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29 September 1939 – National Registration Day

Eighty years ago on 29th September, in the first month of the Second World War, every one in the country was recorded on a form, issued and completed to each household, and the data was used to create National Identity cards. The form recorded the address, first and last name, gender, marital status, date of birth, and occupation.

The completed records give us a snapshot of who was living in the villages at the beginning of the war and often mentions what war work they undertook, although anyone who is still living has their record blacked out.

There is a “Cosy Tea Rooms” near Gostelow’s Butchers, and at Ship Meadows (where Longmarsh View was constructed after the war), had a group of showmen and their families staying on it along with several public works contractors.

At St John’s Jerusalem, Sir Stephen’s wife Lady Bridget and their daughter Miranda were at home, with a parlourmaid, housemaid, kitchenmaid and cook, and some other visitors including children. Sir Stephen himself is recorded as being at the BBC at Langham Place, alongwith four other colleagues, and was described as Controller BBC (Public Relations).

Strangely there is another entry for St John’s, after Cedar Lawn, which shows Miranda again as well as 15 blanked out entries. At Cedar Lawn, which is where Cedar Drive was built, the owner, Miss Russell, formerly of St John’s, had two ladies living with her who were described as “Official Helpers for Evacuated Children”.

At the top of Devon Road, at Hill Cottage, there are 28 blacked out records, so presumably there were 28 evacuees billeted at the house (which is boggling as the house is not that big….), and other houses in Devon Road do have large numbers of blanked out entries, which may mean that there were a large number of evacuees billeted with residents,

In Hawley, the Bull Hotel (now the Hawley Kitchen) had a number of fitters (armament workers) staying, and at Hawley Manor Mrs Mabel Temple Johnson, described as an invalid lived with her daughter Rosemary Wright, a maid, a lady’s maid as well as two more Official Helpers with Evacuated Children, although apparently not a large number of evacuated children.

The Vicar Caryl Sampson, was living at the Vicarage with his housekeeper, and was also described as Billeting Officer for Sutton at Hone, and seems to have had some evacuees living with him.