Soldiers’ and sailors’ rest room opened in Spalding in 1917

editorial image
Have your say

A soldiers’ and sailors’ rest room was officially opened in Spalding a hundred years ago.

The rest room was opened with a ceremony, attended by some mine-sweepers and soldiers who expressed their admiration at its “cosiness” and said men on service appreciated these facilities for rest, refreshment and recreation.

The chairman of the Urban Council had said Spalding was “somewhat behindhand” in opening a “place of resort for our gallant servicemen”.

He said the room was a place where “whether it be day or night time they can enter, feeling certain of warmth, brightness, welcome and refreshment during the tedious waits they frequently have for their railway connections”.

Dignitaries at the event were Mrs W S Royce, of Pinchbeck, who formally declared the room open, and Lady Winfrey, wife of Sir Richard Winfrey.

Mrs Wayet of Pinchbeck vicarage had pressed for a rest room in Spalding for soldiers and sailors passing through the town.

She appealed for coal, a clock and other things for the facility.

Mrs Royce in her speech said she thought the “young ladies of Spalding, as elsewhere, would be eager to take duty to provide refreshment and cheer for the charming young men in uniform”.

She said she thought there would be no shortage of volunteers as “the ladies felt that our soldiers and sailors had a claim upon them, for were they not their brave and powerful defenders, a barrier between us and the enemy?”

Lady Winfrey expressed her hopes that the rest room would be extended to a home.

The room had been cosily furnished and was to be open all day and all night, with hot and cold refreshments available at all times.