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Longstone Local History Group - Stella Holmes’ Story

by actiondesksheffield

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Stella Holmes, Miss Bullock, Mrs. Thrower, Mary Ward, Bill Bowers, Mr Herrington, Mr Pickford, Arthur Slater, Tom Hurst, Scotney Birkhead, Edgar Bradwell
Location of story: 
Ashford, Longstone, Tideswell, Bakewell, Cressbrook, Monsal Head
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
19 December 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Roger Marsh of the ‘Action Desk — Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Stella Holmes and has been added to the site with the author’s permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

These memories are taken from a special edition of a newsletter kindly submitted by Longstone Local History Group. It was edited by Liz Greenfield and published in Autumn 2002. Longstone was a village which sheltered evacuees and was comparatively unaffected by air attack, although the night sky was often lit by the fires of the Sheffield Blitz.

Longstone Local History Group - Stella Holmes’ Story
Stella Holmes
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Other parts to this story are at:

Introduction: A7887487

Roy Finney’s Story: A7887784

Frank, A and S Hurst: A7888396

Flames of Sheffield: A7888657

Molly Thornhill’s Story: A7888882

Tony Greenfield’s Story: A7889133

Martin Simon’s Story: A7889557

Home defence remembered: A7890230

Burma servicemen Remembered: A7890492

Norman Hoare’s Story: A7891004

Norman Hassal’s Story: A7891202

Women’s Institute: A7891888

One family’s War Part One: A7892562

One Family’s War Part Two: A7893534


In 1941 when I left school, I was living with my family at the Red House in Ashford Lane. I started to work for the Columbia Film Company, which had been evacuated to Cressbrook Hall. Mr. Bramwell was president and the London members of staff were lodged in several villages including Longstone, Tideswell and Ashford.

The stables at Cressbrook stored all the films and a Miss Bullock was in charge of distribution. Lorries would come and collect the films for distribution nation-wide as in those days three films a week were showing at the cinemas. Buckley's bus from Tideswell used to pick up the staff at 8 am and return them at 7 pm. Those in billets only had bed and breakfast, so lunch and evening meals were provided by the company. Mrs. Thrower was in charge of the kitchens and her husband was in charge of the gardens. I was in the mail department. We dealt with all outgoing, incoming and inter-office mail. Outgoing mail was sorted into counties and stamped by our own franking machine. It was then put into mailbags and the bags were sealed. The mail van would then pick up the bags and take them directly to a main post office. We also had in our department, a telephone exchange with 12 extensions and three outside lines. We had to call London for the heads of departments in Cressbrook, to speak to their opposite numbers in London every morning and again in the afternoon.

If we wanted to go to the Bakewell pictures at 6 pm we would go to the canteen and get two slices of toast with a slice of Spam between and eat these as we walked to Monsal Head to catch the bus.

In 1943, the company went back to London and I went to work at Thornhills office from 1943 to 1948. There were six of us in the office and, as petrol was rationed, we had to keep a record of all journeys to enable us to get the next lot of petrol coupons. My main job was dealing with orders coming in for limestone, poultry and chicken grit, which we ordered from Longcliffe quarries at Brassington. They despatched our orders by rail from there.

On the egg collection side, we had Mr. Sammy Lees who only stayed a week; he lost his collection sheets one day then he lost the pay packets for the farmers' eggs for the previous week. Another time, all the boxes of eggs he had collected fell over in the van and cracked, so the warehouse staff had to break them into suitable containers. They were then sent out as liquid eggs to the various cafes and catering establishments.

Villagers who worked at Thornhills included Mary Ward, Bill Bowers, Mr Herrington, Mr Pickford, Arthur Slater, Tom Hurst, Scotney Birkhead, Edgar Bradwell and Ernie and his brother George before they were called up. They also tried market gardening and some drivers took flowers on their delivery rounds into Sheffield. Scotney left a lot of white flowers at one of the hospitals but had to fetch them back when they told him they never had white flowers in the place. So he went into a café and tried to sell them there but was told he couldn't do that.

My mother, Mrs. Barnes, was in the Red Cross and, together with Mr. Robert Thornhill and Mrs. Goodwin, started the first aid point in the Coach House at Longstone Hall. She took first aid and home nursing classes. They asked her to be commandant at Bakewell but with a big family, she hadn't the time, so Miss Foulkes, from what is now the Nat West Bank, took it on.


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