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Wartime Safety

Exhibition Piece: This photograph reveals the individuals who had the duty of being air raid wardens for Histon and Impington from 1938-1945. The image was taken outside the Gropius Hall. There is only one woman, Mrs Adams, among a group of 27 men.

Air raid precautions began as soon as the college opened in 1939, because it coincided with the announcement of World War 2.  Trenches were constructed in the grounds by the Royal Engineers which provided protection for the whole school and a group of air raid wardens were established.

All windows of the Adult Wing were “blacked out”, as well as those rooms used for evening classes.  The materials were provided by the Education Committee with the curtains and fittings to be made by the staff.  First Aid demonstrations were held at the Village College, an Army Cadet Corps was created for the boys, and volunteers regularly bedded-down in classrooms for fire-watching.

Records were kept of some staff members that were called up for military service:

  • 1 August 1940 – Mr H. L. Smallwood (Science and Gardening)
  • 16 September 1940 – Mr W. Summers
  • 23 September 1940 – Mr A. Hempsall

In 1940, evacuees began to arrive at the school, and in 1941 the college was selected as a ‘Rest and Feeding Centre’ should there be a serious blitz on Cambridge.

Overall though, “there was nothing unusual…in the impact of the war on Impington”.