By Lucy Wall-Murphy

The Streams of Bunclody

Fairdays in Bunclody


The Moss-House
and the Bridge Meadow

The Island Hunt and
 Golf Links

The Sawdust Stoves

The Corpus Christi Procession

The Beauties of Bunclody

The Pathway around by Carrhill

Trades and occupations in
Irish Street

The Well in the Wood

Changes in Irish Street

The Sawdust Stoves

During the Second World War saw-dust was used as a fuel for heating water and cooking on a simply designed stove. The sawdust was readily obtained from the sawmill in the Mill Lane (at the back of the present Millrace Hotel) and from a saw-mill at Hall-Dare’s, for 2d. a sackfull. The sacks of sawdust could be collected and brought home on hand-trucks, or several bagfulls in a donkey-cart — with or without the donkey!

The stove consisted of an empty ten-gallon oil-drum or similar container. A hole, about two inches in diameter, would be made in the centre of the bottom of the drum. A brush handle would be held vertically in the centre of the drum while the sawdust would be packed firmly into the drum. When it was full to the top the broom handle would be gently removed, leaving a hole right down through the packed sawdust to the hole in the bottom of the drum.

The drum would be placed on two bricks or cement blocks, and newspapers would be lit underneath. The sawdust would ignite up through the hole left by the broom handle, and would continue to burn all round. Two iron bars would be placed on top of the drum and a kettle or saucepan would stand on them, over the hole in the burning sawdust. The sawdust would continue to burn for about three or four hours or more, boiling water and cooking.

At first the ‘stove’ was used in the open air, but soon it was understood that it could be place in a fireplace in the kitchen if it were an open fireplace or a hearth large enough to accommodate the stove under the chimney opening.
This proved to be a very cheap and efficient method of cooking during the ‘Emergency’.