This week’s South Western Star carries a report on the fortnightly meeting of the Battersea and Wandsworth Board of Guardians. Many of the issues the Board had to discuss arose out of the war – either directly or indirectly. A large number of staff had applied for increased pay as a result of the increased cost of living (a problem shared by the local councils as well), although as it was not all staff an amendment to grant the requests was not passed. Staff also caused concern when Mr Rees questioned the age of a man hired on a temporary basis – on hearing that he was 27 the response was to ask why he was not in the Army, and on discovering that he was from Alsace one member commented that he was from the Blue Alsatian Mountains (a song, the words can be found here) and Mr Rees commented that he ought to be “over the water”. Mr Rees was clearly a keen supporter of the war, as he also moved that 120 beds at the Swaffield Road institution should be offered to the War Office for wounded soldiers. The beds in question were currently allocated to the elderly and the proposal was to transfer them to the main building, as there were 300 spare beds there and it would then be possible to create a separate entrance for ambulances – there were already wounded soldiers at St James Hospital, who had been admitted in March. Both this and another motion by Mr Rees were passed, the second motion proposed creating a return which would show how many people of military age were currently employed by the Guardians. This motion proved slightly more controversial, as both Mr Winfield and Mr Archer thought it was akin to conscription and forcing men to go to the Front. Mr Winfield would prefer the Government to be responsible for conscription, whilst the Guardians could hold men’s jobs.
The South London Press demonstrates that other aspects of life carried on much as usual – the end of the football season was drawing close and the paper was somewhat disparaging about the South London amateur leagues:
The homeless West Norwood team may fulfil their remaining Metropolitan League fixtures, but as nobody, player or otherwise, takes any interest in the games, it does not matter… the group of clubs forming [the League] have no trophy, no medals, no subscriptions, indeed nothing but a private arrangement for matches among themselves.
Perhaps the only positive in this report was for the Tooting club, who beat Croydon by 4 goals to 1, three of those goals being scored by Honor.
South London Press and South Western Star available on microfilm
Wandsworth Board of Guardians full records are at London Metropolitan Archives, copies of the 1915 minutes are at the Heritage Service, ref: WCU/1/23