31st January 1941

Disagreement over whether women should be allowed to volunteer at CAB and the need for a CAB in Fenton

Advice on Wartime Problems


The importance of the Citizens’ Advice Bureaux in North Staffordshire being efficiently staffed and equipped for dealing with problems that might arise out of any enemy air action was emphasised at a meeting of bureaux members, held at Hanley Town Hall, yesterday afternoon.

Mr. A. E. Bennett (Chairman) presided, supported by the Rev. C. J. Tribe, of Longton, and Mrs. M. Morris (Secretary). There was a representative attendance.

In the unavoidable absence of Mr. R. Clements, Regional Officer of the Social Services Council, who was to have given an address on civilian problems arising from enemy air-action, the Rev. C. J. Tribe initiated a review of the Citizens’ advice Bureaux organisations in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle, and urged that the fullest preparations should be made for dealing with any possible local emergency.


Replying to the Rev. S. F. Linsley (Vicar of Tunstall), Mrs. Morris said bureaux were established in Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Longton, Newcastle, Meir and Milton, while contact was maintained with the Kidsgrove, Leek, Stafford and Uttoxeter centres. Arrangements had been made for an interchange of members, if necessary. Plans had also been made for duplicating the work at the local bureaux.

The Chairman spoke of the need for a mobile bureau, in case of emergency arising. For this purpose, a reserve of workers was required. There were some local bureaux which were not too well staffed, and it was essential to remedy that position before any emergency occurred. An efficient Citizens’ Advice Bureau could save both the public and Corporation departments much needless time and trouble under emergency circumstances.


The Chairman said he had previously suggested an appeal should be made for men helpers. But the Committee apparently considered that women would hesitate to discuss personal problems with men, and would prefer to deal with women. It was true that the majority of visitors to the bureaux were women, but he (Mr. Bennett) adhered to his original attitude on the matter.

Mrs. Morris said there should be no sex bar in Citizens’ Advice bureaux work.

In the later discussion, it was urged that a bureau should be established at Fenton, and the Secretary undertook to bring the matter before the Committee.


Reference was also made by the Chairman to negotiations which had taken place with the North Staffordshire Law Society concerning the provision of free legal advice on a poor person’s basis. At the moment, the only lawyer giving such service to the local bureaux was Mr. G. V. Swann of Newcastle and he thought that other legal members should also co-operate.

The North Staffordshire Law Society, said Mr. Bennett had not exactly rejected the approaches made, but they had treated the bureau in a very luke-warm manner.

It was stated that the chief qualifications for service with the bureaux were “average common-sense and intelligence.”


16th May 1941

As well as giving advice about rationing and housing problems the bureaux were also giving advice about pensions.

Supplementary Pensions

The Hon. Secretary, Citizens’ Advice Bureaux, Craft House, Lower-street, Newcastle, invites all old age pensioners who are in difficulty with their claims for supplementary old age pensions to call at one of the Citizens’ Advice Bureaux, where they will be given the advice and information they need.


 21st October 1942

By this tme there are ten Bureaux operating in North Staffordshire who have dealt with 18,000 inquiries over the 12 months since the first Bureaux opened.


Throughout the whole of the country during this week, attention is being called to the valuable work carried out by the Citizens Advice Bureaux.

There are few districts better served by Citizens’ Advice bureaux than North Staffordshire, where they are under the direction of the Stoke-on-Trent and District Social Service Emergency Council, whose annual report appeared in the Sentinel a few days ago.

In the City of Stoke-on-Trent there are at present nine Bureaux and one at Newcastle. These Bureaux have, in most cases, been provided with suitable premises by the Local Authorities. Friendly contacts have been established with these authorities and with other statutory and voluntary bodies, which have proved of great assistance to the Bureaux in solving the many and varied problems which are brought to their notice.

During the past year, nearly 18,000 cases were satisfactorily dealt with in the City and Newcastle area, an average of about 340 a week, and the number of inquiries is steadily increasing. Clothes, food and fuel rationing have brought thousands of people to the Bureaux for advice and information. The Red Cross Postal Message Scheme, by which messages can be exchanged with relatives and friends in enemy-occupied countries, is being increasingly used. Some 761 messages have been forwarded by the local Bureaux during the past year, and 410 incoming messages have been received. Wartime problems are many, but the existence of the Bureaux ensures that friendly sympathetic and reliable help is available for all.

All the workers give their services voluntarily and no charge is ever made for information and advice. Expenses of the Bureaux are met partly by a small grant from the Ministry of Health, partly from local funds and partly from private donations.

The following is the list of Bureaux in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle.

Tunstall: Library. Tunstall: hours of opening. Monday to Friday. 2.30 to 4.30.

Burslem: Art School. Burslem: hours – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. 2.30 to 4.30 and Saturday 10.30 to 12.30.

Hanley: Art School. Hanley: hours – Monday to Friday. 2.30 to 4.30

Stoke: 15, High-street. Stoke: hours – Monday to Friday (except Thursday) 2.30 to 4.30.

Longton: Central Hall, Stafford-street: hours – Monday to Friday. 2.30 to 4.30.

Fenton: Town Hall: hours – Monday and Wednesday. 2.30 to 4.30.

Meir: Community Centre, Uttoxeter-road: hours – Wednesday and Friday. 2.30 to 4.30

Milton: 62, Market-street: hours – Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 2.30 to 4.30.

Werrington: The Village Hall: hours – Tuesdays, 2.30 to 4.30

Newcastle: 2, Penkhull-street: hours – Monday to Friday. 2.30 to 4.30; Saturday. 10.30 to 12.30 p.m.


23rd November 1942

Kidsgrove bureau gets its own premises.



The official opening of the Kidsgrove Information Centre and Citizens’ Advice Bureau took place on Friday.

The ceremony was performed by the Chairman of the Urban District Council (Mr. A. Stanier) in the presence of a large and representative gathering, which included Councillors, Council officials and representatives of the churches, chapels, W.V.S. and other voluntary bodies.

The Council of Social Service for Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire which is responsible for the organisation of Citizens’ Advice Bureaux in this area, was also represented.

Mr. Stanier stressed the importance of co-operation among all concerned in work of this kind.


It was stated that a bureau had been operating in Kidsgrove for some time, but that it was only now that it had proved possible for it to have premises of its own. These new premises should make it possible for the workers to widen the scope of their day-to-day work, and in addition to meet the need for the provision of information after air raids should such need arise.

Appreciation was expressed of the services rendered by Mrs. E. Tams who had been Hon. Secretary since the opening of the Kidsgrove Bureau shortly after the outbreak of war but had now been obliged to resign, and to those members of the W.V.S. who had now undertaken the work.

The bureau will for the present only be open on Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 2.30 to 4.30, but arrangements will be made for it to be open more often if necessary.


16th May 1947

This newspaper article reports a new Council run advice centre in the Barracks. The new information officer is quoted as saying that the service is intended to complement the Citizens Advice service and not to replace it. It would be interesting to know what the Citizens Advice volunteers thought about it. A.R.P. Services refers to Air Raid Precautions Service.

1947 05 16 newspaper clipping small

click to enlarge



An Information Centre where advice may be obtained on all questions relating to local Government service was opened at the Barracks, Barracks road, Newcastle yesterday, by the Deputy Mayor, Alderman J. H. Ramsbotham, in the presence of members of the Council and their wives and Corporation officials.

The centre, which is an attempt to create a more understanding and co-operative relationship between the local government service and the community, will be open daily from Monday to Friday, from 2 to 8. It will assist citizens to obtain information on questions affecting the town, and any inquiries on other matters will he referred to sources best able to give the answers.

Services Explained

During the war the Barracks were used for A.R.P Services and part of them have been renovated and fitted out to form an excellent information bureau. Literature is on tables from the Central Council of Health Education and from Government departments dealing with overseas settlement in the Dominions, and from Newcastle and other corporations, explaining the services provided.
One of the rooms will be used for lectures, which may be given on such matters as the health of the community and road safety measures.
Mr. A. Ryles, Chairman of the Health Committee, who presided at the opening ceremony, said he hoped that the centre would mean that members of the Town Council would be relieved somewhat of the many callers at their houses asking for information about the activities of the Corporation.

Wartime Service

In declaring the Centre open, the Deputy Mayor paid a tribute to the work done during the War by the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and the National Council of Social Service in providing information for the public.

The Corporation Information Service, he said, which was intended to supplement that good work, was something which, if conducted on the right lines, should prove of great benefit to the rate-payers. He hoped before long to see the Centre incorporated in the new Civic Centre of Newcastle.

Thanks to the Deputy Mayor were expressed by Mr. A. H. Elven, the new Information Officer for Newcastle. He said it was not intended to take over from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and the National Council of Social Service any of the domestic problems with which they had been dealing so efficiently.
A vote of thanks to the Chairman was passed on the proposition of Alderman T. O. Harper, seconded by Mr, R. W. Burgess.

EVENING SENTINEL. Friday, May 16th 1947

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