Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

A gloomy view of Bransdale East Side. There is a dampness in the air, cloud covers the moor tops and on the right an isolated farmstead.

The Winter of 1947: How the R.A.F. Mountain Rescue Squadron Saved Bransdale from Isolation

As we stepped out of the car in Bransdale this morning, the air was thick with dampness. The high moors that loomed in the distance were shrouded in a blanket of clouds, giving the dale a gloomy feel. Looking up Bransdale’s East Side, Spout House stands isolated on the right.

Spout House gained national attention in 1955 for being the first location in England to have a public kiosk connected to a Post Office exchange via a radio telephone. This was a major achievement and followed the severe isolation the dale faced in 1947 when heavy snowfall cut it off for weeks. The Kirbymoorside Rural Council, landowners, and politicians had all been campaigning for the installation of some communication infrastructure, and Spout House became the site where it finally came to fruition. Located in the farmyard at Spout House, the telephone kiosk linked with a land line to a radio transmitter on a nearby hilltop. The signal was then transmitted by radio waves to equipment 10 miles away on the Helmsley-Thirsk road, allowing for reliable communication for the dale1‘Bransdale gets radio phone kiosk | Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer | Saturday 10 September 1955 | British Newspaper Archive’. 2023. Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk <https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000687/19550910/379/0012> [accessed 16 March 2023].

In that winter of 1947, Bransdale found itself cut off from the outside world for ten long days. It was not until two members of the R.A.F. Mountain Rescue Squadron from Topcliffe arrived at Spout House, carrying heavy 40lb. packs of provisions for the valley, that a glimmer of hope appeared. These heroic individuals had trudged on foot all the way from Rudland, a distance of six miles, and were welcomed at Spout House by Miss E. Watson. She recounted how flour, sugar, and tea were her most urgent necessities. On the difficult journey back, flares were used to guide the men across the treacherous moors. The squadron made two further journeys, demonstrating unwavering dedication to the Bransdale community during this time of crisis2‘R.A.F. Men Relieve Yorkshire Village. | Bradford Observer | Thursday 13 February 1947 | British Newspaper Archive’. 2023. Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk <https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0003150/19470213/076/0001> [accessed 16 March 2023].








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