One hundred years ago – July 1916.

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Hay and Straw Harvest.                           The 1916 crop is to be held for Army purposes. Under Defence of the Realm Regulations all hay, oat and wheat straw on the 1916 crop of England and Wales now standing in the field in bulk or as and when it is harvested will be bought by the Government. At this stage there are no instructions to farmers as to how they may secure their own supplies.

In the Bideford Borough Tribunal the Recruiting Sergeant has complained that Sidney Smith, aged 39, a motor driver in the employment of H. Hopkins, was to be allowed exemption to undertake driving duties for Mr Metherell who is required to go and buy hay and straw for the Government up to October this autumn.

The August Bank Holiday this year will be suspended. The Government, said Prime Minister Mr Asquith, has decided that it is essential in the national interest that there shall be no holidays, general or local and a Proclamation would be made to this effect.

Schoolboys both in Old Town Boys School and in the Grammar School have volunteered to help with the harvest. No extension to the set dates will be allowed despite several pleas from Councillors.

Bideford Town Council was anxious to secure a larger supply of water for the growing urban area. Late last year they had visited a possible site between Upcott and West Ashridge farms where a new reservoir might be built by throwing a dam across the Jennetts stream. In February this year an engineer had visited the site and measured water flows, and calculated that a reservoir of 27 million gallons could be built. It was envisaged the Gammaton Reservoir would continue to supply the summer requirements and the new lake will help with the winter demand.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

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