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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:40 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:30 pm
Posts: 38
I've received an enquiry from a researcher at the Woodland Trust who is investigating a story which relates to the Mayor of Verdun gifting some boxes of acorns and chestnuts to the LNWR to help raise funds post war. As a result there are known to be oaks grown from Verdun acorns in a number of locations along the line, e.g. at Coventry and Lichfield.

Does anyone have any information on this story, and why the Mayor of Verdun would have sought to help the LNWR in particular? Any information would be gratefully received.

If you wish to correspond directly with the Woodland Trust contact, please let me know by sending an email to 'secretary@lnwrs.org.uk'.

Regards, Ian

An outline of the story is provided below:

'The Mayor of Verdun forwarded a consignment of chestnuts and acorns to the London and North-West Railway Company in early 1917. The idea was that they would be sold for the benefit of the War Seal Foundation (L & N-W Section) more of which below. It appears that sample boxes of these seeds were sent to towns and cities along the route of the railway with a view to stimulating sales. The sample box sent to Coventry was handed to the Superintendent of Recreation Grounds. The city council accepted four boxes of seeds "to be planted as a perpetual souvenir of the Historic City of Verdun".

The War Seal Foundation was started by the theatre impressario Sir Oswald Stoll in 1917 to provide suitable accommodation for disabled ex-servicemen and their families. The "seal" was a lozenged shaped stamp that was sold to to boost a considerable donation by Stoll to the foundation. The seal would be stuck on the back of envelopes and at the bottom of letters to advertise the foundation. It is still in existence as the Sir Oswald Stoll Foundation and now also helps homeless ex-service men and women, as well as the disabled'.[/i]

PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 12:23 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:43 pm
Posts: 601
Location: Wellingborough
You may find it better to ask a moderator to move this post out of the "members only" general section, so as to reach a wider audience.


Good idea Mike - wish I'd thought of it .......... Steve :roll:

PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:38 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:13 pm
Posts: 100
Certainly there is a L&NWR involvement in the distribution of the acorns, this is from the Lichfield Mercury Friday 26th January 1917 :-

Lord French, when visiting Verdun, picked a handful chestnuts with a view to planting them his own grounds and raising avenue of trees as a perpetual souvenir of that historic City. The Mayor of Verdun has kindly forwarded consignments of acorns and chestnuts to be sold for the benefit of the Was Seal Foundation L & N.W. Section, and with a view stimulating the sale and creating interest in the matter generally, sample box is being given to the Mayors the principal towns. The Mayor of Lichfield (Alderman C. Harradine) has received a sample, and has planted two acorns and a chestnut with view to transplanting them in the spring in the Museum Grounds- Boxes of these seeds may be obtained at half-a-crown each from Mr. Guy Calthrop, Euston Station, London.

The paper printed a follow up article on Friday 12th December 1924 :-

Trees from Vedun
About eight years ago Alderman C. Harradine, who was then chairman of the Museum and Recreation Grounds Committee, received from the General Manager of the L. & N.W. Railway Company some acorns which had been gathered at Verdun during the Great War. These were used as seedlings, and have produced two fine oak trees, which have been transplanted into the Garden of Remembrance, and on Wednesday evening the City Council decided that a suitably worded tablets should be fixed near them.

There is a similar reference in a Coventry paper so I presume the Woodland Trust has used these sources.


Martin O'Keeffe

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