The following can be found in the Minute Book of the “Grassington and Threshfield War Work Committee”, which was discovered in the Town Hall (Grassington Devonshire Institute) in 2023. The extracts are from the first few months of the War and have been enhanced with the official record: the 1939 Register and with the memories of villagers who remember the people involved.

War was declared on 3rd Sept 1939. The “1939 Register” was taken on 29 Sept 1939, initially to produce Identity Cards and, once rationing was introduced, to issue Ration Books.

The Parish Council

The Parish Council initiated the set up of the committee and across the 1939-1945 period they were:

From April 1937

  • Edward Carlisle
  • John Robert Chapman
  • John Cree
  • Frank Jowett
  • James Nicholls
  • William Vernon Patrick
  • Mr Fr Swales
  • Edward was a retired Farmer (81) living with the Harrison family
  • John was 63 and a Clerk for the West Yorkshire Road Car Company, the local red bus service which ran until 1991
  • 65 and a retired school teacher, living at Hill Top
  • Frank was 49 and a Caterer and Confectioner. Jowett’s ran the Café Royal which is now the Stripey Badger. The family is still local.
  • 39 was a Dairy Farmer at Hill Top Farm
  • William was the local builder who premises are now the Doctor/Dentists in Grassington.
  • Fred (64) was an Agricultural Company Secretary and lived at 11 Hebden Road

From October 1940

  • Mr R Hagley

Robert (49) ran Haberdashers which is currently Relish. He was also Chairman of Craven Divisional Education Executive.

He lived at 10 Station Road.

From November 1944

  • John William Howson
  • G J Harker

Gibson (54) lived at Hill Croft, Merlewood

Grassington Folk Museum Logo

Mr Geldard remembers: John William Howson – I think he was the manager of the Co-Operative Shop on Station Rd which is now the Medical centre. He lived on Wood Lane.

This shop subsequently became WV Patrick’s business premises and is now Boots. The building is still owned by the Patrick family.

1937 Parish Council

1937 Parish Council – Mr Hagley is second from right
Geldard Collection

WV Patrick on his Motorbike

WV Patrick on his Motorbike
Geldard Collection

Public Meeting

Public Meeting convened by the Chairman of Grassington Parish Council, held at the Town Hall, Grassington on 20th September 1939 at 8.0pm

Present Rev Cyril Armitage – Chairman supported by about 50 inhabitants

The Chairman stated that the meeting had been called to afford the public an opportunity of expressing their opinion and wishes on matters concerning the Comfort and Welfare of the men who will shortly be serving with the Colours; and also as to the best method of organising all local War Work of this character

A discussion ensued upon the advisability of appointing Separate Committees for various objects eg Hospital Supplies, War Distress Fund, Red Cross Appeals ‘Soldiers’ Comforts etc

Proposed by Mr RGF Smith, seconded by Mr H W Grimshawe and carried that a Single Co-ordinating Committee be appointed for the organisation of all local War Work and objects and that this Committee be called the

“Grassington War Work Central Committee”


It was resolved to ask Linton and Threshfield Parishes if they wish to join with Grassington and if so to appoint a Representative on the Committee.

Grassington War Work Central Committee

Minute Book Front Page

First page of Minute Book

Adjourned Public meeting held on Wed 27th September 1939 at 8.0pm

Rev C Armitage in the chair and about 40 inhabitants

The following nominations for Committee were received:

  • Mrs Grimshawe
  • Mrs Maufe
  • Mrs R G F Smith
  • Rev G H Leeson
  • Rev F A Mosby
  • Rev C Armitage
  • Mr Fr Swales
  • Mr R G F Smith
  • Mr HW Grimshawe
  • Mr H Mitchell
  • Mr R Hagley
  • Helen was 62 when war broke out and lived at Windy Garth
  • Joyce was 55, lived at Far Scar and owned modern day No47. Main St
  • Mrs Smith withdrew
  • Gilbert Leeson (76) was the Congregational Minister, living at Lane Head Cottage, Garrs Lane
  • Frederick Arnold Mosby BA was Vicar at St Michaels 1927 – 1949
  • Cyril (35) was a Methodist Minister living at Rock House
  • Fred’s wife was Eleanor (61). Freda Dent (35) lived with the Swales and her Occupation was Corsetier
  • Gibson’s occupation was a Rating Officer and he was a Special Constable
  • Reginald (61) was a retired Cutlery Manufacturer living at Wharf Wood Lane
  • Mr Grimshaw had a photography shop in the village
  • Harry (62) was a retired Sheet Metal Worker who lived at Browfield on Raines Lane with wife Mary
  • Robert (49) ran Haberdashers which is currently Relish

Rev Mosby’s sister, Isabella, taught at Grassington Primary School (now houses next to Dales Toffee Shop).

Norman Frankland was the Headmaster at the same school.

Mr N Frankland & Mr F Swales were appointed Poll-clerks.

The ballot resulted in the following being elected

  • Mrs Grimshawe
  • Mrs Maufe

Husband Charles Maufe (49). Two daughters Gabriel  and Simone. Simone is listed at “Howelss(Maufe)” in the Register and has a memorial at Linton Church.

  • Rev G H Leeson


  • Rev C Armitage

Cyril Armitage left and was replaced by L Willis.

  • Mr R Hagley
  • G Harker
  • H W Grimshawe
  • H Mitchell
  • R G F Smith


  • F Swales

Fred Swales resigned and replaced by J R Sampson

Mrs Maufe’s husband Charles was a “Director of Draper Furnishing Retail”. Rackham’s in Skipton was previously “Brown and Muff’s” and before that “Brown and Maufe’s”.

Staying with the Maufe’s was Norbert Kalbe, a refugee from Austria and a Shoemaker’s apprentice.

There is a question as to whether “Charles” was originally Karl and anglicised his name for the same reason the Royal family changed their surname.

Grassington Folk Museum Logo

Mr Geldard remembers:

  • Maufe’s owned Brown and Muff’s in Bradford. Mrs Maufe allowed people to have allotments on the front lawn at Far Scar. She had many fancy dress clothes and let the local children wear them on Gala days. The Busfield family lived in No 47 Main St
  • Mrs Mary Mitchell was the Sunday School Teacher at Church House
  • There is a picture of Karl Maufe, Ray Parsey and Bill Dennis in a trench during World War 1

Dr Robert J Donaldson (44) was the Medical Superintendant at Grassington Sanitorium, now houses on the road to Hebden.

The Chairman declared the foregoing to constitute the Grassington War Work Central Committee.

No reply had been received either from Threshfield or Linton Committee

It was announced that Dr Donaldson proposed to give a first aid and Ambulance Classes at the Sanatorium

It was suggested that the Committee should compile and keep a register of persons prepared to do voluntary work of any kind (see end)

Also that a Register of Men and Women (Local) serving with HM Forces or Auxiliary forces be kept for purposes of information and reference (see separate report)

1937 Parish Council - Mr Hagley is second from right

Village children in Fancy dress outside
Grassington Town Hall

First meeting of Grassington War Work Central Committee, held at the Town Hall on Saturday 30th Sept ’39 at 7.30pm

Present: Rev C Armitage – Chairman, Mrs Grimshawe, Rev GH Leeson, Messrs R Hagley, HW Grimshawe, H Mitchell, RGF Smith, F Swales & G Harker Hon Sec ProTem

Mrs Maufe sent regrets at inability to be present

Chairman Proposed by Rev GH Leeson
Seconded by Mrs Grimshawe and carried that Rev C Armitage be is and hereby Elected Chairman of the Committee.

Vice-Chairman Proposed by HW Grimshawe.
Seconded by Mr R Hagley and carried that Rev GH Leeson be and is hereby elected Vice-Chairman of the Committee

Hon Sec Proposed by Mr RGF Smith and seconded by Rev GH Leeson that Mr G F Harker be and is hereby appointed Hon Secretary of the Committee

Hon Treasurer Proposed by Mr R Hagley. Seconded by Mr Swales & carried, that Mr HW Grimshawe be and hereby appointed honorary Treasurer of the Committee.

Proposed by Mr Smith Seconded by Mr Swales and carried that the Hon Treasurer and Secretary be Ex-officio members of the Committee and that two vacancies on the Committee be declared, to be filled later.

The question of the best method of financing the many and urgent calls which would be made upon the Committee from time to time was discussed.

It was realised that certain people might prefer and be willing to give a single subscription to cover a number of purposes whilst others would find it more convenient to give small sums weekly. It was felt that the work of the weekly Collections by means of the Envelope system should present no great difficulty and that a greater number of regular subscriptions could be secured in this way.

It was resolved that the Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary be instructed to draft a letter of appeal to all residents on these lines – also including the Committees wish for names of Voluntary workers and men serving with the Colours.

Proposed by Mr Grimshawe that the local Branch of the Royal British Legion be asked to accept the duty of keeping a Register of all men on Service, to be available for this Committee’s information.

Next meeting Thurs 5th Oct at 7.30pm

Notice to Village - page 1
Notice to Village - page 2

Notice to Village

Meeting of the war Work Central Committee held on Thursday 5th October 1939 @ 7.30pm

Bank Account Banking A/c to be opened with Martin’s Bank Skipton in the name of “Grassington War Work Central Committee” and that the Bank be and is hereby empowered to honour cheques drawn on the account and signed by H W Grimshawe, Honorary Treasurer of the Fund – no Over draft to be permitted.

Original Commercial Inn

Commercial Inn
Geldard collection

Commercial Inn as Martins bank

Martin’s Bank
Geldard collection

Commercial Inn as Barclays

Barclays Bank
Geldard Collection

The Commercial Inn appears as the Jobber’s Inn in 1860’s Ordnance Survey maps.

Martin’s Bank was later (perhaps 1969) taken over by Barclays. The name “Martin’s” can still be seen over the door of some Barclays branches, but not Skipton.

2000 weekly envelopes to be printed with “Grassington War Work Central Committee – Weekly Gift”.

Mrs W E Dennis was to be contacted to explain the objectives of this Committee are synonymous with those of the “Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen’s Association” who had asked Mrs Dennis to organise some local financial Support.

— Subsequent entries contain many “proposed by, seconded by”. For brevity, interesting points have been selected and are presented below. —

Wed 11th Oct 1939 @7.30pm

The Chairman reported that arrangements made for 2 Soldiers Canteens vis

  • Cold Canteen at Town Hall
  • Hot canteen at Jowett’s Café

And that Mrs Cameron and Mrs RGF Smith had agreed jointly to organise and manage Canteen Staff.

Invitation to Threshfield to join Committee was declined as only one place offered. After a public meeting, situation resolved by offering 2 places. Mrs L Bradley and Mrs HC Smedley took up those places.

It was agreed that the amount deposited in Yorkshire Penny Bank in the name of “Grassington and District War Distress Committee” be withdrawn and paid into Martin’s Bank.

Jowett’s cafe was the Cafe Royal and is now Stripey Badger.

Mary Cameron (37) was the wife of Dr George DG Cameron, living at the Old Hall in Grassington.

The lettering for Yorkshire Penny Bank has recently re-appeared in Skipton over the new Oxfam Book shop.

Wed 18th Oct 1939 @7.30pm

The following Collectors & districts were appointed for Collection of Weekly Envelope Subscriptions:

  • Mrs Lynch       – (per GJ Harker) – Town Head to Hill Croft (both sides of road)
  • Mrs Maufe       – (Mrs Frankland) – Chapel St from Geldard’s to “Four Winds” both side including Moor Road and Chapel Fold
  • Mrs Campbell – (per Mr Leeson) – From Rock House, Town Hall to Far Scar
  • Mrs Armitage – Mrs C Bownas – Water St and Garrs Lane (both sides)
  • Miss M Broadley – Miss Crabtree – All houses at Hardy Grange
  • Miss AJ Harker – Per Ms Smith – Market Place (both sides)
  • Mrs J Raper       – 1-12 Thorpe Fell View & Other Houses in Hebden Rd & Low Mill
  • Mrs Goddard      – 1-8 Fell View Square
  • Mrs Cox              – Barden Fell View
  • Mr Hagley           – Station Rd (Both sides) from Town End to Mrs Hibberd’s
  • Miss Park            – Raines Lane & Bridge End Terrace
  • Mrs W Maxfield   – School House to Moody Lane (both sides)
  • Mr RGF Smith     – From Wisp Hill to Bolton’s Bungalow
  • Mrs North             – Per M Hagley          – Main St (West Side) from S Stables to Heap’s shop
  • Rev GH Leeson    – Main St (East Side) from Market Place to Well Head
  • Misses Rogers       – Chamber End Fold

It was resolved that the name of the Committee be altered to “The Grassington and Threshfield War Work Central Committee”

Entertainment for Troops: Mr RGF Smith to be appointed Honorary Treasurer for Entertainments for Soldiers and to pay the £1 fee required by the Grassington Devonshire Institute.

Soldiers Writing Room: Mrs Smedley & Mr Armitage to procure trestle tables, forms and a heating store for the Soldier’s Writing Room.

Christmas Boxes – Thursday 2nd Nov 1939 @7.30pm

Mr Mitchell undertook to procure 1 doz chairs for Soldiers Writing Room (in Town Hall).

Mrs Maufe proposed a box of 50 cigarettes sent to men serving at home and a parcel of equal value in sweets or other confectionery to men serving abroad.

Suggestions for soldier’s Christmas parcels

  • 1 pair of socks, helmet, mittens or scarf
  • Iced fruit cake or chocolate biscuits
  • Sweets
  • Box of preserved dates or figs
  • Nuts
  • Can of fruit
  • Pears soap

Mrs Frankland and Mr Burton to arrange Sunday Evening entertainments for Soldiers from 7pm

Thursday 9nd Nov 1939 @7.30pm

Decided Soldier’s Christmas parcels would be

  • Pair of socks
  • Khaki jumper
  • Iced fruit cake
  • 4ox tea
  • 8oz Sweets
  • Box of dates
  • 20 cigarettes
  • Tin of condensed milk
  • 8oz roasted peanuts
  • Shaving stick
Thursday 16th Nov 1939 @7.30pm

Advert for Soldier’s addresses

Advert in Craven Herald

Advert placed in Craven Herald

Complaints were received:

  • That Civilians were taking advantage of the “Soldiers Canteen” and surreptitiously obtaining tea, cakes etc.
  • The Civilians had gained access to Sunday Entertainments

The Secretary was instructed to have the following Notice exhibited in the Canteen

“This Canteen is for Soldiers only. Civilians will not be served”
by order of the War Work Committee

And the following Notice at the entrance to the Hall

“Sunday entertainments in this Hall are for Soldiers only. Civilians, other than Soldiers wives, will not be admitted.
by order of the War Work Committee

Thursday 23rd Nov 1939 @7.30pm

Mrs Grimshawe reported on the contents of the first consignment of Hospital Garments made by the work party and despatched to the Red Cross Central Depot – Lady Ramsden.

Proposed by Mr Smith that the Honorary Treasurer write to Sir R G Ellis Bt MP of Long Ashes acquainting him of the work of the Committee and soliciting his support.

Thursday 14th Dec 1939 @7.30pm

Committee decided that 10/- be used to provide Xmas presents for Children Evacuees at Manor Court Cottage.

Thursday 28th Dec 1939 @7.30pm

It was agreed that the following organisations shall be considered for grants

  • Salvation Army
  • YMCA
  • Seamen’s mission
  • Lord Baldwin’s (Navy) Fund
  • The Finnish Relief Fund
  • British Red Cross
  • Order of St Johns
  • Polish Relief Fund
Thursday 22nd Feb 40 @7.30pm

Horticultural lectures A letter was received from the Yorkshire Institute of Agriculture, Askham Bryan, offering lectures on horticulture

Car service The Committee to undertake to provide free transport for soldiers coming home on leave if they unavoidably arrive at Skipton station after the last bus to Grassington has left – up to 5am the following morning – enquiries to be made from Stephenson & Co Taxi Proprietors, Skipton as to cost per journey.

Thursday 07th Mar 40 @7.30pm

Stranded Soldiers Taxi Service Committee decide to advertise for Volunteers to run this service. Also to ask for L Willis to be asked to quote for this service.

Willis early Vehicle

Vehicle used in early stage of Willis’ business

Len Willis went on to establish Willis’s removal services, now known as Brittania Willis