Recreation

Recreation

A Borough Recreation Committee was created in Bedford and it began its work the day after the troops arrived. Its purpose was to provide facilities for wholesome recreation and entertainments for the men. By Christmas 1914 there were 47 facilities in place. Along with the Committee the local churches, schools and clubs also played their part.

On 13 February 1915, the Campbeltown Courier reported:

It is computed that at present there are no fewer than 53 church and public halls devoted to this purpose in the burgh, and the townspeople make the proud boast that no other community they know has done so well by the soldiers in this respect.

A commodious and splendidly appointed temporary hall was provided for the Argyll and Sutherland rank and file for their social and spiritual welfare.

The Hall which has been erected for the use of the Argyll and Sutherland Brigade was formally opened on Monday night, when it was “house-warmed” with characteristic Scottish heartiness. Provision has been made within the four walls for almost all the wants of the soldier. There is a concert room, and reading room (on the tables of which are to be found, in addition to daily newspapers and magazines, local Scottish papers never so eagerly read as now). A savings bank and a lending library are valuable departments; while, probably the greatest boon of all, are the private hot baths to be obtained free of charge.

Regular concerts were put on for the men.  The men attended local churches for services as well as taking part in church parades.

A new swimming pool was constructed out on land loaned by the Midland Railway Company near to the river and Electricity Works in Bedford for the use of the troops. The cost was borne by the government of the day.

Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders leaving St Cuthberts in Bedford
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders leaving St Cuthberts in Bedford - image courtesy of Bedfordshire Archives Service.