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Barrow’s Heritage Group and the 1939 Register

When it became clear that war was inevitable in 1939, the government decided to compile a register of all the people living in the country. They hoped in this way to avoid the administrative problems that had occurred during the First World War. They used the procedures that were already in place for the 1941 census so it was organised quickly and efficiently. The information was used to provide identity cards and ration books during the war, and after the war for NHS numbers. Enumerators called at every house and recorded basic information about the people living there.

This register has been published recently on ‘Find my Past’ and the members of the Heritage Group have been looking at the returns for Barrow. (The information about people who are likely to be alive has been concealed for the time being to protect their privacy.) So far we have looked at the occupations of the people living in the village on the eve of war. We have not analysed this very systematically yet, but as you would expect, many men and women were employed in hosiery and cement. There is evidence of the number of food shops which existed in the village before the war. The largest occupation for women, by far, is unpaid domestic labour; I suspect this would not be the case now.

As in many other towns and villages a local Home Guard was established in Barrow, the photograph above records who the members were; however, we are short of the names of many of the people. We would be grateful if you could name any of them and would like to hear any memories of how life in Barrow was affected by the war.

You can contact us through the Barrow Heritage website or by phone: Kathryn Timmons 01509 416168

Kathryn Timmons

Acknowledgement. Picture taken from the late Jean Wright's album to the Heritage Group.