Entries for this page, be it fact or memories
of the War would be welcomed. Simply email me your recollections of things that
happened to you as a child perhaps? Or maybe your Mum started working in the
mills and told you a funny story? Let me know,
World War 2 Evacuees to RIshton can be found by following this
On 1st September 1939 Hitler invaded Poland. The British Government
issued an ultimatum asking the German forces to leave by 11 am on 3rd
September. This was ignored and Britain immediately declared war on Germany.
Hitler was apparently taken by surprise. He had not expected Britain to
react in this way. He did not understand that once the British government
had made a promise, it was duty bound to keep it.
This was the outbreak of the 2nd World War, but it was some 3 years before
this that Rishton Urban District Council
had started making precautions.
A letter was read from the County Council with regard to the Air Raid
Precautions (A. R. P.) on the 10th September 1936, informing us that a
Conference would be arranged for this portion of the County.
The Council Clerk read a letter from Mr. Ingham, of Great Harwood, on the 7th
January 1937, inviting us to appoint six Councillors to a Conference along with
the Clayton-le-Moors Urban District Council to deal with the question of
Air-Raid Precautions. Councillors Trengove, Ainsworth, Booth, Leeming,
Tattersall and Wilson were appointed. The Chairman reported the result of the
Meeting of Representatives of the Clayton-le-Moors, Great Harwood and Rishton
Urban District Councils, held at Great Harwood on Tuesday 14th January 1937,
with regard to the Anti-Air Raid Precautions and the Clerk presented a list of
the Precautionary Services which, according to the Home Office Circular, a Local
Authority is expected to make provision for; also a copy of the letter from the
Chief Constable of the Lancashire Constabulary, together with a summary of his
observations and suggestions. Resolved that this Council agree to full
co-operation with the Great Harwood and Clayton-le-Moors Urban District Councils
with regard to Anti-Air Raid Precautions and that the Sub-Committee meet to go
fully into same and to report to the Council.
On the 16th February 1939, A resolution was
received from Ashington Urban District Council, which was
forwarded to the local member of Parliament. The council was to urge
the Government to take immediate action to provide adequate bomb
proof shelters for the protection of the civil population in danger
zones against aerial attack in the event of hostilities, and to
direct that the cost of providing such shelters should be a national
By the time the War had started, on the 1st September 1939, Rishton had
stored 6,000 respirator masks, and had made accommodation for 6,500 adult
refugees, and another 1,500 children.
Rishton had been busy.
Air raid wardens were fully trained, some travelling to Preston for gas
lessons, then returning to town to pass their knowledge on to others. Even this
was being done 12 months before the outbreak of war began.
In 1937, Rishton turned down the opportunity to join Accrington's Air Raid
Defence Precautions, rather instead opting to coheres with Clayton Le Moors and
Great Harwood. That was, until they found that Great Harwood and Clayton had
both joined Accrington! Rishton swiftly did a U-Turn, and joined with Accrington
by the end of the year.
Noel Halliwell was appointed Chief Air Raid Warden, and offices were set up
for them on
Church Street. Perhaps these were the former
Council Offices at number 4? Mr. Halliwell took much time recruiting
men to be air raid wardens for the town, but there were several men who refused,
much to their regret! The air raid wardens would be based in the office, while
those who opted instead to join the home brigade would find themselves out in
all weather, on the top of
Close Brow mainly carrying out manoeuvres!
Where the barrage balloon was situated in
Tottleworth was about 30 yards passed the end of the houses numbered
5 & 6. It was just in the field on the left hand side as you walk towards
Hermitage Street, the bench to my recollection was just at the top of the
hill (slope) as you left Threlfall's farm. (there were actually two benches, one
was at the top of the hill, overlooking
Holt Farm, and the other was as you entered Tottleworth from Rishton, the
bench looking towards the canal.)
A letter was read from Hindley Urban
District Council on the 16th March 1939, by Rishton Urban District
Council at one of their meetings, submitting the following
resolution: "That this council deplore the suggestion in certain
newspapers of the Governments intention to force the unemployed
youths of this Country, under a penalty of forfeiting the whole or
part of their unemployment benefits, to enter training camps
provided by the Government, and to impress upon them the Government
the desirability and necessity of utilising by some means such
expenditure proposed to be incurred in providing work for the
unfortunate persons whom the alleged proposed scheme is likely to
concern". The council supported the above resolution.
All this reminds me of the smoke screens that they had lined up in the main
street and on certain nights the chaps in the army used to come and light them
with a flint gun, when lit they would produce a smelly black smoke, which would
probably have covered most of Rishton. I expect this was some sort of protection
from enemy aircraft.
These oil drums filled with oil were placed down
Hermitage Street and along Lee
lane and were used to smoke screen the
English Electric which at that time was producing aircraft parts for the war
effort. The Germans did try to bomb the factory on several occasions, the
closest they ever got was on Whalley Road at Altham, next to the current
Greyhound Ford Garage, were a house was destroyed.
I have heard many references to these oil drums and how they stunk the place
out, covering the local villages in thick black oily smoke.
Other barrage balloon were also located at the Park bottoms, next to the
river Hyndburn, and on land to the rear of the
Baptist Church, which was empty land, later becoming the
Sands Council Estate.
On the 2nd March 1939, The clerk to the council submitted several reports
about the Air Raid Precautions. One survey of available accommodation carried
out under the Governments Evacuation scheme had been completed, and showed that
accommodation was available for 2,672 persons. House holders had expressed their
willingness to accept a total of 1,774 unaccompanied children.
And so War broke out, and many good men gave their life's defending their
Country, including a number of men from Rishton. A full list of their names can
be found on the
War memorial cenotaph found on
The Clerk submitted a report on civil defence matters, including letters from
the home office which he had received on the 27th April 1939, requesting that
priority should be given to these matters over the next 3 months. Two further
training pumps were to be delivered, and a black out exercise was to be held on
the night of the 15th to 16th May.
The children who received a gas mask found they were Mickey Mouse
masks! Sadly there was not enough to go round, and there were
several tears shed from the smallest children who didn't get a
Mickey mask, and had to make do with the plain grey ones.
Gas attacks had been common place during the first World War, some of the
people who had survived had to live the rest of their days unable to smell pear
drops or mustard without being reminded of the gas.
By 1937, war becoming more and more imminent, the gas mask was being produced
at the rate of 150,000 a week, by the time of the Munich Crisis in September
1938, every man, woman, and child in Britain had one.
The mask were manufactured in three styles, and for the children, Mickey
Mouse, and Donald Duck. For babies a complete helmet was supplied with bellows
to pump the oxygen into it.
As more and more drills, both in schools and everyday civilian life became
common place, so people got used to their masks, and became confident enough to
complain about the discomforts of them, Shops began to sell luxury and superior
As the War raged on and the threat of gas attacks receded, fewer people
carried their masks with them, and by the end of the conflict most had been
consigned to the attic.
During the war, Noel Hellewell J. P. was chief warden, and the air raid
wardens office was based on Church Street, possibly the same one which became
council offices, or were council offices. Anyway, at the time there were very
few telephones installed, telephone numbers only being in double figures on the
Great Harwood exchange.
George Thomlinson was home visiting his mother and family and was expecting
a phone call. He called into the Wardens Office and explained to Noel that he
was expecting this call, and he hoped he didn't mind but he had given this
number. Noel said it was fine, and George said when the phone rang Noel should
answer it, as it may be a nice surprise for him.
The phone duly rang and Noel answered, asking if he could help. The caller
responded by asking to speak to Mr. Thomlinson, so Noel asks who the caller was.
"This is Winston Churchill" came the voice, to which Noel replied, "Aye, n' if
your Winston Churchill, I'm Montgomery", and was about to put the phone down
when George snapped it from his hand!
The clerk to the council submitted a report on the air raid precautions on
the 6th July 1939, with the following recommendations of the Air Raid
The linings in the trenches at Cutt Wood park with pre-cast concrete was
An underground shelter and report centre in the Council Store yard and
the transferral of the emergency telephone lines was approved.
A direct telephone line to the exchange be installed in the fire station.
Objections were should be made to the Lancashire County Council against
the proposal to establish at Great Harwood the decontamination and cleansing
depot in respect of this district.
The suggestion to man the report centre only for the blackout exercise on
July 13 - 14th was approved, and thanks of the committee were extended to
the volunteers who took part.
During the 2nd World War the British Legion Club on Walmsley Street, paid out
5/- a month (25 pence) and an extra 10/- (50 pence) at July and Christmas.
Theses came from the Comfort fund which the club was running for its War
members. The comfort club was wound up in September 1945, with each member
receiving £6 each. Because of the difficulty found with contacting members the
"comforts" were not always paid and in some cases arrears up to £16 were paid
The club was very fortunate during the War, only having 2 fatalities to
members, 1 of these was still unclear in January 1946, as the soldier had been
missing for two years, and there was still hope of him turning up. (Rumour had
it there was a pint waiting for him on the bar, and if he knew he would be there
like a shot!).
The Council also resolved on the 3rd of September 1939, that notices
should be placed at the boundaries of the district urging motorist to drive
carefully in view of the fact that Rishton was a reception area for
All went well until the 2nd November 1939, when the Clerk reported at a
Council meeting, on the Ministry of Health's Circular number 1897, concerning
compensation for damage done by evacuated children. The following claims were
paid by the Council;
Mrs Duckworth, 22 Blackburn Road, Mattress cleaning - 7/6
Mrs. Smith, 69 Harwood Road, Mattress cleaning - 5/6
Mrs. Halliwell, 105 Harwood Road, Cleaning and Repairing Box Mattress -
Mr. Dugdale, 56 Harwood Road, Supplying and fixing new washbasin - £2 1s
During September 1939, The surveyor was instructed to have lamp standards,
telegraph poles and similar obstacles painted in accordance with instructions
received in the circular "Aids to Movement of Traffic" The Steam roller shed was
to be converted into A. R. P. store, and The surveyor was instructed to carry
out the necessary alterations in the fire station to the existing partitions.
The Council clerk reported to the Higher Education Committee on the 7th
September 1939, that all evening classes were to be closed immediately, with the
exception of classes in first aid and Home Nursing. Arrangements for reopening
would be made at a later date.
During the War, Schooling hours were cut to 3 1/2 days per week. There were 2
mornings and one afternoon. You ask any one who schooled during this time if
they are a little thick, and you will be told that they don't feel it did them
any harm harm at all, so why are we having school days 5 days a week?
The council clerk reported on the provisions of the Fuel and Lighting Order
1939 on the 14th September 1939. Mr. R. W. Renshaw was appointed Local Fuel
Overseer and Mr. J. Lord was appointed as Clerk on his staff. Remunerations were
to be decided later by the council. The Advisory Committee appointed under the
Fuel and Lighting Order 1939, was as follows; 5 members of the local council, 2
representatives of the coal merchants in the district, 1 representative of the
Electricity Undertaking, 1 of the Gas Undertaking, and 1 of the Co-operative
Society. The councils representatives were to be Councillors Sturzaker,
Sutcliffe, Trengrove, Worsley, and Leeming.
The council Clerk read correspondence from the Food Executive, of which he
appointed the Clerk Deputy Food Officer for the district for some of the
functions to be carried out for Food Control. The Council also approved the
clerks recommendation to rent the shop at Number 39 High Street, for food
control purposes at 9/- per week excluding rates. On the 12th October, the clerk
reported that further clerical work was required for the Food Control Work. A
list of persons registered at the Labour Exchange was submitted and it was
decided that Mr. H. Barratt should be appointed at 58/- per week, to commence
straight away. If further labour was required then a shortlist was drawn up
consisting of Miss Bridge, Mr. Roberts and Miss Horrocks who would be employed
in that order.
The Council Surveyor reported that he had
received instructions from the County Surveyor to arrange to provide
a squad of volunteers for special duty under the direction of the
bank ranger for the protection of the Leeds & Liverpool canal in
case of emergency in October 1939.
The council clerk outlined the provisions of Home Office Circular number
70/1939 concerning the Auxiliary Fire Service on the 5th October 1939. The
Council Resolved that the Auxiliary Fire Service should be reduced to 9 firemen
in place of the 17 now serving, in accordance with the provisions of this
circular, and that the selection of these 9 should be deferred one week. It is
proposed to keep 1 pumping unit for the first line ready for action. On the 12th
October, the following auxiliary firemen received one weeks notice; B.
Tattersall, J. Heyburn, H. Ormerod, A. Sykes, J. Cheetham, T. Keenan, Hanson
Smith, and C. Hammersley.
On the 2nd November 1939, the Clerk received a letter from the Home Office in
pursuance of Fire Brigade Circular Number 70 concerning the further reduction of
the whole-time Auxiliary Fire Service Personnel. It was decided that the four
men to be retained should be J. L. Smith, J. Calvert, J. Wilkinson, and J. R.
Aspden, and that one weeks notice should be given to A. Cheetham, J. C. Slater,
W. Carbery, H. Smith, and D. Ackers. It was further resolved that in view of the
reduced personnel that the four ton vehicle belonging to Messrs. J. W. Hopwood
(Rishton) Ltd., at present on whole-time duty, should be released and in future
be on call.
The Council surveyor referred to the scheme for the provision of Air Raid
Shelters, on the 5th October 1939, and made recommendations regarding the same.
The Surveyor was instructed to include in the scheme the provision of Public
Shelters as follows:-
Cutt Wood (trenches)
Holt Street Recreation Ground (trenches)
Harwood Road Recreation Ground (trenches)
Surface shelters to accommodate a total of 250 people in 5 separate
shelters on sites to be selected by the surveyor in the area on the south
side of High Street and Hermitage and between Station Road and Butler
I am told that there was an air raid shelter on Edward Street as well.
The Clerk received a letter back from the County Council, on the 19th
October, intimating that the Rishton scheme had been agreed to in principal.
Following further consultations with the County officials, a price of £135 per
shelter for semi-sunk shelters had been fixed, the work on the 8 shelters was to
be allocated by the surveyor according to the abilities of each contractor
The council surveyor reported that he had taken steps to recruit and arrange
the training of reserve squads to assist the existing Rescue, Repair,
Demolition, and Decontamination Squads.
The council clerk reported upon Circular L. A. 5 from the petroleum
Department concerning petrol supplies. Private cars owned by officials and other
persons used in connection with emergency services should be issued with
petrol upon the following basis:-
8 to 9 Horse power cars
30 miles per gallon.
10 to 11 Horse power cars
27 miles per gallon
12 to 13 Horse power cars
24 miles per gallon
14 to 15 Horse power cars
21 miles per gallon
The Sanitary Inspector for the Council, gave an account of his training at
Preston, to the health committee, on 12th October 1939, when he was successful
in obtaining the L. A. R. P. S. Certificate for Instructors. The clerk was to
obtain the sanction of the County Council to Purchase the necessary equipment
for training and demonstration purposes.
The clerk reported that Great Harwood Urban District Council had stated that
they had no one suitable to act as Gas Identification Officer on the 12th
October 1939. It was resolved that Mr. J. Pickup of "Lynwood", Blackburn Road,
should be recommended for the post for the three urban districts of Clayton Le
Moors, Rishton, and great Harwood.
The surveyor, in accordance with instructions from the council, had obtained
a quotation from the Blackburn Corporation Electricity Undertaking for the
provision of an electric lighting installation in the trenches in Cutt wood on
the 19th October 1939.
A Ford V8, registered number AOC 580, for auxiliary fire service purposes,
was purchased at a cost of £30, inclusive of alterations was bought by the
Rishton urban District Council on the 14th December 1939.
More claims for compensation caused by evacuated children were approved for
payment on the 14th December 1939 by the Council. These were:-
Mrs. Mellor, 5 Norfolk Street, dry-cleaning mattress - 5/6
Mrs. Pelling, 50 Station Road, repairing window - 7/6
Mrs. Harwood, 49 Stourton Street, supplying and fixing new wash basin -
£1 18s 0
Sanction was given by the
Minister of Home Security on the 14th December 1939, for the payment
of compensation to Air Raid Precaution Volunteers who lost wages by
attending for duty during working hours, to a maximum in respect of
a working day of 10/- for men and 7/- for women.
On the 14th December 1939, the Council clerk reported upon correspondence
from the Minister of Home Security, to the Urban District Council, concerning
the use of factory Sirens. It was recommended that the arrangements with Rishton
Colliery be terminated and that an electrically operated siren be installed at
the Council Offices.
The Auxiliary Fire Service was permitted to make haversacks for Service
respirators on the 21st December 1939, by Rishton urban District Council, for
use until supplies were forthcoming from the Ministry of Home Security.
The Council Surveyor presented quotations received for the supply of an Air
Raid Warning Syren on the 18th January 1940.
The committee recommended that the quotation of Messrs. Carter & Co.
(Nelson) Ltd., be accepted, and
that the surveyor was instructed to consider alternative methods of
fixing the Syren, including the erection of a mast.
The Council clerk reported receipt of the Fire Brigades Divisional Circular
no 76, on the 18th January 1940, concerning the purchase of waterproof coats for
Auxiliary Fire Service Personnel. The clerk was instructed to obtain prices. On
the 8th February, 28 waterproof coats were purchased in accordance with Fire
Brigade Circular number 76, for the Auxiliary Fire Service Volunteers. Strange
then that on the 14th March, Tenders for the supply of 28 water proof coats for
the use of the Auxiliary Fire Services were submitted to the council. The quote
of Messrs. Geo. Angus & Co. Ltd., 71 Bridge Street Deansgate, Manchester, 3, was
accepted at 17/6 each, less 2 1/2& discount.
Street collections, although often used in Rishton, suddenly changed. No
longer were people collecting for the deaf and blind, now it was the Royal
British Legion, and other war related organisations. The number of collections
being allowed on the streets of Rishton was increasing also.
The war effort was on, and times were getting harder. Cut backs now started
to appear to try and save
money, such as the report which was given upon the re-organisation of the
Food Control staff by the Accrington Area Joint Food Control Committee. The
services of the present assistant at Rishton was to terminate on the 9th March
1940 (two days time). From that date the Food Office was open from 9 am till 12
noon on Tuesdays, and 2 pm till 6 pm on Fridays. The clerk was to request the
Food Executive Officer to consider the greater needs of this District and to
reconsider the personnel to be employed at the office.
Having failed once, the evacuation scheme was relaunched by the Government,
but to major disapproval of the local councils who responded thus. On the 9th
March 1940, Correspondence was read from the Great Harwood Urban District
Council, and it was resolved to support them. The letter read:-
"That this Council, having heard the correspondence relating to the new
evacuation scheme, on the same lines as the last one, is strongly opposed to the
proposals. Our experience of evacuation has proved the system to be unsound,
and, in our opinion, is certain to fail for the same reasons as it did before.
We are convinced that hosts for the children to be allotted to this district
will be impossible to find voluntarily, and suggest that the only evacuation
scheme likely to succeed would be one where school units were transferred to
suitable premises where they could be maintained on the lines of a boarding
establishment such as a permanent school camp."
The Council clerk wrote to Manchester Education Committee on the 11th April
1940, requesting information as to the district from which evacuees would be
sent from, in the event of the new scheme coming into operation.
The War was doing some good things as well! Unemployment in the town had
dropped dramatically, ending the slump of the 1930s, this brought some minor
problems of its own, It was reported by Rishton Urban District Council, on the
14th March 1940, that Information was given that the Rishton Labour Exchange
would be open in the near future part - time only, on account of the greatly
decreased number of persons attending. It was also reported that correspondence
was read from the Great Harwood Urban District Council concerning the assessment
of cotton mills. Support was given to the intention to hold an early meeting at
which consideration was given to the increase of assessments in view of the
improvements of trade.
The Clerk reported on the provision of the A. R. P. ((Air Raid Precautions)
Storage and Loan of Equipment) Regulations 1940, on the 28th March 1940, and
reported that the County Council had given sanction for the employment of 1
person to carry out the work under these regulations. Resolved that Mr. B.
Ainsworth be appointed to the position.
Reply was received from the Food Executive Officer, on the 28th March,
concerning representations made by the council regarding the limitations of the
opening times of the Rishton Food Office, and the clerk was instructed to reply
further stating that the council are still dissatisfied with the Food Control
Organisation in Rishton.
A letter from the County Council on the 28th March 1940 to Rishton Urban
District Council, intimated that the one person employed as a whole-time
volunteer on the Rescue and Demolition Squad since the outbreak of hostilities
should be discharged. Mr. W. Clough was given one weeks notice. to terminate his
duties. One can only assume that by now they realised we weren't going to bombed
very often, and there wasn't enough work for the full time man.
Correspondence was read to the Council Committee on the 11th April 1940,
about the proposed building of an Air Raid Wardens Post on land in Cutt Wood.
Approval was not given for this by the Council.
The Council clerk sought sanction, on the 11th April 1940, from the Home
Office (Fire Brigades Division), to create two section officers in Auxiliary
Fire Service, to be remunerated at £3 10s 0d per week, and that J. R. Aspden and
J. Smith be promoted to these positions. It was further reported that the tyres
of the Auxiliary Fire Brigade Car were in bad condition. This was to be
Correspondence had been received by the Council, on the 16th May 1940,
stating that the evacuee children to this area were to come from Alfred Street
School, now known as Harper Mount Primary School, and Saint Margaret Mary's
Roman Catholic School, both of which were in Manchester.
Over the bridge in the bottom end of Rishton, the air raid shelters were
Chapel Street, and
Fielding Street. The Chapel Street one was actually sited on
Wharf Street, next to the Master Barn Farm. There is a house built on the
land now. Fielding Streets was also at the top of the street, but this time in
the middle of the road. There is a garage plot on the right and allotments on
the left as you go up the street, and the shelter was between these. At first
the shelter was further down, but due to public pressure (one of Rishtons
Councillors lived on Fielding Street, and people went across and knocked on the
door to complain) the shelter was moved. Kenneth Wolstenholme, a ten year old at
the time, and lived at number 4 Derby Street, was round when a red brick chimney
for the fire in the shelter was erected by a local builder. All the kids from
the street used to go in and play in the shelter, the only the Police knew there
was anyone in there was because of the smoke pouring out of the chimney!
The trenches and shelter in Cut Wood Park were situated next to the main
road, in the middle of the trees that are still there. It was about half way
between the main gates to the park, and the smaller entrance further down
Blackburn Road. The trenches and shelter were eventually covered over, but it
may not have been till the 70's till they were filled in.
The Chairman of Rishton Urban District Council outlined the arrangements for
conducting a series of Classes on Food Economy and Food Education on the 13th
The Council clerk reported upon the provision of the Government Evacuation
Scheme concerning the establishment of hostels for 5% of the children to be
received. A scheme was outlined for co-operation with Great Harwood Urban
District Council for the use of "Allsprings". The council adopted this course of
action on the 13th June 1940.
The Clerk reported upon the shortage of mortuary accommodation on the 13th
June 1940, and intimated that should it become necessary he would requisition,
under the Defence Regulations, the disused portion of the Co-operative
The subscription to the National Playing Fields Association was suspended for
the duration of the war on the 11th July 1940 by the Urban District Council.
The Council surveyor reported upon the
continual damage done to Air Raid Shelters and Trenches by Youths on
the 11th July 1940, and prosecution was to be proceeded with in
The Council Surveyor reported on the semi-sunk shelters still to be erected
under the Councils scheme for the provision of shelters for persons caught in
the streets on the 11th July 1940, and explained the difficulties which had
arisen with regard to materials and labour. The Council Committee agreed for the
surveyor to proceed with the erection of the shelters by direct labour, using
such materials as are available. At the same meeting, The Officials of the
Ministry of Home Security had interviewed the Clerk regarding the forming of an
additional squad in connection with Civil Defence, and also the clerk was to
obtain information from Mr. R. Worsley with regard to the County Councils
intentions concerning Air Raid Shelters for Schools. It was said that if the
information obtained was not satisfactory then the expressions of the Council's
feelings were to be sent to surrounding districts requesting some concerted
representation to the County Council for immediate action to be taken.
The clerk drew attention to the Fire Brigade Circular number 59, issued on
the 11th July 1940, and stated that in accordance with the recommendations
thereon, the hayloft had been adapted as a dormitory for the use of the part -
time personnel who had undertaken to do regular night duties, and that also
small alterations had been made in the kitchen for its use as a canteen.
11th July 1940. The Council Chairman read correspondence concerning the
recent air raid at Clayton Le Moors.
18th July 1940 - and Lancashire County Council corresponded with Rishton
Urban District Council concerning the supply of sand for protection against
incendiary bombs. 10 tons of sand was to be purchased and delivered to the
council yard, ands arrangements made for each household to collect one bucketful
each. The County Council also wrote about Air Raid Shelter Marshals, and the
action to be taken. The Council clerk reported on the damage caused to the Air
Raid Shelters caused by children. The Police were requested to issue notices
calling the children and parents to the police station and "to give them a stern
warning". The clerk was to write to the County Council expressing this councils
concern in the lack of Air Raid Shelters at schools in Rishton, and a copy of
this resolution should also be sent to other authorities in the Number 9 Area
Lancashire Education Committee requesting them to make similar representations
to the county council for some immediate action to be taken in respect of air
raid shelters for elementary school children.
The Ministry of Supply, Iron and Steel Control wrote to the Council on the
8th August 1940, concerning the removal of all superfluous Iron Railings and
Bollards and Refuge Posts etc., No action was taken in the matter as the Council
felt they had no materials falling within the classes outlined. The Sanitary
Inspector suggested that the Council should remove the iron doors and fittings
to Ashpits. The Council said that willingness should be expressed to collect and
dispose of all material offered by individuals, but no responsibility should be
taken for removing such fittings.
The surveyor reported on the 8th August 1940, that damage was still being
done to the trenches in Cutt Wood and the Harwood Road and Holt Street
Recreation Grounds. The Council requested regular police patrols from Sergeant
Pagett, to be in the park and both Recreation Grounds.
The Council Clerk reported on various matters concerning the Auxiliary Fire
Brigade at a council meeting held on the 8th August 1940;
That sanction be sought from the Home Office for the appointment of one
Section Officer at £3 15s per week and one Leading Fireman at £3 10s per
week, and these positions should be occupied by J. R. Aspden and J. L.
that four leading firemen be appointed from the part time personnel, and
these positions should be occupied by T. Jennings, W. Carbery, J. J.
Duckworth, and W. Flegg.
six beds should be purchased in accordance with the provisions of Fire
Brigade Circular number 81, 1939.
Part time personnel who undertake stand by duty for a period of not less
than 4 hours be provided with light refreshment at a cost not exceeding 6d
The Council Clerk also reported upon delay in the answering of the telephone
by the operator of the Air Raid Warning Syren. Sanction was to be obtained to
remedy this matter by fixing an external bell by the Post Office authorities at
a cost of 6/- per quarter.
Correspondence was read from Westhoughton U. D. C. on the 15th
September 1940, concerning the formation of an Urban Districts of
Lancashire Spitfire Aeroplane Fund. The Council agreed to give their
whole-hearted support to this scheme.
The Council Clerk received a report that the Accrington and District Central
Committee for Air Raid Precautions was to be disbanded forthwith, and R. Milburn
was to attend the Regional School at Manchester for a training course as a
Rescue Party Leader, and he was paid his normal weeks wage together with the
travelling expenses and subsistence allowance as laid down by the County
The Council was to co-operate in the
National Safety First Association Campaign against black-out accidents on the
road from the 15th September 1940.
The 19th September 1940 saw Rishton opening A bank account for the Rishton
Urban District Council Spitfire Fund which was opened with the Midland Bank, at
their Rishton branch.
Police were instructed to institute prosecution in a case of damage to the
air raid shelters on the 19th September 1940.
Arrangements were made with various contractors on the 10th October 1940, for
the provision of shelters below the area of the canal bridge. The surveyor was
ordered to prepare a scheme to provide accommodation for 70% of the population
of Rishton in accordance with instructions received from the Clerk of the County
Surveyor regarding the Domestic Shelters programme. The County Air Raid
Precautions Emergency Committee authorised and approved of the temporary
appointment of Mr. T. R. Moyle as a Technical Assistant in connection with the
shelter programme for a period of 3 months, and was to commence his duties on
Wednesday the 9th October 1940.
The Council clerk was instructed to write to Major Proctor, M. P., Councillor
Thomlinson, M. P., and the Ministry of Home Security, on the 10th October 1940,
drawing attention to the unnecessary danger caused to this area by the light
emitted from Altham Colliery.
On the 10th October 1940, The chairman of the Rishton Urban District Council
reported on the position of the fixing of an electric siren to the Police
Station. The clerk was instructed to communicate with the chief constable
informing him that it is the opinion of the council that the matter of erection
and maintenance were entirely a police matter. The Chief Constable replied the
following week, requesting the order be placed for the installation of the
Electric Air Raid Warning Siren on the Police Station.
The Council surveyor made a report on the erection of Surface Shelters, on
the 14th November 1940, and referred to arrangements made with the Regional
Works Advisor regarding the extension of the scheme in the district on the West
Side of the canal (over the canal bridge). The Surveyor also read a letter from
the County Architect regarding the erection of Air Raid Shelters at the
Elementary Schools in Rishton. The Council resolved that the surveyor was
instructed to inform the County Architect that he was prepared to arrange for
the erection of the shelters on behalf of the Lancashire Education Committee,
and also that he was instructed to give priority to the erection of the school
Permission was refused for an air raid wardens post in Cutt Wood Park on the
14th November 1940 by the Urban Council, but a site in Woodside Avenue was
During 1940 the Rishtons Women Voluntary Service produced a cookery book full
of recipes supplied by the townsfolk of Rishton. The book was compiled for the
benefit of the Comfort Fund, and was sold at one shilling a copy. The front
cover is shown here.
The book was partly paid for by local companies placing adverts within the
At the end of the Second World War all of the School children in the Country
were sent a letter from King George, setting out the hopes and visions of the
Country and hoping that the effect of War does not effect them after the
hardships and dangers that they had lived through.
A copy of the letter, both the front and the back of it, can be seen here.
The rear of the letter listed the important dates that had occurred during
the war, some of these have been used throughout the construction of this page.
The Council surveyor reported receipt of a letter from the County Surveyor
dated November the 27th, 1940, regarding the re-organisation of the Canal
Protection Squad, and explained the new proposals. The Surveyor also reported
that in the circumstances he had already advertised, inviting applications for
the personnel of the squad.
A letter was received from the Clerk of the County Council, and received by
Rishton Urban District Council, on the 12th December 1940, regarding addition
protection of the First Aid Post, and that the letter would receive attention.
the 19th December 1940, 2,500 War time advice cards were to be obtained by
Rishton Urban District Council, following guide lines submitted by the Council
clerk, and a card was to be distributed to each house in the district.
Correspondence was read from the Ministry of Home Security regarding comforts
for the civil defence services, received by Rishton Urban District Council on
the 19th December 1940. The Council resolved that in view of the excellent
organisation already established for this purpose by the woman's Voluntary
Service, that the matter should be left in their hands and that the Council
would give all possible assistance authorised under the circular.
The clerk reported that consignment notes had been received on the 9th
January 1941, for 200 tons of the coal to be stored in this district under the
Government Coal Stocking Scheme.
It was resolved by Rishton Urban District Council on the 9th January 1941,
that an Auxiliary Fire Service Action Station should be established in the
garage belonging to the Victoria Mill in Parker Street, and that a private
telephone line between the Fire Station and the garage should be installed.
grant was made of £1 10s 0d from the Urban District Council prize fund, on the
9th January 1941, towards the cost of the Christmas Party organised for Children
evacuated to the District.
At an Ordinary meeting of the Urban District Council of Rishton on the 16th
January 1941, the following companies were given the Council Seal of Approval
for 12 months.
Contract for the Provision of Air Raid Shelters with F. & E. Eccles
Contract for the Provision of Air Raid Shelters with J. & J. Butler
Contract for the Provision of Air Raid Shelters with Cross & Lawson
Contract for the Provision of Air Raid Shelters with H. Ramsbottom & Sons
Contract for the Provision of Air Raid Shelters with F. T. Fairchild &
The chairman of the Rishton Urban District Council, on the same day, gave a
résumé of a correspondence received from Lord Derby concerning the formation of
funds to relieve Air Raid Distress. It was resolved that a local fund should be
inaugurated in support of the Lords Mayors National Air Raid Distress Fund.
The surveyor reported that
members of the Home Guard had volunteered on the 13th February 1941,
to assist in clearing the roads following the snowfall on Saturday
18th January. The surveyor was instructed to convey to the Officer
Commanding the Home Guard the Councils appreciation of the services
rendered in the emergency.
The Council surveyor reported, on the 16th January 1941, on the position
regarding Domestic Surface Shelters already erected and the results of the
interview with the representatives of the Regional Technical Advisor in which
instructions were given for the demolition of the Type Two shelters and the
rebuilding of the same to the new design. The surveyor was to make arrangements
for this work to be carried out. The clerk was instructed, at the same time, to
communicate the councils dissatisfaction with the shelter design specified by
the Ministry of Home Security Drawing DS. 13/40 Type Two Shelter, to the
Lancashire Urban District Council's Association.
Correspondence was received from the Area Public Assistance Officer on the
14th February 1941, concerning the rest centre in the district. Application was
made by the Council to the Conservative Club for the use of part of the club
premises as an Emergency Rest Centre.
On the 20th February 1941, A petition was read from the residents of
Tottleworth concerning the provision of Air Raid Shelters and instruction in
Incendiary Bomb Control. Arrangements were made by the Council to give a fire
The question of communal feeding was raised at a Council meeting on the same
date, and a subcommittee formed to consider it. The sub committee were given
plenary powers to submit a scheme to the Ministry of Food.
The Council surveyor reported on the 6th March 1941, that he had now got the
personnel required for the Canal Protection Squad, and that the squad were now
carrying out their duties in accordance with the instructions received from the
The Chairman of the Urban District Council reported upon correspondence
received on the 3rd April 1941, from the Ministry of Food and the county council
concerning the contamination of foodstuffs by gas, and upon a meeting held
at Clayton-Le-Moors concerning the formation of a scheme in this district.
The Council resolved that the proposal that the Urban Districts of
Clayton-le-Moors, Great Harwood and Rishton form a joint scheme be approved, and
that the Sanitary inspectors of the respective of the respective districts
recommend premises for the treatment of foodstuffs. It was further resolved that
a meeting of the grocers in the town be called for the purpose of forming a Food
At the same time, Correspondence was read from the Chief Warden concerning
the organisation of the fire watching Scheme. The Chief was thanked for his work
in the matter and the confidence expressed that the fire Wardens Service would
continue to keep the Fire Watchers Scheme in a high state of Efficiency.
An application was made to the Ministry of Health, on the 11th December 1941,
under Section 228 (1) of the Local Government Act, 1933, for sanction to the
expenditure of an amount not exceeding 1/6d. per head on the organisation of a
Christmas party for evacuated children.
On the 12th June 1942, The Council Surveyor reported that a Warden's Post was
in course of erection on land adjoining the Esplanade, Blackburn Road.
Rooms at 23, High Street, owned by John Booth, were rented at 10/- per week
on the 10th July 1942, by the Rishton Council, for the storage of Air Raid
Precautions equipment, and an application was made to the County Council for
sanction to expenditure for the decoration of a room at W. F. C. Schaefer's shop
for the use of the Street Fire Watchers.
To read about Warship Week in Rishton in 1942,
It was decided to set up a British Restaurant in 1942, you can read about
this by clicking here.
Correspondence was read from the Ministry of Supply concerning the removal of
railings for iron scrap on the 14th August 1942. It was Resolved that the
Ministry be informed that the Council had no railings that were not essential.
The Council Clerk reported that notice had been received from the Ministry of
Works and Planning, on the 10th December 1942, stating that it is proposed
to commence the work of removal of iron railings in this district on or after
12th December 1942.
Arrangements were made on the 14th October 1943, to show the new training
films issued by the Ministry of Home Security at the Regal Cinema on a Sunday
evening in the near future. At the same time, Correspondence was read from the
County Civil Defence Department concerning the allocation to Rishton district of
an American Ford 3-ton Rescue Truck. The vehicle was not accepted and a
communication was addressed to the County Emergency Committee expressing the
opinion that a more rigid economy should be exercised in the Civil Defence
Services. The Council Clerk read correspondence from the County Council on the
11th November, concerning the allocation of a 3-ton American Ford Lorry, and
reported that the vehicle had already been delivered. In the circumstances this
vehicle was retained.
An application was made on the 11th November 1943, for permission to remove
the Belisha Beacons at Harwood Road corner so as to reduce the number of
obstructions which prove a source of danger in the black-out.
Approval was given on the 14th January 1944, to the purchase of nine dozen
whistles for the Fire Guard Organisation at a total cost of £3 18s. 1d.
Government Evacuation Scheme, 14th September 1944. The Council Clerk reported
receipt of correspondence allocating to this district one hundred evacuees. The
Clerk also reported correspondence from the Office of the Regional Commissioner
stating that 99, High Street and 2a, Eachill Road, Rishton, were being
transferred from the National Fire Service for use in connection with the
Government Evacuation Scheme. The Regional Commissioner was informed that in the
changed circumstances it now wished to release these premises.
The Council Clerk reported correspondence from the City of Manchester
Education Committee, on the 12th February 1945, expressing appreciation of the
manner in which evacuated Manchester children had been cared for in this area. A
copy of the letter was sent to Miss Holden, who had given so much assistance in
connection with the administration of the scheme.
On the 12th October 1944, the blast wall at the entrance to the Council
Offices was removed and an application was made to the County Civil Defence
Department for the removal of the blast wall at the entrance to the First-Aid
Post in High Street.
A letter of thanks was addressed to Mr. J. Walsh in appreciation of his
making the premises, 45, High Street available without charge for the storage of
evacuation furniture from the beginning of the War.
The Council Surveyor made an application to have the blast walls removed in
front of the First Aid Post, Clinic, High Street and the Report Centre, Brook
Street, and also the Air Raid Shelters and Road Blocks on the 10th May 1945.
A letter was read from Mr. Herbert Morrison thanking all personnel for their
services during the war on the 10th May 1945. A copy of the letter was sent to
the heads of each service.
A letter was read from the County Civil Defence Department regarding the
Disbandment of War Organisations on the 17th May 1945. The heads of each service
were to be notified to make their own arrangements for the disbandment of their
A letter was submitted to the Council on the 19th July 1945, on behalf of a
person who was evacuated to this district from Manchester in 1939 and who wished
anonymously to donate £25 for the purchase of bulbs to be planted in Cutt Wood.
The gift was accepted and a letter of thanks was forwarded to the person
It was decided by the Council on the 4th May 1945, that If possible, the
Surveyor make arrangements to floodlight the Cenotaph on Victory Day and the day
following. Consideration was given on the 16th August 1945, to the form which
the celebrations should take and it was Resolved - That a Public Meeting should
be called to obtain the views of the public and that the following Sub-Committee
should formulate suggestions for consideration at that meeting: Councillors
Booth, Hoyle and Longland. It was further suggested that the 15th September be
the appointed date for the celebrations. It was further Resolved - That, as the
total cost could not be accurately ascertained, a sum of £200 should be
allocated to cover the cost and that if this is exceeded a further reasonable
sum be voted to cover the expenses. On the 27th September, The Chairman thanked
all those who had in any way assisted in the successful celebrations held on the
15th September 1945, and the Clerk submitted a provisional amount of £228 as the
cost up to date. Further accounts were expected to be received. On the 8th
November, The Clerk submitted details of the cost of the celebrations, which
amounted to £244 1s. 8d. The amount provisionally voted was increased from £200
to £244 1s. 8d. and that all the accounts totalling this amount were paid by the
Air Raid Shelter Demolition. Seven tenders were received on the 15th February
1946, and opened by the Chairman and Officials. Resolved - That the tender of
Messrs. Horrocks & Son for £944 10s. 0d. be accepted for submission to and
approval by the Lancashire County Council. It was decided by the Council on the
15th April 1946, that the Wardens' Posts on the Sands Site and on the Esplanade
were to be demolished by the Contractor.
Victory Celebrations. The Clerk submitted a communication from the Home
Office on the 21st February 1946, recommending that June 8th be regarded as a
Public Holiday and that Victory Celebrations should be arranged for the
residents where deemed necessary by the Local Authority. Resolved - That as the
celebrations were held in this district on the occasion of the V. J. Day no
celebrations be held on the 8th June, but that arrangements be made as
previously decided for an Old People's Treat to be held at a convenient time. A
letter was submitted from the Whitley Council on the 9th May, recommending this
Council to grant the work-men a day holiday with pay on Saturday, June 8th, on
the occasion of the Victory Celebrations, whether held locally or otherwise.
On the 8th November 1951, the Clerk submitted correspondence with the County
Council Civil Defence Department regarding the provision of two
sirens in the District, one of which would be sited near the King's
Hall and the other in the vicinity of the West End of the Esplanade.
The Clerk was instructed to draw the attention of the
Authority to arrangements suggested
for the latter siren.
The Council Clerk submitted a letter from the Ministry of Food on the 8th
October 1953, stating that in view of the possibility-of the termination of Food
rationing during the coming year, It was recommended that the existing Food
Control Committee should continue in office until such event. Resolved That the
Ministry of Food be informed that this Council are in agreement with the views
On the 18th September 1952, Consideration was given
to a report by the Clerk on his meeting with representatives of the
County Council, who recommended that one siren was sufficient for
this district provided the situation was similar to that in the last
war. After considerable discussion it was Resolved That, one siren
only be erected in the district subject to the police authorities
approving the erection on the Police Station in Station Road.
The Council Clerk reported that the new Air Raid Warning Siren had been
erected and wired on the 4th March 1954, and that remote control apparatus was
still required to be installed by the G.P.O.
Rishton U. D. C. Council Minutes
Esther Sharp (Harwood Road)
Frank Watson (via Email)
The Rishtonian Newspaper, January 1946, Volume 1, Issue 13.
Ann Wilkinson (Hermitage Street)
William Leyland (Cliff Street)
Do You Remember - Memories of our Yesterdays. Published by Readers Digest