8.8.88

In her fascinating short history of Oxenholme: The Railway Village (1995), Laura Oldham wrote about “Auntie Vi’s” shop and went on to say that Vi Atkinson ‘had an unusually distinctive birthday, beng born on the eighth day of the eighth month of 1888’.

However, further investigation reveals that Vi Atkinson, who was born Violet Emma Lord, was born on the eighth day of the eighth month, but in 1887 not 1888. Vi, who married Thomas Atkinson, died in 1978 aged 90. They lived at Helm Garth in Helmside Road.

But another Oxenholme resident, Florence Jellett, born Florence Caley, was born on the eighth day of the eighth month in 1888, according to her entry on the 1939 National Identity Register. Florence married railway porter George Jellett in 1918. They lived at 18 Helmside Cottages. Florence died in 1988, aged 99.

lord and jellett

2013: Oxenholme’s only shop and post office up for sale

Bill Riddell: “I want to stop here.”

Oxenholme’s only shop and post office is up for sale after its owner decided he could no longer afford to cover its losses.

Bill Riddell, 63, ploughed thousands of pounds of retirement savings into Oxenholme Stores but says not enough customers use it. He has now taken up another job and daughter Dawn is running the Helmside Road business until it sells. Mr Riddell re-opened the shop in March 2010 after it been closed for more than a year and re-introduced a vital Post Office service. As well as pensions, letters and parcel postage, he introduced cash withdrawal and bank deposit facilities to encourage shoppers.

An upset Mr Riddell said: “It’s a venture I tried and it hasn’t worked. I’m not making any money here so I’ve got another job. I want to stop here. I’ve ploughed so much into it – cash wise and time. I’ve been doing 100 hour weeks but I enjoy it. The customers are good and we have a good laugh. The children in the village that come in for sweets are fantastic – well-mannered and well-behaved.”

The time-served joiner said the shop’s stock is reducing as he cannot afford to continue filling shelves as before. During their time, the father and daughter team tried new initiatives like hot pies, the National Lottery and over-the-counter Euros as well as stocking old corner shop necessities like safety pins, cotton reels, pegs and puncture repair kits. During the heavy snows and icy conditions of recent winters, Mr Riddell doorstep delivered to many of Oxenholme’s elderly residents when bus services stopped running and village roads and pavements were covered by drifts or sheet ice.

“Unfortunately, when the Post Office goes they [customers] will be back to where they were three-and-half years ago – having to go into town [Kendal],” explained Mr Riddell. “People do want a local shop and post office but don’t use it enough.”

Oxenholme resident and former councillor, John Bateson, said: “It’s very disappointing and naturally I hope someone’s takes it on. It’s very important to have a post office in the village.”

Commercial sales company, Hilton Smythe, described the shop as “the hub of the community” and said the leasehold business has seven years remaining on the 10-year-lease with rent at £14,500-a-year reviewed annually.

Oxenholme is also served by a Texaco garage.

Reporter: Ellis Butcher

Published by: Westmorland Gazette, 22 August 2013

1920: Accident at Oxenholme – Trucks Derailed – Traffic Delayed

An accident to a goods train near Oxenholme station on Thursday evening dislocated the main line traffic on the London and North Western Co`s system for many hours. A goods train left Carlisle at 1.25 on Thursday afternoon bound for Bushbury near Crewe. When it arrived at Oxenholme about four o`clock it had to be shunted to make way for passenger traffic. When the 4.20 p.m. from Kendal for the south had departed from Oxenholme the goods train was signalled to come from the loop to the main up line , the goods engine was pulling about 42 wagons. The loop line does not finally join the main line until near Oxenholme No 1 signal box at Helmside. Signalman George Mattocks saw a portion of the train pass his box , when thirty-three of the wagons had passed he noticed one of them leaving the rails to be immediately followed by four others , he at once put the advance signal against the train and the driver pulled up. Two of the wagons turned over when under the bridge but fortunately they fell to the outside and traffic on the down line was not seriously impeded. The front portion of the train was sent to Milnthorpe and a gang of men at Oxenholme shed did what they could with jacks to get the trucks back on the rails. The weight of the trucks was too much so the breakdown gang with a steam crane was summoned from Tebay this arrived about seven o`clock , but was not sufficiently heavy for the task , consequently the Preston gang was telephoned for and arrived shortly before 9 o`clock with a fifty ton steam crane. Four of the trucks which were ordinary ten-tonners were easily accounted for, but a six wheel Caledonian truck which was loaded with heavy sheet steel for ship building created greater difficulty, the load having to be removed before the truck could be lifted , by 11.30 the four lighter trucks had been placed in the sidings. About mid-night when all the mail trains had passed through the men were able to work without interruption and the local platelayers were soon at work replacing the 100 yards of permanent way which had been torn up. The damage to the line was considerable but it was hoped the dislocation of traffic would cease today. Nobody was injured , trains were delayed considerably, some being more than an hour late. The cause of the accident is not known but is believed to be due to journal on a wagon breaking as it left the loop line points. Mr Raffles the Oxenholme stationmaster and the local staff worked with the help of Mr Knights the Carnforth stationmaster ( late of Oxenholme ). The officials in charge of the Preston Gang included Mr Dingley (Crewe) Inspector Hall (Lancaster) and Mr Chatwood (Preston).

Westmorland Gazette 16 October  1920

1898: Accident at Oxenholme

This afternoon Joseph Dixon, porter at Oxenholme station, was wheeling a truck of luggage down the north end of the platform, in order to cross the line, when it ran away from him. Dixon fell on the line and broke his left thigh. He was conveyed to the Kendal Hospital.

Westmorland Gazette, Saturday 16 July 1898

1890: Porter killed at Oxenholme Junction

Another of those shocking accidents, which have during the past few years been numerous at Oxenholme Junction, occurred on Thursday evening. The unfortunate man was named William Langhorn, he was 25 years of age, and lived at Helmside, leaving a widow and three children to mourn his loss. The circumstances are very simple and are easily told. It appears that about 7-40 p.m., Langhorn was engaged in shunting operations at the north side of the station, near to the signal box, when he became caught between a horse box and a railway carriage. He was very much crushed, and expired almost immediately. Mr. Moffatt, station-master, and the foreman porter (Armitage) both witnessed the sad affair, which was quite an accident. The body was removed to one of the waiting-rooms to await an inquest.

Westmorland Gazette, 18 October 1890

1889: Application to take over road

WESTMORLAND COUNTY COUNCIL

The quarterly meeting of this body was held on Wednesday, at the Town Hall, Kendal. The Chairman, Mr. James Cropper, presided, and there was a large attendance of members.

– An application was made by the promoters and subscribers of a road adjoining Oxenholme Junction with Helmside cottages to take over the road as a main road. A generally favourable view was expressed as to the convenience of the new road, but as the preliminary steps had not been taken the matter was allowed to stand over. – The main roads committee stated that an arrangement had been come to with the Kendal Corporation that the latter should be paid at the rate of £120 per mile for the maintenance of about two miles of road in the borough. –Mr. W. H. Wakefield opposed the confirmation of this on the ground that it was excessive, pointing out that the contribution should be in proportion to the wear and tear caused by traffic to the railway station from outsiders. –The Mayor of Kendal (Ald. Baron) contended that Kendal was receiving too little instead of too much, referred to the committee as being the most penurious in the matter. Kendal last year contributed £3,141 to the rates of the county, and did not get back half. They only wanted what was fair, and would be satisfied with no less. –The minutes of the committee were confirmed, there being only two dissentients (Mr. W. H. Wakefield and Mr. W. Wakefield).

Lancaster Gazette, 28 September 1889