By Peter Holme, Kendal Oral History Group:

Kendal Oral History Group compiles a picture of earlier times through the recorded memories of older residents. Harry Stock was born in 1920 and interviewed in 1994:

ALL the sections had to have fire drills at Isaac Braithwaite's.

We were on the left-hand section on our own, so we were detailed for fire drill.

We had the hose rolled out but we'd never had the water through it.

So Billy Mark was in charge - he used to be on the fire service, he'd been a regular on the fire service.

Billy was in charge, and he was also a foreman.

So we got there, and he was at the head of the hose pipe; there was Colin and Alan.

I was at the end, and we lifted the flap up in the yard, in the broad alleyway with this metal grille, and there down below was this... it was like a little starting handle.

So Billy shouts from about 20 yards higher up: "Start it on, turn it round."

So I turned this handle about half a turn and it just drooped out.

So he shouts down again, he was rather that type of chap, like a sergeant major: "I said, turn it on!"

So I thought: "Yes, I'll turn it on."

So I gave it a full turn, this handle, right round, and this hose, it straightened out, and the two of them at the end, Alan and Colin, they couldn't hold it, this hose.

But the funny part of it was, we had a box at the end of the yard where the gate was, the sentry box we called it, and this retired policeman was in it.

He dived hurriedly back in the box when the water started, and they couldn't hold it.

It was like holding a... I don't know... like a live snake.

And there was a lady across the road cleaning her window, sat inside with the sash down so she couldn't fall out, and it pinned her to the glass.

They pinned her to the glass; she was wet through!

I can see it now!

And then they managed to... they got somebody else on it, and they lifted it, and it went over the top.

Billy rushed down shouting, and really mad.

Oh, he was really annoyed, and swearing at me, and he turned it off.

And that was the last time I ever did fire drill!

I never did fire drill again! No!