With the threat of war building through the spring and summer of 1939, the London County Council undertook measures to assist people affected by air raids. in August 1938 the Ministry of Health made London County Council (LCC) responsible for organising the Rest Centre Service.
Across the 28 metropolitan borough (plus the City of London), ten areas were created headed by an Area Control Office. Each of these offices provided reports to County Hall. Each area sought out schools and church halls that could be used for assisting bombed out citizens. At the start of the war some 98 buildings had been selected. By may of 1940 over 500 buildings had been selected that could house up to to 100,00 refugees.
Support to run the centres came from the Public Assistance Department but was also assisted by the WVS and other volunteer groups (especially those drawn from church groups).
As the Blitz on London commenced the service came under enormous strain. Many more refugees than expected arrived and they stayed longer than hoped for (either bombed out or unable to return home due to unexploded bombs).
The Rest Centres provided a place to stay and also provided food. Additionally the centres could provide identity cards and other documentation lost during a raid.
The below badge is a very common badge that can usually be obtained very cheaply (for a fiver or less). Although there seems to be thousands of these badges I have yet to see one in a period photograph. The design has a rather complex centre motif of the letters R, C and S intertwined. Every example I have seen to date has a pin brooch fitting. There is a rarer version with black rather than blue enamel as well.
The badge appears to have been issued nationwide as well as in London.
Please support this website's running costs and keep it advert free