14-18 Langres

at war

The Old Covered Market:


Shortages

The war took time and cost dearly. To finance the conflict, France resorted to new taxes on consumable products (tobacco, alcohol…). From the start of the war, the price of certain foodstuffs soared and the mayor had to fix maximum tariffs to avoid an abundance of malevolent shopkeepers. In April 1915, shortages made prices increase. These shortages became greater throughout the year, so much so that in November, there were a few incidents in the market between Langres housewives and traders. The latter party were accused of selling their products at such a high price that, according to a journalist, only the rich and the soldiers could buy butter and eggs. In effect, hardly looking at the prices, soldiers involuntarily encouraged the inflation of these basic products. Following this accusation, the army reacted diligently with an enquiry in December. This was accompanied by a fraud policy which aimed to put an end to this type of abuse.

In his notebooks written during the war, the Primary School teacher in the girls’ school in the Place de l’Abbé-Cordier notes: « In October 1915, foodstuffs became rare; it is difficult to find wine, sugar, oil and butter. In November 1915, coal started to be in short supply. The air heater in the Hôtel de Ville didn’t work. In December, it got harder still. […] With the bakers mobilised, it was difficult to get bread. »

These restrictions had an impact on the running of the city. The former cog-railway did not escape the problems. (Far too?) Frequently used at the beginning of the conflict, notably by families who came to see the mobilised or sick soldiers in Langres, it was soon stopped because of the lack of fuel, but also due to technical failures. Finally, after numerous stops in 1915, a car service was put on to replace it from 18th December.

Ancien marché couvert de Langres

Ancienne cremaillère de Langres

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