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"We don't know there is a war on here" (April 1940)
Changes to accommodate the blackout: Evensong was changed from 6.30pm to 3pm as it was impossible to black out all the Church windows but the vestry was blacked out in order to hold 8 o’clock Holy Communion.
Messages to Hitler: During the war, Craveners were urged to send messages to Hitler – stuck to a bomb! ‘Sticking sessions’ were held across North Craven at Settle, Austwick, Ingleton, Bentham, Hellifield and at the Church Hall, Kirkby Malham.
Airton Methodist Church
Thomas Snowden and Dorothy Ellen Carlisle
Fred Lambert and Jessie Bolland
Alfred Robert Dinsdale and Ethel Thompson
James Brown and Ruby Williams
George Henry Barthram and Alice Elvie Beck
St Michael's Kirkby Malham
Charles Groves and Alice Isabell Parker
William Noel Ramsden and Dorothy Dawson
Thomas William Smith and Annie Shuttleworth
Joseph Hudson and Ellen Swinbank
Archibald Jeffrey and Beryl Archer
Raymond Dearlove Watson and Vina Lister
John Norman McCleod and Rachel Edmonds
Cuthwin Henry Bosenburg and Ruth Edmonds
John Thompson and Doris Carr
Robert Carr and Edith Hird
John Pratt and Nora Taylor
John William Beckwith and Hilda Thompson
Edgar Hesleden and Hannah Jane Nelson
John Thompson and Bessie Carr
Thomas Towler and Mary Robinson
Maurice Bradley and Christine Margaret Alderson
Anthony Wilson and Linda Bradley
Donald Malcolm Cameron and Elizabeth Annie Ena Hall
George Ernest Allen and Sarah Ellen Viles
Malham Chapel was not licensed for weddings until after the war.
Railings: Metal was collected for the war effort and the railings were removed from Sparth House, the Chapel and Dale House in Malham along with chains and railings from the churchyard and many more gates.
Ration Book Image
Ration Book: Rationing of food began early in 1940 and each individual was issued with a ration book via the local Food Office, which in the case of Malhamdale, was in Settle. It was necessary to register with a retailer to supply the rations allowed. Rationing did not finish until 1954, and the sample book from after the war, shows the retailer for meat was R Taylor, Butcher of Airton.
To the value of 1s. 2d.
Not rationed but difficult to obtain; offal was originally unrationed, but sometimes formed part of the meat ration.
Sometimes it rose to 4oz or even 8oz
COOKING FAT 4oz
Often dropping to 2oz.
MILK 3 pints Sometimes dropping to 2 pints. Household (skimmed, dried) milk was available (1 packet every four weeks)
Every two months.
EGGS 1 shell egg a week, if available, but sometimes 1 every two weeks. One packet of dried eggs every four weeks.
Down the centuries rural communities have made their own entertainment.
Wartime proved no exception. Group activities were organised to raise
money for the War effort and there was enjoyment to be had in the camaraderie
of working together for a common purpose.
In Kirkby Malham there were Home Guard dances, Beetle and Whist Drives
in the Village Hall to raise money for parcels for the troops. These parcels
were organised by the Rev. Chick and the Proctor family of Holgate Head
and would contain practical necessities such as soap and shampoo. Sometimes
there would be an air raid alert during the evening and all the members
of the Home Guard would have to dash off to their posts, much to everyones
When there were social events in the old Scosthrop School there were no
amenities such as indoor toilets but nobody minded.
In Malham, Mrs Mary Mason of Airton House ran a Drama Group which staged
plays in Kirkby Malham Hall once or twice a year. The Hall would be full
to overflowing for the two nights of the production. Mrs Mason also organised
Christmas Concerts in which local children participated.
Harry Scott, the first editor of the Dalesman, and the famous Arthur Raistrick
who was an authority on every aspect of the Dales gave a series of lectures
during the winter in Malham Village Hall covering topics such as economics,
geology of the Dale and life in the Dale.
The Womens Institute members were also involved in the war effort.
There were cookery demonstrations to help people make the most of their
rations and the WI purchased a canning machine so that surplus fruit and
vegetables could be preserved. First Aid training was offered, but they
were only provided with the most basic First Aid kit.
All over the Dales in homes and farmhouses, women met to knit scarves,
gloves and balaclavas for the Forces.
In Malham dances were held in a hut that was behind Beck Hall on Saturday
nights. Dancing was to gramophone records organised by Jos Swithinbank.
A Youth Group was formed during the war years which had a varied programme
of activities including such things as treasure hunts, brains trusts,
rounders matches and lectures and lantern slides.
However Malhamdale folk were not entirely restricted to entertainment
in the Dale. Public transport made it possible to go to the cinema in
Skipton although films were sometimes shown in the village halls. If a
party of six or more wished to travel by train to the theatre in Leeds,
the train would stop at Bell Busk. However it meant a long walk home from
Apart from these organised events families in those days would provide
their own entertainment, singing round the piano and playing parlour games.
Many houses and farms had no electricity however, so listening to broadcasts
had to be restricted to news bulletins as batteries were very scarce.
Church & Chapel Life in Malhamdale carried on, although no one was oblivious
to what was happening outside the Dale. The Parish newsletters don't offer
many clues as to what was happening locally, but this entry for December
1940, one of the few to mention the war, gives an indication of how life
just went on and people made the best of it.
MY DEAR PEOPLE,
These late dark mornings and the long downpours of November have been
a trying start for the winter. But we have a very great deal for which
to be thankful. We do not have to drag ourselves out by night to a cold
or a crowded air-raid shelter, or return to find our homes smashed or
our church in ruins. Make a little time to pray for those who face these
risks this winter. It will mean much to them. Church people will have
been stirred by one act of sympathy reported lately. Carlisle diocese
has sent a gift of £700 to help the diocese of Southwark, where
28 churches have been utterly wrecked and another 120 damaged. If we
in Bradford diocese are given the opportunity of helping one another
more because of the war, I hope we shall do it ungrudgingly, glad to
help those who are less fortunate than we are.
Such minor inconveniences as our war-time winter brings us are small
compared with other people's. At church there is one change we had to
make to avoid altering service times. To carry on our 8 a.m. celebration
we have "blacked out" the vestry and made it a temporary chapel.
We were fortunate to have an altar, or at least a part of one, ready
for us. The slab of stone on which we now celebrate is a fragment of
a medieval altar stone formerly in the church. Three of the five original
consecration crosses are to be found on it. For a time, then, we shall
be restoring it to its proper use. I hope that some day we shall put
it back in a permanent altar, as they have done at Skipton.
Rev Bernard Chick
As everywhere else all food was rationed but people in the dale were fortunate to be in a farming community. Most people kept pigs and hens and even sheep. Every now and then an Inspector from the Ministry of Agriculture would visit the farms but there was never a problem. Even inspectors were partial to a joint of lamb or some ham and eggs! When a pig was killed it was shared with the neighbours and there always seemed to be brawn, lard, sausages, hams and eggs. The law was that if a sheep broke its leg it could be killed for food. A surprising number of sheep suffered that fate!
The only unrationed meat was rabbit and extra income for the family could be earned by snaring these and selling them in Preston market.
Rationing involved shopkeepers in an enormous amount of work. Customers had to register with a particular shop and exchange the coupons for their rations. These were then counted on Sunday and taken on Tuesday to the Food Office in Settle. They were exchanged for tokens so that the allocated food could be collected from the wholesalers. The meat was also allocated from Settle and then the local butcher had the job of trying to make it go round his customers.
Butter came in big slabs and had to be cut up and weighed. Sugar also had to be weighed out.
Dried eggs were used for most recipes if you did not have hens. This came, along with dried milk powder and other things, by canal to Fred Green’s in Gargrave. Many people also had allotments which could sometimes be quite a distance from the home and that could be a long way to carry water!
The WI held demonstrations to help people make the most of their rations. You could always use grated carrot in fruit cakes and mince pies or substitute elderberries for currants. They also taught people how to preserve fruits by bottling using Kilner jars and gave training on home canning. Malham bought a canning machine which was hired out to individuals to make the most of any fruit grown locally.
Rationing began early in 1940. Ration books had been printed in 1938 and were issued by post from local food offices to every individual. A special census had been conducted for national registration in September 1939. There were five types of ration books issued:- children under 5, children 5 to 18, normal adults, travellers and seamen.
Ordinary rationing allowed people a fixed weekly amount of each food and in 1940 was applied to meat, bacon, sugar, fats and tea. In 1941 cheese and jam were added and milk and eggs came under a priority rationing scheme.
On December 1st 1941 a points system was introduced for miscellaneous groceries. Each person received a number of points to spend in a month on any food in that group. This was similar to the system used for clothes which started in June 1941. Everyone had 66 clothes points a year and point price was based on the amount of cloth used in an item. Later the points were reduced to 48 a year.
Soap rationing was introduced early in 1942 on the basis of 16oz per four weeks for hard soap.
Chocolate and sweets were first rationed in July 1942.
Bread, flour and potatoes were never rationed during the war but bread and flour rationing was introduced in July 1946 and lasted for two years. Potatoes were rationed in 1947 – 48 when a poor potato harvest coincided with a world shortage of wheat.