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Bishop Wilton East Yorkshire

Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

July 2002 Reprinted February 2009

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees Introduction In July 2000 Hilda Duffy visited Bishop Wilton where she had been evacuated to in September 1939, and, although she had been back a couple of times over the years, the need to revisit this place of such powerful associations had been growing in her. We heard of her presence from Bessy Fridlington, who had been her neighbour in the war years – and we immediately, and with some excitement, went to visit her, inviting her to our house to tell of her experiences as an evacuee. We had been exploring various fragments of the history of Bishop Wilton, and here, presented to us, was another aspect altogether. One thing leads to another. We knew of an article that had appeared in “Around The Wolds” by another evacuee to Bishop Wilton, Barry Trotter. We made contact with him and then decided to advertise in the Hull Daily Mail for any other people who had been evacuated to Bishop Wilton – and thus we began a very exciting few months, which culminated in a reunion of former evacuees in the village, in July 2001. These pages contain the vivid memories of youngsters who lived in Bishop Wilton during the war years. It is fitting to record them for the sake of the individuals themselves and for the sake of the history of the village. Kate & Mike Pratt Bishop Wilton July 2002


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Contents HILDA DENT ......................................................................................................................................................... 7 AVRIL GIBSON................................................................................................................................................... 25 BEATY COULMAN & MALCOLM TAYLOR ............................................................................................... 35 JOHN PAY AND HIS SISTER, LILY (NOW MRS PREEN).......................................................................... 45 KEITH PYGAS .................................................................................................................................................... 53 BARRY TROTTER ............................................................................................................................................. 59 A POEM ................................................................................................................................................................ 65 EVACUEE DAY ................................................................................................................................................... 67


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Memories of a Sunderland Evacuee

Hilda Dent From a conversation recorded on 24th July 2000. With supplementary memories and background information.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Mike: I was at the Show with a display of old photographs of Bishop Wilton and right at the end of the day somebody appeared who I knew, Bessy Fridlington, Butcher Smith’s daughter. She used to live in the house we are now in – No. 11. She said that she had been talking to someone who was visiting the village who was evacuated here during the war and she thought that she’d really like to see the photographs. So we got home and rushed up to the pub and went to see Hilda Duffy, who was Hilda Dent when she came to Bishop Wilton. That’s how we met. Hilda: Yes, I came to Bishop Wilton in 1939. War was declared on the 3rd of September and we came on the 10th of September. Kate: Gosh, so not much warning. Hilda: No, well we were all prepared back home, you know. We all had gas masks and whatever you had to have. Kate: Where were you living then? Hilda: Beside the shipyards in Sunderland, see, so it was a danger area because it was a target for the bombers. Kate: So they were expecting it already? Hilda: Yes, and they got a hammering 8

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees during the war in any case. I went back in 1941 when me Dad died and prior to me going back they really did get a hammering. But it wasn’t so bad later on. But we were like a last resort. They used to come into Sunderland, ’cause Sunderland did get a lot of damage done to it, and drop their bombs on their way out to the North Sea. Mike: So you were packed off and how did you arrive at Bishop Wilton? Hilda: We were put on trains in the local stations where I lived and brought into York, I always remember, and then shunted into Pocklington, because there was a railway station there at one time. Then we were put on buses and sent to various different villages, you know. Mike: So you turned up and you went to the Village Hall? Hilda: Yes, and we went to school there as well until they got us into the big school. Mike: Did you know when you set off who you were going to be with? Hilda: No, that was arranged when we arrived. Apparently, they didn’t want us, to be honest about it. Nobody in the villages. They weren’t so keen on taking us. I was talking to someone in the pub who had read that we were put down as verminous and dirty and I was never dirty, I can tell you that now, and we all had to have a certain amount of clothing before we were allowed to come away. My mother, with a struggle, got that for me and our Eddie. But people came and chose who they wanted and there was three of us left. That was our Eddie - my brother - me and this little lad who was five. Five year old and they called him John Dent which was the same name as us and I hadn’t a clue who he was. Mike: You didn’t know he was called John Dent before that? Hilda: No, I had no idea. Anyway he cried all the time, like. But prior to that somebody came and said that they thought that Mrs Cook would take us. So we came down to No. 10. Well, it was a bit frightening because they were old people, you know, they were in their seventies then and we were only kids. Kate: So you were eleven? Hilda: I was eleven and our Eddie was nine and this boy was five. And Mrs Cook said, “Yes, I’ll take you in.” Kate: So she took all three? Hilda: She took all three of us. My mother had given us a stamped addressed envelope and a bit writing paper so I could write straight away and let her know where we were staying. Kate: And did you all sleep in the same room? Hilda: Well yes, there was only two bedrooms. The boy cried incessantly for his Mam. So I wrote back and told her that the boy was crying, he wanted his Mammie all the time, which was obvious at five year old. So they come and got him. While I was here I got taught how to milk cows and it was hand-milking then, and churning butter … Mike: Milking cows at the back? Hilda: Aye, Bessy Smith would tell you. They had a smallholding. They had one byre with four cows and one with two. So, I was milking cows and she taught me how to bake bread. I used to get up on a morning and milk cows before I went to school. Kate: They’d get some use out of you, wouldn’t they? Hilda: Yes, and I made butter. Mike: Did you enjoy that or did it seem like hard work? Hilda: Well, I didn’t think I was cut out for it. But I took it in me stride. I used to come in here, No 11, to Mrs Smith and play with Bessy and do odd messages and that ’cause Mrs Smith only had one kidney. She used to say, “I like to hear you talk Hilda.” She must have liked our accent, you know. Kate: How old was Bessy? Hilda: She was close to five because I took her up and down to school until I had to go back home. Mike: Just by the way, do you remember the other people that lived in 8 and 9? Hilda: No, I can’t recall their names to be honest. 9

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees Mike: You have memories of Butcher Smith, don’t you? Hilda: Yes, I was asking Bessy about him. I knew he was losing his sight because we came back here once and it was when the Show was down that way (Mr Jebson’s fields on Thorny Lane). Mrs Smith said go up and speak to Butcher Smith, because that was how he was known. He was pottering about up there in the paddock and I said, “Hallo, Butcher Smith.” He said, “It’s Hilda Dent” and he could barely see us. He said, “I recognised your voice.” And he used to do jigsaw puzzles. Some he framed. They had a big room in the front, like. I remember that vividly. And we used to go out with him collecting sticks … Mike: You called that “sticking”. Hilda: Aye, he would find out where a tree had come down or branches that were dying off and our Eddie and me used to go and help him get them in. He had a van. Mike: He was well known for collecting wood around the village. Hilda: Oh he was, I can vouch for that! Kate: And he used to call you in, you said, to help him … Hilda: When the war first began, he slaughtered his own beasts. He used to bring them in the night before and you could hear them bawling out. They must have smelt what they were going to. They reckon they can. Mike: You can still see in the outhouses were the animals have worn away the wood by rubbing and clawing. Hilda: Now, on the outside where he slaughtered them he had a big ring. He used to fasten the ropes through that and tether the beast before he shot them - he had a humane killer. And he had a pulley to pull them up. He had stacks of boiling water ready. Mike: Yes, he had an arrangement there where he had a rainwater-collecting drum inside the outhouse and he used to heat the water up in the boiler. Hilda: Now, he used to make his own sausages. He used to clean all the skins out and we used to wind it off. Mike: Do you remember which part of the outbuildings he used as his shop? Hilda: He never had the shop while I was here. He had the van. Of course, when meat was rationed he couldn’t slaughter anymore. He had to buy it off whatever they called it, the Meat Marketing Board, or whatever it would be. But he used to kill a pig for other people. But if you had a pig killed you had to forfeit your bacon ration. You know what I mean? Because he used to kill one for Mrs Cook. And they would have the hams hanging from the ceiling. Because then they had dairies or larders. Kate: Yes, when we came here there was a larder with a big hook in the ceiling in each corner and we’ve still got the hooks there. Hilda: So we were guaranteed fresh bacon and fresh eggs because Mrs Cook had her own hens. In the field right out the back. When we used to take the cows out and along by the vicarage, and all, and down that back lane. The fields were just a bit further down than the back entrances. Kate: Did Butcher Smith keep any cattle himself? Hilda: I don’t think he did, I don’t think he bred any. Mrs Smith used to buy her milk off Mrs Cook next door. Kate: It was like that, wasn’t it, everybody would help eachother. Hilda: Mrs Cook used to make butter, but then again you had to report it with it being rationed. You had to supply your shop with it. And she used to make curds and whey and curd cake. Mike: At the Show there was a lot of interest in Wembley Garage and you remember a bit about that. Hilda: Yes, I used to go along there because he sold things you didn’t get in another shop. Mike: He sold sweets to the children, evidently.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees Hilda: Yes, Nancy Newby (Nancy Hutchinson, now) was on about that. But she said that it was banned to her. She wasn’t allowed to go there. But she said that they used to go on the quiet and buy chocolate and sweeties. Mike: I was told at the Show that he used to tell stories there but only to the boys, not to the girls. Kate: But there were quite a few shops in the village then, weren’t there? Hilda: There was Fielders as they called it on the corner there. Then there was a fish shop further up where Campbell’s house was but it was set back. Then there was a little store at the top that sold, like, dominoes. And round the corner towards the school there was a house shop. We used to buy cooking apples there. Because where we were from we had never seen apples growing on trees, so it was a novelty to us. That was before you turn the corner to the school. And where that garden (at the top of the village) is there was a caravan, one of those round ones not a modern one. Mike: Like a traveller’s, wooden caravan? Hilda: Aye. And Farrows across here, they had a caravan out the back, because we used to play in it. The Farrows were travellers. Mike: Yes, we know them from Pocklington. Kate: That was at the Rudsdale’s house, just to identify it? Mike: Do you remember the teachers at the school? Hilda: They called the teacher Miss Found. She was billeted further down here with somebody. Miss Found taught the infants, Mrs Rhodes taught the juniors and Mr Rhodes taught the seniors. Kate: When you were at the village hall being taught did someone come extra? Hilda: Nancy Newby was talking about that as well. She said that there was a Mrs Lee came out with us. Mike: You’re not aware of any photographs being taken at the school while you were there are you? Hilda: No, I don’t remember any. But there was a lot you didn’t get during the war. Kate: So you eventually moved up from the village hall and integrated with the village children. Hilda: Oh yes we went up there and I knew them all. But my memory doesn’t take me back as far as everybody although a name here and there can ring a bell. Kate: A very specific question, how did you get water at that time? Hilda: Pumped. A pump out the back served three families. Mrs Cook had a wooden dish to hold water, flat bottomed with the slides sloping out. She used to do everything in that. She used a washboard in it. And there were midden toilets at the top end. Kate: As far away as possible. Mike: There was a row of toilets there when we came. Kate: And you can see where ours was right at the end of the outbuildings. Mike: The Smiths didn’t have a bath here at No. 11, of course. Hilda: You know, I’ve often thought myself, where did we get bathed? Kate: You’d have a sink in the kitchen, would you? Hilda: No. Kate: What was her kitchen like?


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees Hilda: I’ll tell you what she had. The kitchen had a wooden door and you stepped down a step like yours. In fact Bessy was just on about it on Saturday, she said, “She didn’t have a lot, Mrs Cook, did she?” I said no. When you went in, there was a table at the window, and a pot boiler like what you used to wash your clothes in, in the corner. Mike: That means one with a fire underneath? Hilda: That’s right. Then there was your stove. She had an old fashioned settee. Then she had a front room. That’s where the churn was for the butter and such like. And the table she used to keep the milk on until she skimmed the cream off. Kate: So not a lot of sitting around and relaxing was done, was it? Hilda: Oh no, but you don’t like to say that to people, they think, “Oh well, she took you in.” Kate: But they worked hard. Hilda: We had to take our turn with the work. My father died on the Thursday morning, we came home from school and the cows come in and they were milked and we took the cows back out and we were doing what you call “tending”. Have you heard of that, instead of putting the cows into the field you let them graze the verges? And we come home and she said, “I want you to do something for me and then I’ve got something to tell you.” I said, “Well, why don’t you tell us first and then I’ll do what you want.” And she said, “There’s a telegram here somewhere come from your mother’s and your Dad died this morning.” Mike: Just like that … Hilda: Oh aye, I was no more good after that, was I? Kate: So it wasn’t all out of the goodness of her heart, was it? Because you earned your keep. Hilda: Yes. So I run up to see Mr Rhodes, the schoolmaster, and I explained the situation and he said, “Don’t worry, Hilda, I’ll take you to the station in the morning.” And he drove us into York station. Kate: With everything, with all your things? Hilda: No, I left some of the things because she wanted me to come back. Mike: That was you and your brother. Hilda: Yes, but I’ve never seen the telegram yet. I never ever saw that telegram. Nobody was on the telephone them days, were they? So I filled the papers in for her. She used to send milk to the Milk Marketing Board and she didn’t read very well so I had to fill them in. She kept saying, “You will come back, won’t you?” Kate: She was relying on you by then. Hilda: Mrs Cook wrote a letter to say would we go back and me mother said no. Mike: So you’d been here for how long? Hilda: A year and nine months. Kate: And had you seen your mother and your father in that time? Hilda: Me Mam came the first Christmas we were here like, in 1939 and me Dad came in 1940. And funnily enough we had an air raid while he was here. But there was nothing really. You used to get the rattles. And then the bell for the all clear. That was the last time I saw me Dad alive. Mike: Did you have shelters? Hilda: We used to run next door to No 12, into the cellar. Kate: Who lived next door? Hilda: Was it an old couple, really old? Then I’ve just found out the name of the people who lived the next door down, they called them Burgess and didn’t the son buy 8, 9 and 10? Kate: Yes, it was Malcolm and Ken Burgess. Ken bought all three and knocked them into one …. Did you have any other brothers and sisters? Hilda: I had three brothers back home. One older, Louis, he had just started work in the yards where they were exempt from being called up. Also, there was one 6 and one 3. So they stayed at home with my mother. Kate: It must have been some decision for her to send you away, to keep you safe. 12

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees Hilda: Well that was it, see. We still got the sirens here, but we weren’t in any danger of being bombed. But sometimes you think you are safer on your own doorstep, you know what I mean? Kate: You don’t know who was the air-raid warden, do you? Hilda: No, I haven’t a clue. Mike: Do you remember any of the other people in the village? Hilda: Yesterday I walked up the lane and there was a woman doing her garden, past Nancy Newby’s, and I said, “Excuse me, did this used to be the Campbell’s home?” She said, “Yes, it was.” When somebody tells you a name it sort of brings everything back. I know the Post Office was round the corner to the car park of the Fleece. I remember the Bartons, the Barnes, the Franks with the farm where the Show is now, there was a girl went to my school called Rachel Franks. There were the Sissons. I knew Jim Sissons. I used to go around with him with his papers and he used to come round when I delivered milk. The Lofts, their girls used to go to the school. I knew Bill Jebson, the son. Kate: There is another Nancy I know that used to work in the shop and she was the May Queen round about then. Hilda: Was it Thompson? You know in the school, have you seen the May Queen list? There used to be a board on the wall. Well, it must be in the school somewhere. As each one was chosen as May Queen their names was put on this plaque. Kate: It was a very important thing, I know. Hilda: Oh we danced on the field behind the Village Hall round the Maypole. Mike: At the Show, the old Maypole used to be used to hoist the flag on the gate. It has disappeared and I’ve been meaning to ask what happened to it. Hilda: Aye, there was a Maypole because we all had to learn to do it. Now, Annie Farrow, she had hair right down her back, masses of auburn hair, it was beautiful. She always wore it in the plaits, the big plaits, and the lace-up boots right up to the knees. But she used to have her hair in rags in preparation for May Day. Then when she took it out she looked absolutely gorgeous with ringlets and she was a great big buxom lass. Mike: We went out to look at the outhouses and saw what was Butcher Smith’s shop and you said you used to get involved in skinning the pigs … Hilda: … scraping the hairs off the pigs. Yes, our Eddie and me. He had a great big bath and when he killed the pig it used to go in the water. And he’d made the scraper. Then he would pull it up on the pulley and slice it down the middle and he fetched the lard out. Pure lard in those days not like what you buy now. So you were fed on the best, it was all home produced. We always got plenty of milk. She put me off milk because she used to put a mug of milk on the top of the stove to get warm morning and night with a spoonful of treacle in. That turned me off milk straight away. She used to say, “You’ll never get cold, mind.” And we never did. Kate: Did they have vegetable gardens? Hilda: Oh yes, our Eddie used to take the gooseberries and when we come to make the jam there was hardly any left. Now, further down there was three cottages. There was this old man that lived in the first one, and there was a Miss Slater lived in the middle one and there was a Mr and Mrs Slater lived in the third one. Them three were from Hartlepool. The first one, the old man owned the three of them. There was a big orchard at the back. There was another girl came here from Sunderland and she was billeted on Miss Slater and I was invited down to tea this Sunday. She had this big bowl of crab apple jelly and she said help yourself, Hilda. So what did I do? Take a flaming spoon to it. I didn’t know it was a jam. She said, “That’s for your bread, mind.” I used to deliver milk to them. Kate: Was it a bad winter when you were here? Hilda: Terrible. We had one bad winter and this village was completely cut off. We had to go into Pocklington on horseback to get some supplies. We were walking over gate tops. Kate: Not many people would have cars then. 13

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees Hilda: Very few. And Mrs Smith was the only one that I can recall having electricity and a wireless. Kate: You must have had a lot of skills when you left. Hilda: Well, my mother couldn’t believe I could make bread and what have you by the time I got home. Mike: Did you carry on making bread? Hilda: I did but I had that many bairns … Mike: How was it when you got back home? What was the war like for you? Hilda: When I got back home, my Dad died on the 25th of June and we went back on the 26th. We still got air raids and we had a concrete shelter in the back yard. When the sirens went we used to go into the shelter and you only had a candle and a bit rug to wrap round you. And then with us living outside a shipyard if there was what we called “over-the-top” they had a special siren that used to go off that was to tell all the men to take cover. Kate: Otherwise they kept working? Hilda: Yes. We lost the railway station or the best part of it. Cinemas, lots of homes. Lots of people killed. Kate: Did you keep on at school? Hilda: Well, you didn’t have exams them days with there being a war, you didn’t even get cookery. I come home and I went to a school called Diamond Hall and me Mam started work. So when she started work I just stayed at home. Because I would work for buttons and she would make a lot more than I could have made. She was a painter in a shipyard. That was right outside me door where I lived. We were surrounded by shipyards. And we used to watch the ships getting launched. It was a marvellous experience but you didn’t realise that then, did you, when you were kids. At that time Sunderland was considered the biggest ship building town in the whole of the world. Mike: What’s the area where you used to live like now? Hilda: It’s not there no longer. They just pulled it all down. It was all tenement buildings. So they just moved us on into council houses. After that I went to an estate called Thorny Close, which had been farm land, when I had all the kids. Prior to that I lived on a farm. In fact, I went back to what I had left in Bishop Wilton. Lamplights, fire cooking. But the kids had the run of the field and you weren’t frightened to let them out in those days. Kate: At least it wouldn’t have been so strange to you. Mike: Did you keep in touch with anybody after you left? Hilda: No, I came back once to see Mrs Cook when I was seventeen, straight after the war. Then I brought my bairns back. I’ve got a photograph at home I took then. I’m sitting on the step at No. 10. Our Sharon was about four so that was about 33 years back. Kate: There were buses into Pocklington and York then, were there? Hilda: Yes, there used to be because there was a girl called Cook, the old lady’s granddaughter who lived on the Garrowby estate, her father worked there. There was another 14

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees one who I’ve been told died, Lillian Slater. They used to come in on the bus and it used to get in about half past nine, because we used to start at nine o’clock. They were a bit late and they were allowed out at twenty past three to catch the half past three bus going back. Kate: Did kids used to walk down from the farms on the tops? Hilda: I can’t remember that, mind. I never realised that there were so many kids in the village those days but it is obvious when one school took the lot. Mike: Was there one big room just split up? Hilda: There was a big room and it was partitioned. You could hear what was going on at the next side. Then there was a little room for the youngest. While I was at the school we knitted helmets and scarves for the servicemen during schooltime. And you were allowed off to go and help the farmers in the fields as well. Kate: Everyone? Hilda: Well, those that were willing to do it. Because I’ve worked on Franks’ farm, for singling sugarbeet, is it? And when you tell people they say, “Ah, she’s imagining it.” But I’m not, believe me, I’m not. Kate: Did you have enough clothes to last you all that time? Or were you growing out of them? Hilda: My mother used to knit. She used to send us things. Mind you there was somebody in the village and I must have been about her size because she used to pass things on to me. She was a young woman and I was tall and thin. I was very tall even when I was here. I’ve lost an inch or so with the hips. I’ve had three hip replacements, two on one side and one on the other. You gradually go down again!


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Hilda with Bessy Fridlington in 2001

More Memories Nancy Hutchinson (Nancy Newby, as was): Nancy was interviewed by pupils from Bishop Wilton School for “The Oral Tradition of the Wolds - Volume II” (edited by Bill Chandler and published by the Local History Unit of The Hull College of Further Education in 1992). She was 9 years old when the war started: “.… when the war came in 1939, there were a lot of children who came from Sunderland and from Hull, Margaret Galloway, Grace Johnson, Billy and Arthur King - and we had a family live with us with two little boys at one period and their mother; Mrs.Wilkinson, David and Barry. We had a little girl from Hull, Kathy Ellis and we also had another family from London, Mrs. Pollock and Jimmy. So we really met a lot of other children at the beginning of the war. These children had been used to doing things we hadn't had at Bishop Wilton. They had been used to going to ballet dancing and tap dancing classes, so they taught us quite a lot of things. They taught us songs and different things that we hadn't heard before." Nancy remembers Mrs Cook and where she lived: “There was a swill tub at the back door. In the back room there was a copper in the corner, at the window, with a rocking chair nearby. Mrs Cook 16

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees had this churn and on our way to school, I used to call and do so many turns with the churn to turn the cream to butter.” Also, Nancy remembers the fish shop that Hilda mentions. It was in the end shed of No 57 when a Mrs Drury was living there.

Ken Sissons: The caravan that Hilda remembers, outside Mill House, was where Ken’s Grandmother, Mary Jane Sissons, lived. Ken explains that the house itself was pretty full, with his 3 older sisters, and 1 younger brother. The caravan was moved to a site at the rear of the house after there was some objection to its being at the front. There was a plate on the side of the van with the name Mary Jane Sissons on it. After she died, on 27 January 1945 aged 85, the van was dismantled, the rully being used on the farm.

Joan Goy (Joan Cook, as was): Joan, granddaughter of Mr & Mrs Cook, found this photo of them from about 1946:

Joan was at Bishop Wilton school when Hilda was there. She remembers the May Queen celebrations. The children voted to elect the May Queen. A boy was chosen at the same time to be School Captain. They had the role of head girl and head boy for the following year. On the day of the crowning of the May Queen Joan remembers going round the village doing a Cornish dance. They would then go on to the field behind Fishers where maypole dancing and the crowning took place. The celebrations happened every year while Joan was at the village school.

A Hull Evacuee Another evacuee, Barry Trotter from Hull, reminisces about the four years he spent in Bishop Wilton in an article in Around the Wolds (No 30, May – June, 1993). He stayed with his dad’s uncle Ben Wilkinson, Ben’s wife Sarah and Sarah’s brother Charlie Cullum. He remembers: “ … the young soldiers who came on ‘manoeuvres’ and camped near to the spring above the village, the source of Wilton Beck. “Rides on their bren-gun carriers and armoured cars … “ … the crash landing of aircraft limping back to Pocklington aerodrome after sustaining damage in enemy bombing raids.” Barry stayed at Wolds Kennels, which was No. 90, in a block of three cottages that were on the site where “Cordwainer” now stands (see picture below): 17

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

“It lacked any modern conveniences, having only one outside tap to serve three cottages, earth toilets of the tandem type, and no electricity. “(Sarah, Ben and Charlie) rose no later than 5am, earlier in the summer; they had dinner [lunch] at 10.30am and tea before 3pm. Bedtime all the year round was 7.30pm.” Vivid memories for Barry are: “Sledging down the “Park” the steep fields to the east of the village during the severe winter of 1941 … “ … during that same winter, taking a shovel to bed at night, knowing the next morning the first task on rising would be to climb out of the bedroom window and dig down through the snow drifted against the well of the cottage, to clear the back door.”

The photo above, which was taken from the church tower, is a detail from an old postcard. The building comprising the three cottages is in the foreground with a lean-to along the back. Charlie Cullum’s cobbler’s shop is to the right, in the fenced-off dog pound. The window Barry climbed out of to clear the snow is the furthest one away above the lean-to.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Some Background Information May Queen Celebrations: Dating from 1942, this is a photo taken on the day of the May Queen Celebrations:

It includes some evacuees, like Margaret Galloway and Grace Johnson. Bessy Smith (now Bessy Fridlington) is on the extreme left. Nancy West (now Parker), in the centre with the crown, was the May Queen (Queen Daisy) and Eric Sissons, to her left was the School Captain.

Mr & Mrs Cook Bishop Wilton church records show that James Henry Cook (son of Charles Cook, farmer), aged 22, married Selina Skinner (daughter of John Skinner, bricklayer), aged 18, on November 23, 1891. They were both from Belthorpe. This would make them 70 and 66, respectively, when Hilda and her brother were billeted with them in 1939.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

BISHOP WILTON SCHOOL LOG BOOK The following extracts from the school log book relate to the period Hilda Dent was at Bishop Wilton: June 14 1939 Visit of Mr J Moffatt, LEA’s Inspector, re evacuation plans. Inspected suitable buildings in the village with a view to providing additional accommodation. Sept 11 1939 School reopened after midsummer a week later than arranged because of the outbreak of war. Children to attend school with respirators. Numerous children evacuees in the village from Hull and Sunderland etc. The 30 Sunderland children are being taught in the Men’s Institute as a temporary school at present. Miss Edith May Found commenced duties as Infant Teacher. Sept 12 1939 Evacuee children all in this dept today and until further notice. Sept 18 1939 Most of the Sunderland Evacuee children with 3 teachers are now accommodated at the Men’s Institute and provided with desks and apparatus from here. Trestle tables have also been brought into use. Oct 3 1939 93 children in this dept and 23 at the Men’s Institute. 71 + 45 evacuees. Oct 10 1939 HMI Mr Howard visited school re evacuation children. His instructions were that the children, teachers and temporary premises are all to be regarded as if one school under one head. Oct 16 1939 Permission received to commence school garden. Mr Bowman, a teacher from Sunderland, in charge of this work. Oct 18 1939 Drill in clearing school and fixing respirators. School cleared and children wearing full clothes and respirators in less than 4 minutes. The difficulty is caused through having only one door to cloakroom. Nov 7 1939 Received notice from Beverley that Miss M Alder and Mr Bowman are to return to Sunderland on or before Nov 11th and to report for duty there on Nov 13th. Nov 8 1939 Mr Bowman returned to Sunderland earlier as he was summoned by Military Authorities. Nov 13 1939 All children, evacuee and village, now accommodated in this school. Miss Scott, Sunderland evacuee Teacher, absent ill. 100 children now on roll. Nov 30 1939 Number of Evacuee children now down to 22. Number on roll = 72 + 22 = 94. Dec 2 1939 Wrote to each manager asking for aid to give children a Xmas party. Dec 11 1939 Head Teacher (HT) and Mrs Rhodes left 11.30 to buy presents for the children for Xmas. 20

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees Dec 20 1939 Christmas Party attended by managers. Each child received tea and a present. Dec 21 1939 School closed until Jan 2 for Xmas. Miss Scott – Sunderland evacuee teacher returned home, and ceased duties here. Jan 2 1940 School reopened after Xmas. Severe Frost. Number on roll 72 + 14 evacuee children. Feb 2 1940 Percentage this week 74.1 for local children but 92.3 for evacuee children. Long distance children unable to attend because of deep snow drifts. Frost or snow or both ever since Christmas. Feb 15 1940 Mrs Lee went to Sunderland owing to family bereavement. Apr 5 1940 HM absent attending a conference in Oxford by permission. Number on roll 74 + 11 evacuees = 85. Mrs Rhodes absent. Mrs Lee in charge. Apr 29 1940 Word received that Mrs M L Lee is to be transferred to Kirby Underdale as from May 6th. May 8 1940 May Celebrations. Mrs Lee came from Kirby Underdale to crown Nancy Jackson (reelected) May Queen and install Lawrence West as Captain. Prefects were Marjorie Deighton and Joan Marwood; Gordon Foster and Peter Cook. May 10 1940 School closed for Whitsuntide holidays, one week. Lesson taken this a.m. on the Invasion of Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg by the German troops as announced in this morning’s wireless news. May 14 1940 School reopened after one day’s holiday by instruction from Bd of Education given over wireless and in the press. Mr Smith HMI visited to see school garden. June 10 1940 Returned forms re evacuees to County Hall, also form re summer term leavers. Report of Supervisor of E R Day School Gardens. “A neglected piece of land in the village and some distance from the school has been taken over as an emergency garden. The ground is full of perennial weeds, and the children have done well to dig and clean the ground sufficiently for crops. The small seeds have not been a success, which is not surprising on land in such a bad state. The whole area is being cropped mainly with potatoes and green crops. Another year it should be possible to crop the ground successfully with a wide variety of crops.” C E Hudson (University of Leeds and Yorkshire Cl for Agricultural Education.) July 8 1940 Yesterday a party of 30 children and 2 teachers arrived from Hull. For the present they are being accommodated for school purposes in the Men’s Institute until such time as the Military Authorities commandeer the premises. Stock etc has been loaned by me to enable them to carry on – notice forwarded to Beverley. July 10 1940 Mr Smith HMI called re evacuee arrangements July 12 1940 School Nurse attended and examined all children here and at the Institute.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees July 18 1940 Received notice that one of the two Hull evacuee teachers must return to Hull for duty next week. The 2 teachers concerned are Miss Edna Mary Kirby and Miss Ina Clark. July 23 1940 Received new register for Evacuees. July 30 1940 Today we held the School sports for a trophy presented by the managers. School divided permanently into 2 teams – colours Green and Blue. Green team won. Sept 9 1940 School reopened. 89 on books plus 26 at the Institute. Sept 30 1940 Received notice from Beverley that Boys 12+ may be allowed to be absent for 2 weeks to help with potato picking. Quarter end. Official forms forwarded to Office. 75 on books plus 40 evacuees, 14 in this school and 26 at the Institute. Average for Q 71.1, and 40.9 for Evacuees Jan 7 1941 School reopened after Xmas holiday. Miss Kirby (Evacuee Teacher from Hull) was recalled to Hull and Miss Christensen sent in her place. No. on rolls Infants 13 Lower 24 Upper Group 31 Evacuees in this Dept 12 Total = 80 Evacuees in Men’s Institute 22 Grand Total 102. Jan 20 1941 (Monday) A severe and sudden snow storm during the week end completely cut off the Village. Head Master, Mrs Rhodes, Miss Found & Miss Christensen (Evacuee Teacher) were away on Saturday at various places and were unable to return to the village for Monday. HM arranged by phone for the Vicar to take charge and he and Mrs Gray, a teacher of Pocklington, who could not reach Pocklington, carried on the school. During Monday evening the Head Teacher & Mrs Rhodes reached Pocklington by car and then walked to Bishop Wilton to be in school on Tuesday morning. Jan 24 1941 (Friday) Miss Found and Miss Christensen reached here from Scarboro last night after travelling from 9 am and walking from Pocklington. Both in school today. Jan 30 1941 Arrangement made for Evacuee children at Men’s Institute to attend this school as from Monday Feb 3rd. Feb 7 1941 No. on rolls 73 + 29 evacuees. % of attendance - Local children 66.3, evacuee children 93.4. 16 children away through whooping cough and measles. Apr 21 1941 School reopened. 13 cases of Chickenpox reported to MO. Miss Christensen – Hull Evacuee Teacher – ceased duty on the 9th and Miss J Cooper commenced duty. Apr 24 1941 Mr Smith HMI visited this am. Head Teacher reported to Office position regarding numbers on roll. 74 local children + 38 evacuees, 21 of which are in Infants Class, and suggested the reopening of the Men’s Institute which was done on 28th. May 2 1941 Returns re Evacuation to Hull Authority. HT communicates with Small Pig Keepers Council re forming a Pig Club for School. May 16 1941 Two young pigs obtained for school Pig Club. Jun 16 1941 Took over a derelict garden near the school, cleaned and planted it. 22

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

In the log, the air raid warden is identified as Mr Holgate in an entry for 1943. He attended school to test the respirators.

Payment to Householder The payment to a householder who accepted an evacuee was 10s 6d per week, sixpence more than the old age pension.

Information assembled by Mike & Kate Pratt Bishop Wilton June 2001


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Memories of a Hull Evacuee

Avril Gibson

From a conversation recorded on 14th June 2001


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees Avril Gibson (now Brattan) came to Bishop Wilton in 1940, aged 5, with her brother, Norman, who was 3 years older than her. They were both billeted with Mrs Riley at No 73. Mrs Riley's daughter, Mrs Mary Rowlay, and Mary's daughter, Ruth, plus other evacuees all shared the house. Avril: I don't remember much about leaving Hull when I was evacuated or the journey to Bishop Wilton. I think it must have been City Hall, all gathering there, and then being taken to the station. My first memory is of standing on the wall outside Mrs Riley's, for the first couple of days. Standing there and sort of looking round the village. Mike: Do you remember if you had a luggage label with your name on? Avril: Yes, I think I did, I’m sure I did. Didn’t we have a gas mask as well? Kate: Yes, and food for 24 hours you were supposed to take with you.

Avril: I can't remember these posed photos of me and Norman being taken but it must have been soon after we arrived. Perhaps we went into York for them. It’s a wonder I’ve got shoes on in this photo. I was really heavy on shoes and I’d be made to wear boots. Mike: I must show you the photo of the assembled school at the May Queen celebrations in 1942.

[Looking at the photo, Avril identifies her brother quickly but isn't sure which one is her.] Avril: I only had one decent dress and I used to keep it for Sundays and special occasions. [We look at a photo of Avril wearing the dress and then we look for her on the May Queen photo. Success!] Avril: That's the only one I can think is me with that same spotty dress on. I remember dancing round the maypole.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Norman is front row left and Avril is on the right in the row behind

Kate: Do you remember not having many clothes? Avril: What I did have, the decent clothes, Mrs Riley and Mrs Rowlay bought me. I needed something decent for Sundays. I was in the church choir in the morning and in the evening. Then Sunday School at the chapel in an afternoon. So they bought the dress for me for helping them by taking the cows out at night. It was something in return. When I came home I had to change out of that dress into old things to take the cows out. Kate: How did you spend your time when you weren't at school or doing chores? Avril: Well, I remember there was a caravan at Ken Sissons' house and we used to go round the back there and play in that. Kate: The Sunderland evacuee, Hilda Dent, remembers that. It used to be at the front but it was moved round the back. Avril: At the top of the village there, we used to cut through where there was an opening to get to the fields behind. We used to go sledging up there and we used to walk miles to go and sing a Christmas carol and maybe get sixpence. Kate: Did you go up to the Stead’s? Avril: There was one or two we went to. The Steads, if I remember rightly, lived up Worsendale. Kate: Yes, at Beechwood. Avril: We used to go up there. They had a walnut tree and we used to pinch the walnuts. We didn't take many but I can remember cracking the shells and eating them there and then. I think that Mrs Stead had some relative in Bishop Wilton who we used to play with and they used to take us up there. I can remember we used to walk up to – would it be Garrowby? I know there was a nasty accident there, and there was a stone, and a little vase where you could put flowers, and we used to put primroses. At the top of Garrowby we’d turn right, and eventually that used to bring us down to the road that led from Pocklington, through Great Givendale. There used to be a tumbled down shed and they used to say there was a man lived in there that we hadn’t to go near. Oh, we walked for miles Kate: You wouldn’t have a bike or anything? Avril: Oh dear no – I didn’t get my first bike till I was about 14 – and that was second hand, about £4 10s I think it was. The only time we went on the bus was if we went into 27

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees Pocklington. I think we went into York once or twice to Mrs Rowlay’s relatives. But that was about it. I used to go to Mrs Dring's who lived opposite and pick a lot of her gooseberries. They were for her but she used to ask me to pick them. She had one daughter, Hilda Dring, I think.

Mrs Dring, centre, with Hilda on her knee at the May Queen celebrations, 1942.

Mike: There was some kind of shop on the corner just before the school, wasn't there? Avril: Yes, there was a tiny little shop that used to sell sweets and ice cream wafers. Was it called Foster’s? It was a house but she had one or two things in to sell. Wasn't there a son called Henry Foster or something like that? I know there were two sisters. Kate: Did anyone visit you from Hull? Avril: I think I saw my father twice in the six years I was there. Then an aunt came a couple of times. That was really all I saw. Kate: Did you feel abandoned? Or don't you remember that particularly? Avril: No, not really. I don't think you do at the time, do you? Kate: But you had your brother anyway. Avril: Has anybody you've spoken to mentioned the Red House at Pocklington where they used to take them when they had impetigo? Impetigo was like a spotty rash. Kate: I think I do know that. But it's a bungalow now. I seem to remember that a villager called Owen Robinson said that an aeroplane hit it and it was reduced to a bungalow. It was at the corner of Garths End. Avril: There was quite a bit of Scarlet Fever, and I think there was diphtheria too. We used to see the ambulance there, taking them away. Mike: Yes, the school had to be fumigated overnight, with Scarlet Fever. Avril: I can remember going to York Hospital and having my tonsils out there. I think I would have gone on the bus. Also, I remember taking the accumulator from the radio into Pocklington on the bus. Once I let it wobble a bit and I got some of the acid on my clothes and it burnt a hole. Mike: Where did you take it to? Avril: Was it Kirk’s or Lee’s? I don't know. I think that if I remember right that Kenneth Sissons worked there. Kate: You're dead right. It was Lee’s, where he started. Did you go to the proper school, the big school, or the little school in the village hall? Avril: I went to the proper school. I can remember it having an open fire. Real cosy. Then I remember having Horlicks at school. I would be about 7 or 8. We used to pay a ha’penny for a 28

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees mug, but if I had misbehaved I didn’t get my ha’penny for my Horlicks. My brother always got his, because he was very good! I remember these ice creams Mrs Rowlay used to do, with thick custard – that was our treat. Thick custard between 2 wafers. She could bake anything – I used to love it when it was baking day, and all the Yorkshire puddings and everything. They used to put wood in the side of the oven and do it that way, an old-fashioned black-leaded range. [From the school log: “Demonstration in school re Horlicks’ milk. Decided to commence a supply of Horlicks’ milk to children at ½ d per day from April 11th 1938.” Then: “50 beakers of Horlicks’ milk served.”] Mike: Were you aware at the school of any children coming in later in the morning who came on the bus? Avril: I can remember when the snow was thick - I think it was this Ronnie Thompson that Ruth Rowlay married – he used to get lost in the snowdrifts; didn’t he live by Cot Nab somewhere, and he had to come down to the village, and I know once or twice they thought he was missing completely, but he did used to turn up, middle of morning. I can remember in the snow, they used to start at the bottom end of the village and dig upwards. We didn’t get dug out some mornings till late, so we would be late wouldn’t we? Kate: Do you remember being accepted all right by the village children? Avril: Oh yes. Kate: There wasn’t any ‘you’ and ‘us’? Avril: No. Mike: What names do you remember? Avril: There were the Stotts who had the Post Office. I think they had one son. Kate: I can just remember that from when we moved here in 1976. Avril: There was a Mrs Ware who lived next door to where I stayed, towards the top of the village. There was someone we used to call Aunty Smith. I remember her being a lovely person. She had an evacuee called Les East staying with her. Then there was a young woman who lived round by the school. What did they call her? There was another Mr Sissons who lived down from us. He lived to quite a good age. Didn’t he remarry and go to Pocklington? There was the Loft family in the council houses at the back. And this Heseltine who lived in one of the black houses down the back lane, but I don’t know who he was with. I remember Kenny Loft’s name and Grace Smith – did she live in one of the cottages at the top of the village, where we went up to the fields? I know there was one or 2 Land Army girls, and one used to be in either the last house or the one before. Kate: That’s interesting, nobody’s mentioned Land Army up to now. Mike: Do you remember Wembley Garage, round the back, on the back lane? Avril: With the penny-farthing bike in the window – Ripley’s? Mike: So it was there before it was in Fisher’s window? Avril: Yes it was in Ripley’s window in the back lane. Dr Isherwood was our doctor. He used to come out from Pocklington. Tell me, are all the little bushes still outside the church gates? Kate: The lilac bushes? No, they’ve gone now.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

The lilac bushes – from and old postcard

Avril: We used to make mud pies in there after carrying water up from the beck. There were paths up and down the bank to the bushes. Mike: They are remembered by a lot of people as where the children used to play. You used to be able to get in amongst them, didn’t you? Avril: Yes. Wasn’t it the Barker Family that lived in the wooden bungalow on your way from Pocklington? There was quite a big family of them. Mike: How much aware were you of the war going on? Avril: Well, when the sirens went off we used to go into the little cupboard under the stairs with our gasmasks and what have you, but really that was all. You used to get the soldiers in the village, with all the camouflage, and they used to be in and out of those lilac bushes, and things like that. But we didn’t hear much of it really. I remember when a plane crashed and my brother went and got the Perspex. They used to make rings out of it, and cut three little marks in it, and they painted them, as if they were stones. Oh, and he used to keep tame mice – I was scared stiff of them, but he used to keep a couple. One of these airmen gave him a cat and it was blind, and when he came back to Hull, Mrs Rowlay looked after that cat until it passed away. Mike: You’ve mentioned tending the cows and picking gooseberries, what other work did you do? Avril: When I was about 9 or 10 year old I went carrot picking. They used to drop us off at the bottom of the village and give us a bunch of carrots for picking them and I was walking up the village swinging this bunch of carrots and there was a little pony on the green and it came and it trampled on me. I was bruised all over. It wanted the carrots. Mike: Did you have time off school to pick the carrots? Avril: No, I don’t think so. I used to go and clean the chickens out at the bottom end of the village, on the left-hand side. But I can’t remember their name. My brother did it and when he returned to Hull they asked me if I’d do it. I got sixpence a week. There was 2 chicken sheds and you used to open the door – I was scared stiff – they all used to fly out at you. I used to have to collect the eggs first and there was always the stray one that was left in, and they used to jump out at you. [The chicken huts were Mrs Salmon’s at Manor Farm – Ken Sissons had the job before Norman Gibson, cleaning them out on a Saturday for sixpence and a cup of cocoa.]


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees I can remember picking boxes and boxes of primroses – there used to be a field of them. We used to pick them, and put them in shoeboxes and they used to send them to the Hospital. The field used to be near the Vicarage, straight up and on the right hand side. And we used to also pick hips Kate: That gets a mention in the School Log Book – Bishop Wilton won a prize for picking the most rosehips in the North of England, or something! Avril: I’ve even been and rung the bells in the church. And Mr Fawcett was the vicar at the time, I think. We used to have our gowns on, the surplice and the three-cornered hat. We used to go across the road to Mr Butterworth’s to have choir practice. [We look at a photo taken at about the same time as the May Queen celebrations, 1942]

Back Row: Mrs Rowlay with dog, unknown girl, Mrs Riley with an evacuee, the Mertha sisters Front Row: Ruth Rowlay, Avril Gibson, unknown boy, Norman Gibson

Avril: There’s Mrs Riley, she used to wear a handkerchief knotted in the four corners and then put on her head. I don’t know who that is next to my brother. Those two at the back on the right, I think are Rachael and Edith Mertha (who came from Sunderland). I can remember Mrs Rowlay having one evacuee and she was still in her highchair. I’ve never known two women work as hard as what Mrs Riley and Mrs Rowlay did. They used to be at it all day long. Then they’d get up in the early hours if a calf was due to be born. Then Mrs Rowlay worked for the Campbells. Mike: Did you keep the same hours as them? Avril: Well, I’ve often seen a calf being born. I used to go and watch them milking. I can remember feeding a little piglet, a wreckling, there used to be a thing in the grate bottom for it and I used to get it on my knee and feed it with a little baby’s bottle. I think I’d be scared stiff now if I had to touch one! And the cows, we used to spend most of our time with them – I would have loved to have learnt how to milk a cow. Mrs Riley used to get her head in the side of it, and be sat there on a three-legged stool, but I never had a go. Kate: Was Ruth the same age as you? Avril: No, she was younger. But not a lot. I do remember sleeping so many at the top of the bed and so many at the bottom, head to feet. Mrs Riley used to have one room that she stored the apples in. We used to lay them all out on the floor. I remember that, when anybody in the village passed away, and they didn’t have anybody, they used to have auctions to sell their things off – I can remember buying Mrs Riley two black lead reindeer that I paid sixpence for out of doing those chickens. Kate: Did you have water in the house?


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees Avril: No, I can remember having to wash my hair and taking a jug out to the rainwater barrel at the back yard – I used to have lovely, shiny hair then. Mrs Rowlay had a well in the front garden to the right, because the cows used to go and drink out of there. It was right over to the right, near the hedge. Mike: I wonder if that’s still there – I must go and have a look. Avril: There was a pump outside Mrs Rowlay’s when I was there; now and again we used to get a drop of water out of it.

Mrs Riley’s with the pump outside the gate

Avril: I don’t remember who took me back into Hull again. I went to my father’s sister. She was quite “la posh”, she always wore a fox fur, you know. And I went back in those threequarter socks with my haircut really short. She had one daughter who had absolutely everything. I couldn’t believe it, it was an eye-opener. I stayed with her about a fortnight before I went to be introduced to this stepmother. That was in a little “sham-four”, a terraced house, down Courtney Street. I can remember going to pay the rent - it was 5s 7d a week. Kate: We haven’t found anybody who was really unhappy. Avril: No, although at my age when I went to Bishop Wilton I couldn’t remember a real lot of home life, you know. Then with my mother being ill and my father going off to sea I wouldn’t have had anybody anyway. So that was our life. I could have stayed at Bishop Wilton and lived there. I loved it. When I look back on my life I can see that I had a lot of happy days there. Kate: Others have said that. Some had to be taken back, their mothers didn’t come for them.

Avril: This photo was taken just before I left, I think. I’m wearing the dress Mrs Rowlay bought me with a pinafore skirt over it.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees Kate: It looks like hessian. This was sort of ‘45/’46, was it? How old were you there? You look like a teenager. Avril: I’d have been ten or eleven. My brother came home earlier than me. He always suffered from his breathing. They thought that it was asthma, you see. And then with us being in the predicament we were in at home with my father being at sea and with my mother being in hospital, I stayed on a bit longer. My brother worked on the tugs from when he was about 16 up to when he retired, and he worked with one of the King brothers who were all evacuated to Bishop Wilton. So, I was getting on for eleven when I came back. Kate: What was it like for you coming back from living in the country? Avril: I didn’t want to come back. Kate: Did you visit after the war? Avril: Yes and I’ve got these photos, one from when I was first married.

Ruth Rowlay, Mrs Riley, Avril, Mrs Rowlay – c1957

Avril: Look at me and that lovely waist! Then there’s another one with my brother’s wife on the end.

Ruth Rowlay, Mrs Rowlay, Avril Gibson, Avril’s sister-in-law – c1956


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Avril in 2001, reunited with a Horlicks mug.

Information assembled by Mike & Kate Pratt Bishop Wilton July 2001


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Memories of two Hull Evacuees

Beaty Coulman & Malcolm Taylor

From a conversation recorded on 17th June 2001


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees By coincidence, Beaty Coulman (now Beaty Lee) arrived at Bishop Wilton at the same time as Malcolm Tayor (now called Mike) and his wife, Jean, so we seized the opportunity and talked to them together. Beaty was five-years-old when she set off from Mersey Street School, Hull, in a yellow coat she remembers to this day. Malcolm was living in Plane Street, Hull, when he was evacuated at the age of four. Beaty: The day I was evacuated we came on a bus and we went to a hall up past the Co-op. It was a chapel. The local children were all stood round looking at us. I remember them looking very pretty, in little bonnets, dressed entirely different to us. I don’t know how we were allotted but because I’d sat with these two girls on the back of the bus I was billeted with them. I went up on the hill to Mrs Stead’s. The picture is so vivid; it was the hugest back kitchen you’ve ever seen with flagstones. Turkeys used to walk in and out while we were eating. Mike: You don’t remember a walnut tree up there do you because someone else has mentioned that? Beaty: Don’t tell me about walnuts. You know, I still don’t eat walnuts. The walnut tree was double, we could reach it out of the bedroom window and we used to eat these walnuts in bed. I’d eat them until I was sick. So I still don’t eat walnuts and my sons laugh at me. The two girls I was with were a lot older than me. I can remember them putting me in the beck and throwing me in a bunch of nettles. For a laugh. I don’t think it was serious. Then it was decided that I was too little to walk from Stead’s to school every day so I moved. Mike: Malcolm, can you remember coming to Bishop Wilton for the first time? Malcolm: I remember the bus drawing up and looking at this house and thinking, “Isn’t that bonny”. It was because of the garden and all the big flowers and I finished up living there, at No. 57. We were sitting in the coach and they were telling us where we were going. So we were allotted houses straight off the bus. Mike: Did you go straight to school? Malcolm: Yes, as far as I can remember. Mike: Were you at the proper school or at the Men’s Institute? Malcolm: Up at the old school. Beaty: Yes, there were evacuees at the tin Institute. Only the evacuees were in the Men’s Institute, we were segregated. We weren’t in the Institute very long because the teachers wouldn’t stay. The husbands sent back for them or they were lonely or they didn’t like the pace. There was a little succession of teachers. Then there was nobody so we went up to the big school. They called the teachers Rhodes then but after that Iredales came. Mike: Malcolm, who was in the house where you were? Malcolm: There was Mr and Mrs Drury. He worked at Pocklington aerodrome. He used to go there on his bike. Then there was Kath, Mrs Drury’s daughter. Jack was in the army. I remember him coming home in his uniform. [Kath Drury married Jack Prentice of Pocklington.] [We look at a photograph taken at the May Queen Celebrations in 1942 with Mrs Drury and Kath Prentice sitting in the audience.]


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Malcolm: I remember Kath saying that she was always called a townee - she came from Leeds you know. Mike: Beaty, where did you go when you moved from the Stead’s? Beaty: I came down to Mrs Brent and her husband. They had two evacuee girls in called Maureen and Sylvia, I don’t remember their second names. There were three of us slept in the back bedroom at No 9. Auntie and Uncle Brent hadn’t been married very long. Then one of the girls went to live at Market Weighton. So there was just me and Sylvia. Then Sylvia went and Mrs Brent was having a baby so then I went to stay with Mr and Mrs Wilson, Mrs Brent’s mother and father, at No 38. Then that house went up for sale so they moved across to No. 6. At this time there was Renee, Evelyn and George Watson, two sisters and a brother from Sunderland. Mike: Lets look at the photo of the assembled school children on the day of the May Queen celebrations in 1942. You’ve already been identified by someone, Beaty.

[Beaty recognises herself as the one already identified by Bessie Fridlington (Smith, as was)]


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Beaty: I think that this is me because I had a fringe, or a pony as we called it. I had to have it gripped back, and when I came here they cut it all off me. We all had to have our hair cut because what they said was that the evacuees had brought headlice. Malcolm: That photo would have been when I came so I might not be on it. But I think I’d recognise myself because I had curly hair. I remember going to the barbers here and he used to shave all your hair off and leave just a little bit. That was just past Mrs Drury’s, further up, set back. Kate: What names of others do you remember? Malcolm: I remember faces but I don’t remember names. Beaty: I can remember who I was evacuated with but I can’t remember other evacuees names. But I can remember names in the village. Malcolm: There was another lad at Drury’s but I can’t remember his name. [School records show this to be Bobby Treweek.] Beaty: There was the black wooden bungalow as you are coming into Bishop Wilton with all the Barker boys in it. Stotts were at the Post Office, next to the Pub. Has anyone said anything about the Marwoods along the lane out of the village at the bottom? They lived in a house with four big poplar trees in front of it. [They lived at High Belthorpe.] I remember Nancy Newby. When she was getting confirmed and I was in the choir (I don’t know why because I sing like Les Dawson) I had to wear Nancy’s robes and they were four sizes too big for me. I was all pinned up. I remember Butcher Smith going around the village in a van. Malcolm: Yes, he had a bell that was attached to the side of the van and when he got out he used to ring it. Beaty: Yes, he served from the back of the van and the ladies used to go with their plates for his meat. I remember going to Butcher Smith and in the outbuildings we used to try and make elderberry wine. We used to get jam jars and squash elderberries into them and leave them on the beams thinking that the next day they’d be elderberry wine. But the next day it’d be all fusty on top. Auntie used to keep a pig at the back and it’d get slaughtered and they used to hang it all up on the beams to cure it. Anyone that had a pig slaughtered that day used to bring you a pig fry and a bucket of blood to make the black pudding with. What I wouldn’t give for a bit of that black pudding! It was gorgeous when you got home on a dinnertime. I remember the cobbler’s shop up the village. He had a little hut. Kate: That was where another Hull evacuee called Barry Trotter was. Malcolm: I remember walking all the way to Pocklington once. We used to go to the Oak House on a Saturday to the pictures. That was our big weekly treat and if you didn’t behave yourself you couldn’t go. Kate: Did you live on fish and chips at Mrs Drury’s? Malcolm: Only when it was open. It wasn’t open all the time. Only when they could get fish. It was in one of the outbuildings. I remember that the Drury’s garden was massive because it went right to the back lane. Mike: Did you have to do chores? 38

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees Beaty: We all had to work hard, we did. I can remember Auntie, if Renee didn’t dust properly in between the spells on the back of the chair she used to draw “Renee” in the dust. I tell you what else, there was a blind lady lived at the cottage next to the church and I used to go for her bread on my way home from school and I was allowed to take the money and I used to go to the Co-op for the bread and take it to her on my way back to school. Mike: Did you find that you integrated with the village children? Malcolm: No, not at first. Beaty: They thought we were loud, didn’t they? You weren’t allowed to shout, “Hi ya!” in the village, like a greeting. You had to say, “Hallo”, properly. We used to call one another “Youknow”, as you would in Hull, because we didn’t know one another’s names. But we weren’t allowed to call nobody “You-know”! Listen, we had good teaching. It was our formative years and it was very good. We were taught table manners. We had to stand at table to eat - we weren’t allowed to sit. You were taught your manners, of course. So, I think it’s hindsight that makes you see that you didn’t integrate immediately. Mike: Were you aware of the war going on? Malcolm: Not here. Mike: Not at all? Malcolm: Well there were the bombers going by when they took off from Pocklington aerodrome. You could hear them. I remember the tanks coming along the road from Stamford Bridge and one of them got stuck in a ditch. As far as I can remember they couldn’t get up Garrowby Hill so they came through the village. Beaty: One of the things that I remember, with hindsight, is the Home Guard. It was proper Dad’s Army. I’m sure they thought that the Germans were going to march into Bishop Wilton and shoot us all down. Auntie Vera’s husband, Uncle Walter, was really tall and after a while when the uniforms started to trickle through there wasn’t a uniform to fit Uncle Walter ‘cos he was tall, you know. I can remember it coming and they must have thought that because he was tall that he was ginormous. But he was tall and lean. I remember him not blancoing his belt but using khaki stuff. He used to sit there and do it. He used to go out on Home Guard night. I can’t miss Dad’s Army because of that. Kate: There were firemen as well. Beaty: I can remember the firemen because they used to do the drilling up at the other half of the village. I can remember once and it was double summer time so it was light real late and they were doing their drill and a lad rode right through on a bike and they knew that if they carried on they’d blow him off the bike so they turned it round and we all got soaked. I got into trouble that day.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Mike: There is a mention in the school log of an air raid warden coming up to school to check the respirators. He was Mr Holgate. Beaty: He was from the pub. He was the publican. I can’t remember being distressed, I can’t remember crying. But then I went back once for a weekend and I said that I wanted to live at home. They were very cross with me but that is when I went home. I never realised the severity of it until they did Family at War on the telly. Then when I watched all the kids going to be evacuated I turned the telly off and went and kicked me mother for letting me go. Why did they let you go? They wanted you to be safe. They thought that your life was in danger, didn’t they? Funnily enough I nearly got killed in the last raid on Hull. My mother used to say, my bairn in t’country all them years and then she nearly got killed. I missed it by minutes. Beaty: We used to go up the hills on Easter Monday behind Sissons’ to roll eggs after colouring them. We used to boil them with cochineal and then draw faces on them. We’d roll them to see whose lasted the longest without cracking. Mike: Do you remember where you used to play round about? Malcolm: We used to go for walks and go further and further each time. Beaty: We used to have to gather sticks, kindling wood. When it was autumn, at Mr Jebson’s down the bottom, when they picked the apples they gave you all the apples off this little eater. Beaty: Do you remember going to the pictures for your present off the Americans? Ooh I always remember that, because I got a box of paints that big that I couldn’t even carry it home on the bus off the Yanks, but the villagers was real upset because only the evacuees got a present. And I can remember once when they came and measured us for clothes and shoes, and when it came to my feet they said “What size shoes do you take?”, and I said “Elevens in the week and twelves on Sundays”. Of course my best shoes was twelves. And I can remember going potato picking – you had a month off in October to go potato picking. We used to take a pack-up, big chunks of bread and that. You got five shillings a week for it. We were taken in a truck. Malcolm: A trailer, wasn’t it? Beaty: We used to go down Bolton Lane and Youlthorpe and Gowthorpe way, and pick the potatoes, and then Auntie Vera bought me school uniform with the money that I’d earned, a green jumper and a gymslip, and lad’s boots because I was real heavy on my feet. I remember them boots because when I got home my mother met me, and my sister was in the pram and 40

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees she made me walk all the way home, and when we got home I said “Can I take the boots off, Mam, ‘cos my feet’s hurting me?” and me Mother laid on my feet and wept because I had like a chilblain underneath, on top and between every toe. Terrible feet I had. The worst thing about the tatie picking, was that after you’d picked all the taties, they ploughed it all up again and you used to have to pick all the bits up, for the pigs and that. But I wouldn’t alter a thing, me. Mike: So what about schooling: you were up at the big school, weren’t you? Was it divided with a partition? Beaty: No, it was just open, wasn’t it? The little kids was at the right-hand side, and the big kids was at the left-hand side. Mike: Wasn’t that a bit distracting? Beaty: It was very distracting! And I always remember we used to have to have a medical, go on the bus to York to have this medical, maybe only once, I don’t know. They said the Doctor was coming back to Bishop Wilton because so many people wanted examining, and one because she was overweight, and I thought “It’ll be us poor evacuees” – and it was me! Whenever anything happened, they always said it was one of the evacuees that had done it. Mike: [quotes the extract from the Hull Daily Mail “There was some uncertainty about the ownership of apples”] Malcolm: Well, we could go into the orchard and pick apples, but being lads we used to go out, up to the top of the hill where there was crab apples, and we finished up with stomachache, you know. I could even lean out of the bedroom window, because there was sliding windows, and you could pick apples; between the two cottages there was a little orchard. Kate: Yes, at the back – it’s still there. Malcolm: The big orchard was at the back – it went right through to the back lane. When I think of it, it all seemed liked miles and miles to me, but it must have been big because it was all back to the back lane. That was where the toilet was, because we didn’t have flush toilets. We used to go through the passage, like a little arch. Every 6 months I think it was, these men used to drive up with a horse and cart, and they used to dig it all up, and shove it on the back. It used to stink, you know. Beaty: Yes, we had earth toilets – it just literally fell, didn’t it? It wasn’t collected in a bin that was disposed of weekly. It just literally fell in and fell in. Malcolm: Well, theirs had a big drum, and when it got about three-quarters full, Pop used to empty it, and put all this ash and stuff on top of it. Beaty: We used to have to put ash on top, there was a little bucket with ashes in it and a shovel, and you used to have to throw a shovel full of ashes on. Our toilet was a bit bigger than West’s at No 5, because the houses reflected that, you know. But the wood was like that, you know, and you could see through the crack and if you went up to the toilet when Mr West was on, you used to shut the door and come back out again, because you didn’t want to be sat there next to Mr West! We had bits of newspaper on a nail – we used to have to string them together. I tell you what I often used to do as well, was to cut rags for clipped rugs. We used to have to cut all the clips on the table. Aunt Annie used to let us sit and cut all the old clothes into clips, into a certain length – but the sound of the scissors used to drive her barmy. “Don’t cut no more of them!” she used to say. They used to all do the rugs. Malcolm: Yes, and all the knitted jumpers – when they got too small for you they used to take them apart because they could use the wool to make a bigger jumper for you. Beaty: You used to have to pull wool out. The wool used to be in skeins then, if you could get it, and you used to hold it out and they used to roll it round, didn’t they? We didn’t have many clothes – well, we didn’t have many possessions at all. We didn’t get changed much.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees Malcolm: I was just in my work clothes all the time. We used to get dressed up on a Sunday to go to Church, but as soon as you got home, you changed back into your old clothes again. Beaty: We went three times on a Sunday to Church. We went to Church in the morning, Chapel on afternoon, and Church on a night. It was this chapel here [near Village Hall].

Malcolm: I went to the Church – I don’t remember going to the Chapel. Beaty: We went to both. Mr Fawcett was the Vicar – he was always a bit shabbily dressed, like a poor vicar, and he used to go to the pub and have a pint as well. You know our Mums couldn’t get here because there was no petrol – McMasters used to run a bus from Hull in the summer every 6 weeks – and they used to come and see us. And my mother used to go in the pub – I bet they thought she was real common because women didn’t go in the pub, you know – the Aunties had never been in the pub, but me Mam used to go in the pub. My father only came once, because he was at work, but I can remember him coming. There used to be gates at No 6 and my father just sat and looked out of them all the time and observed what was going on outside. Really if you think about it, only every 6 weeks and only in the summer, they didn’t come much at all. Malcolm: My mum was working in munitions, she was an engineer at Gemmells. We lived at the top of Plane Street, and at the bottom there was this Gemmells – I think it was brassturning and things like that, they made big valves for ships and that. It was only a very small place. My dad died early on in the war. My brother was evacuated too, but over in West Yorkshire. He was a lot older than me – 8 years older. He wasn’t there long, because he said he was tret like a slave. Beaty: My brothers were at Hutton-le-Hole. There were all evacuated. Malcolm: Plane Street was quite middle-class before the war – we had a bathroom, because we lived above a shop – when we first met, my wife used to say “Oh, you’re a posh one”. Beaty: We had a bathroom because we lived in Medley Street Flats – we was posh because we had a bathroom. Kate: What was it like when you went back to Hull? Malcolm: I thought it was horrible – no country and that. Beaty: We used to gather violets down the back lane, we used to gather primroses on the road that leads out, we used to gather mushrooms down there, we used to gather brambles…….. Kate: Can you remember getting rosehips? Malcolm: Oh yes, I can. Beaty: We used to go down Bolton Lane to gather rosehips, because there was a drive for it for rosehip syrup, it was an organised thing, we had baskets for it from school to do it properly. We couldn’t go a real long way down Bolton Lane because there was proper


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees Romany Gypsies down there in proper Romany caravans, so we weren’t allowed to go a long way down there Malcolm: Yes, I remember the gypsies. It was always made out they would do terrible things to you, gypsies. You had to keep away from them. They put you right off, you know. Beaty: They were down near the farm on the left. I think we only remember so much because we weren’t at home – you’d only remember a special day out with your dad or something, but we wouldn’t remember everything as explicitly as we do, I’m sure we wouldn’t. Malcolm: When I was back in Hull, my mother once took me to Cleethorpes, across on the Ferry – and a week later, I wanted to go, so I went! I was about 9. I caught the tram, nobody asked me for the money, and just followed these people when they went up the ramp to the Ferry. But I couldn’t remember how to get back home. I ended up in the Police Station. Beaty: I always say we was fortunate in that we didn’t know what it was like to be hungry, we ate well. Malcolm: We didn’t have beds, just mattresses laid on the floor. There was 3 of us you know, and that was only way to get us in, with just mattresses. They aren’t very big cottages – we slept in the back room. There was plenty of food. When I went back to Hull, one of my mother’s favourite expressions was “There’s tomorrow to provide for”. Beaty: I don’t think that people in the country were aware of what war meant, at all. They can’t have been. They were amazed when the flour went dark, not as white as it used to be. There may have been shortages – but they bottled things, made jam, put eggs down. Aunt Annie at No 6, when you went in the back door, that was the kitchen, and there was the dairy, as big, and there used to be a big terracotta pot with isinglass in, and she used to put all the eggs in. You put the fresh eggs into isinglass to preserve them. They bottled all their vegetables. And they always used to have a big baking day every Thursday, and bake a lot of pies that lasted you all the week. And there was when you killed the pig and there was all the bacon hung on the beams. Malcolm: The beck was dammed up in the centre in case of air raids. They put a wooden plank across the arch of the bridge, and when it got to a certain height the overflow went under the bridge. I can remember the dam – it was like a square of wood with side pieces. Beaty: Mr Brent, Auntie Vera’s husband, used to drive Bailey’s buses – everyone was very fond of him, because Bailey’s used to cross with Everingham’s which was a Pocklington company, but everybody went on the Bailey’s buses. They started first and finished last, half past seven in the morning to York, and the last bus was half past nine at night back. Every two hours in the day to Pocklington, and the Everingham buses ran alternately with them. But the odd time that you managed to get to the Oak House, you could never see the end of the picture because you had to come out to get on the bus. It wasn’t very often you could go. Malcolm: Kath told Jean she didn’t want me to go home, she wanted me to stay. She wanted to adopt me. Of course I was there 3 or 4 years, and she had no children. When you hadn’t a car it was hard to get to Bishop Wilton, so my mother never came. Beaty: When I was first here, at number 9, the pump was shared between the 3 of them, at 8, 9 and 10, but then when I went to number 6 it was just our own pump. Malcolm: Our pump was just inside the backdoor, and we was always told to leave water in the jug so that you could prime it. That’s the only water I’ve every liked to drink. I remember doing jigsaws during the war and the radio. They had a radio with a battery – they used to have to go to a shop to get the batteries recharged. They used to have a spare battery. Big square batteries, and they used to charge them up. At Ripleys, they had one of these arms to fill the cars with petrol.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees I was quite happy here – didn’t want to go home. It didn’t always work out for everyone, I know, but it did for me. When she wanted to put me on the bus to go to Pocklington to go home – I didn’t get on. ---Malcolm returned to Bishop Wilton to visit Kath Prentice. Jean (Malcolm’s wife) recalls: “My first contact with Bishop Wilton was in the week of the Queen’s Jubilee [1977] – we went across to the Churchyard to make sure that Kath wasn’t in it before calling on her! And then we came back regularly after that. And I could understand why Mike (Malcolm) used to like apple pie so much! And Kath used to talk about all her evacuees and the things they got up to – she said that she’d be sitting downstairs and they’d be such a racket on – she’d go upstairs and they’d both be under the clothes snoring away…..”

Beaty left Bishop Wilton when she was nine. Vera Brent, Auntie Vera, sent Beaty her bus fare so she could visit every school holiday and they maintained regular contact even after that. Beaty is left with two good lessons from her time at Bishop Wilton. She remembers going out when it was snowing to sledge down the bank. On returning and saying, “I’m cold,” she got the response, “You aren’t cold, you only think you are.” She’s never been cold since. Also, when it was dark at night and the village was blacked out and the others were frightened, Beaty volunteered to go to the fish shop. She’s never been frightened of the dark since. Malcolm with Nancy Hutchinson outside No 57 in 2001

“3 to a bed” is a term in darts. Whenever Beaty hears it she thinks of Bishop Wilton!

Information assembled by Mike & Kate Pratt Bishop Wilton June 2001


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Memories of Hull Evacuees

John Pay and his sister, Lily (now Mrs Preen)

From a conversation recorded on 1st July 2001


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

A photo of the Pay family at Beechwood Farm (now Flat Top), taken in 1946. From the left: Doreen the eldest, Mrs Pay holding John with Joan in front, Mr Pay with Lily in front and Audrey Pay on the right.

Kate: What year were you evacuated? Lily: ’39, late ’39. I was seven, and John was one. John: We were shipped out from Crowle Street School, on Hedon Road. We lived on Ferry Street. Well, we were homeless when we went to Bishop Wilton. We got bombed out of Marmaduke Street, Hessle Road, where I was born, and then we moved into Ferry Street on Hedon Road, and then got bombed out of there. The night we got bombed our Doreen had her mate in our shelter, and me Mum said “You better go home to your Mother” and she said “I want to stop with Doreen”, and she said, “No, go home to your Mother, and see her after”. But their shelter got blown up, and she got killed. If she’d stayed with us, she could have been like another sister……….. Lily: But she wouldn’t have had a mother. John: My Dad, when we were in Ferry Street, he went back into the house, and you know how your pictures hang on a wall, well, the wall was laid over so much that the pictures stuck straight out. And the policeman tried to grab him back, and that was to get a photo of my grandmother – I’ve still got it upstairs. We was homeless, didn’t have anything left. That was in 1940. At the very beginning of the war. We were near the Docks, you see. Just across the road. We moved into New Town Courts, what we always called New Town Buildings, with an Aunt and Uncle. We got shipped out from there to Bishop Wilton in 1940. Kate: Which school did you go to in Hull? Lily: Crowle Street on Hedon Road, when I was a bairn of 5. That was all bombed. And then I came back and went to Flinton Grove for about 9 months, and then I left school. I didn’t come back to Hull while I was 13½. I didn’t go with my Mum in the first place. We’d been sent to Crowle [in Lincolnshire], me and our Audrey must have been sent to Crowle with the school, but we were neglected. My Mum and Dad, and John and our Joan went to stay with the Steads at Beechwood. My Dad was on Barges, and used to come and see us at Crowle, and we were sat on the step one day, me and our Aud, and he said “What are you doing there?”. So I said they’d gone to the pub. So he reported them, and we got sent back to my Mum at Bishop Wilton. I don’t necessarily remember – you don’t when you’re only 7, but Mum used to tell us stuff, didn’t she John? John: Yes, I can remember stories like we used to nick Christmas trees…It was pitch black, and they were walking up the hill back from the pub, Aunty Lil, and my mother, and Aunty Ivy, and all of a sudden a voice from under the hedgerow said “Here, kep hold o’ this”, and this fellow comes out with a Christmas tree which somebody had got for them out of the Halifax’s Estate. Lily: And there was that time you fell in the ditch, John. 46

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees John: That’s when I was with the lasses. Our Lilian had a mate, and our Audrey – and I was always the lad on his own. And I was tagging behind them. Suddenly somebody said, “Where’s our John?” - nowhere to be seen. Course I’d fell into the ditch, on the right hand side of the road coming down, and it was summertime and all the grass had grown across the ditch. Well, I fell through the grass and disappeared. [Looking at the 1942 Bishop Wilton School photograph]

Lily: That’s our Audrey, number 66 ….


Ooooh, yes, you can see our Chris in her. And I think that’s me, isn’t it, John? Stretching up, looking through, number 97 ….


And I think number 30 is our Joan. It’s a bit blurred, but I think it is her. She’s got quite a heavy fringe like our Joan …


Lily: My mate was Molly Pickering. John: I used to sleep with her, but I don’t recognise her on the photograph! 47

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees Lily: We used to invite them back to the farm, and they used to stop the night, and we used to all get in the one bed. John: In bed with the lasses! Head to toe, it was. Lily: Molly was my age – well, she could be older. [John and Lily look at the Pickerings in the schoool photo. Connie, Stan, John and Molly have been identified.] John: [reads from an old newspaper cutting he has kept] “Two sisters were married at the same time at St Edith’s Church, Bishop Wilton, on Saturday. They were Miss Molly Pickering, the eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs T R Pickering, and Miss Carole Pickering, the third daughter. The Rev Fawcett officiated, and the organist was Miss Newby…[also present] Miss Mavis Pickering…Miss Olive Pickering…Miss T Pickering”. So there was a big family of them. Lily: Do you remember when you thought the Germans had come? John: Our Joan used to look after me at little school, but she obviously went up to big school, so I was left on me own down at the little school. I used to have to go up to top school and wait for the lasses to take me home. I come up round the corner this particular day, and looked towards Worsendale, and there was all these soldiers on the roadside. I remember it now as true as I’m stood here. To me the Germans had come….so I ran across the road, like this – crouched down – through the hedge and all the way home. When I got home, my mother slapped my backside and told me to go back to school because they wouldn’t know where I was. It was the Home Guard I’d seen!. Mike: Well, I’ve got something for you. In a wartime newspaper there was a notice ‘What to do if the Germans Invade’ and it says ‘Don’t Panic’! Lily: When we were at Beechwood, there was these Italian Prisoners of War that had escaped. And one knocked at the door and said can you tell me the way to the village. And my mother said you just go down there, and she said I’ll let that girl go with you and show you the way, and I screamed and wouldn’t go with him. It was real weird. And do you remember when that army came? John: The army, or the Home Guard or whatever they were, they used the kitchens at Beechwood to cook their meals, so my mother had no cooking to do. All our meals were cooked. Lily: It was all outside, wasn’t it? All the stoves, and where they sat and came for their meals. John: It must have been the latter part of the war, because they were exploding grenades or bombs or whatever in the chalk pit. All the soot came down the chimney and they blew the windows in at the farmhouse. The guy used to stand on the step and blow the trumpet for lunchtime “Come to the Cookhouse door, boys” – it was real noisy.

Lily: I would have loved to have stopped there. I come back here and I was real lost, I didn’t know where anything was. [John explains that his oldest sister Doreen married Roland Stead during the war]


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Roland and Doreen Stead lived at No 59, the right hand one of the block of three above

John: Our Doreen lived opposite the Church in a cottage – there’s 3 cottages been knocked into one. In the end one, that’s where she lived with Roland. Ask our Shirley [Doreen & Roland’s daughter], she was born there – well, she was born at Driffield, but she lived there. We left them there when we came home in ’45. She was born before we came home. I got my finger trapped in the little wicket gate at the side of No 59, that was what I was looking at in the photograph, a little snickle-way…. I remember. I remember all the bad things. Lily: I went to our Jack’s christening at the Church where Shirley was christened, and I said to John [Lily’s husband], “Come on, let’s go for a walk and I’ll show you the school I went to”. We walked up this street, went round the corner and I said “That’s the school I went to”, and this man in a garden, bent over like this, he said “I know you, are you Lily or are you Joan or are you Audrey?” I couldn’t believe it, 50-odd years and he knew me. He definitely knew me, he was so genuine. Kate: That’ll be Ken Sissons – he’s the one who can name 90% of the people in that school photo. John: Our Doreen and Roland, they bought me a 3-wheeler bike and I remember Beechwood had a massive big kitchen and I was learning to ride it there, but all I would do was to look down at the chain as I was pedalling. Mike: We’ve been told about the kitchen – massive kitchen with flagstone floor and turkeys walking in and out. John: And above it there is an equally big bedroom where we used to lay the apples on the floor. Kate: Do you remember other evacuees staying there? Lily: No I can’t say I do. I palled up with this Molly Pickering, as you do, and we sort of stuck with them. I never bothered with anybody else. I remember the name Beaty Coulman… John: Vanity, the sheepdog, she was buried at the foot of one of the walnut trees. She was a lovely dog. Black Bob and Vanity… Mike: What do you remember about the schooling and the teachers? John: I remember having milk round the fire at little school, in small milk bottles. Lily: It was just a school, wasn’t it? You don’t think about it. It was just a school and coming home. Mike: When did you actually leave? Lily: ’45. We were there 5 years. We didn’t just go for a few weeks. We thought we’d live there for life, we were only bairns, and we thought this was our life. I didn’t know Hull at all when I came back. I used to wish I still lived in the country – you get used to it…………..I remember there was atrocious snow – drifts of it – you went through drifts of it. But nothing ever ailed us, we were never ill. We weren’t allowed that much in the village, you know, with living right up at Beechwood, we weren’t allowed to come down on our own. That’s why our friends used to come up to us 49

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees and stop the night. The Pickerings, we didn’t bother with anybody else, they were a big family. I can remember going to a WI singsong, you know where they sing all the wartime songs. We used to sing ‘We’ll meet again’ and ‘Sitting under the apple tree’, all those songs, we used to sing them. Kate: Do you remember going to the pictures? Lily: No, I don’t. Maybe we did do, but I can’t remember. Kate: Do you remember ever going on the bus? Lily: No. You’ve got a photo of the maypole dancing, haven’t you? Well, I hope I’m on it because I used to do nowt but dance. I was always dancing. We never used to play in the village - there was no need because there was lovely fields all round. We used to amuse ourselves – like, who could jump over the nettles, and things like that. They wouldn’t do owt like that nowadays, would they? John: We used to roll Easter Eggs, paint them and roll them off Table Top. And we used to watch for my Dad getting home – he used to get home once in every 3 or 4 weeks. Sweets were rationed in them days; the guy who was on the barge with him had no family, so he used to get his sweet rations as well, so obviously when the shout went up “Dad’s home!” we used to run round the hill and meet him. Lily: There was Ronnie Thomson, used to live above Beechwood, he used to come and call for us, come down Worsendale and call for us – well, he didn’t used to call, he’d say I’ll wait for you here… He was only as old as our John, he was younger than me. John: Where you walk down the side of the wall, there was the orchard and then there was a stile and you went over to the Table Top where we used to roll our eggs down. There were 3 staircases in that farm. Its official name was Flat Top Farm, but we always called it Beechwood. The front door step was level with the top of York Minster, that’s what they said. Kate: You said that your oldest sister, Doreen, worked in Stamford Bridge? John: First she worked at Cod Liver Oil and she stopped with my grandmother, on Hedon Road. Then when we got settled at Bishop Wilton she came to us, and she worked in Stamford Bridge. At the Ammunitions Factory. Another story I remember, is when our Doreen was coming home from Stamford Bridge, and it was dark – winter time – and me mother used to have a torch, and our Doreen used to have a torch and at the time when she was coming Doreen used to shine the torch and me mother used to shine her torch. And when Doreen went down the hill to go to work, when she got down to the school, she would shine the torch to say she’d got down safely. Well this particular night, me Dad was at home which was unusual, and she hadn’t come home; of course, they were all worried. So me Dad goes down, pitch black, no house lights or street lights, and as he’s going down the hill, there’s this pile of grit on the roadside, and he thought it was our Doreen with her coat on, laid out on the roadside, and he went to pick her up, only to find it was a heap of stones………For some reason the bus was late, or she missed it, or whatever; I think the police was involved. They came up to the farm, to say your daughter’s stopping at so-and-so’s, because the bus wasn’t running. Kate: What about your Mum, was she expected to work too? John: She worked down in the Village, at Manor Farm. At Mrs Salmon’s. She worked for them, and she was also doing the books for the farm, for Lord Halifax. Because when it came to us moving away, they asked my Mum and Dad to stop on, for my Dad to get a job on the land, because he used to help out on the land at the times when he was home – haymaking and whatever Mike: Do you remember listening to the radio at all? Lily: We had a radio, but I can’t remember listening to it. Different things come to you… 50

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees John: I remember our Audrey making toffee. Our Joan was seeing to me, she used to sing White Cliffs of Dover to me to get me to sleep, and when she come down there was no sign of the other two – they were hiding behind the piano eating the toffee they’d made. Lily: We said “Let’s eat it all ourselves!” Isn’t it awful? Oh, we had some good times. John: Ernie used to chase us out of the turnip shed, didn’t he? Where he used to put the turnips in and chop them up and that – we was nicking the carrots. Ernie would come along and say, “Go get ‘em, Bob”, and Bob would see us off, but he was daft as a brush. Lily: I can remember, as you came out into the yard, it was a really big yard, and it had straw and things like that, and we used to make houses in it. “This is the living room”, and so on. John: I’ve drunk milk straight from the cow. Lily: And we made butter. All our cousins used to come up for their holidays. We were never still, we were always running about. John: After all these years, it goes to the back of your mind – it’s only because of all this that I’ve started thinking about it all. You try to recall things, don’t you? We used to get on the sledge in winter, drawn by 2 horses, coming down Worsendale. Massive big sledge, made with tree trunks, about half as wide as the road. What stopped the sledge running into the horses, I don’t know… My Dad used to help out with haymaking and we’ve rode down Worsendale on the top of the hay, pulled by a horse, with the shoes on the wagon. All the locals said, there’s nobody would ever have done that because if the horse had collapsed or whatever, the wagon would have been away, even with shoes on to act as a brake. But I rode down there with me Dad, like. One story my Dad told us, he used to bike over from Goole – he once asked a policeman, “Is this the way to Bishop Wilton?”, and he refused to tell him, dangerous talk and that, all the signposts were down. Well, his front brake-blocks had been put in wrong way round – he had 20 inch wheels on the bike - coming down Worsendale he applied his brakes, and the brakeblocks shot out and he had to go into a hedge to stop himself. Once an aeroplane crashed at the top there and we all went up to the aeroplane, and we got the Perspex, and we were making rings with it and all. Lily: Yes and hearts as well…. John: That was the first time we had seen aeroplane glass. Whether it was Perspex or another type of plastic, I don’t know.

Lily: When we went back we lived on Hedon Road with my Grandma; we had nowhere to go to. Our house was bombed in Hull when we went, so of course we had nowhere to come back to. We thought we were going to stop at Bishop Wilton, if we could have got a place there – but they had to get out of the farm with the war being over, they had to come out. Then we went on the housing list, and had to wait 5 years for a house…. We had nowhere to come back to, but you couldn’t just come back and say can I have that house, or can I have a house – you had to go on the housing list. Five years my mother had to live with her own mother. But I would have loved to have stopped at Bishop Wilton. I would have really loved to have stopped there.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Mrs Pay and John in the audience at the May Day Celebrations in 1942

Information assembled by Mike & Kate Pratt Bishop Wilton May 2002


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Memories of a Hull Evacuee

Keith Pygas

From a conversation recorded on 7th July 2001


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Keith Pygas on the right, pictured with Dennis Galloway at the Evacuee Day in 2001

Before Bishop Wilton we (me and my older sister Audrey) were at Melbourne, only two or three weeks and they moved us out, and we were at Nunburnholme. And there was Everingham as well. I don’t remember the order. I think Melbourne was the second one. But it was at Nunburnholme or Everingham that I shot a plane down! We were walking towards the village – as I remember where we were billeted was the end house and next to it there was a big wooded area, with a 5-bar gate. This aeroplane came by, and as bairns do I pointed my finger and went bang, bang, bang – and all of a sudden stuff started to fall from this Wellington Bomber, and it started to come down, with smoke trailing – and I was panicking like mad. The next thing is the police came and I always remember a real old car like a Wolseley, and they stopped us and asked if we saw what happened. I said something fell off it and it had gone down into the woods. The RAF police who were guarding the aircraft used to let us go in and we took them a flask of tea and they used to let us go round, and I was given some of the Perspex off the aircraft. And I made a cross out of it – this was later on – my Mam had it right up to dying. To cut it you had to heat something flat, like the blade of a hacksaw, or you could saw it using a hacksaw. That was one of the most frightening experiences for me, shooting that plane down. We were billeted at this place at Melbourne, only for 2 or 3 weeks, and my Dad came through to see us, which he did about once a month – he was on the buses for East Yorkshire – when he found that we were sleeping on straw in the attic, covered up with old coats it didn’t please him – that might have been the same occasion when Audrey had the head lice. That might have been the same place where, after tea, we were only allowed to play under the table, a square dining table that folded away – we had to play underneath it. You can understand it – a couple of kids who had invaded their privacy…….. I think Bishop Wilton was one of the longest stays. We were at Bishop Wilton during the main blitzing of Hull – 1941/2, I suppose, when Hull got its pounding. Not many people know this, but Hull was the most bombed place next to London. We used to go home; one of the times we went home Hull was blitzed, and I remember the bus-driver, says to my Dad, “I’m going to stop on Beverley Road just short of the corner, and I think you better get the kids off as it’s quite a bad’un” – there was bangs and flashes and goodness knows what, and we seemed to be in the middle of them. My Dad got us off the bus at the corner of Beverley Road and Spring Bank, and just at the corner there are the Shell-Mex Buildings, and we were stood in the 54

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees doorway, there was shrapnel hitting the road, bouncing with sparks; the butcher’s shop – I think it was like a horse-meat shop the other side of the road – all the shop front went out of that, and we were stood just opposite. There were fires all over – it was quite a frightening experience…… My Dad had us shielded by his body as much as he could [Speaking to Keith’s sister Audrey later she vividly remembers this occasion too, and recalls their father saying “If anything happens to me, just keep on running…”] There were explosions going off all over in the City. But to us as children it didn’t seem as dangerous as it really was – you didn’t realise that you could have been killed as easy as that. We had to walk from Beverley Road to Raglan Street – I think we were still in Raglan Street then. We had been trapped in an air raid shelter earlier by fire caused by a buzz bomb – they knocked out 4 big blocks at the back to let us out. When a buzz bomb landed it took out a whole row of houses! My Dad got free bus travel, and my Mam worked – so they would both be well-known on East Yorkshire buses, and they could jump on and off each other’s buses. I remember McMasters coaches. And Baileys – was that a green bus?

A Bailey’s Bus Ticket

My mother was a bus-conductress. My Dad was a driver – he volunteered for the RAF but they wouldn’t let him leave – he was in a reserved occupation. He had a German Fighter shoot his bus up! He used to take the troops to Spurn Point to the Barracks. He had dropped off the troops and was going back – at the time the bus roofs were painted white, and the drivers used to wear white helmets – so he’s coming back from Spurn with a conductor, so this aircraft must have seen him and shot him up. So my Dad stopped the bus, and they went into this corrugated iron barn place – they must have both just leapt the gate, as neither could remember stopping to open it! There was no glass left in the bus at all – it was badly shot up. Another time my Dad was driving the bus empty to Spurn and the bell was ringing away, and my Dad took no notice. And when he got there, this little Jewish chap (they became the best of friends after!) he had got on the bus unbeknown to the conductor, gone upstairs, and been taken straight through to Spurn! We were staying with Harry Smith - that was the row we lived in – there used to be 5 cottages, I remember. Yes, it was this end house, the furthest one down. You went over a little bridge.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Mr & Mrs Harry Smith lived in No 25, at the bottom end of the block of 5 cottages pictured

They had no children. They would be about 30 or 40. They wouldn’t have much room. My sister and I would share a room. Mr Smith was something on a farm, I think. There was a rainwater barrel parked on the inside of the fence and the fall pipe used to fill the barrel, and that was what we got bathed in – in the barrel. It was cold, all right! We had an outside earth closet, behind the cottages. He had a great big garden at the back, where he grew all vegetables and that. We quite often used to go and get a potato to eat, like you would an apple. Just dig it up, rub the skin off and eat it. And give half to the horse! And carrots, just scratch them with a coin – you could do it then. Nowadays it’s all chemicals, and that. It was clean dirt. I seem to remember some pigs at the back, somewhere. And hens. All the backs were open; you had to walk from the houses round the back. And that was where I got attacked by a horse! At the back of the houses there were long gardens, we used to go out of the house, go half way down, and climb over into a paddock. And in this paddock was a horse which belonged to someone further down, I think. Then there was like a lane which went down the back of the gardens, at the time they said that some children had been annoying the horse, and when we went to bring it in at night, my sister got hold of the bridle, and I walked round the back, and it kicked me. And I’ve still got the scar! I ended up with a fractured jaw, and they fed me through a straw. They took me to York Hospital. I can’t remember if it was by bus or by ambulance. The panic was lockjaw – I remember that; they tied it up in a sling. [Looking at a photo of Hull Evacuees taken in 1941 outside Bishop Wilton School, Keith spots himself in the front row, because it looks like his son Stephen.]

Keith sitting cross-legged in the middle

I don’t remember going into other houses – if you went to play with other children it was usually outside that you played, because the houses weren’t very big, so you would be taking the room up for them, that was needed for the family. At the time you don’t look at it that way, 56

Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees but later you understand. It was like that playing under the table – you would have been in the way anywhere else. She would be doing her ironing – of course then it wasn’t just a case of plug-it-in-and-switch-it-on, you had 2 or 3 flat irons from the fire to the board, didn’t you? We didn’t go hungry – but being kids you could always eat more than you got. Which was natural during the War time. I don’t remember sweets at all, or treats of any description. We didn’t have a lot of clothes, but we were well turned out. And when you think, they didn’t have all the washing facilities, machines and that. You wouldn’t change your clothes much – once a week, and you’d have Sunday clothes. We used to go to Church, I think. A lot of the places I used to go, I used to go under duress. There was my sister there, dragging me along. They’d want you to go to Church and I wanted to play in the Beck. We used to help out with things, but they didn’t put pressure on you. It was chores of choice, like bringing in the horse. We had to go for firewood, up on the Park. But we didn’t have jobs that we had to do, that I recall. There was no pressure. You see, such as bringing cows in or taking them out wouldn’t have been a job to me – it would have been something that you enjoyed doing and wanted to do. I was up at the proper school, I’m almost sure, not in the Men’s Institute. I remember having milk – you used to get a small bottle. At one of the schools they used to put you to bed, on a camp bed in another room in the afternoon – I think that would be here. I seem to recall the room being divided by a man, closing the doors on us – the room wasn’t very big. I don’t know if it was here or not. I remember going sledging in 2 different places – all the kids used to stick together, mainly, the children of the village and the evacuees together, they used to get on quite well together. From what I remember we all used to go sledging at the far end of the village, over the bridge and turn left (up Park Lane), we used to sledge down there. One particular day when we were out there sledging, one of the chaps said to me “Come and sit on the front of this sledge to keep it down”, and like a fool I did! And I ended up in the bottom of a hedge. The sledge didn’t slide down – it came down in a series of jumps, all the way down. No damage, just a few scratches – you used to fall off and bounce down. We used to go on the other hill sledging, and that was the best one, because you used to get a real long ride [the “Cresta Run”, below Flat Top], and used to come down there singing You Are My Sunshine, that was the song of the time. I remember the Prisoners of War cleaning the Beck out. There were some soldiers guarding the prisoners, with guns. We used to talk to the prisoners – a lot of them couldn’t talk our language, but some could. They used to have a big patch sewn on their backs. They seemed all right to us. The soldiers that were looking after them used to talk to us. There was a large camp locally, that they used to come from. I seem to remember them being Germans and Italians, but whether they were mixed, or whether they came separately I don’t know. I remember fire practice in the village – didn’t they have a cart or summat that they used to push? All the village used to watch. They had to pump it manually. I remember them going up the village, with this cart with big wheels.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

That’s not quite how I remember it [looking at the photograph above] – I thought it had 4 wheels. And it looks as though it is engine-driven. It might have been a little Petters engine, chugchugchug.

It was as much a culture shock going back to Hull after the war as it was coming away from it. It was quite a change really – the school was completely different, and taking the trolley bus……… There was such a lot of damage done – but I don’t remember it all being cleared away, from the shop fronts on the road, and all that. I remember the party in Hull at the end of the War – the place was just a mass of people, fountains in Queens Gardens……….

Information assembled by Mike & Kate Pratt Bishop Wilton July 2002


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Memories of a Hull Evacuee

Barry Trotter

Based on an article that appeared in “Around The Wolds”, No. 30, May-June 1993.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Ben Wilkinson

“Keep oot’t beck Barry”, a chirped instruction from Sarah’s pet budgie Peter ‘Boy’ Wilkinson is just one of my treasured memories of four years as an evacuee at Wolds Kennels, Bishop Wilton, a typical wolds village then spread like a ribbon along both banks of Wilton Beck. Now it is a somewhat expanded community, but nevertheless still a magnet to me fifty years on. Its charm, as it sits at the foot of Worsendale on the southern edge of the Garrowby Estate, regularly draws me to divert journeys just for the nostalgia of a few moments reliving experiences.

Barry with his Dad, Andy, at Bishop Wilton

“You two are going to Wilton” I am told were my dad’s words as he, my mam and my four year old self emerged from our Anderson shelter in Hull after the third night of Hitler’s blitz in June 1940. Wilton was where my dad’s uncle Ben Wilkinson and his wife Sarah lived, together with Sarah’s brother Charlie Cullum. Ben was a retired gamekeeper and Charlie a cobbler.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Barry’s Mam with Ben and his dogs

My mam’s stay was short, mine lasted four years, and by coincidence Bishop Wilton proved to be the village where many children from Mersey Street school in East Hull were billeted as evacuees. Mersey was the school to which I returned in 1944, a return that proved something of a culture shock for me, for who were these cissies that went round in shoes? The only footwear I knew was strong leather boots, well studded for rough wear and made specially for me by Charlie in his ‘cobblers shop’, a wooden shed in the middle of Benny’s dog pound, a shed whose earth floor was inches deep in leather parings, the result of years of craftsmanship in boot making and repairing. I treasure some of his tools to this day.

Charlie Cullum with Sarah, his sister

No doubt I too seemed strange to my Mersey schoolmates, for who was this character who counted yan, twa, thre’, fower? That was not how they had been taught arithmetic! My formative years of learning had been at Wilton’s village school under the tutorship of Mr and Mrs Iredale. Somehow in a school with only two classrooms they managed to educate pupils from the age of five to fourteen, Mrs Iredale having one class of five to nine year olds, her husband’s class accommodating those from ten to fourteen. Mind you we seemed to have a lot of holidays, with time off for tatie-picking, stooking hay and helping with threshing. Threshing was particularly exciting, with the threshing machine being powered by a belt connected from an enormous mobile steam engine. Help on farms was our small contribution to the war effort. We saw also evidence of the efforts and sacrifices of those much more deeply involved, the young soldiers who came on ‘manoeuvres’ and camped near to the spring above the village, the source of Wilton Beck.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees Rides on their bren-gun carriers and armoured cars were the ultimate in fun to us. To them it was a step on the way to the battle front line. More tragic, although as youngsters we never really recognised it as such, was the crash landing of aircraft limping back to Pocklington aerodrome after sustaining damage in enemy bombing raids. Wilton was below the flight path and aircraft falling short of the runway landed in fields to the west of the village. Although the wreckage was guarded, we kids somehow managed to salvage a few tracer bullets or other forbidden treasures before being warned off. Warnings were something that rarely seemed to be heeded, although one experience did bring us to our senses. Over a period we had collected a small arsenal of tracer bullets and small army practice bombs. We decided to put them to good use by pushing some of them down a rabbit hole, lighting a fire and then going to a closely adjacent rabbit hole with a net intent on catching the rabbits bolting from the hole after our planned explosion. An explosion there certainly was, and we were nowhere near either of the rabbit holes when we picked ourselves up after being scattered by the blast, frightened but much wiser and fortunately unhurt.

The cottage where Barry stayed is in the foreground, to the right of this is the fenced off dog pound in which Charlie Cullum had his workshop

My home for those four wonderful years, Wold Kennels, has long been demolished. It lacked any modern conveniences, having only one outside tap to serve three cottages, earth toilets of the tandem type, and no electricity. It is said that ‘it is an ill wind that blows no-one any good’. Wold Kennels gained electric lights and power thanks to electrical fittings salvaged from bombed houses on Hull’s Hedon Road. A salvage, probably illegally carried out, by my father on meal breaks during nightshift at Whittingham and Porter, where he worked as a blacksmith. Electricity may well have reached Wold Kennels, but it did little to alter the lifestyle of Sarah, Ben and Charlie, my hosts as an evacuee. Their day operated to a different time frame from the norm, no doubt a carry-over from Ben’s former job as a gamekeeper on the Garrowby Estate. The three rose no later than 5 am, earlier


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees in a summer; they had dinner [lunch] at 10.30 am, and tea before 3 pm. Bedtime all the year round was 7.30 pm. Despite having retired, Ben continued to have permission to shoot and seek game on the estate. I became his almost constant companion complete with air gun to match his doublebarrelled 12 bore. Rabbits, pheasants and partridges, together with home grown vegetables and fruit, farm butter and home fed cured ham, meant that few war-time food rationing sacrifices seemed to be made. Certainly my memories are of well filled tables. Fifty years on from being an evacuee I have two sporting passions, skiing and cycling. Both may have had their roots in Bishop Wilton. Sledging down the ‘Park’, the steep fields to the east of the village, during the severe winter of 1941 is still a vivid memory. As is, during that same winter, taking a shovel to bed at night, knowing the next morning the first task on rising would be to climb out of the bedroom window and dig down through the snow drifted against the wall of the cottage, to clear the back door. Returning to Hull, it seems, left me with withdrawal symptoms. A desire to visit Wold Kennels regularly meant a means of transport for the sixty mile round trip had to be found. It proved to be a bike! -ooOOooBarry’s teacher at Bishop Wilton, Mrs Iredale, sent his mother a letter on his return to Hull (it is reproduced below). Dated August 20th, 1944, it reads: Dear Mrs Trotter, Excuse this hasty note but I want to wish Barry a happy future. I am really sorry to lose him; he is one of those evacuees that proved himself a very satisfactory scholar with a nice little character. I am sure he will grow up into a son to be proud of. My very best wishes go with him. Yours sincerely, D. Iredale PS Mr Iredale is improving slowly.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees


Bishop Wilton July 2002


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

A Poem Memories of Hida Dent, A Sunderland Evacuee By her daughter Katy September nineteen thirty nine, to our consternation, We stepped onto a train for a brand new destination. My brother Eddie and myself, we had to go away. Immediate future planned for us, we really had no say. We lived amongst the shipyards in a big industrial town, The object of the enemy was to bring shipbuilding down. A project had been planned, to keep the children well. Where would they be sending us, only time would tell. Off to different places, travelling on the train. Wondering if we'd ever see our loved ones once again. Who would take good care of us, was going through my mind. Would our temporary family be good, would they be kind. Standing on the platform, kids without a voice. Strangers from a village, about to make a choice. Who will we live with, what will we do. What was expected? We hadn't a clue. A village in Yorkshire was our new place. The children were anxious, not one smiling face. We were sent to a lady who had a good look. "I'll take them", she said. Her name Mrs Cook. The family next door called Smith I was told Had a daughter called Bessie who was just 5 years old. My friendship with Bessie stopped me feeling sad. But Eddie and me still missed our Mam and Dad. The village was lovely with beauty all round. A big cultural shock to village from town. But feelings of loneliness, tears of despair. This wasn't our home, our families weren't there. Tho' there was a war on and we had to stay. We thought of our Mam and our Dad every day. The Newbys, the Campbells, the Smiths and the Slaters And lots of new people we learned about later. We made lots of friends, we came to no harm. Acquired new skills, we learned how to farm. The making of butter and how to bake bread. The milking of cows in Mr Cook's shed. We all knitted clothes for the soldiers so bold, Helmets and gloves to keep out the cold. The war is now over, we've moved on and yet, Some things I'll remember some things I'll forget. But memories of friends and people so kind, Forever and always stay in my mind. To visit this village I'm longing to see All the wondeful people who've been good to me. To be amongst people who love and who care. Bishop Wilton in Yorkshire, my heart is still there. Many years on, at a much later date, I relived my memories with friends Mike and Kate. A reunion was planned with meticulous care, A day of nostalgia arranged by this pair. To all of the folk and to Bessie my friend. These wonderful memories I know will not end.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Evacuee Day Saturday, 21 July 2001 The press coverage for the Evacuee Day is reproduced below in chronological order: firstly, the appeal for former evacuees to come forward which appeared in the Hull Daily Mail; secondly, the Pocklington Post article based on the fact that the Bishop Wilton Show had to be cancelled; lastly, the Hull Daily Mail account of the event itself. Finally there is a selection of photos from the day covering the four venues: assembly and lunch at the Village Hall; at Cliff Farm, the reconstruction of the Main Street of Bishop Wilton in photos showing who lived where and where the evacuees were housed; the performance by Bishop Wilton School at the Church; Maypole Dancing at the School.


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Evacuee Day Photographs This was taken at Cliff Farm over the shoulder of the Hull Daily Mail photographer who did all the hard work of assembling the 17 returning evacuees:


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Lorna Sleightholme welcomes everyone, especially the returning evacuees, at the start of the day

Listening to Lorna, returning evacuees & villagers in the Village Hall


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

In a barn at Cliff Farm, the reconstruction in photographs of the village street showing who lived where and the evacuees who were housed

Back at the Village Hall for lunch


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

One of the evacuees, Avril Gibson, talks to the member of the cast who had portrayed her in the School’s performance in the Church

To end the day, the school children give an exhibition of maypole dancing


Bishop Wilton: Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees

Part of the audience for the maypole dancing (with Flat Top in the background).



Memories of Sunderland & Hull Evacuees  

Memories of 8 evacuees who came to the East Yorkshire village of Bishop Wilton during World War II.