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1 December 2014
A tribute to all who died & suffered as a consequence of World War 1.
This is the twelfth and last of a series of articles featuring Carlton China models relating to the terrible conflict that began 100 years ago.
Part Twelve Music
During the First World War music was important for morale, not only for those on the Home Front, but also for those fighting in the theatres of war, namely the Western, Eastern and Italian Fronts, as well as Gallipoli and the war at sea.
American poster from 1917 showing a soldier unpacking a phonograph record as another looks on.
Recruiting in Trafalgar Square in London.
As the pictures here show music was used to help recruitment and important to soldiers.
A surprising number of WW1 songs are remembered today, such as Keep the Home Fires Burning, composed by Ivor Novello in 1914, Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit-Bag and Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty, music hall songs published in 1915 and 1916 respectively.
Bamforth & Co. Song Series postcard from WW1.
Keep the Home Fires Burning
Wiltshaw & Robinson, the makers of Carlton China, took lyrics from these popular songs and devised models to suit them. The first was a model of a kitchen range with a flaming grate. Registered in 1917, it was printed with two lines from the lyrics of Keep the Home Fires Burning.
The WW1 postcard on the right shows the chorus below a sentimental image of separated sweethearts.
To hear the chorus from this song recorded in 1915 by Reed Miller and Frederick Wheeler use the control bar below.
Carlton China model of a kitchen range. Registered in 1917.
After the war a teapot was added to the range and the words changed to
We kept the home-fires burning Till the boys came home.
Left - Modified Carlton China model of a kitchen range for sale after the war had ended. Right - A typical cast iron kitchen range c1900.
Home Sweet Home
In 1918 Wiltshaw & Robinson registered another kitchen range with a kettle and teapot, this time with a mantelshelf holding a clock and two Staffordshire dogs. This is found printed with the words :-
East or West, Home is best The kettle on the fire is singing, The Old clock ticks And the Teapot is on the hob Sure it's a good Old Home Sweet Home.
In the early twentieth century the fireside could be said to be the most important part of every home. This might explain why yet another Carlton China kitchen range was made, this time with a cauldron above the fire and a cat sitting on the hearth. More commonly this model is found printed with the Scottish words By my Ain Fireside, so its introduction may predate the war. However, it is sometimes found printed East or West, Home Sweet Home is Best, a possible WW1 adaptation. Pictures of these are shown below.
Although the words and tune of Home Sweet Home date from the 1820s, their sentiment suited the time of the war. Words to the song are printed on the song card, shown below. Using the controls here you can sing along with Alma Gluck who famously recorded the song in 1912.
Left Top - Carlton China model of a kitchen range with mantelshelf, kettle and teapot. Left Bottom - Carlton China model of a kitchen range with mantelshelf and cauldron, more often found inscribed By my Ain Fireside and not East or West, Home Sweet Home is Best as here. Right - A Bamforth WW1 postcard "Home Sweet Home".
One of the most curious of all of the Carlton China models relating to the war is a freestanding "map" of "Blighty".
Blighty is a British English slang term for Britain or often specifically England. It was first used during the Boer War, though it was not until World War One that the word became well-known. It was also used for the name of a humorous magazine for WW1 troops.
The term was particularly used by World War One poets such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. During the war, a Blighty wound — a wound serious enough to require recuperation away from the trenches, but not serious enough to kill or maim the victim — was hoped for by many, and sometimes self-inflicted.
Take me back to dear Old Blighty
The name was also popularized by a song called Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty, published in 1916. The chorus is printed on the china model.
One nice touch on the model is that it shows the approximate locations of London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, all mentioned in the chorus. Sing along using the words on the Bamforth song card on the right.
Left Top - Carlton China model of "Blighty". Left Bottom - Title from sheet music by Mills, Godfrey & Scott c.1916. Right - A WW1 postcard of a soldier looking at Blighty by Frederick Spurgin.
Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag, and Smile, Smile, Smile
In 1915, this popular song won a wartime competition for a marching song.
The composers were music hall stars brothers George and Felix Powell, who had previously abandoned the song calling it 'piffle' but as a joke re-scored it to enter the competition.
A model of a kitbag was made in Carlton China and printed with the first and last lines of the chorus, though 'pack' was replaced with 'put'. The refrain to the song went:-
Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag, And smile, smile, smile, While you've a Lucifer to light your fag, Smile, boys, that's the style. What's the use of worrying? It never was worth while, so Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag, And smile, smile, smile.
The 'Lucifer' in the lyrics was a brand of match with which soldiers would have been very familiar.
Felix Powell was haunted by the way his tune accompanied men to their deaths.
Below are pictures of a Carlton China kitbag and a comical postcard by Douglas Tempest, along with the title from the sheet music for the song.
Left Top - Carlton China model of a kitbag, printed with words from the song. Left Bottom - Title from sheet music by George Asaf & Felix Powell c.1915. Right - A WW1 comical postcard of a soldier with his kitbag by Douglas Tempest c.1916.
British Legion poster reminding people to wear a 'Flanders Poppy' on Remembrance Day 1923. By Maurice Kirth.
This concludes our article on Carlton China models inspired by popular music from WW1 and indeed this series of articles.
To end this series we finish with a closeup of some of the ceramic poppies from Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London, many of which were made in Stoke-on-Trent; a memorial in a Flanders field; a picture of the Paul Cummins installation.
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