1st September 2019

It’s the first day of meteorological autumn, which is a sad day for those of us with aching joints.

It’s also the 80th anniversary of the day when Germany invaded Poland in 1939, and set the Second World War in motion.

This ruined my father’s first holiday. Under the Holidays with Pay Act (1938) many workers were given a full week’s paid holiday every year, the result of a twenty year campaign by the Trade Unions. It was the “with pay” provision that made the difference, up until then workers had often had holidays such as traditional Wake’s Weeks, but without pay. It was difficult enough paying for food and rent for most working people, without the additional burden of going away so holidays were not necessarily seen as a good thing.

It was this legislation which helped make Butlin’s camps so successful. Not only did he have camps (Skegness and Clacton by 1939) but the working classes had holidays to take in these camps. In 1939 the military moved in – Skegness became HMS Royal Arthur (bombed 52 times during the war and, it is alleged, claimed as sunk by Nazi propaganda) and Clacton became a training base for the Royal Pioneer Corps. The camp at Filey was under construction and, when finished, handed over to the RAF. Butlin also built camps at Ayr (HMS Scotia) and Pwllheli (HMS Glendower) for the Navy, which he was able to buy back at the end of the war.

However, back to my father, who, as a ten-year-old, was enjoying himself on his first ever holiday. It was in Morecambe. I always remember this story when we are in Morecambe. They had only been there a couple of days when they were told they had to go home as the RAF were moving in.

I see that although we have been to MorecambeΒ several times, including this year, it has nor really featured in the blog. Last time we visited Morecambe I ended up changing a tyre and Morecambe seemed to get left out.

Anyway, enough of my rambling for another day.

I’ve just remembered that I have a backlog of posts to write.

Earlier today I did an internet quiz and my favourite deadly sin is sloth. I wonder how they knew…

 

23 thoughts on “1st September 2019

  1. Clare Pooley

    How disappointing it must have been for your father and grandparents! I don’t suppose they got, or even thought about compensation. Sacrifices had to be made for the war effort and brave faces put on all round. Just imagine the hooha that would be made these days if a young family were sent home after two days holiday!

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  2. arlingwoman

    Looks like I wrote about everything above on the seasons, but the history lesson here is also really interesting. I don’t actually know whether our labor laws cover vacations. I think they only cover hours and working conditions, which is why most folks only get 2 weeks every year from their employer or a total of 20-24 days for sick and vacation. Some places, with a number of years you get more. I know my father had 4 weeks from the newspaper when he retired and I’ve got that in my job now after 20. Employers probably figured lots of folks would change jobs, retire or die before that, so the proportion of people with generous vacation would be low and not last too long. I think a lot of employers competed with benefits the unions negotiated, so gave vacation. But I’d have to look that up. I’m pretty sure vacations were a rarity before the 1950s unless you were pretty well into the middle class.

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  3. Laurie Graves

    Excellent post! In the U.S., we are celebrating Labor Day, and what you wrote is a timely reminder of how reforms often must come from the top if they are going to do any good. Before the Holidays with Pay Act, I suppose there are some generous businesses who gave their workers paid holidays. But I bet not too many.

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    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      People like Fry, Terry and Cadbury were Quakers (and all chocolate makers too!) and they tended to be better than average employer. Cadbury built the model village at Bournwille -we’ve been on atour there. Titus Salt built Saltaire (at Bradford) and Lever Brothers built Port Sunlight (named after one of their best selling products). On the other hand, many employers did nothing. Interesting subject.

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    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      While I was checking up on the wartime names of the Butlin’s camps I ended up reading the stories of people who had trained there – they were truly fascinating.

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    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      I can understand that it makes record keeping easier, but I prefer my system – blossom means it’s spring, heat means it’s summer, brown leaves mean it’s autumn and winter always lasts too long. πŸ™‚

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    2. arlingwoman

      Thanks for this link, Lavinia. I had no clue about why some people seemed to jump the gun on fall!!! This is interesting. Here in Virginia, there is really not much temperature difference until the end of the month or early October, which matches us up with September 23–the fall equinox this year. Also, for me, it’s the light that makes the huge difference in the seasons, and that is affected by the earth’s position. But knowing there’s a whole record of temperature changes anchoring the meteorological seasons is pretty darned interesting–and just as valid as where we are in space. I’ll stick to the equinox, though!

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