great patriotic spirit. In 1917, a tank – ‘Tank Drake’ had toured the country and came to Bromley to the Market Square. When members of the public bought war bonds they could have their bonds and certificates stamped at the tank ...
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Measles

War Naturally Affected the Birth-Rate in a Most Alarming Manner

On 4th October 1918, there was a report in the Bromley & District Times on a CHILD WELFARE EXHIBITION 'An important feature of Bromley Baby Week, which was opened at the Public Library on Wednesday afternoon of last week by the Hon Mrs Eustace Hills, with Mayoress (Mrs Fillet) in the chair. The exhibition was prepared and conducted under the Child and Welfare and Health Committee of the National Union of Women Workers, and was a most interesting and instructive character, the exhibits ...
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ladies drinking tea

Warning to take your own Tea on Holiday with you

In 1918 the Ministry of Food proved it cared about its nations love of Tea after sending a message out to the public warning them that they may not be able to obtain supplies of their beloved brew whilst visiting holiday resorts, telling them to 'take their own' with them. Take Tea With You The Ministry of Food desires to warn visitors to holiday resorts that they must not rely on being able to obtain supplies of tea while away ...
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Children picking blackberries

Children to be paid to pick Blackberries

Blackberries - Children to get 3d. A lb for picking A discussion took place on the subject of blackberries for jam. The Kent Agricultural Committee wrote asking the Food Control Committee to appoint an organising agent for the borough to arrange and superintend the picking of blackberries by children and their conveyances to recognised jam manufacturers. Children would be paid 3d per lb. (pound) for all they picked, and the organising agent would be paid £3 per ton (imperial) for ...
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Great Demonstration on the 4th Anniversary of the War, 1918

With the entry of the American troops, fresh and ready for the fight, in April, 1918 and the failure of the German Spring Offensive, the mood of the country becomes more optimistic for an end to the fighting. There was a celebration of the 4th Anniversary of the war on Martin’s Hall. These three men, The Mayor, Frederick Gillett; the Right Honourable H.W. Forster M.P.; and Sir Leonard Powell, all gave rousing speeches at the demonstration. It still needed three ...
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Boys Charged with Stealing Apples

The Bromley & District Times reported on a number of cases of boys stealing apples from Orchards on the Bromley borough area in the month of August 1918. Perhaps the apples were too good to resist, or the boys had a desperate need for food, who knows, but it seems they were willing to travel far from their homes to steal these crops from orchards in Chelsfield, Farnborough and St Mary Cray. There was a hefty fine for being caught ...
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Baseball - Americans vs Canadians

Canadians & Americans bring their national game to Bromley

Ensuring that the oversea visitors felt at home, a game of Baseball was arrange at the Spartan Athletic Ground in Bromley between Canadian and American servicemen on the 6th July 1918. The event drew in a large crowd attracted to the sport with all proceeds raised divided between the Lewisham Prisoners of War Fund and the Canadian Convalescent Hospital. Canadians and Americans at Baseball A large number of people were attracted to the Spartan Athletic Ground, Bromley Hill, last Saturday, ...
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Statue of soldier

Every Man Who Is Fit to Fight is Fit to Pension – Demand for Justice

The National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers (NADSS) was a British veterans' organisation. Founded in early 1917 at a conference in Blackburn, the group drew together various local groups representing working men who had served in World War I but had since been discharged. The organisation campaigned for better pensions, and more opportunities for re-training. Bromley had its own local branch, who in June 1918 held a mass meeting in the Market Square, Bromley to demand justice for the ...
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Neelgherries, Bromley Public Library

Lady Librarian initiates a very practical improvement at Bromley Public Library, 1918

According to this article, which was published in the Bromley & District Times, 1918, it took a female librarian's initiative to move the books shelves up a notch or two in order to stop readers overlooking the variety of titles stored on the lower shelves. Even back in 1918 libraries were seen as important assets to the community "The large increase in the number of users of the Public Library, is good evidence of its value to the community in ...
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Hollydale House_Keston

Inmates of the ‘Grim Grey House” given a holiday… stories from the Workhouse

Workhouses, like the one in Bromley (now the PRU hospital), often organised holiday outings for the inmates.  This article reports their annual outing in 1918 to the park at Hollydene in Keston, which the 'poor folk' were given to their disposal for the day. The article highlights the restrictions to food, high prices and rationing which had to be adhered to, but also the generous donations of toys, in spite of the high prices, and other supplies from local residents. But ...
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Sharing Piggies in St Mary Cray, 1918

St Mary Cray Pig-Keeping Society Nearly 800 shares Applied for A meeting of the committee of the newly-formed Pig-keeping Association for St Mary Cray was held at the Council Schools on Monday evening, Mr George Dow (Chairman of the Parish Council) presiding. Mr Cecil Berens (Secretary of the society) was able to announce that application had come to hand to date for 265 shares, and of these a considerable number came through Mr H. West, Mr G. Ogburn, and Mr ...
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National War Bonds – invest every shilling you possibly can!

No sum can be too large! Another example of an advert, often seen in local newspapers, encouraging local people to invest 'every shilling' they could, so they can buy their towns 'own' gun to help their boys on the Front line, by investing in National War Bonds and War Savings Certificates to help pay for the war. FIRE your Money at the Huns Join the throngs of patriotic investors who all this week have been hurrying to lend their money to their country. Draw ...
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Where they have succeeded Chislehurst will not fail – War Weapons Week, 1918

Help us to win Our Gun Adverts like this were often featured in local newspapers encouraging local people to invest their money in National War Bonds and War Saving Certificates to help buy weapons.  This advert was a chance for Chislehurst to show that they could save as much as other towns to invest in National War Bonds and War Savings Certificates to help pay for the war. Other districts have achieved as much - districts no larger, no richer no more patriotic than ...
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Local schools finally acquire land for gardening purposes

Gardening at Bickley Schools Bickley and Widmore schools reported that at last it was possible to acquire a piece of land for gardening purposes. As it was so late in the season for agricultural classes to begin, it was hardly likely that the Board of Education would make any grant in respect of these classes, and the School Management Committees recommended that the piece of land should be acquired on the terms offered 1 shilling per rod subject to the ...
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Strong Protest by Butchers as to the Fair Distribution of Meat

The Meat Supply: Strong Protest by Butchers Supported by Committee The question of the quality of the meat now being supplied to Bromley came up in two letter, which were read to the Mayor.  The first, which was addressed to the Executive Officer, was as follows: Dear Sir,- At a meeting of the Meat Trade Section of the Bromley Chamber of Commerce held on Thursday last several members reported having received very serious complaints from their customers as to the ...
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Throwing Stones and Cutting Property

Boys will be Boys The following matter was brought before Beckenham Council: ‘Among the matters dealt with was a letter from a resident, complaining of the conduct of youths in the Alexandra Pleasure Ground. A letter from a resident complaining of damage to his allotment in Hospital Meadow by children playing thereon were also submitted. The committee recommended the Council to prohibit the admission of children under 14 years of age to allotments except in company with their parents. Mr ...
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They came to Britain, looking for safety…

Repatriation of Belgian Refugees During World War 1, it is estimated that Britain was home to almost 250,000 Belgian refugees, who had come to Britain seeking safety when the Germans invaded Belgium in 1914.  Some were housed with British families across the country, while overs were sent to purpose-built villages where they had their own schools, shops, churches, hospitals and newspapers, as well as prisons and police force.  These areas were considered Belgian territory and run by the Belgian government. They even ...
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Dame Clara Ellen Butt performs in Bromley

Dame Clara Ellen Butt, DBE (1 February 1872 – 23 January 1936) was an English contralto. Her main career was as a recitalist and concert singer. Her voice, both powerful and deep, impressed contemporary composers such as Saint-Saens and Elgar; the latter composed a song-cycle with her in mind as soloist. Butt appeared in only two operatic productions, both of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. Later in her career she frequently appeared in recitals together with her husband, the baritone Kennerley Rumford. She made ...
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Women Committee Set Up to Stop Girls Canoodling with Soldiers

During World War 1 a Women Committee was set up as there was concern about girls canoodling with the soldiers, and soldiers corrupting local girls.  Consequently women were encouraged to join the street patrols in particular areas where girls and men might ‘enjoy’ a little ***.   The War Office gave permission for these patrols to take place outside military camps and were also very active in public parks and cinemas. It was the Women's Patrol Committee who recommended that lights ...
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Would you have welcomed an Aussie to your home in 1918?

When the war broke out in 1914, the echoes carried to all corners of the British Empire, and the call brought forth an extraordinary display of solidarity. Soldiers from as far away as Canada, New Zealand and Australia signed up to help in the war effort having been brought up with a strong sense of loyalty and obligation to the Empire. Of course fighting so far way from home, meant that soldiers who were lucky enough to get some leave ...
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Why do the British love to Queue?

I really like this advertisement to encourage people to queue in an orderly fashion for the trains and buses. It is no wonder that the Brits are know for being such great ‘queuers’, it seems our grandparents and great-grandparents have been conditioned to do so after adverts like this appearing in local newspapers. Though, these days, at times, we do like to break the queue, especially in the rush hour and at the supermarket check out (more difficult). Pass Down ...
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Spring Cleaning the 1918 Way

Want to clean your carpets? From steam carpet beating to the cordless vacuums today.  Advert taken from the Bromley & District Times, 22nd March 1918. I assume the Scotsman in his kilt is the tradesman ...
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Tanks for the Memory

The country was in desperate need of money to pay for the Great War.  Throughout the war the Government had been trying to encourage people to invest in war loans and saving certificates. None of the earlier issues had been particularly popular. In 1918 there was some desperation as Britain was on the brink of bankruptcy.  In March, 1918 towns began to hold ‘Tank Days’.  Tank Drake (yes, it was a male tank – the sex of a tank depended ...
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The Paper Shortage – Recycling in 1918

There many were shortages by 1918. Paper had been in short supply for several years to such an extent that papers were reduced, not only in the number of pages, but also in reducing the size of the page. Around each Christmas, there were more pages, in order to increase the number of advertisements. Immediately after the Armistice, the papers quickly returned to their pre-war size. Today, supermarkets are beginning to introduce places to return plastic bottles and received some ...
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War time school dinners

National Kitchens Open During WW1

National Kitchens were opened during World War One to provide affordable nutritious meals for war workers and poorer people. The school dinner ladies and set up may have looked like this. This article was taken from the Bromley & District Times, 22nd March 2918 Communal Kitchen and School Dinners Under the able guidance of Mr A Goymer and the energetic secretaryship of Mr Foxwell, the village Food Control Committee has brought forward a scheme for a communal kitchen. Mr Goymer ...
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What was happening in Bromley 100 years ago?

1917 was a bad year. The death toll was going up. If the casualties of the Battle of the Somme had come as a terrible shock, Passchendaele was even worse. Men were dying on the battlefield by their thousand. Food was in short supply and prices were rising. What was happening in Bromley 100 years ago? Here are some of the items occupying the columns of the District Times from the 30th November, 1917 With so many men away at ...
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Soldiers Entertained

This extract, taken from the Bromley & District Times, 6th September, 1918 [pg 5] and gives an account of an evening of entertainment in Bromley: The men of the Army Service Corps in our neighbourhood, together with their lady friends, had a capital entertainment provided for them on Wednesday evening at the Drill Hall, Bromley, which well deserved the cheers given at the close. The principle part of the entertainment was sustained by the talent found in the men themselves, ...
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Conscription Introduced

As the number of volunteers coming forward dwindled, conscription (the compulsory enlistment of people in a national service, most often a military service) was introduced. Many men tried to avoid conscription and went before the military tribunals. Others took matters into their own hands and ignored the papers and ‘disappeared.’ Lists of those who had not taken themselves to join the forces appeared fairly regularly. The numbers of men increased as the war continued. Some were found: many weren’t ...
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Red Cross Animals

One of the four-footed friends of the French soldiers approaching a wounded man with a bandage in its mouth. Like the famous St Bernard, these Red Cross animals have proved of infinite benefit to wounded and suffering humanity Sourced from the The War Illustrated, 31st October 1914 ...
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Teaser the Mascot of H.M.S. Warwick

A lot of ships had pet mascots like Teaser, who was the mascot on H.M.S. Warwick during World War 1. The War Illustrated, 1st June 1918, pg 282 ...
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“Dominion Day” at Orpington

Ontario Military Hospital Carnival It was “Dominion Day” at Orpington on the 1st inst., and a successful and largely attended sports carnival was held at the Ontario Military Hospital. There were probably more than 3, 000 persons present on the charming sports field above the hospital, situated in the very centre of a delightfully wooded and hilly country. While monoplanes and biplanes droned overhead, the sports programme was carried through with every evidence of pleasure to the many patients and ...
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