Spalding meeting to talk post-war recovery

Farming 1916 style.
Farming 1916 style.

The need to develop Spalding and district’s agricultural resources was emphasised at a meeting in 1916.

Those gathered at the ‘Church Cote’, in Spalding, heard the country “could not recuperate after this war” unless land was developed to the full.

The meeting was the initiative of the vicar of Cowbit, the Rev Canon Palmer.

Among topics up for discussion was educational reform in rural districts.

It was said that out of 100 boys in rural districts, only about 25 remained in the country, compared to other countries where only 25 per cent were lost to rural districts.

One of the reasons for this was that farming was seen as a “blind alley occupation”, with farmers employing more boys than they could offer work to once they were grown men.

If the “land was handled right” there should be more work available: in 1916 England employed far less labour per 1,000 acres than other countries, and yet did not employ so much labour-saving machinery either.

The report continued: “We do not get out of the land what we ought. For every 100 acres Germany produced a little more than twice as much food as we produced. The result was failure, national and material. Population drifted away, the rural life of the country was starved.

“We could not recuperate after this war unless we developed our land resources to the full. Every industry would have to raise the standard of its production and its workers. German competition was going to be greater than before. America was making great strides during the war.”

It was recommended that the school leaving age be raised to 14 and that good educational facilities were secured. It was felt that in the towns the age would probably soon be raised to 15 or 16.