Old Ledbury - World War One in Local Traders

World War One in Local Traders

World War One Local Traders

Kington / Newent Reporter Newspaper 08 08 1914
Horses and Petrol
Horses are being commandeered in the district by the Government. Petrol sales have practically ceased, and the Government have called upon the Dunlop firm for all motor tyres in the hands of stockists.

Price of Sugar
There has been a good deal of feeling engendered locally at the "patriotism" of a certain tradesman in urging his fellows to put up the price of sugar out of all reason in regard to its cost. Tradesmen who have not yet bought sugar at the enhanced prices can well afford to sell at a slight increase on last week's price and still make a handsome profit.

There has been some talk of reporting the matter to the authorities. People are there-fore warned not to pay " panic " prices for provisions. There is absolutely no necessity for it.

Contrast this with the action of the bakers. Sugar bought at normal prices was put up 100 per cent. Bread from flour bought at normal prices was put up about 8 1/2 per cent.

Happily the Government propose to regulate prices, and there is every necessity for it according to some of the statements that have been made to us.

Above all, housewives, keep your heads. The nation learnt a lesson at the time of the South African War. There is nothing to get in a fluster about, as yet. Keep calm, cool and collected, and do not rush into a panic and allow your feelings to get the better of your judgment.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 15 08 1914
The sale of petrol has been suspended at two garages in Ledbury. At places where it is obtainable the price has increased considerably.

Shortness of Money
In Ledbury, the general shortness of money is already making itself felt. The big wholesale houses are all cutting down the length of credit they allow, and the retailers are in turn making for payment of accounts which, in the ordinary course of events, they would not expect to be paid in the middle of August. The principle of squeezing is in fact going on all round and the squeezing is being done at a most unusual time of the year and when the prices of many neccessaries of life are up. - Town Crier

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 05 09 1914
We notice that in the windows of Messrs. L. TILLEY and Son. High Street, Ledbury, some very interesting photographs showing what is going on in Winnipeg, Canada to assist Great Britain during the war. The photos were taken on August 9, a few days after the declaration of war by England. Well done Winnipeg. - Local War News

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 26 09 1914
Ledbury Gas, Coal and Coke Company
The Ledbury Gas, Coal and Coke Company Ltd are now preparing for the coming season with a good selection of gas fires which they are again hiring at moderate rates. It is also well to take this opportunity to warn oil gas consumers to take every care with their incandescent mantles during the present crisis. Owing to the chemicals used in the manufacture of theses mantles coming from Germany, there is every prospect, if the crisis lasts for any length of time, of there being a shortage and a considerable advance in the retail price. The wholesale price has already advanced 40 per cent, but the Company will retail their present stock at ordinary prices. As soon however, as this has been depleted prices will advance to conformity with the wholesale advances. Attention is directed to an advertisement in another column.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 31 10 1914
Effect of the War on Local Trade
"Guardian Special"
The fact that Ledbury is a hopping district, and that this year produced a good average yield, probably accounts for the statement made by several tradesmen in the town that they have suffered comparatively little so far, as the result of the present European War. A good hop crop invariably brings increased prosperity to the local tradesmen for a month or two and the fact that war broke out when it did greatly minimised its effects upon trade so far as Ledbury is concerned. The effects of the war will undoubtedly be more apparent after Christmas when a slack time usually sets in. But while provision dealers, drapers, etc. have not been very hard hit up to now there are, on the other hand tradesmen who have experienced a considerable falling off in revenue as an outcome of the war. For instance, the cancelling of many public functions and private parties has stopped a considerable amount of motor hiring and cars are being laid aside for other reasons. There are other trades which are bound to be adversely affected by the war as the result of so many young men leaving the neighbourhood to serve their country, but as previously stated the hoppicking season has enabled the majority of tradesmen in the town to tide over what might otherwise have been a very dull period. But besides causing a depression in trade due to the fact that cash is "tight" in war time, there are other effects produced of a different character. Tradesmen are finding it a difficult task to replace their stocks of foreign made goods, and it was with the idea of obtaining information as to how things stand locally, that the writer interviewed a number of Ledbury tradesmen this week. He was informed that it was very doubtful where the next stock of Austrian-made lamp glasses, for instance, were coming from when present supplies had become exhausted. The same applies to matches and other foreign made goods. It would appear that there are difficulties to be overcome in the manufacture of some of these articles at home, and it remains to be seen whether English manufacturers will ultimately rise to the occasion and put upon the market an article equally as good as that supplied from abroad, even if it means a slight increase in price to the purchaser.

In all Households where lamp glasses are in general use, the above trademark is very familiar, and it would be well nigh impossible to go into any household in Ledbury and find a lamp glass whereon this trademark is not stamped. For years such has been the case, and one wonders to how many people it has occurred what effect the present war is likely to have upon this particular article of production. The kind of glass used for this common article of every day use can, apparently, only be obtained from Austria and according to Messrs, George HILL and Sons ironmongers of Ledbury, whom the writer interviewed this week, it is likely that the Austrian made lamp glass will be unobtainable in the course of a short period when present supplies have become exhausted. Messrs HILL are in the happy position of having a large stock on hand, which will doubtless last them until January or February next, but in other towns where supplies have become exhausted users of the lamp glass may be in difficulty. It is true that there is a kind of lamp glass manufactured in England but it does not allow of the same light as the Austrian article. The light is dulled by their use, hence the reason why so many glasses of Austrian make are employed to-day. At present wholesalers in London are unable to replenish supplies, and it remains to be seen what will happen as the result. The same applies to all Austrian made goods which cannot very well be manufactured in this country, but the lamp glass trade is probably the one which presents most difficulty, as far as their manufacture in England is concerned.

Several more or less striking instances of the effect of war upon other trades were given by Mr. F. W. TAYLOR, grocer, High Street. Housewives generally need no informing of the advance in price of many necessaries of life, but they may not be acquainted with the reason for that advancement. There is cheese, for instance, which is three-halfpence per lb. dearer today than it was this time last year. The increase is largely due to the huge Government contracts which are sent out at the present time. A particular line of goods likely to be affected by the war is matches having regard to the fact that the phosphorus used in their manufacture, practically all comes from Germany and the wood from Norway and Sweden. Supplies of soft soap are also threatened, seeing that the potash used comes from Germany and it is quite possible that this article will be unobtainable in this country eventually. It can only be obtained now in packages which have superceded the casks. When present supplies have become exhausted it is exceedingly doubtful when fresh supplies will be forthcoming. To-day retailers are able to obtain most things at enhanced prices. Mr. TAYLOR informed the writer that he thought wholesale firms were rather inclined to exaggerate the present state of affairs with the idea of getting large orders. Although things have in many cases gone up in price, the demand remains the same. It is very satisfactory to know that people are helping trade in this way, and not cutting down supplies. Of course the war is likely to have the least effect upon the grocery trade of all trades, seeing that provisions are always required. Mr. TAYLOR said he found trade much about the same as usual and had not experienced any falling off.

The war, says Messrs. TILLEY & Son, High Street, Ledbury, will not affect them so much as it will many firms who do not carry a large stock. The price of printing papers and stationery generally has advanced about 15 per cent, but as they had a large stock in hand before the war there is no advance in price at present. They were also fortunate in having a large stock of toys and musical instruments left over from the spring as in many instances toys have advanced as much as 50 per cent, and the English manufacturers do not appear to be taking steps to supply the demand for popular lines. As regards the leather and fancy trades, the goods in connection with these have for some time past been mostly manufactured in England, but the difficulty now experienced is in obtaining the frames for handbags and purses, for although the articles themselves are made in England the frames come from abroad. There is also a scarcity of hair brushes owing to the fact that bristles come from Russia and are now unobtainable. Christmas cards have this year been almost entirely printed in England, and electric pocket lamps and batteries for same which are now so popular, are made at Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

Interesting instances of the effect of the war upon local trade were given by Mr. W. L. TILLEY, motor engineer. The Garage, Ledbury. There has, he said, been a great depreciation in trade owing to so many young men going to the front who are cyclists. Therefore, fewer bicycles are being sold. On the other hand, gentlemen are laying aside their cars and a considerable amount of motor hiring has stopped. This is accounted for by reason of the fact that all such functions as garden parties had come to an abrupt termination. There was also less touring. Mr. TILLEY remarked that there was no difficulty in procuring goods from factories but money was being held very "tight" and firms insisted upon cash in advance for all goods supplied. As showing the effect of the war upon the motor trade Mr. TILLEY said that he recently visited one of the largest motor works in Wolverhampton and instead of seeing numerous motor cars ready for order, as was usually the case, he saw just the reverse of things. The staff were busily engaged building 4-ton motor lorries, 25 of which were being sent to the Czar of Russia. The same day the firm in question were exporting an order for 200 4-ton lorries for the French Government, to be delivered at once. This necessitated the staff working in three shifts night and day including Sundays.
Mr. G. HOPKINS, Coach Builders and Motor Engineers, New Street, said the war had not seriously affected their business, which remained much the same as usual, although the fact that motor cars were being laid aside was bound to have its effect ultimately. Eleven of their staff had responded to the call for recruits, which naturally left them shorthanded: Messrs. F. C. SWIFT, implement makers and motor engineers, The Homend, Ledbury, informed the writer that their business was continuing much the same as usual and the demand for farm implements had not undergone any change.

The war is leaving its mark upon the brewing trade as well as other industries and Mr. C. H. BASTOW, of the firm of Messrs. LANE Bros. and BASTOW, informed the writer that all brewing material, with the exception of hops, had gone up in price and in some cases 120 per cent. The price of bottles had increased 25 per cent. The reason for the exclusion of hops from the list was because of the exceptional growth this year. With regard to the bottle industry there were not a large number of bottles coming in from abroad to-day. The demand was for British made, because the foreign article did not compare in strength with the English production. Trade had, of course, been interfered with somewhat as the result of the great exodus of men from the town and district, which meant a falling off in the demand for alcoholic beverages.

Mr. V. W. MEACHAM, chemist, High Street, Ledbury, informed the writer that the public generally no longer required articles of German manufacture and were refusing these in preference to English made goods. With regard to the effect on the war upon his trade, Mr. MEACHAM said many chemical came from Germany and these were now very difficult to obtain. The war had in some measure interfered with his class of business, which was not so brisk now as it was before the war.
Mr. A. STEVENS, chemist, High Street, confirmed Mr. MEACHAM's statement with regard to chemicals from abroad, which were very difficult to obtain. German eau de cologne was unobtainable.

Mr. H. THACKER, gent's tailor, High Street, Ledbury, said he was among those who had experienced a falling off in trade as the result of so many men leaving the neighbourhood, which meant that less suits etc. were required. The cancelling of the Ledbury Hunt orders also caused a drop in revenue.
Mr. F. W. JUCKES, house furnisher, The Homend, said that when war was declared his business was greatly interfered with, but it eventually improved somewhat. Mr. JUCKES said foreign made goods would be very difficult to obtain after present supplies had become exhausted but he was one of those who believed that if these articles could be manufactured in England they would be readily taken up by the public even if more had to be paid for the English article as compared with the foreign.
Mr. W. H. HORTON remarked that the hop-picking had greatly assisted trade during the past few weeks, with the result that he had not suffered to any great extent as the result of the war. The work which was being done in connection with the Red Cross Society as regards making garments for the soldiers had also brought "grist to the mill". Of course, there were various articles in his line of business which were difficult to obtain.
Mr. F. SPENCER and Mr. G. W. SUTOR ( SUTER ) also had little to complain about and their views were in agreement with the points raised by Mr. HORTON.
Messrs. George HILL and Sons, builders, Ledbury, stated that orders had been cancelled as the result of the war and the same applied to Messrs. David SMITH and Son, who also remarked that there had been a rise in the cost of material.

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