Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Selling the donkey for the war ........ Mr Booker a Red Cross Fund and a day in Stretford

Now here is one of those fascinating postcards which lifted the carpet on a bit of history.

The caption reads “Mr Booker sold to aid of British Farmers Red Cross Fund at Stretford for £395. 6. 0. October 1915.”

And that is all there is.

But of course that was just the incentive to dig deeper.

The British Farmers Red Cross Fund was one of a number run by the society and part of the thousands established during the Great War to raise money for everything from Belgian Refugees to socks for men in the trenches.

"The British Farmers Red Cross Fund mainly raised money through agricultural sales. Around 1,600 were organised during the war. The proceeds were earmarked for particular schemes, such as providing motor ambulances, cars and lorries to the various battle-fronts. More than 150 ambulances were provided in this way.

Hospitals, known as British Farmers Hospitals, were supported by this fund in Belgium, France and Serbia.

The fund received a total of £1,024,808 19s 2d."*

The picture postcard has just been acquired by my old friend David Harrop who want to make it a feature of his display at the book launch in February  next year of my book Manchester Remembering 1914-18.**

But more of that later, for now it is that donkey that fascinates me and of course the event that it participated in.

Given that we have a date and a place it should not be too difficult to unearth a newspaper story.  There is nothing in the Manchester Guardian but somewhere in the archives of the local heritage centre there will be something.

And there may be a clue in the company who produced the card which was Inghams.

There is a reference in the trade directories to a J Ingham & Sons, Photographers, Withington Road, Brooks Bar, in 1911 which just might be them.

They appear to have been in business from the 1870s and into the 1930s and there is also a reference to them in Sale Through Time which records “that a local landmark was John Ingham & Sons, photographers on the opposite corner of Aston Lane and Washway Road at Winton House.”***

So with all that local connection it is quite possible that Mr Ingham & Sons  took the opportunity to wander down in to Stretford in the October of 1915 to snap Mr Booker.

Location; Stretford

Picture; Mr Booker sold to aid of British Farmers Red Cross Fund at Stretford for £395. 6. 0. October 1915.” Courtesy of David Harrop

*British Farmers Red Cross Fund, 

** *Manchester Remembering 1914-18 by Andrew Simpson will be published by the History Press in February 2017

Order now from the History Press, or Chorlton Book Shop,  0161 881 6374

***Sale Through Time, Steven Dickens, Amberley, 2013

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