The Wolverhampton Borough Communication Books are large scrapbooks with incoming letters and reports pasted in them, and our collection of these volumes date from 1888 to 1961. One of our volunteers has looked through the volumes that cover the First World War period. There are various themes addressed during this period.
Some of the material relates to fundraising. Already on 7 August 1914, there is a telegram from the Edward, the Prince of Wales, to the Mayor of Wolverhampton, stating
Earnestly trust that you will assist my National relief fund by opening subscriptions list without delay & forwarding results to Buckingham Palace. Please do all that lies in your power to interest those among whom your influence extends.
Together with this item is a typed advert by F. H. Skidmore, the Wolverhampton Mayor at the time, appealing to the people for subscriptions “for the RELIEF of any DISTRESS which may occur among the people of this country in consequence of the War.”
There are also concerns about sanitation. A circular from the Local Government Board dated 14 September 1914 seeks to draw “attention to the importance of maintaining the efficiency of the sanitary service of the country at the present time.”, particularly as many of the relevant officials may have been called up to the Army or the Navy. The circular urges all local authorities to “fill all minor vacancies in sanitary staff”, and suggests cooperation between neighbouring authorities where necessary.
Political differences are put aside, as the Wolverhampton Trades Council requests on 14 September 1914 that “members of the Town Council due for re-election in the autumn be returned without opposition to save time, effort and money, and for the sake of national unity.” Women’s employment is also addressed by another circular from the Local Government Board, which urges the Council to provide women with woek “who have been temporarily thrown out of employment due to the War.”
Further Communications Books will be examined in future blog posts.