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Map showing area covered.

North-East Diary

Roy Ripley &
Brian Pears
© Copyright Brian Pears 1994-2011

Sections 12 to 16a


The story of British Restaurants is an interesting one. They were introduced as Communal Feeding Centres and much of the early work was done by Mrs Flora Solomon - Marks and Spencer's 'Lady of the Ladle.' She was in charge of Marks and Spencer's staff canteens at the beginning of the war, and Simon Marks gave her permission to extend her activities to include the public.

A start was made in Kensington, and, practically commandeering empty premises and borrowing Marks and Spencer's personnel she set it up. When established she persuaded the local populace to run it, others followed.

In November 1940 Coventry was heavily bombed, Flora went up there and found a dead city, she set up a mobile canteen using staff from the wrecked Marks and Spencer's branch and got to work. It must be said that another one belonged to the intrepid ladies of the Women's Voluntary Service. A number of Marks and Spencer's stores in provincial cities went up in smoke in the next few weeks, and others were badly damaged, so whenever the shopgirls were left without a store, they were put to work in a communal feeding centre.

Mrs Solomons, who knew the Minister of Food, Lord Woolton, put the idea to him, thus began the Communal Feeding Centre - Mr Churchill, the Prime Minister objected to that particular name, saying that it was suggestive of Communism and the workhouse, he suggested British Restaurants instead, adding that "everybody associates the word restaurant with a good meal, and they might as well have the name, if they cannot get anything else". British Restaurants remained with us throughout the war, and for a few years afterwards.

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These are formed when a bomb explodes under the surface of the earth but the explosion does not disperse soil above the surface. The camouflet is the subterranean cavity left and is filled with carbon monoxide. Official respirators for use in poison gas give no protection. Crust or surface may stand for weeks or months and stand the weight of a man or it my give way at first touch. They are to be reported to a control centre and the police, who should rope off the camouflet and use UXB notices. Householders had to be warned but no evacuation was necessary. Bomb Disposal Units would render camouflets safe. Other agencies filled in the craters or otherwise restored the site.

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Although banned, except to warn of an enemy invasion, the ringing of church bells was allowed on Christmas Day 1940 and on subsequent years at Christmas, also to celebrate victories at El Alemain and Tunis. In early summer 1943 the ban was at first partially, then totally lifted.

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By the end of the war, the enemy had dropped 70,995 tons of bombs on Great Britain. There had been 297,610 casualties, 60,595 of them fatal.

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[16] .. CIVIL DEFENCE (formerly ARP)

These were groups of men and women whose combined skills and occupations would be of value during the trials that were to come in the war against the civil population.

Air Raid Wardens - Men and women who were responsible for the co-ordination of the services needed at each incident, they were trained in first-aid, often helped in rescuing people trapped in debris, maintained communications with the control centres. It was part of their duty to know where the people in their sector slept, even the room they slept in, if they had disabilities and where they would shelter during an air raid. They had to know the whereabouts of every fire hydrant, stirrup pump and fire hazard in the streets of their locality. They were authorised to give to those entitled to it, information and/or the identity of the people killed and injured in air raids.

Messengers - Usually boys between the ages of 15 and 17 years whom using their own cycles or motor cycles, carried urgent messages to and from control points as and when required.

First Aid or Stretcher Parties - Gave first aid to casualties at the places where they were injured before sending them to first aid post or hospital. A party consisted of four men and a driver.

Mobile Units - Vans fitted with medical stores and equipment and manned by a doctor, nurse and volunteer personnel.

Rescue Parties - Eight to eleven men (including driver) who were trained to extricate casualties from damaged buildings. All were skilled in rescue and demolition work and some in first aid. The parties, fully equipped with jacks, timber etc are conveyed on lorries.

Demolition Parties - Civil Defence and Royal Engineers trained to take care when demolishing buildings, especially with explosives, near to post offices and telephone exchanges etc., because of the danger of accidentally damaging vital communications apparatus or cables.

Decontamination Squads - The duty of these squads was to decontaminate streets and buildings if gas was used. They also assisted Rescue Parties when required.

Fire Guards - Civilians who were given very basic training in dealing with incendiary bombs and the resultant fires, especially in the early stages, if the fires got out of hand, the fire brigade took over. Night workers were exempt. This duty operated in business premises initially, later it was extended to residential streets. Nuns were not exempt but were only to be used for fire-guard duties in the convent where they reside or in the school in which they teach. The fire-guards or firewatchers as the were popularly called wore steel helmets of a different pattern to the Services and Civil Defence.

ARP FACILITIES, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE ..... The majority of Newcastle's ARP provision was based on a unique "75-Point Plan". The organisation was as follows:

Table 1
3 DivisionsA,B,C
15 DepotsA1-A4, B1-B6, C1-C5
60 Sub-depotsA1a-A1d, A2a-A2d, A3a-A3d etc.

(This may seem to give 79 locations, but ARP Headquarters was co-sited with Depot A4 and the 3 divisional controls were co-sited with Depots A1,B1 & C1).

Both Depots and Sub-Depots served as combined Warden Posts, First-Aid Party Depots*, Ambulance Stations, Special Constabulary Bases and AFS Fire Stations, while the Rescue and Demolition Service was based at the Depots only.

After September, 1941, the National Fire Service (NFS) replaced the Auxiliary Fire Service. The NFS had its own organisation and communications which were entirely separate from those of the local authority ARP services; but, in Newcastle, they appear to have made use of the 15 ARP Depots (Not the Sub-Depots).

The First Aid Posts* and Decontamination Service were not part of the 75-Point Plan, (See below) and there were around 150 "Action Posts" scattered around the City in which a variety of equipment for Wardens was stored.

*(First-Aid Party Depots served as bases for First-Aiders. They were dispatched to incidents to treat casualties on the spot. The casualties could then be dispatched by ambulance to First-Aid Posts for treatment by doctors or nurses. Anyone requiring further treatment would then be dispatched to hospital).

Table 2
ARP HQ and Control.
Jesmond Dene House, Jesmond Dene Road NZ254672

Table 3
Divisional Sub-Controls.
A Div Police Headquarters, Pilgrim Street NZ250643
B Div West End Police Station NZ228644
C Div Headlam Street Police Station NZ271648

Table 4
Locations of Newcastle ARP Premises in the 75-Point Plan.
A1 Police Headquarters, Pilgrim Street NZ250643
A1(a) Patterson's Garage, Forth Street NZ247637
A1(b) Tyne Bridge Abutment, Quayside NZ252638
A1(c) Jubilee Street Schools, City Road NZ256642
A1(d) Old Police Station, Red Barns, Crawhall Road NZ259645
A2 United Garage, Gallowgate NZ243643
A2(a) Corporation Yard, Pitt Street NZ239645
A2(b) Morpeth Street Schools NZ239655
A2(c) Kings College NZ246651
A2(d) PCHA, Percy Street NZ246646
A3 11 Lovaine Crescent NZ251649
A3(a) Messrs Bainbridge's Ltd, Higham Place NZ251645
A3(b) Royal Grammar School NZ252654
A3(c) United Garage, Portland Terrace NZ255654
A3(d) Corporation Yard, Newington Road NZ259652
A4 ARP Headquarters NZ254672
A4(a) Church High School, Tankerville Terrace NZ251659
A4(b) Minories Garage, Jesmond Road NZ259658
A4(c) Auto-Products Garage, Thornleigh Road NZ251664
A4(d) Jones Garage, Lodore Road NZ249674
B1 West End Police Station NZ228644
B1(a) Todds Nook Schools, Walter Terrace NZ235648
B1(b) 14 Campbell Street NZ234642
B1(c) St Aloysius Schools, Kirton Avenue NZ224647
B1(d) ARP West Centre, Limecroft, Western Avenue NZ226643
B2 Bell Terrace Council Schools NZ233634
B2(a) 116 Rye Hill NZ237639
B2(b) Adams & Gibbons, Dunn Street NZ237632
B2(c) Old Police Station, Scotswood Road NZ230631
B2(d) Coxon's Garage, Elswick Road NZ230638
B3 Condercum Colliery NZ218644
B3(a) St Aidan's Church Hall NZ226634
B3(b) Michell Bearings, Scotswood Road NZ214633
B3(c) Pendower Schools, Tower View NZ210645
B3(d) Dome Garage, West Road NZ218647
B4 Muscott Grove School, Whickham View NZ201647
B4(a) Benwell Water Works NZ206642
B4(b) Adamsez Works, Scotswood Road NZ198637
B4(c) Denton Hall NZ198656
B4(d) Thorntree Garage NZ202653
B5 Fenham Garage NZ221655
B5(a) Dame Allan's School NZ223653
B5(b) Church Hall, Grange Road NZ216652
B5(c) Corner of Queensway/Greenway NZ219657
B5(d) Cochran Carrs, Cowgate NZ218660
B6 Manor House, Kenton NZ219676
B6(a) Buist's Garage NZ217667
B6(b) Kenton Bar Old Public House NZ214674
B6(c) Fawdon Tin Works NZ225687
B6(d) Freeman's Hut, Grandstand Road NZ243668
C1 Headlam Street Police Station NZ271648
C1(a) St Peter's Schools, Bolam Street NZ275640
C1(b) St Peter's Corporation Yard NZ264541
C1(c) Malings' Pottery, City Road NZ268640
C1(d) Apollo Garage, Shields Road NZ265646
C2 Wharrier Street Old Police Station NZ292640
C2(a) Hoult's Garage, Mitchell Street NZ295644
C2(b) Church Street Schools NZ294637
C2(c) Belmont Street Schools NZ285633
C2(d) St Anthony's House, Dunstanburgh Road NZ277642
C3 ARP East Centre, Scrogg Road NZ285650
C3(a) Walker Tenants' Hut Appletree Gardens NZ285660
C3(b) Vauxhall Road NZ291656
C3(c) Brough Park Pavilion NZ297649
C3(d) Byker Car Sheds NZ282656
C4 Tosson Terrace Schools NZ274660
C4(a) Duncan & Duncan Ltd, Marleen Avenue NZ274656
C4(b) Heaton Park Road Schools NZ266650
C4(c) Medical College Ground Pavilion, Cartington Tce NZ269661
C4(d) Smith's Crisp Depot, Benfield Road NZ279667
C5 Henderson Hall, Cochrane Park NZ257672
C5(a) Hartley's Works, Benton Park Road NZ270683
C5(b) Benton Place Farm NZ268675
C5(c) Newton Park Garage NZ263672
C5(d) Mole's Garage, Benton Park Road NZ257681

Table 5
First Aid Posts.
1 Central School, Pendower 34732 NZ211645
2 Elswick Hall, Elswick Park 34733 NZ231636
3 Dame Allan's School, Bolbec Road 34162 NZ223653
4A Elementary School, Snow Street 35014 NZ237644
4B Newcastle Dispensary, 115 New Bridge Street 27946 NZ256645
5 Royal Grammar School, Eskdale Terrace Jesmond 1639 NZ252654
6 Public Baths, Chillingham Road 56316 NZ271661
7 Elementary School, Raby Street 56326 NZ269643
8 Public Baths, Wharrier Street 63394 NZ292640

Table 6
Casualty Reception Hospitals.
Newcastle General Hospital 512 NZ228645
Elswick Grange 621 NZ228647
Royal Victoria Infirmary 662 NZ245649
Fleming Memorial Hospital 92 NZ249658
Sanderson Hospital School 195 NZ238679

Table 7
Base Hospitals.
Shotley Bridge Mental Defectives Colony 884 NZ101528
Hexham Public Assistance Institution 500 NY942638
Stannington Sanitorium 578 NZ188819
Stannington Mental Hospital 500 NZ181810

Table 8
Decontamination Service.
Condercum Road NZ218644
Stowell Street NZ243641
Newington Road NZ259651
Welbeck Road NZ283645

Table 9
Location of Sirens.
1 NES Co. Carliol House, Pilgrim Street NZ250643
2 Cut Outs Ltd. Shields Road NZ273661
3 A.S. Wilkins Ltd, Cremona Park, Benton Road NZ270669
4 Hilton's Garage, Cowgate NZ222661
5 West Jesmond Picture House, Lyndhurst Avenue NZ250666
6 Workshops for the Blind, Whickham View NZ207644
7 General Hospital Nurses Home, Westgate Road NZ228644
8 Welbeck Cinema, Scrogg Road NZ286645
9 GPO Sorting Office, Orchard Street NZ247637
10 Newcastle & District Electric Co., Elswick Road NZ228638
11 Hawthorn Leslie, St Peters NZ275635
12 Vickers Armstrongs, Walker Naval Yard NZ296637
13 Vickers Armstrongs, Elswick Works NZ231630
14 Vickers Armstrongs, Scotswood Road Works NZ212634
15 Adamsez, Scotswood Road NZ198638
16 Bensons & Son, Caroline Pit, Denton NZ203659
17 Cochran Carr, Two Ball Lonnen NZ218660
18 Hedleys, City Road NZ257641
19 Dampneys, Portland Road NZ259648
20 C.A. Parsons, Shields Road NZ279654
21 Birds Ltd, Claremont Road NZ239655
22 CWS Wholesale, Blenheim Street NZ243639
23 Spillers Ltd, St Lawrence Road NZ269636

Table 10
Emergency Water Supplies.
Angus Gear Works, Walker Road Dam NZ280636
Angus, Grainger Street Steel Tank NZ246641
Apollo (rear) Steel Tank NZ265646
Carliol Square Steel Tank NZ251642
Cathedral Churchyard Dam NZ249640
Central Railway Station (2) Canvas/Scaffold NZ245638
Corporation Yard, Newington Road Dam NZ259652
Cremona Toffee Works, Benton Road Dam NZ270669
Deaf & Dumb Institution, North Road Dam NZ249661
Duncan & Duncan, Heaton Steel Tank NZ274656
Ellison Place Steel Tank NZ252647
Exhibition Park Boating Lake *   NZ246657
Forth Banks Steel Tank NZ246637
Gallowgate Steel Tank NZ243643
Granville Court Dam NZ254655
Home for Incurables Dam NZ235655
King's College, Newcastle Dam NZ246650
Manors Power Station Steel Tank NZ243643
Morpeth Street Schools Sportapool NZ239655
National Children's Home, Elswick Road Dam NZ229638
NES Car Park Steel Tank NZ250644
Newcastle General Hospital (2) Dam NZ227645
Newcastle General Hospital Nurses Home Dam NZ228644
Newcastle Timber & Hardwood Co Steel Tank NZ251651
Pendower Schools Dam NZ210645
R. Robinson & Co, Clavering Place Dam NZ249637
Royal Victoria Infirmary Dam & Steel Tank NZ245649
Slaughter Houses, Byker Canvas/Scaffold NZ274649
St Andrews Churchyard, Gallowgate Dam NZ245644
St Joseph's Home, Westmorland Road Dam NZ228635
St Mary's Cathedral Canvas/Scaffold NZ244638
Station Hotel Forecourt (2) Dam NZ246638
United Garage, Jesmond Road Dam NZ255654

*A painted "EWS" sign can still be seen at the old Claremont Road entrance to Exhbition Park - an arrow points to the boating lake. Thanks to John Stelling, chairman of the Military Vehicle Museum in Exhibition Park, for this information..

Table 11
AFS Divisional HQ.
A ARP House, Jesmond Dene NZ254672
B Limecroft, Western Avenue NZ226643
C Headlam Street Police Station NZ271648

Table 12
Wardens Divisional HQ.
A ARP Headquarters NZ254672
B "Limecroft", Western Avenue NZ226643
C North Lodge, Scrogg Road NZ285650

Table 13
ARP Canteens.
A Jesmond Dene House   NZ254672
A Church High Schools   NZ251659
A Grammar School Store NZ252654
A Pilgrim Street   NZ250643
A Pitt Street   NZ239645
B Lynwood Avenue   NZ228643
B Bell Terrace   NZ233634
B Dame Allan's Store NZ223653
B Muscott Grove Schools   NZ201647
B Limecroft Store NZ226643
C Headlam Street   NZ271648
C Wharrier Street Schools   NZ286638
C Benton Park Road   NZ268675
C Tosson Terrace   NZ274660
C Scrogg Road   NZ285650
C Heaton Park Road   NZ266650
C Dunstanborough House Store NZ277642

[The "CIVIL DEFENCE - ARP FACILITIES, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE" Section continues on the next page]

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