Archive centreWhitehaven
ReferenceYDSO 129
TitleWhitehaven Toc H
DescriptionMinutes; membership papers; minutes and papers of West Cumberland District Toc H.
Date1929-1949
Extent1 box
ContextIn December 1915 during World War One, there opened in Poperinghe a rest-house for troops fighting in the Ypres Salient. This house was dedicated to the memory of the Gilbert Talbot, a subaltern in the Rifle Regiment who had been killed on 30 July 1915. He was the youngest son of Bishop Talbot of Winchester. The rest-house was started by the Rev. Neville Talbot, Gilbert's brother and the Rev. P B "Tubby" Clayton. The house was given the name of Talbot House and was for convenience known by the initials T.H. which in the language of World War One Army Signals were pronounced Toc H. The house operated in a spirit of Christian fellowship and more than half a million men are thought to have passed through its doors during the war. It was reborn in 1919 as something more than a veterans' society or movement but "as a great Family which set itself a definite code of life-the building of Christ's kingdom on earth through men's service for their fellow men, service animated by love for other members of his family" [from Rules of the Road, the handbook of Toc H].
On 14 December 1922 Toc H was granted a royal charter in which its objects were defined as preserving the traditions of fellowship of the Great War, performing all kinds of social service, promoting interest and sense of responsibility in other people and mitigating class consciousness and social antagonism. In 1920 senior members of Toc H drew up a four point 'Compass' which were to be 1. Fellowship - founding groups and branches. 2. Service, 3. Fairmindedness 4. The kingdom of God, spreading the Gospel without preaching it.
Branches operated within this framework to carry out the above, usually on a basis of regular meetings for discussion, planning social service activities and self-education by having speakers at meetings. According to the Whitehaven Branch Secretary's report of 2 Oct 1934, the development of Toc H in West Cumberland began at Whitehaven in October 1929, when the Rev Jack Palmer of Whitehaven Congregational Church gathered a group of men in the Sailor's Rest, Strand Street, to listen to Arthur Lodge, the North West Area Secretary of Toc H. A regular meeting place was established in a barn behind the Fish Inn. Social service began with the establishment of a library in Whitehaven Hospital, weekly visit of the sick and blind and the raising of money for a new ambulance, together with starting a boys' club for around 40 boys from the poorest parts of Whitehaven together with some referred on by the local probation officer who needed activities such as boxing and physical training. In 1930 the group was granted official Group status, being granted their rushlight for the light ceremony on 10 April and Arthur Lodge initiated seven of the Group's foundation members. The Group noted in 1931 the sense of isolation, there only being Toc H branches in Carlisle and Barrow. Jack Palmer left for Macclesfield in June 1931, though Tubby Clayton visited the group this year. In August the West Cumberland District was created and inter-group visiting introduced. 1932 saw membership and activities increasing. The author Hugh Walpole visited to speak and became a member of Keswick Toc H. The Secretary noted that in 1933 the Group continued despite not having a permanent headquarters but sharing premises with a boys' club. In October 1934 the Whitehaven Group had a membership of 26 including 2 probationers, all aged between 18-50 years, with 13 Anglicans and 13 Free Churchmen. These included three Anglican clergy (Rev. Arnold of Christ Church, Rev. Eggleton of Bigrigg and Rev. Malden of St James) and Rev Hutchings of Whitehaven Congregational Church.

Cumberland and Westmorland fell within Toc H Lakeland Area. The Cumberland Division had three districts: Carlisle (including Carlisle, Gretna), Penrith (including Alston) and West Cumberland which had branches at Whitehaven, Workington, Seaton, Cockermouth and Aspatria.
ArrangementThe records have been placed in roughly chronological order by type. It appears no minutes or records appear to have survived for the period from Sep 1930-Apr 1932.
Catalogue levelFonds
Subject termsVeterans associations

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Persons
CodePerson/Corporate namesDates
NA1337Whitehaven Branch Toc H; 1929-1949; Veterans fellowship and Christian social service organisation1929-1949
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