Background info
The History
peace and Industry
Cummersdale mills
Cum/mills continued
High Cummersdale
Parish images
Newby & the Moor
Wells, Pumps & Water
Parish 1939/45
sport in the Parish
farms & enclosure
village Hall
Cummersdale people 1
cotton mill video
Cummersdale people 2
Parish Commons
Cummersdale Schools
contact details




                          1939 - 1945 In The Parish.


     Leading up to the Second War, the people of the Parish and the villages together with the Parish Council were making preparations to protect themselves and their property in the event of air raids occuring in the Parish. In September of 1938 at a Parish Council meeting air raid precautions were discussed, and a Chief Air Raid Warden for the Parish was appointed, He was Mr Bernard Overton, By 1939, many other areas in the country were at greater risk and danger than Cummersdale, and evacuation of the children from those areas became a priority and took place toward the end of 1939. In Britain as a whole about one and a half million evacuees, which included escorts, some teachers and parents arrived at their reception areas at various locations throughout the country carried by 4,000 special trains from 75 different stations. At Carlisle Station a total of 5,848 evacuees arrived over a couple of days in September 1939. The evacuees which were mainly children were distributed to Carlisle and the surrounding parishes. Dalston had 280, at Cummersdale 36 children from Newcastle, 14 from South Shields and 18 mothers and 5 helpers accompanying them came to the village.           The children, all with labels attached and carrying their possessions in all manner of brown paper parcels, carrier bags and suitcases. They were all lined up on the village common, and from there they were allocated to the various volunteer family homes. The ones with with mothers and helpers were billeted in three empty houses, one being Cummersdale House, beside the church. People of the parish donated furniture and other essentials to help the evacuees settle in. One of the families that arrived from the North East and was billeted in Cummerdale House recalls being there. He remembered that three family groups were in the house, and that his mother converted the lean-to greenhouse at the back of the house into a kitchen area. This particular family never returned to the North East after the war, they eventually moved to a house in the bottom village. 

  One of the Children from the North East that came to Cummersdale, she returned on a visit 53 years later.

                                                                                                                                The massive influx of children so soon after the Land Settlement had moved into the parish put a great strain on the school and its teachers. The school had to operate a shift system between the school, the church and the village hall to accommodate the large number of children.                                                                                                                                     An auxiliary fire brigade was formed from volunteers in the parish, it appears the first volunteers were, S Vietch, A Irwin, J Inglis, J. Davidson, H. Beaty, W pullen, G Sewell, J Gouge, J Little, T Macfarlane, D Norman, and Eric Smithson. They managed to obtain a manual water pump which could be operated by two people. A large garage beside the village hall was used as the fire station. The village hall was to be used as a first aid post. By 1940 the fire brigade had changed to;  A.Jackson, R Irwin, J Macfarlane, W Johnstone, J Nixon, G Hayes, J Ryan, W Scott, and Fred Davidson from Cummersdale Mills. The Parish Council had about 500 hand bills printed about air raid precautions. A "Dig for Victory" campaign was encouraged for those with allotments and gardens. There was a long list of villagers on the waiting list for allotments in 1939, and it was growing steadily both at High Cummersdale and at Cummersdale Mills.       By January 1940 the Parish Council had managed to purchased half an acre of land at High Cummersdale which was divided into ten allotments 10 yards by 15 yards each. The used was where some of the Oval houses now stand.                                                                                By the middle of 1940 parisioners were becoming concerned about possible bombing air raids, so in June a meeting was called, over 100 people attended. The subjects discussed and requested were, trenches, camouflage, air raid shelters, the provision of sand bags, water buckets and stirrup pumps. Resulting from the meeting, Miss Hawkins was put in charge of the first Aid post, and Albert Irwin was put in charge of the fire station. It was asked at the meeting how the injured was be transported in the event of an air raid, Stead McAlpin's van was to be made available in that event. Discussion about camouflaging the Crescent houses took place and also the provision of trenches and shelters on the Crescent.  Also in 1940 the council purchased 7 red street lamps for use during the blackout, they were 5 metres high. Five of the lamps were erected in the top village and two in the bottom village. In the top village, one was erected at the foot of Gilbert Road, another beside number 1 Margery Terrace, one at the Crescent corner, one at Pump Lane and one at the school gate. In the bottom village one was erected at the end of Mill Gardens, and one at the foot of the hill. It was agreed that Mr Ross would look after the top village lights, and J Beaty would attend to the ones in the bottom village.  Because of blackout regulations no events could be held in the village after 10 p m. The evenings entertainment could begin at 7-15 pm and finish at 9-45 pm. Cards could be played for one hour, followed by one hours dancing and then half an hour's community singing. Trenches had been dug at the Crescent, Irvings Place, and Newby West, but they felt that the bottom village didn't need them! The Crescent trenches kept filling up with water. 

At Stead McAlpin print works, down the mill, along with textile printing, war work was also being carried out in the works. Bullet ridden fuel tanks from Lancaster bombers, and Anson tanks which were brought to the works for repair.