Look at a lovely piece of history, found this week at Logie Primary School:
Tucked between the pages of an old school register in the office, this beautiful document is a ‘token of gratitude and appreciation to the Teachers and Scholars of Logie Public School’, who had taken part in the National Egg Collection for the Wounded during the Great War.
The National Egg Collection was a phenomenal example of societal co-operation. Devised by the editor of Poultry World, it sent at least a quarter of a million and, at its peak, a million eggs in a single week to injured soldiers in hospital in Boulogne. It was estimated that an egg would reach a wounded serviceman in France within three days of being laid.
A hundred years on, Logie Primary still keeps chickens: checking the nest boxes is one of the first jobs of the day for the children. The eggs from Doris and Mabel and four others, whose names seem less fixed, are at present handed out as gifts to the six children who visit the school on Fridays, preparing to join P1 in August.
In future, we hope, the eggs will again be used for cakes and quiches, baked by the children for the school’s Community Café. The hens themselves teach the children big lessons about good food, about caring, about nurturing and – sometimes – about grieving.
By chance, we discovered the commendation for wartime egg collecting on the day we launched a mini fundraiser. We want to buy leaving gifts for our six P7 pupils, who’ll be moving on from Logie Primary in just a few weeks, so we’re promoting the last few copies of The Logie 100, a cookbook devised and published during lockdown and built on the strong ties the school still has with former pupils, teachers and the local community as a whole. It was a very successful fundraiser for us during lockdown, but the recipes within it came to symbolise something much more profound about the connections between us all at a time when we were, by any normal standards, cut off from each other and our usual ways of living. Finding out what our friends and neighbours like to cook, thinking of them in their kitchens or round their tables, or reading the stories of their own days at Logie, all brought a sense of community togetherness which was the next best thing to meeting up for a meal.
I wonder, looking at the certificate, if the Great War egg collection scheme did something similar. The eggs, of course, were good for the wounded soldiers – the Prime Minister, Lloyd George, declaring in 1917 that ‘There is no substitute for eggs in maintaining a man’s vitality, hastening his convalescence or even in preserving life’ – but how did gathering eggs as a community help the teachers, the children (who were particularly encouraged to take part) and their neighbours? Did they feel more connected to each other and to the soldiers away from home – some of whom, of course, would never come back – when a force completely beyond their control had stripped away their usual social structures?
The eggs would have brought with them a sense of connectedness between the people who sent them and the men who ate them. I think, in a small way, that The Logie 100 does that too, and gives a sense of what our community needed at a time of crisis. You might like to think about what our school and the community around it means to us as you open the book, whisk some eggs and make Tracey’s omelette (page 1), Hannah’s mini baked frittatas (page 16) or Julie’s Brown Sugar Meringues (page 70). Thank you so much for supporting Logie Primary.
Reference: The National Egg Collection for Wounded Soldiers and Sailors 1914-1918 (http://ww1centenary.oucs.ox.ac.uk/?p=3494) by David Thomas
The final few copies of the Logie 100 are available for £8 at the Art Gallery at Logie Steading or online on this website via the link below.