Clements Hall
Queen Victoria St  with tram

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe, South Bank and Bishophill areas of York

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe and South Bank areas of York

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The contribution of women in the First World War

Members of our local history group have been researching the role of women in the First World War. We’re always keen to attract people who might be interested in helping. Contact us via Clements Hall on 01904 466086 or email

Betty Stevenson

A brave bright devotion to duty: Bertha (Betty) Gavin Stevenson, driver for YMCA

Pauline Alden has been researching the role of local women in the First World War, including the story of Betty Stevenson. Betty worked with the YMCA, an organisation playing a tremendous role in supporting soldiers overseas:

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Elder’s shop in Scarcroft road (now Melton’s Restaurant)

Lady volunteers at Southlands Church in the First World War

By the end of September 1914, 1,500 members of the 5th Cavalry Reserve were sleeping in the Racecourse Grandstand at York, and it was not long before the Knavesmire became a tented village of military personnel. Men were also billeted and accommodated all over the city.

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Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Buffet, York Station. NER Magaziine Nov 1o15

Supporting WW1 soldiers and sailors at York

Mrs. Mary Florence Lindberg lost her husband at the beginning of the First World War. As well as working as a VAD nurse locally at Nunthorpe Hall Auxiliary Hospital, she also gave her time to helping at the Stranded Soldiers Club and the Station Rest Van.

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VADs and Staff of Nunthorpe Hall 1918

Sister Mary Nelson Heasley: a nurse from Belfast

Our History Group is always delighted to be contacted by relatives of people in our stories. We were very excited to receive information from the granddaughter of Mary Nelson Heasley, who was a nurse working locally at Nunthorpe Hall Auxiliary Hospital in World War 1.

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‘On Service’ from a painting by Harold Copping, 1918

The Dodsworth sisters

Dorothy Rose Dodsworth was only eighteen years old at the start of World War One. She and her sisters Kit and Evie Dodsworth came from a privileged background. Their father was Ernest Dodsworth, a prominent York solicitor and onetime Sheriff of York.

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WAAC transport

Stella Grieves – A WAAC from York

It is exactly 100 years since the founding of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in 1917 and Pauline Alden has been researching one of our local women who was a pioneer in the First World War.

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‘Mother, shall we have to kill Fräulein?’ From Punch, or The London Charivari, Vol 147, 2 Sept 1914

Mother, shall we have to kill Fräulein?

These xenophobic times remind us of past anxieties. A popular Punch cartoon in 1914 reflected growing concerns about Germans living in Britain at the time.

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Women workers making reels for mekometers at T E Cooke’s in 1916 (Courtesy Borthwick Institute)

Women at War: ‘A Munition Dirge’

Before World War One, the world famous York firm, T E Cooke, had been making scientific instruments and equipment for the military, including rangefinders and surveying equipment. They opened a new factory in Bishophill in York in 1915 and took on women to help with production.

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Women Work War

Meredith Andrea reviews a fascinating exhibition about the First World War at the Leeds Industrial Museum, Armley Mills, Leeds.

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Nunthorpe Hall – 19th Century engraving by P.Hyde

Nunthorpe Hall: The Story of an Auxiliary Hospital in World War One

One of the noteworthy buildings in our area during World War One was Nunthorpe Hall. This was in the area now built over as Coggan Close, between Albemarle Road and Philadelphia Terrace. The Hall was demolished in 1977.

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