March 12, 1915

An order from the military to close pubs earlier led Ashbourne Urban Council to consider making a renewed application to the authorities for a battalion of troops to be billeted in in the town.
“When the council made an application before they were told the Government would not billet less than a battalion in any one place, but since that time Bakewell and Belper had both received a smaller number than that,” the Telegraph reported.
It was noted that on Monday, Ashbourne’s licensed victuallers had received notice that they should close their pubs by 9pm because the town was in the military area. One councillor said he did not think it was right that when Ashbourne had no troops it should be subject to this restriction.
“If the licensed victuallers were made to suffer by reason of being within the military area, the town ought to have the benefit of a few troops (hear hear).”
It was proposed that the council should seek to be allocated four or five hundred men.

Local news continued to be recorded, despite the war raging across the English Channel, including the deaths of elderly residents, and ‘lantern lectures’ in the schoolrooms. Also reported was a cycle accident in Clifton, in which a postman, cycling towards Ashbourne was in collision with a ‘youth named Stone’ travelling in the opposite direction.
“Although apparently there was plenty of room to pass, it is evident one or other misjudged it and a collision resulted.”
Both injured parties were taken to Ashbourne Cottage Hospital, the postman with a broken collarbone and Stone with concussion.

With no preamble or explanation, the paper printed the following statement:
“A baby has been registered in the Potteries with the name of Alsace Lorraine Nancy Lille Jones.” It may be assumed that the decision to adopt the names of French regions and cities was inspired by the father’s armed service on the continent. Given the British Tommy’s predilection to anglicise pronunciation that the name Lille would have been spoken ‘Lily’.

Osmaston Reading Room’s annual meeting resolved to send a letter of thanks to the proprietors of the Ashbourne Telegraph, Derbyshire Advertiser, Ashbourne News and Derby Mercury ‘for the gift of their valuable papers during the past year’. It is interesting to note the range of papers available to readers. The Ashbourne News and Ashbourne Telegraph were to ‘survive’ another world war before merging in 1959 to become the News Telegraph we know today.

Bagnall’s Stores of Market Place was advertising under the slogan ‘Now is the time to economise’.
“Now everything is so dear, economy is a necessity. Our BRITISH MADE MARGARINE is a real money saver. Freshly churned from CHOICE NUTS and FRESH MILK, it has the appearance and flavour of fresh butter.”

But economising was not for everyone. The Board of Guardians, meeting at the poor Law Offices in Compton debated whether they should supply margarine rather than butter to the workhouse inmates. Despite hearing that the move would save £50 a year it was agreed to continue to serve butter.

Another sign of austerity, perhaps, was the inclusion of ‘Dressmaking at home by Sylvia’. The column’s debut gave instruction on how to make a ‘blouse with handkerchief pocket’.

There was a crisis facing Ashbourne, the Waterworks Committee was told. The town’s water supply was running short. There was only 3ft and 3inches in the reservoir, near the bottom of the 17ft capacity. Some members of the committee felt the blame lay at the door of Nestle & Co which had sunk two new bore holes.

It was debated that the town needed to secure its own supplies before considering stationing a battalion of men in the town. There was no public baths and no public laundry it was pointed out.

The Telegraph had previously reported the tribulations facing dairy farmers with shortage of labour and depressed prices. Three classified advertisements this week appeared to give them hope.

“MILK! MILK! MILK! – WANTED, to contract for SEVERAL DAIRIES of Well-cooled MILK delivered Northampton. Bankers’ references. Churns returned promptly,” read one.
Another from Kilburn in north London states: “MILK WANTED. DAIRY about 2 or 3 churns daily. Payments fortnightly. Bankers and Local references.”

Entertainment at The Empire Electric Theatre this week included the ‘sensational drama’ For The Secret Service and two ‘Keystone Komiks’, Caught in Tights and Laughing Gas. Also listed were European War Pictures. Readers were advised that the 7pm screenings enabled customers to catch the late train from Ashbourne to Thorpe Cloud, Tissington, Alsop and Hartington.

Although the use of language in some of the correspondence might seem a little stilted to ears today, it is clear that good grammar and vocabulary was important to people in 1915.
Rocester Mutual Improvement Society considered etymology at their meeting. “Words were selected, and after the dictionary interpretation had been read, discussion followed as to their use and connection in parts of speech, light being thus thrown on the meaning of certain words brought into use by different circumstances.”

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