Monday, 4 August 2014

My First World War Blog

Today being the centenary of the start of the First World War (as far as Britain was concerned), I am launching a new blog to commemorate it, One Hundred Years Ago.  I had the idea for a new blog while researching knitting and crochet in the First World War, which I've been doing for the past year or so.  It was mainly out of personal interest, but I have also put together a talk on the subject, "Useful Work for Anxious Fingers".   (The title is taken from the ad below).  The talk had its first outing in July at the Knitting & Crochet Guild convention.

While looking through newspapers and magazines for pieces about knitting comforts for the troops, I started to collect other material that I found interesting or illuminating.  Many of these other articles are about the lives of women during the war (though not so much at the very beginning of the war, when the newspapers were full of stories of mobilisation and recruitment).  This blog will be a repository for all those snippets - the pieces about knitting and crochet, and the other things too.

Some rules I have set for myself:  all posts will be from British sources.  There was a lot of knitting for the troops going on elsewhere in the Empire, and women in the United States were very busy knitting, especially after the U.S. entered the war, but you have to draw a line somewhere.  There will be nothing about battles, or the big events like Zeppelin raids - they will be adequately covered elsewhere.  I don't think there will be anything about casualties.  Mostly, the posts will have something directly to do with the war - but not always:  there's a piece about a Charlie Chaplin film showing at the cinema in Holmfirth, which amused me, so it's going in.  (I make the rules, so I can change them if I like.)

I'll add explanatory notes or comments sometimes, in square brackets:  [...]

As far as possible, pieces will be posted on this blog exactly one hundred years after they first appeared.  I aim to keep going until the end of the war, though probably less frequently later on.  We'll see how it goes....


  1. I like that bit about "busy work for anxious fingers" - anxiety is one of the reasons I find knitting so helpful now.
    You might find the poem I quoted at the end of this blog post interesting?

    1. Yes, I think that the writer of the ad understood how much knitting can help.

      I've looked at the poem in your blog. It's hard to believe that anyone can have dreamt of being in the trenches before the war. And there were opportunities for single women to get close to the front line and certainly see blood if not too much muck - e.g Vera Brittain. Though of course women weren't always free to do that. Was Rose Macaulay talking about herself? If so, I wonder if she spent the rest of the war knitting, or found something more challenging to do.