During the war years, many evacuees were given shelter in Bingham and the Vale of Belvoir. On the 31st August 1939 an urgent message was received by the Council to expect evacuees the following day. The first to arrive, on 1st September 1939, came from Sheffield. Bernard Whyley was tasked with gathering sheets, blankets and mattresses to provide emergency dormitory accommodation in what was the old Church Hall (next door to the Wheatsheaf on Long Acre). This building, formally known as the Coffee Room, had been leased to the British Legion since 1932, and was also known as The Legion Hall. Mrs Edith Sharp of Fosters Lane, the first lady Councillor in Bingham, was nominated “Billeting” Officer, and so all was ready. The first train-load was from Sheffield, and consisted of one child, one helper, and one doctor. Later of course it was a different story with refugees from London, Great Yarmouth, and Littlehampton pouring in. Evacuees came from a variety of home environments, and some brought problems with them. One resident recalls having curly blond hair as a child, but her parents took in an evacuee with head lice, which of course were passed on, and the curly blond locks were shorn, never to return. Another gentleman recalls an evacuee urinating in the corner of his parents lounge (known at the time as the “front room”). At least one of the evacuees was adopted by his carers, but there were probably many more.

These early problems help to explain the experiences of one of the many, Olive Starbuck whose story can be read by clicking here.

Mrs Francis Slater of Long Acre (the widow of Len Slater who had a cycle shop, firstly in the Market Square, and later on Long Acre) recalls that at the outbreak of war she was on holiday in the Northeast. Not wishing to be away from home at such a time, she caught a train home to Bingham, and remembers walking out of the station onto Station Street, which was packed with young children, clasping their carrier bags, and each with a cardboard box containing their gasmasks strung across their backs. Mrs Sharp paid warm tribute to the co-operation she received, and the great kindness shown by the people of Bingham in taking these frightened children and distressed parents into their homes, people whose outlook and habits were so very different from their own. Many of the evacuees remained in Bingham after the war and some still live here.

Referring again to the Legion Hall, it is worth mentioning that on 14 February 1942 the premises were requisitioned by the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Medical Services as a cleansing centre for the Bingham First Aid Post. Several ladies remember evening meetings at the Hall where they spent their time assembling gasmasks.

“We are doing further research in this area”.

Home Page | About Us | Contact Us | Newsletter

Site developed by Ambrow Limited | Published by the Bingham Heritage Trails Association | All content is © BHTA

Back to
top of page