As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War we’re looking back on some of the ways that the conflict touched our UK factories. Today’s memory comes from the Tutbury factory, where a recent donation to the archive gave us a very special glimpse into the lives of our past employees.
After hearing about the archive in the news, a Derbyshire consumer got in touch because she wanted to return some paperwork to us. The consumer had bought a piece of furniture at auction and found a handful of papers tucked inside her purchase, which appeared to have come from our Nestlé UK factory.
The clutch of papers, which are written in a beautiful copperplate hand, have turned out to be a set of poems that one of our Tutbury employees composed about her fellow staff members who were going away to fight in the First World War. Each time another employee left she would write another stanza about them.
The local history society have confirmed that they already have a copy of the first part of the poem because the girl used to sell copies of them in aid of a wartime charity, but this one contains extra pages, and appears to be the author’s original draft, complete with corrections and revisions in pencil.
A copy of the full, original manuscript is available to view online, but highlights include:
The call to arms has raised the mettle,
Of the working staff of Henri Nestle.
With so strong a Nestlé band,
What foe shall trespass on our land.
The poems are part of a growing collection of Nestlé UK materials about the First World War that have been digitized and are available to view on our Flickr feed.