Evacuees

The first mention of evacuees in Kenilworth comes in the KUDC minutes of  30th August 1939 - before war had been declared. The reception of evacuee school children from Coventry had been arranged and "many residents" had willingly given accommodation. Mind you, those who had refused when asked were to be summoned before a tribunal. With the children came teachers and a number had been billeted in Kenilworth by the next KUDC meeting.

As Christmas approached, it was suggested that an entertainment of some sort should be provided for the Coventry school children, but this was eventually decided against as it was realised that most would return to Coventry for Christmas.

Early the following year, there was another influx of Coventry children. So many were in town that they had their own sick bay provided but this closed within months as the owner wanted his property back "for agricultural purposes", suggesting the sick bay was a farmyard building. The children's health now came under the County Council and as far as is known they were no longer treated in Kenilworth.

In June 1940, following the escape from Dunkirk and the likelihood of an invasion, evacuees from "the south coast" arrived; 135 unaccompanied children, 2 accompanied and 20 adults. All went to voluntary billets.

As 1940 progressed and raids on Coventry intensified, more and more evacuees arrived from the city, hundreds at a time. The Parochial Hall for example was used by more than a hundred each night as somewhere to sleep, they walked back home to Coventry the next morning. The hall at the Abbey Hotel was another sleeping area, and of course large rooms at pubs were popular. But many were taken in by individuals; it is worth mentioning that of the eight buildings where deaths occurred due the land mine falling at Abbey End, seven had Coventry visitors who died.  

I am sure there must still be evacuees and their families living in Kenilworth, I would be delighted to hear from them.