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On This Day



In On This Day

By Nicola Gauld

On This Day, 19 May 1917

On 19, May 2017 | In On This Day | By Nicola Gauld

Birmingham Daily Post

Saturday 19 May 1917



A hearty welcome was accorded to the Princess Louise (Duchess of Argyll) visiting Birmingham yesterday to open a recreation hut for the benefit of women munition workers, erected by the Y.W.C.A., with the co-operation of the Civic Recreation League. The hut has been built on a site lent by Mr. Edward Ansell, at the corner of Alum Rock Road and Bowyer Road, Saltley, and consists of a large rest recreation room to accommodate about 500 people, canteen, bath rooms, and the usual offices.

Princess Louise was accompanied to Birmingham by Mrs. Alexander Holden and Colonel Vernon Chater, and, after a short rest at the Queen’s Hotel, drove to the hut, preceded by the Lord Major and Lady Mayoress (Alderman and Mrs- Brooks). Here she was received by Mrs. George Cadbury (president of the Midland Division of the Y.W.C.A ) Lady Proctor (president the National Y.W.C.A.), the Rev. Arnold Pinchard (president of the Civic Recreation League), Sir Hallewell Rogers, Councillor Lord, and Mrs. Wood, each of whom was presented to the Princess by the Lord Mayor (Alderman A. D. Brooks). Others present at the opening proceedings were Sir William Bowater, Canon Willink, and Mr. E. Ansell. Before the speech-making began Miss Shirley Brooks, the little daughter of the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, presented the Princess with bouquet, representing the badge of the Y.W.C.A—a blue triangle.

In welcoming her Royal Highness, the Lord Mayor referred to the enthusiasm, still, and ability which women had shown in war-work. Large numbers of them had come into the city, and the least they could was make every effort to provide for them proper accommodation, and opportunities for rest, recreation, and refreshment. It was with that object the hut had been erected by the combined efforts of the Y.W.C.A. and the Civic Recreation League.

Mrs. Cadbury explained in detail the steps taken to establish, and the purposes of, the hut, and then indicated its usefulness in a district like Saltley.


Lady Proctor followed with a description of the war-work of the association. She spoke of the splendid work being done by women these days of danger and difficulty, and said the Young Women’s Christian Association felt impelled in turn to do all they could to help those who were helping the soldiers at the front. Princess Louise then opened the hut, expressing the pleasure it gave her to so. She recalled how cordially the people of Birmingham received her and the Duke of Argyll some years ago, and then spoke in praise of the admirable work done by the Y.W.C.A. History told us, she went on, that women always came to the front to help when men were called upon to fight, and the men looked upon the women with full confidence as helpmates. She knew how splendidly the women were working to-day- what love and devotion they were putting into their work, because they realised they were helping the men. But don’t let them lose sight of one thing. That was that the fathers, husbands, and brothers were looking to the time when they would return to their womenkind. That hut was a charming place, and would make most comfortable resort for girls and women; and she hoped they would realise its value, and take full advantage the benefits of rest and recreation it afforded.

The Rector of Birmingham (Canon Willink) then offered a dedicatory prayer. On the proposition of the Rev. A. Pinchard, seconded Sir Hallewell Rogers (hon. treasurer the National .Y.W.C.A. War-time Appeal), a hearty vote of thanks was accorded to the Princess, who, in acknowledgment, assured her hearers it gave her the greatest pleasure to be there associated with such an admirable work.

In the evening Princess Louise visited the Harborne Hall Auxiliary Hospital, where she was received by Mrs. Heaton, the Commandant, and Miss Langhorn, the Matron. Her Royal Highness was much interested to hear that the hospital is devoted entirely to the treatment of colonial soldiers, and chatted with many of the patients. She expressed herself as being highly pleased with all she saw.