During the course of the War, Wolverhampton Council dealt with various matters that were affected by the War.
Already on 7 August 1914, the Parks & Baths Committee resolved to place the Municipal Swimming Baths “at the disposal of the Red Cross for wounded soldiers and sailors who may be sent to Wolverhampton for treatment” (subject to 24 hours’ notice). Similar assistance is provided by local parks, who offer areas of the park “to grow vegetables or hay and to use the hothouses to grow tomatoes” on 8 January 1917.
Matters dealt with include the shortages of provisions, and on 12 March 1915, the Mayor, Councillor Albert Baldwin Bantock, announced that “following the King’s example, he is renouncing the consumption of alcohol in his household until the end of the war.” In view of the shortages, there is also a proposal that the embargo on the importation of Canadian cattle into Great Britain is lifted.
There is a recurring discussion about the shortage of Council workers due to staff joining the Army. For example, on 9 November 1915, the Free Library Committee reports that four library staff have joined the forces “and young ladies have been engaged as temporary assistants, no suitable male assistants being available.” There is a report from the Education Committee, stating the 2 head teachers and 22 assistants have signed up to the armed forces, with two female assistants “engaged as Red Cross Nurses in military hospitals.” Finally the General Purposes Committee reports that 252 members of the clerical staff “and employees of various departments” are also on active service. The fact that all of these reports are made on the same day indicates the scale of the issue.
As is usual during war time, there is a suspicion of enemy activity and enemy presence. Already on 19 October 1914, the Chief Constable reported that, “In accordance with instructions from the War Office the fingerprints of Germans and Austrians resident in the town have been taken.” Following the local Zeppelin raids, on 14 February 1916 the Council feels that “someone must have given guidance to enemy aircraft that visited last week”, and recommends that the Government should “intern all persons of alien enemy birth whether naturalised or not.”