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Charles Binyon's diary: April 1919

Diary Entry

APR 1 Tuesday – 25o.  Beautiful day, much warmer.  Parsnips all dug at Garnetts.  Bed forking half done.  Ground cleared Under Badsey.  C Savage came and inspected the site of the greenhouse and told me what materials he would want.  To office.  In the afternoon I finished drilling the onions at Garnetts.  Cost 10d a chain.  3 lb of white Spanish now sown on Murray’s.  In the evening my men began to prepare material for concrete.  I went to Evesham.  Liberal reconstruction.

APR 2 Wednesday – 23o.  Fine.  Bed forking.  FJ and German digging belladonna at the Fourteens.  We sent off 1 ton of parsnips today from the Alleys.

APR 3 Thursday – 22o.  Fine.  Twig cutting.  FJ and Germans at Waldren’s finishing the parsnips.  Committee meeting to receive accounts for the year.  It was decided to give a bonus of 15% to employees and 2d in the £ to growers.

APR 4 Friday – No frost.  I drilled 1½ lb on White Spanish onions at Waldren’s.  In the afternoon I drilled Bedfordshire Campions Under Badsey.  1 lb to the chain.  All onions now being dressed with nitrate of soda and S of Amm mixed – also hoed.

APR 5 Saturday – 29o.  Fine.  I drilled another ½ lb of onions and sowed sprouts under handlights 96 [?] Under Badsey.  Wrote report for LBG with JEK and HSC.

APR 6 Sunday – Much milder but dull.  In the morning I went to church.  The German prisoners came at their own desire, about 50.  They behaved excellently, but mostly preferred to stand during the prayers.  It looked curious to see them ushered in with two guards with fixed bayonets.  The Vicar chose “Innsbruck” especially for them and after the service shook hands with the man in blue.  Nichol told me after that pastor in Germany wore black and that there was no so much singsong.  I went on a walk in the afternoon with HJC to Cally and Foxhill.  Church again at night.

[German Prisoners written in red in margin.]

APR 7 Monday – Mild and dull again.  Savage started the greenhouse wall, east side.  AJT and I harrowed the ground for parsnips at Garnetts next the shallots.  After dinner the Germans came and helped to clean the parsnips there.  Work at the Sand at night.

APR 8 Tuesday – Wet all the morning.  Fine and sunny in the afternoon.  Ground steamed well.  Hovel cleaning.  EM fixed the 14 inch pulley.  I went to the office.  Wrote letters in the afternoon.  EM and FJ digging at the Sand.  In the evening I went to Littleton on Jo to the school room.  Mr Courtenary Clifton, LGB Inspector, held an enquiry as to Cleeve Prior and South Littleton Housing Schemes.  Good attendance.  No opposition.  Full enquiry made.  Inspector not in favour of tenders, but of having schedule prices for everything.  Got back about 8.15.  Meeting of War Memorial Committee.  We decided to approach the RDC as to site in the Synes, as no one seems prepared to sell.  We also decided to canvas the village and split it up into districts.  W W Blake and I go together.  After we had the big telescope out and looked at Jupiter, the Moon and Saturn.

[LGB enquiry at Littleton written in red in margin.]

APR 9 Wednesday – NW wind.  Bright.  Cumulus clouds heaped up and heavy sleet showers occasionally.  Very clear.  1 ton of parsnips sent off.  Crop 1 st 6 oz from 11/10 chains = 11¾ tons to the acre.  Price last week £4.18.6.  To office to interview two candidates for post of Secretary.  After dinner to Evesham and Hampton and Pershore.  We filled in the pink form for the Registrar of Friendly Societies and completed the accounts.  Left Pershore at 5.13, arrived Badsey 5.55 = 12½ MPH.  Housing inquiry at Badsey.  Same LGB Inspector, fair attendance.  We have now 30 applicants for 24 houses.

[Enquiry at Badsey written in red in margin.]

APR 10 Thursday – Colder, windy.  Went on Jo to Evesham and caught the 9.24.  Train fairly full.  Engine “Mauritius” all the way to Paddington.  Train very long, 16 coaches from Oxford to Paddington.  Lot of school boys going home from Kidderminster.  At Paddington I saw “The Great Bear” for the first time.  It had just brought a train in.  I had the usual sausages and mash for dinner.  Then I went by tube to Charing Cross and Westminster and bought copies of the Housing Debate.  Peeped into the Abbey and walked to the Savoy Hotel where the first meeting of the Joint Committees of the Housing and Town Planning Council was held.  A vote of thanks from the Yorkshire miners was conveyed to the Council for the services rendered at the Coal Commission, and the full programme and arrangements were explained.  Tea was served at 4.30, rather a scramble.  After we had to divide ourselves into our district committees and each committee had to choose two of their number to go to Buckingham Palace as the King wished to see representatives of local authorities.  We decided to draw lots and I escaped this ordeal.  I went off to Hampstead, but did not have very long there as I had to get back to the Savoy by 7 pm.  The Council were giving a dinner to Dr Addison, the President of the Local Government Board.  It was interesting to note that the conversation before and during the dinner seemed to be almost entirely about housing problems.  I found myself discussing water supply in rural districts with one neighbour.  But my neighbour at the dinner gave me a most interesting description of going up for the first time in an aeroplane.  Shawcross gave the toast of the Housing Bill.  Dr Addison replied – most sympathetic et – but I’m not quite sure that he is going to grasp all the nettles firmly.  He is so very anxious not to kill private enterprise.  A very clear speaker but not altogether an easy one.  He urged us to lose no time, but said he thought want of labour might be a greater difficulty than want of materials.  Neville Chamberlain also spoke.  The next toast was to the memory of William Thompson of Richmond – Chairman of the Council for several years.  This was proposed by Sir George McCrae, Vice President of the Local Government Board for Scotland, and Mrs Bransford.  Then came a very good speech by Sir Tudor Walters who said it was easy now to bless the new Housing Department, but he didn’t know that it would be easy in a year’s time.  He said they would require the [?] of an archangel to deal with Local Authorities.  E W Savoy of Bristol seconded, and Smethurst supported.  Sir James Carmichael responded.  He knew it was a very heavy task.  He did not wish to take it up, but had been persuaded by Dr Addison.  Raymond Unwin of Hampstead also spoke on the artistic side of the matter.  I left just after ten.  I had some conversation with Mr Barlow of Bourneville.

 [Housing Conference in London, Dinner to Dr Addison written in red in margin.]

APR 11 Friday – Slight showers.  By tube from Belsize Park to Tottenham Court Road and British Museum.  I waited in the Hall of the Museum and had a talk with RLB.  Then to Westminster to the Surveyors’ Institute where we discussed the Housing Bill.  There was some feeling that town planning should be obligatory in all districts, ie that the number of houses per acre should be strictly controlled, that building lines should everywhere be drawn, and that the amount of land covered by buildings should also be controlled.  A valuable power is given in the Bill for the purchase of springs and water supply by compulsion.  Mr S Rowtree spoke.  I met Holloway there.  He told me a great deal about the work of a surveyor from his point of view – much of which was most helpful.  I walked up to Piccadilly and had dinner with HDB.  I walked back by the Horse Guards Parade.  All the German guns in the Mall are gone.  There was a German Tank – a very ugly, shapeless thing.  At the afternoon session, Sir Eric Geddes addressed us on the relation between transport and housing.  He said that in the past we built big cities and then spent our time wondering how we should get in and out of them.  He likened main roads and railways to the arteries of the body – carrying life.  All this emphasized the need of town planning.  He said he was getting on well with the Transport Bill, because everybody thought it was a good bill for all except themselves, consequently no two would combine to attack him.

I left about 3.30 and walked up to Charing Cross, then taking the tube to the B Museum.  I found a bewildered soldier who was trying to get to Liverpool Street and had already been to Hampstead and back in an attempt to get there!  I saw him safely to the Central London Tube.  I met RLB and HDB at the Museum and we had tea in Oxford Street.  Then both took me to Waterloo.  We walked over Hungerford Bridge from which the view was very fine.  We caught an electric tram from Waterloo to Wimbledon, but it took us round by East Putney.  Then we walked to Merton Manor House and saw Mr Bateson, the great authority on Mendelism.  He took us round his gardens, laboratories and greenhouses.  He was working on variegation in plants.  He had made most interesting experiments with fruit trees which showed that certain varieties were self sterile, others self fertile, a most important fact.  He was interested in the question of Silver Leaf and wanted to know if the Pershore was absolutely immune and whether Victorias grafted on Pershore stocks were more immune than those on the wild stock.  I promised to make investigations.  He thought it might be possible to raise a hardy Dwar Bean.  He was also trying to eliminate rogues from Pea Stocks.  His soil is very deficient in lime.  We had supper there and I GOT BACK TO Hampstead via Earlsfield, Waterloo and Tubes by 10 pm.

[Sir Eric Geddes on Housing & Transport; Mendelism Visit to Professor Bateson written in red in margin.]

APR 12 Saturday – Wet at first.  Fine later with occasional showers.  High SW wind.  I went down to Covent Garden Market and saw Mr Beale.  Then I walked to the City and came back to Hampstead by bus.  HDB drove me to Oxford in his Morris Cowley Car.  We came through Hendon, Watford, Berkhampstead, Tring, Aylesbury and Thame.  The journey took 2 hrs 35 minutes.  He put me down by the Warneford.  After tea GCB took me a walk to the Abingdon Road over the Free Ferry.

[London to Oxford by car written in red in margin.]

APR 13 Palm Sunday – Showery.  GCB and I went to church at Headington Quarry.  Read “Kipps” and a book on catacombs.

APR 14 Monday – Very wet at first and showers later.  Bought stationery and shirts and left Oxford at 11.30 arriving at L&B about 2.  Found one side of the greenhouse wall finished and the wood framing being made for the other.  Parsnips sown.

APR 15 Tuesday – Very strong cold wind, west.  Went to office.  Both FB and DSMcD away ill.  Went over to Littleton and saw FB and R R Smith.  Then to Evesham to arrange for H Norledge to come over temporarily.  Reconstgruction meeting (Liberal) to meet Mr Finnemore.  Lecture by Mr Gant in the evening at Evesham on fruit pests.  Carrots sown.

APR 16 Wednesday – Still very windy.  West wall of greenhouse now made.  Wallfolowers sown.  To Evesham to correct proofs of the balance sheet.  I watched them being printed.  We get them posted by the last post, rather a rush.

APR 17 Thursday – Showery.  Dull.  Senator Peas drilled Under Badsey.  1 bushel.  To Evesham to the bank.  In the evening we had a Parish Council.  All attended.  I was re-elected as a Trustee of the Bread Charity, A Sears being the other.  We discussed the bus question.  I was averse to its coming down our street, as it is so very destructive of the roads.

APR 18 Good Friday – A most glorious day.  Hot sun.  Shade temperature 72o!  Church at 11.  A Sparrow came to dinner.  Eggs and tea.  Went a walk with HJC in the afternoon.  Saw DSMcD at night.

Brimstone and small Tortoise Shell Butterfly appears.

APR 19 Saturday – Very warm but dull.  Germans cleaning onions.  I started planting tomatoes in the frames.  Cuckoo heard.  Broad beans up in full now.

Crisis in India.

APR 20 EASTER DAY - Bright sun but chilly air all day.  Church at 8 and 11.15.  We had some ringing before service, both in the morning and at night.  We sunk the bells after church at 8 pm.  Willie Moises had his first try at rounds.  I had 5th and 7th.  In the afternoon HJC and I went on Joes to Weston sub Edge and up the hill, the along the top to Campden Hole and back through Broadway and Wickhamford.  The trees have begun to come out.  Black plums are just coming into bloom.  Pershores just bursting.  Hawthorn getting quite green.  At the evening service Mr Honiball preached.

APR 21 Monday – 23o.  Very little damage done.  Another bright day still chilly.  I pricked out more tomatoes in the frames, 250 Kings and 750 Slick leaves now done.  Photographed Kathie and Gladys Cave.  Went on Jo to office, South Littleton and Offenham.  Had tea with R Aldington.  Nearly everyone in Badsey went to the match at Evesham, result Badsey 2, Evesham 0.  Went through the applications for Surveyor in the evening.  Some onions coming up.

APR 22 Tuesday – 27o.  Fine and bright.  First onions pulled.  To office and Evesham.  Annual Meeting of B of G and RDC.  Wickhamford wants an inquiry into housing question.  At the Board we re-elected Committees and discussed outdoor relief.  It seems that the standard is to allow between 5/- and 6/- for each person.  Relief is to bring the total income up to this standard.  At the RDC we elected Aldington and A J White on the Building Plans Committee.  We had an animated discussion on tar painting, but no decision.  Aldington wants us to start a Works Department.  We passed a resolution calling the attention of the Government to the low output of bricks and lime in this district.  After we had a selection Committee to go through the candidates for surveyorship.  Over 100!  We rejected all who had not degrees suitable, ie Members of Surveyors Institute, M of I Municipal & County Engineers, or MICE, LAMICE.  We chose 4 for interview.  Left Workhouse at 4 pm.  Gutters and bars for Greenhouse delivered at the Sand.  Vestry meeting at church at 8.  For the first time over £100 collected in church during the year.  Deficit 8/3.  Churchwardens re-elected.  J Sladden and G E Jones.  Found a gathering outside Wheatsheaf discussing the behaviour of the crowd in Evesham.  Stanford and others were struck with a stick.

[RDC Annual Meeting written in red in margin.]

APR 23 Wednesday - Dull, cold.  J Addis at work with FTJ erecting the greenhouse at the Sand.  Nearly all bars up and door jambs at one end.  Boiler put in position.  We sent off today to Liverpool 240 dozen bunches of onions and 6 cwt parsnips.  Went to office.  Parsnips £5.7.6 per ton.  F Bubb has been told by the Doctor to give up work for a month at least.  I planted 750 more slick leaf tomatoes in frames.  War Memorial meeting at night, £501 now promised.

[Erection of Greenhouse written in red in margin.]

APR 24 Thursday - Dull, cold.  Onions sent off to Leeds and London.  FTJ and I potted 600 tons in [?] Under Badsey.  Annual General Meeting of LBG.  Fair attendance.  R R Smith new President.

Took photo of HJC, Eric and his German.  After we had finished Spittles got on the chair so we photographed her too!  A Hall, Glazebrook and A Perkins put on the Committee.  I made the usual financial statement.  We paid out the 2d in the £ bonus to growers.  We had the engine running part of the time with the electric light, but the noise was too much.

[LBG Annual Meeting written in red in margin.]

APR 25 Friday - 30o.  Showers and sun, cold NW wind.  Dwarfs drilled Under Badsey and at the Sand.  We are trying some new ones early July.  FJ, RAT then hoed the Broad beans and went over the shallots.  EM and I started glazing.  At 5.30 I left for Broadway on Jo, to look at sites with A R Williams and Cotterell.  Butler was also there.  We fixed on Croft Orchard with Church Garden as being the best.  Came back about 8.  Very clear.  Flee Hills and May hill very distinct.  Then HJC and I developed photos.

Trouble with Italy at the Peace Conference.  We wants [Fiume?].

APR 26 Saturday - Cold NW wind with heavy showers.  I could do very little glazing.

APR 27 Sunday - 27o.  Vary cold rain turning to SNOW.  By 3 pm all the ground was white.  Cleared at 3 and snow disappeared, but more came at night.  Church at 11.  Today there was a special Communion Service for the Germans taken by the Vicar in German.  FEA at night.

APR 28 Monday - 30o.  Very cold wind.  All hands glazing.  By night a great part of the roof was on and the north end.  To Evesham Police Court.  Distressing case of concealing birth.  Committed to assize.  Then to Workhouse.  Highway Committee decided to aske the County Council to tar certain main streets through villages.  Building Plans Committee followed.  I was re-elected Chairman of both Committees.  We went carefully into the question of sites and made decisions thereon.

[Petty Sessions; DC Committees written in red in margin.]

APR 29 Tuesday - 27o.  Still very cold.  Temp about 36o all day.  I cut glass for the end and the narrrow soffits of the greenhouse.  All glazed now except 2 ventilators.  Onions 4½.

APR 30 Wednesday - Milder, occasional shower.  All glazed now and doors hung.  Savage washing over the concrete with liquid cement.  Old guttering used to make pathway.  I planted some some tomatoes in the frames.  Went to Evesham at 11.30 to selection committee to interview candidates for post of surveyor.  4 excellent men.  After much discussion Atkinson was chose.  The only I am afraid of is that his qualifications are hardly good enough on paper to satisfy the LGB in the housing matter.  Building Plans Sub-Committee followed.  R Aldington and F Bubb.  We discussed plans of cottages and decided on the general details.  LBG Committee in the evening.  Managing Directors appointed, A Woodall, DSMcD and myself.

Crop Report - everything very backward.  Onions just coming through well.  Broad beans just getting into broad leaf.  Parsnips not yet up.  No asparagus cut.  Very few buds showing.  Early plums in full bloom. Pershores hardly open yet.

Diary Images
Type of Document
Six pages in a hard-covered notebook containing diary entries 1919-1925
Location of Document
In private ownership