Cheltenham and the other pandemic – the Spanish ‘Flu

 

Many commentators today are likening the Covid-19 pandemic to that of the Spanish flu which hit the world in 1917-1920.  It was named as neutral Spain had no need to censor its newspapers and therefore the  first reports of the ‘flu appeared in Spanish newspapers, particularly  as the Spanish King Alfonso XIII was seriously ill with the disease.  The first wave of the ‘flu was relatively mild in the summer of 1918, peaked heavily in October 1918 with a more virulent strain of the disease,   and not fading out  until April 1920.  Eventually more died worldwide than all the civilian and military deaths of the first World War.   Death rates were highest amongst the 20-40 year olds – the age of most of the soldiers returning to their homes after the war.  There were no antibiotics or means of treating the illness. Continue reading “Cheltenham and the other pandemic – the Spanish ‘Flu”

Slippers for soldiers

THE COUNTY COBBLERS and THE BELGRAVIA WORKROOMS

From the collection of Neela Mann

No 8 Queen’s Parade, Cheltenham was home to the Gloucester County Association for Voluntary Organisations – a house lent by the Mayor William Nash Skillicorne and his sister Edith.  One of the tasks carried out here was the cutting out and construction of slippers for men at rest stations and in military hospitals, under the chief cutter, the Revd. Cuthbert W. Birley, and run by Mrs Ernest Rogers.  The voluntary workers – men and women – called themselves The County Cobblers. They paid for the material for the slippers themselves and at the start of the war were making 136 pairs of slippers a week!

“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe

With the sewing of slippers she has much to do

So kindly please help her all people who can

To make the soft slippers for some wounded man”

This poem (found in an autograph book kept by Mabel Owen) is by a soldier in Naunton Park Hospital, Cheltenham.  He obviously appreciated the slippers, which were probably a pair of those made at 8 Queen’s Parade.

Continue reading “Slippers for soldiers”

Recognition for WW1 Projection

Last Friday, Cheltenham Borough Council, along with some key partners, attended the Audio Visual awards in London.

The Cheltenham Remembers projection was nominated for public sector project of the year and we were up against some big international names! We were pipped to the post by the European Parliament.

It was a fascinating evening and we felt incredibly proud of the achievement of being a finalist. 

The Forgotten Female Casualties of WW1

Over the coming months we will be telling the stories of some of the Cheltenham women who died as a result of their work at Voluntary Aid hospitals during WW1.

Nurse Anna Madeline Shaw, known as “Lena “ was born in 1884 in Harbourne, Staffordshire. She is one of Cheltenham’s forgotten female WW1 casualties who died of illness contracted whilst on duty as a Voluntary Aid Detachment Nurse.

Continue reading “The Forgotten Female Casualties of WW1”

John Chandler : Cheltenham’s Forgotten WW1 Inventor

The First World War sparked innovation in medicine and technology at a rate unseen in almost any other period of history.  The work of talented metalworker and inventor John Chandler is today largely forgotten but the legacies of his inventions live on.

John Edgar Chandler was born in Cheltenham in 1873. A new documentary film created by University of Gloucestershire students explores his contribution to the war effort.

Continue reading “John Chandler : Cheltenham’s Forgotten WW1 Inventor”

The Story of a Cheltenham Munitions Worker

This is the story of Ada Shadbolt, a Cheltenham munitions worker during the First World War.

Ada’s granddaughter Dawn explains:

“Ada (pictured in her munitions uniform) was born in 1887. She was my paternal grandmother and was in service in various places before the war. The only definite detail that I have so far is that she was the cook at Ham House, Charlton Kings in 1911.

We know she worked in Munitions at Quedgeley and I have her triangular On War Service badge with 1918 on it.  We also have this wonderful photo of her in her munitions uniform. We don’t know exactly when she worked here.”

(To read more about the munitions ‘filling factory’ at Quedgeley visit https://www.quedgeleynews.com/history/raf-quedgeley-in-ww1)

Continue reading “The Story of a Cheltenham Munitions Worker”

WW1 Digital Archive

Cheltenham Ladies’s College have been digitising many of their WW1 resources which we will be adding to this website. Click on the image to read more about their collection. You can already find many of the documents referred to in the attached guide by visiting our WW1 Library page or by scrolling through the photo gallery on the Learning page.

With thanks to Cheltenham Ladies’ College Archivist Rachel Roberts.

New WW1 Resources

A fascinating glimpse into life in Cheltenham during the First World War. The gallery below shows a small selection of the material relating to WW1 held at Cheltenham Local & Family History Library (Chester Walk, Cheltenham GL50 3JT). You can also view several wartime programmes and leaflets from their collection by visiting our new WW1 Library page, which we will be adding to over the coming months.

Continue reading “New WW1 Resources”

Life in Prestbury during WW1

Click here  to view the slideshow exhibited at this year’s Prestbury Village WW1 Fete. Learn more about how the village was affected by the war both on the ‘front lines’ and the home front. (Unfortunately we don’t have permission to add the soundtrack and animations to the internet, but there will be another opportunity to view the film at the Gloucestershire & Racing Remembers event in November 2018). Research and presentation by Rebecca Sillence.

Prestbury Remembers WW1

Read about some of the men listed on the Prestbury war memorial in this free Memorial Trail eBook by Rebecca Sillence. Prestbury lost more than 40 men during the First World War and many of them lived or worked in the Cheltenham area. This booklet guides you on a loop of the village where you will pass many of the houses where servicemen and their families lived. You can also read about life in the village for those left behind and the Racecourse VAD Hospital. Prestbury Remembers WW1