10 thoughts on “Kiora Hall Youth and Community Centre, Ragpath Lane, Roseworth

  1. I attend kiora hall and know all the stories about the building been haunted by three ghosts the owner a gypsy and elfreda. It is eerie when it is quiet and only a couple of classes are on.

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  2. Derek, The Italian POW’s were the first at Kiora they came from the British retaking Abyssinia a little known war and our first Victory. They were there from 1940 to 42 then shipped to Canada where a ship was sunk with the loss of many of those men. The Germans Came and much to our surprise like the Italians before them marched around under their own NCO’s and one or two Soldiers on Bikes. They worked mainly on the land, Stockton and Norton were one huge Market Garden at that time, some worked in Factories, the Norton Blacksmith’s, Joinery Shoe repairs, name it they did it. As the war progressed they moved into Factories to cover the shortage of workers, there were many skilled men among them. There was a build up near the end of the War and again most worked outside the camp during the day only sleeping there at night, we got used to seeing them around, some invited into houses for a meal and change of environment, the grey uniforms with patches were everywhere. Came the end of the war we got the Displaced men from Germany, many were Poles who had been forced into the German Army, lots were in Normandy and refused to fight, Kiora got quite crowded. They Germans who could went home, some stayed, many Poles and other nationalities could not go home they found work at a time we needed workers to build the New Britain, married local girls, they integrated and set down roots.

    I went to the Middle east and after the Mandate moved to Geneifa to a German POW camp our guns pointed out not in and usually stood guard with two Germans with pick axe handles, they would come and clean my weapons and as we patrolled one would carry my hand gun, strange world. Most finally went to west Germany.
    In BAOR I met many German’s who had been prisoners they would talk about the time here and how kind most of the people they met were to them, it taught me you cannot hate an entire nation forever, common decency will overcome hatred in time.
    The camp at Kiora was there into the 1950’s though by then I think Families were living in some of the barracks. Roseworth was under construction with lots of labour needed. I smile as people talk about immigration we took in thousands back then and absorbed them all.

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    • Sarah, the Home Guard did many things manning the AA guns and rockets, the searchlights and range finders as well as guarding the beaches and river banks, they were serious soldiers no matter what some comedy shows portrayed.
      The POW camp at Kiora was for quiet prisoners and most went out each day to work on the farms market gardens coal yards and other work. I watched them march down Junction road under their own NCO’s with one guard on a bike rifle over his shoulder they broke off as they reached their work area some marching down Station Road to the Coal tipplers at the Station, there they worked for the coal merchants bagging coal then helping to deliver it. My Friend Dennis Goldsbrough’s Dad employed four, they went to his house at lunch time and Mrs Goldsbrough fed them all and me. It seemed so strange to me at the time eating with the enemy around a family table all chatting away then a couple of the Germans would wash up, I was thinking why are they not escaping?
      At night they would all meet on junction road and march back to camp under the bicycle guard. They also came down to the Churches on the Green I think once a month and at Christmas, some never went home, they married local girls.

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      • Frank I seem to remember shortly after the war that some of the P.O.W.’s (both Italians and Germans?) were employed by Stockton Stone and Concrete. Did they come down in an old bus with blue windows? I seem to remember some of them driving those 3 wheeler trucks that the concrete works used.
        Many years after the war we met an ex P.O.W. in Germany who had been imprisoned in Wales and then in Haltwhistle in Northumberland and he said that they often sang in Newcastle cathedral. They were finally shipped home in 1947.

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      • My g/father, Jackson Walker, market gardener in Norton had 2 prisoners working for him. As kids when they were resting in the fields we would talk to them.

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  3. Is Kiora Hall still a Youth and Community Centre. I worked there in the mid 80’s. Lots of fun

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  4. Yes, there is lots of history there, but none regarding the New Zealand family has appeared to my knowledge.
    In WW II my sister Dorothy was “evacuated” from ICI Billingham along with all of the members of the Supply department. At another time the roots of St. Chad’s Church and Sunday school
    (where I was one of the teachers) were temporarily planted by Reverend Trevor Beeson.

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  5. ICI relocated its Supply Department at Kiora Hall during WWII. It also occupied Summerville and Hardwick Hall. It was still there for a number of years following the war; I was a messenger boy there for twelve months during 1954/55, before beginning my ICI apprenticeship in 1955.

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