Thursday, 31 March 2016

Danish Labour for Farms

Cattle with farmworker at Riseley c.1920 [Z1306/96/6/3]

Friday 31st March 1916:  The Bedfordshire County War Agricultural Committee has been informed that the Centre Labour Exchange Department of the Board of Trade intend to try to obtain Danish men to work on farms in England and Wales. The farms must be outside prohibited areas, engagements must not be for less than 12 months, and farmer will be expected to pay third class travelling expenses of the men from Denmark (on the understanding that this advance can then be deducted from the men’s wages). It is expected that the labourers will be mainly single men aged between 18 and 25, who have practical agricultural experience, especially in dairy farming, and who have taken a short course at a farm school. Farmers would be expected to ensure they were provided with reasonably comfortable lodgings and their pay would be at the current rate for skilled farm workers. Any farmers wishing to obtain Danish labour under these conditions is to apply before the end of March [1] to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Source: Bedfordshire Standard, 31st March 1916

[1] The letter was dated 28th March and published on 31st March, making this an impossibly tight deadline!

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