August 1st 1917

Term time is always eventful and at the end of it there are always a number of small items of interest that are worth recording.

We had a record number of boarders (75) this term. However, I have heard it suggested that the number of boarders is too large – let me say that it is only by having a large number that I have been able to hang on without raising the fees and without in any way cutting down the food of the boarders and day boarders.

We have had potatoes regularly, no meatless days and plenty of bread – the only rationing has been in sugar and each boy has had first his eight and latterly his six ounces per week besides cooking sugar, also golden syrup and always jam.

One result of our boarding numbers was that six of the older boarders have been sleeping out, some of them occasionally in a tent and they were good enough voluntarily to surrender the pleasures of dormitory life.

Early morning bathers with boarders’ tent in background.

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Earlier in the term, the School came to the rescue of one Lieut. DH Clynes, who interrupted a drawing lesson “on the banks of the Cher” by falling into the river out of a punt. He was rescued, dried, re-clad and refreshed, and to mark his gratitude he presented a Swimming Cup. The competitors swam in their clothes and the race was won by Max Adamson.

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It was not only soldiers this term who were in the wars. Little Laurie Salkeld, whilst winding up the caravan engine, got a backfire and broke his wrist. Francis Wylie, too, got run over by the roller when rolling the pitch, but most fortunately escaped severe injury and is now all right again and so is Laurie.

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Mr Archer Vassall (GC’s brother) has written to us from Harrow on behalf of the Food (War) Committee of the Royal Society. He has asked that in the autumn the boys collect horse chestnuts (the nuts, not the husks) and take them to the Station Master at the nearest Railway Station, who will forward them free of charge to the correct destination.

Horse chestnuts will set free grain for food, as they can be used for a process in which grain has now to be employed.

 

 

 

 

 

March 11th 1917

Lord Devonport (the Food Controller) has asked that we observe restraint (Daily Telegraph, Feb 3rd, p.9and suggests we limit our consumption to 4 lbs of bread, 2½ lbs of meat and ¾ lb sugar per person per week.

This subject of War Rations – albeit voluntary – at Schools, has elicited considerable correspondence, starting with my letter of February 17th to the Editor of the Times:

Sir,

I have a household of 103, including 70 boys under 14. I find we use on an average over 5lb. bread per head per week (including flour for pastry, etc), nearly 3lb. meat, including bacon and sausages and fish, and ¾ lb sugar, including cookery, but not jam and marmalade. A reduction in bread and meat would affect the boys much more than the grown-ups.

We tried giving rations of bread for a day – 4 oz. for breakfast and dinner, 4 oz. for tea and supper, the remaining 8 oz. per week per head going as flour for pastry etc. The majority of the boys had not enough. Now to put these boys on rations would mean pecuniary profit to myself and detriment to the children whose parents pay me for feeding them.

It appears to me to be neither patriotic nor honest to adopt rations under these circumstances. I hear that it is done, however, at houses in various public schools.

An authoritative reply in your columns would be useful.

Yours etc.,

CC Lynam

This brought some indignant remonstrances and was taken as intimating that the introduction of Rations implied underfeeding at schools.

I found that instead of saving themselves expense, the housemasters provided substitutes considerably more expensive than the food which was rationed (eg malt cakes, oatmeal and wheaten biscuits, maize scones, an increased amount of fish, eggs and cheese etc.)

But what was a really satisfactory outcome was the fact that the Food Controller has declared that in the case of growing boys and girls, the Ration order is not expected to be strictly complied with.

In meat I find that we are within the mark, but I cannot bring myself to believe that a restricted bread supply is good for young people; or that substitutes altogether supply the same nutriment.

As regards sugar, at the Boarding House a rather curious thing happened. One week, following the example recommended by an old boy, each boy and grown-up had a cardboard box containing 10 oz. of sugar for the week – it being considered that 2 oz. per week per head should be used in cooking.

By the end of the week most boys had a good deal left. Some had not touched their rations; they proposed to take or send it home, or to have a good toffee-making session. My Lady housekeeper, seeing the boxes were not empty, thought the boys had been practising economy, and merely filled up each box to 10 oz.

In the morning there were cries of dismay! The boys naturally thought that the amount saved was their own property; and I could but declare that ‘a ration’s a ration’ and that it is the property of the rationee. So each boy had to estimate the amount of sugar left in his box and it was weighed out to him.

At the end of term I dare say I will end up buying back off the boys quite a lot of sugar. Well, either they had previously had had too much or else now they are having too little!