Memory Lane’s item about the arrival of food parcels from New Zealand in Chancery Lane 70 years ago inspired Obiter to find out more. It seems these seasonal gifts from the Canterbury District Law Society were made more than once, after the particularly harsh winter of 1946/47 brought Britain to a halt. ‘There will be no fuel crisis,’ minister of fuel and power Manny Shinwell unwisely proclaimed, just before coal, gas and electricity supplies collapsed and the country froze.
According to the annual report of the West Canterbury (NZ) society, the ‘AID to BRITAIN’ fund organised instead of the annual dinner in 1947 raised £112. Supplemented with a grant of £50 from the society’s funds, this paid for 150 food parcels to be sent to the Law Society London ‘for distribution to deserving recipients associated with the profession’. More were sent in 1949, timed to arrive at Christmas.
By 1950/51, the report was able to announce: ‘As it appeared that food was becoming more ample no food parcels were sent to England this year, but in view of the deteriorating food situation it is recommended that the practice be revived.’
Thanks to Geoff Adlam at the New Zealand Law Society for digging up the information - and to our generous Kiwi colleagues, all those years ago.