Thursday, February 22, 2018

Wartime London

Arnold Bennett's war journal -Thursday, September 27th 1917, London, Yacht Club – Dined with M. at Waldorf. To get there, strange journeys in Tube. Very wet. Very poor women and children sitting on stairs (fear of raid). Also travelling in lift and liftman grumbling at them because no fear of raid, and they answering him back, and middle-class women saying to each other that if the poor couldn’t keep to the regulations thy ought to be forbidden the Tube as a shelter from raid.

   S. said he had seen dreadful sights of very poor with babes in Tube on Monday. One young woman was in labour. He asked her if she was and she said she was and she had got up because she was told to go with the rest. He got her taken on a stretcher to a hospital. Proprietor of restaurant where I lunched today with [Frank] Swinnerton said that although his place was always full at night, he only had four people on Monday night and a single customer on Tuesday night (fear of raids). He said also that at fish and vegetable market he could not get what he wanted because supplies were not there, and that wholesalers had not taken supplies because they couldn’t dispose of them, and that stuff was rotting. A raid was feared tonight, evidently the German machines were turned back before reaching London.

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