Leeds nostalgia: Trains of 1918 ‘worse than food’

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Dateline: September 6, 1918: Making the headlines on this day a century ago, there was opprobrium for anything German, as evidenced by the article headlined ‘The Kaiser’s family: Son gets Iron Cross for a flesh wound’.

All of this (together with previous articles related in this very column about the Kaiser being a whimsical madman) being related by the German leader’s former American dentist, who was penning a tell-all in The Times.

Typically, as well, there were the usual stories bemoaning the scarcity of food, in particular the lack of apples and plums at Leeds Market . Rabbits were also rare but this was put down to market forces, the Government having intervened to set the prices for rabbits, which had apparently caused some dealers to seek alternative markets, with led to a dearth at Leeds Market.

There was also an interesting advert for Glaxo, a type of dried milk, which began: “Every hostess likes to give her guests a choice of having their after-dinner coffee with or without milk. But you know how often nowadays you have no milk to spare for an extra purpose of this kind and if you had, the odds are that in summer weather the morning’s supply will not be fit for use at night. And yet it is not fit to say ‘There is not milk for the coffee.’

It goes on: “The solution is Glaxo. Mix some Glaxo in your cream-jug with nearly boiling water... and you need never be short of milk.”

And finally, a report which would (sadly) not be out of place today, began: “There can be little pleasure in railway travelling under these conditions... as we surveyed the seething mass of passengers crowded on to the broad platforms of York.”