Monday, 4 April 2011

Evacuees

I wonder if there are any former evacuees who have memories of arriving in Kirkby Stephen via the Stainmore Line. Those still with us must be in late 'seventies' or 'eighties' already. Keith Richardson has kindly given me permission to feature some material here from his book 'Kirkby Stephen East - a Station Remembered' and the first time that I read his excellent history of the station a paragraph which he had written about evacuee children on page 182 caught my eye because as a child I had heard similar tales about children arriving at 'Barney' station.

Keith comments "During the early war years evacuees were sent to Kirkby Stephen. Special trains came from the Newcastle, South Shields and Barrow-in-Furness areas and I still remember children lined up in the Goods Yard  each with a label attached to his/her coat and equipped with a small suitcase and a gas mask. We locals leaned over the fence watching. Many were billeted in the town and the school was too small to accommodate the increased numbers. In consequence, extra classrooms were set up in the Friends Meeting House and the Wesleyan (now Methodist) and Baptist Chapels. I don't recall any particular problems arising because of the influx of these unfortunate children."

Being transplanted from Jarrow or Byker to Kirkby Stephen in 1939 or 1940 must have felt like travelling to a different country.

If you haven't already got a copy of Keith's book it is available from the station bookshop at £8.95, just call in at Kirkby Stephen East over the weekend. Or you can order it by post for £11.50 (inc.p&p,) Check the KSE website here for further details.

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