By Judith Phillips
Just to whet your appetites (or not)! Several project volunteers have been reading the Teesdale Mercury to pick out references to any war-related items – not just notices of death or wounding or soldiers home on leave, but also more local events, often fundraising concerts or a notice about ‘home comforts’ sent out to the troops. But the Teesdale Mercury also kept people in Teesdale in touch with the wider world.
Throughout the war the newspaper included national information about the war and other news. It also included ‘useful’ articles on how to run the home, designed to help housewives cope with life on the home front. Some middle-class housewives were without servants for the first time in their lives! Perhaps they were the people who most benefitted from advice on how to make clothing material go further or followed the recipes for dishes that took into account the fact that it was not easy to get a wide range of foodstuffs.
One volunteer has become very interested in the food advice and recipes, but she recently said that she didn’t think she’d have wanted to eat so many dishes created using stale bread! Food is a theme we plan to explore further when we consider how we will mark the end of the project. (I know it’s nearly two years ahead, but we need to start planning now).
And, on the theme of food, keeps your eyes peeled for an event later this year when we hope to offer you the chance to find out more about food during WWI.