Friday, 29 June 2012

News - Glasshouse to be restored (Wentworth Castle)

A CONTRACT to restore the fragile Victorian conservatory at Wentworth Castle and Stainborough Park in Barnsley has been awarded to Shepley Engineers which has workshops in Shafton.

The restoration of the conservatory is the culmination of 10 years of fundraising and is supported by £2.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Dismantling work is expected to begin towards the end of August before the iron structure is taken off site to the Shafton workshop for eight months of restoration work.


Thursday, 28 June 2012

Petition - Save Wincobank (Sheffield)

The Friends of Wincobank Hill, together with all Residents, Supporters, Academics and Experts involved are extremely concerned that next Monday, 2nd July 2012, Sheffield City Council Planning Committee will approve the Planning Application for development of the land on Wincobank Hill as described in the attachments.

The final decision will not be not be made until Monday so if anyone wishes to add their support to what they are already doing, there is still time to write (first class) or send emails to:

Lucy Bond, Development Services, Howden House, 1 Union Street, Sheffield S1 2SH

They will be collecting signatures to their new this coming Saturday, 30th June 2012, at our Summer Fun Day on Wincobank Common. Their goal is 1,000 signatures of those who are behind them in preserving Wincobank Hill - so please help if you can by writing as above or emailing this out even more widely. Signed Petitions may be brought to them either at our FUN DAY on Saturday 30th June, or outside the Sheffield Town Hall at 1.00 pm next Monday 2nd July - or contact them to collect from you on Sunday. If they won't let them into the Council Chamber we will try to make ourselves prominent outside!

This is not just "any bit of open space" that can be swapped. There is no compensation for its loss. It is special. The Open Space designation in the Unitary Development Framework and the Sheffield Development should be upheld. No building here!

Their website is at

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Talk - Sturton On a Roman Road to Nowhere? (Sturton-le-Steeple)

Wednesday 4th July, 7pm at Sturton Village Hall, in the conference room.

Emily from NNC Coummunity Archaeology and her colleague Lorraine will first present a talk on Sturton le Steeple. This will look at what they know about the development of the village, its possible relationship to the Roman town of Segelocum, and how the area fits in to the national Roman picture. The aim of the evening is to hopefully get moving on a potential archaeological project in the village, looking for the Roman road and clues to the village's origins.

After the talk they will look at identifying plots of land where people might be happy to have a small test pit, and land which could be field walked or subject to geophysics, or other archaeological investigation. They will also take down the names of people interested in helping out with any digging or fieldwalking.

Lastly they will be doing our best to identify any finds that people bring along. We know very little about Sturton and the surrounding area, and hopefully by plotting on a map where people have found different things we can start to build up a proper picture.

For more information on Community Archaeology visit:

Monday, 25 June 2012

Event - Festival of Archaeology (Silkstone)

As part of the CBA's Festival of British Archaeology there will be a festival of archaeology in the Bramah Gallery Heritage Centre at All Saints Church in Silkstone by
There will be displays and presentations, practical activities, waggonway walks, guided tours of church and churchyard archaeology
The Exhibition will be open between 10.00 and 16.00 on Sat July 14th, Tues 17th,Wed 18th,Tues July 24th, Wed 25th, Sat 28th, Sat August 4th

Special events all starting from Silkstone Church Waggonway archaeology presentations and walks, please bring packed lunch.

Weekends:    Sat 14th July 11am to 4 pm Upper Waggonway
                                    Sat 28th July 11am to 4 pm Lower Waggonway

Repeated Wed 18th July 11am to 4 pm Part of Lower Waggonway
                             Wed 25th July 11am to 4 pm, Part of Upper Waggonway

(Upper waggonway is Pot-house to Cross Pit and Inclined Plane, Lower waggonway is Pot-house to Pall Mall bridge, Tanyard and Greenland  Colliery, and Wilson's Little Fall Pit).

Tues 17th  July:  at 1. pm Woodland Archaeology: the harvesting of woodland products, and the archaeology of our woodlands; walk to Little Fall, saltway and turnpike road and track to bark-mill.
Explore a suspected pack-horse route.
Also on 17th July: 7 pm for 7.30 pm: Heritage Silkstone meeting: 
Waggonway walk: new findings from a newly discovered map of 1828. 

Friday, 22 June 2012

News - Ambition to teach towers over trust who love history (Bramcote)

AFTER years of being obscured by overgrown shrubs and trees, Bramcote Old Church Tower is now a focal point of the village.

But despite its more prominent position, in Town Street, few know the rich history behind the tower and its role in the Bramcote community.

To spread the story behind the tower, Bramcote Old Church Tower Trust is making a bid for a share of £35,000 in the Post's Cash For Your Community campaign.

Any money they receive will be used to set up an education programme which will allow school visits to the tower to take place. Treasurer and trustee Moira Robinson said the visits would be extremely valuable to the children. "History is really important because if you don't know your past then you cannot work out what your present is and how your future is going to be," she said. "My passion is history and geography and to be able to share it with children to help them learn will be fantastic."

Initially the education programme will be aimed at key stages one and two, and then opened out to other key stages later on.

Children will be able to go inside the tower and also look around the grounds.

Mrs Robinson said: "They will learn about the history of Bramcote village and the part the church played within it and the part the church plays in it.

"They can also find out about different families of Bramcote who were well known in the village because many have gravestones at the tower."

Alongside the education programmes running at the tower, Bramcote Old Tower Trust also plans to develop a website with any Cash For Your Community money left over.

The group shares a website with Bramcote Conservation Society but Mrs Robinson is keen for the group to have its own. She added: "We've worked very hard to gain ownership of the tower and improve its appearance and upkeep so we'd like our own website to keep people properly informed of updates."

Readers can collect coupons for Bramcote Tower Trust until June 30.

All coupons need to be received by the Post by 5pm on July 6.

For more information see YourCommunity.


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Book - SHEFFIELD’S SHOCKING PAST: Forgotten Tales of Murder, Mishap and Gruesome Misdemeanour

Author and Heeley resident Matthew Bell and local historian Chris Hobbs have joined forces to write a book relating some of the darker episodes – in all their grisly detail – of Victorian Sheffield .

SHEFFIELD’S SHOCKING PAST: Forgotten Tales of Murder, Mishap and Gruesome Misdemeanour, published by ACM Retro, recalls a poverty-stricken world defined by tragedy, misfortune and murder.

Victorian justice was brutal and Sheffield had the dubious honour of being home to Thomas Williams, the first man to be hanged during Queen Victoria’s reign. But not all crimes were solved; the murder of Boden Lane’s ‘Bearded Lady’, for example, remains a mystery. Drink was behind many hideous tragedies – a bizarre ‘prank’ of pulling a pet cat across Attercliffe canal on the end of rope was in a bid to win beer! In this case the animal escaped and the owner drowned.

Three tales in Sheffield’s Shocking Past will resonate with the people of Heeley:

Two grotesque murders took place a fortnight apart in 1852. The first occurred in Cutler’s Wood, by the River Sheaf at Heeley Bottom – a child’s body was found with its head severed. Soon afterwards a travelling salesman was shot in the head near Midhill House, East Bank Road. The perpetrators of these terrible crimes were hanged at York and suffered the final ignominy of sharing a grave.

That same year, a four year old boy suffered an agonising death from burning at Ash Farm, behind the Ball Inn on Myrtle Road. The poor lad ran some distance towards home with his clothes on fire before collapsing.

In 1869, John Shortridge, a respected industrialist influential in the building of Wicker Arches and the introduction of horse-drawn trams from town to the Red Lion, Heeley, died in a carriage accident on Abbeydale Road. Shortridge’s grave is the one with the tall obelisk by the entrance to Heeley Parish Churchyard.

Sheffield’s Shocking Past, priced £12.95, is available from Waterstone’s, Sheffield Scene, Amazon and ACM Retro. For details, see and


Article - Sheffield’s architectural designs for life

Red brick, Corinthian columns and cobbled courtyards - Sheffield’s quirky architectural history has more to offer than you’d think, but you’ll need the shoes for it, as Star reporter Rachael Clegg discovers.

TIM BOTTRIL goes through a lot of shoes. His Loakes footwear - nice as it is, has huge holes in the soles. But it’s not surprising, Tim’s job is to showcase the city’s unusual buildings to commercial clients looking to base their business in Sheffield. “We get a lot of businesses wanting to base themselves in buildings that have character,” says Tim.

He’d know - Tim works for Knight Frank, a Sheffield-based property agency which, among other things, specialises in finding clients unconventional properties.

“There are so many unusual buildings in this city - it’s just that people don’t know about them,” he says.

Such architectural gems include Sellers Wheel - a Victorian warehouse that belonged to John Sellers, a stamp-manufacturer who made the template for the stamp used to print the American dollar bill.

“You can see this is a quirky building,” he says, looking at the huge white-washed brick structure. “It’s quirky and thousands of people walk past it every day without evening knowing that it was once home to the stamp manufacturers who made the stamp that printed the dollar bill.”

Across the road is another quirky building. “Here,” says Tim. “I bet you’ve walked past this one a dozen times too.” He wanders over the street to Butcher Works, a solid, brick-built complex once home to several cutlery manufacturers.

Butcher Works is quaint, though industrial-looking, with shallow small studios and big windows. “People in the cutlery industry would need the light so the studios have big windows and are very shallow, so that craftsmen could always see what they were doing.”

The works is used by Freeman College and partly used by some of Knight Frank’s clients, who lease the converted apartments.

And it’s these leases - the old workshops and the quirky post industrial warehouses - that Tim enjoys most. “You always have to find something out about the buildings as well. Each one appeals to a different type of client - it’s not just about floor space and carpet tiles.”

Knight Frank have all manner of commercial clients on board, but it’s the quickly-emerging creative digital industry sector that’s looking for more unusual premises. “They are less conventional with their taste than lawyers, surveyors and accountants - these are the people who don’t go to work in a suit, they go in jeans and they want their premises to reflect that,” says Tim.

Tim’s also in a good position to observe which industries are emerging in the city.

“Sheffield is great on advanced manufacturing - there is less emphasis on heavy manufacturing and more on high-end stuff like Swann Morton - you can see their products all over the world.”

The portfolio of properties on Knight Frank’s books offers a snapshot of Sheffield’s social and economic history. In stark contrast to the humble, sturdy brick-build mesters’ workshops at Butcher’s Works is Canada House, a stunning late Victorian civic building, complete with Corinthian columns and neo-classical masonry. The building was once home to the Sheffield United Gas Light Company and was built in 1874. In just a few paces across the city centre, we’ve gone from working class heroes to big business and civic pride.

“In those days, people built properties and wanted to make a statement - they wanted them to build their headquarters to be impressive. Money was not the primary motivator for architecture whereas now people build speculatively so they want to build them as cheaply as possible.”

Yet, impressive though these Canada House is, some of Tim’s favourite buildings in Sheffield are those belonging to the Digital Campus. “I love the clean, modern look, and I love Leopold Square - there are some nice modern buildings in Sheffield, look at the Cheesegrater - that’s a great building.”

Tim says there have been architectural highlights throughout all the ages of Sheffield’s history, though much of it was destroyed by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. “The interwar period was a really interesting one for Sheffield’s architecture - that’s when Steel City House was built. The 1960s definitely wasn’t a high point, however.”

He stops outside Steel City House. Even now, the former telephone exchange and Grade II Listed Building, evokes a sense of civic pride - more than 80 years after it was built.

“That’s a great building,” he says. Tim is attuned to looking at unusual buildings, but he says that the more familiar a building becomes to our every day lives, the less we notice it.

“If you walk down your street you might notice if someone puts a for sale sign up outside the house but you’re not likely to pay any attention to the building themselves because you see them every day - that’s the case with people in Sheffield and there’s nothing wrong with that. Can you imagine if we stopped and stared at every interesting building? We’d never get anywhere.” That’s unless you’re called Tim Bottrill, in which case you need an infinite supply of Loakes shoes.

Iconic building
Butcher’s Works is a former cutlery manufacturing complex that was completed in 1834.

Now the building is in the Cultural Industries Quarter, between Sheffield City Centre and the River Sheaf.

The area in which Butcher Works stands was owned by the Duke of Norfolk and he intended to make it available for long-term, high-end residential lease in the 1770s however, there was little demand for this type of letting and the area instead became a haven of small cutlery manufacturing outlets.

The last cutlery manufacturer at Butcher works left in 2004.

Steel City House was built in 1927 and used as a telephone exchange/post office.

I used to work in Steel City House - beautiful building - shame about the employer!!!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Event -Sheffield Steam & Vintage Rally (North anston)

The annual Sheffield Steam and Vintage Rally takes place on 30th June and 1st July run by Sheffield Steam & Vintage Club Ltd. The event will be held on Rackford Road, North Anston.

There is an entrance fee but not sure what it is!

Update: Event starts at 10.00 tickets £6 per adult, OAP/Concession £4 info from

Talk - Medieval Sherwood Forest: Outlaws and Villains (Oldcotes)

Tonight’s Priories Historical Society meeting is a talk on Medieval Sherwood Forest: Outlaws and Villains by Andy Gaunt.

The talk starts at 7.30 at Oldcotes Village Hall on the A634 SK587886. Entrance is £3 for non-members or £2 for members. There is free tea/coffee and a biscuit

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Events - Building an awareness of architecture (Nottingham)

LOVE architecture? Well, between now and Sunday, June 24, the East Midlands will be hosting a series of events to encourage people to look at the buildings around them in a new and exciting way.

Nottingham will stage a festival, one of a series being organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). It will include Walking Architecture guided walks of the city's contemporary architecture, free 30-minute consultations with a RIBA-registered architect as part of a home design and planning event at John Lewis, and a talk on the heritage of Nottingham.

Here's the line-up:
Walking Architecture guided walks
West city, including the Playhouse, Nottingham Trent University and the Royal Concert Hall on Monday, June 18, at 6pm. East city, including Old Market Square, Nottingham Contemporary and Broadway Cinema on Tuesday, June 19, at 6pm.
Tickets for each walk are £5 for adults and £3 for children (12 and under) can be booked at the Nottingham Tourism Centre on 08444 77 5678.

John Lewis Nottingham home design and planning event
The event on Saturday, June 16, will feature free a 30-minute consultation with a RIBA-registered architect to John Lewis customers. John Lewis fitted kitchen and home design planners will also be on hand to discuss.
It will take place in the John Lewis furniture department on the second floor between 10am and 6pm. Appointments can be booked in advance by calling 0115 8507774 or emailing People can also turn up on the day, but appointments will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Building Nottingham – The making of a great city
Valeria Passetti, president of Nottingham and Derby Society of Architects, will give a talk on the built heritage of Nottingham at Antenna, Nottingham, on Thursday, June 21, between 6pm and 9pm.
Entry is free. More details are available at or by calling 0115 993 2350.

The regional director of RIBA East Midlands, Mike Baulcombe, said: "It's fantastic that there are so many events happening across the East Midlands.

"Our partners, in particular, have helped to ensure an exciting and wide-ranging programme of activities to get people interested in architecture and the buildings around them, which is what the festival is all about."

A full listing for all Love Architecture events can be found at


Museum - Seeking pieces of the past (Boughton)

Hundreds more tourists could be attracted to the area under plans to open a museum at Boughton Pumping Station.

It is envisaged that the 107-year-old landmark building, which already has office and catering facilities, could become one of the area’s main draws.

Bosses are appealing for former employees and people with memories, photographs or other records of the pumping station to get in touch.

Events manager Mr Stephen Plant said: “We are calling for anyone who worked there or lived nearby who has memories, photographs, documents, or would like to tell their story to help us get it off the ground.

“It was the main station for most of Nottinghamshire and we will use the information to build a thorough picture of how it worked and what people did.”

The museum would be in the basement of the building where there is still an original well that pumped water to homes in Nottingham.

The exhibition would also include a working model of the pumping station in its heyday alongside the first-person records and photographs.

It would be an addition to the wedding and conference facilities already on offer.

Mr Plant said: “It all ties in as one major project. With Sherwood Forest on the doorstep it could bring more people into the area and it is something we are looking forward to doing.”

The pumphouse, which opened in 1905 and includes a huge brick chimney, was capable of pumping 20m imperial gallons of water per day through 15 miles of pipe from the underground sandstone Aquifer.

It was commissioned by the NottinghaCorporation Water Department before passing into the hands of Severn Trent, but by 1980 it had become obsolete.

Boughton Pumping Station Trust secured funding to restore the building in 2002 but it closed in 2006 after money for essential repairs ran out.

Horizon Investments purchased the building in 2010 and re-launched it as Blackburn House after the original Blackburn Engines which pumped the water.

Mr Plant said the museum would be set up as soon as enough material had been collected.

Anybody who would like to contribute can contact Blackburn House on 01623 867540.


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

News - A century of memories put on film by YMCA (Nottinghamshire)

MEMORIES spanning a century are being recorded for a series of short films to document the lives of Nottinghamshire folk.

The YMCA is busy putting together ‘Notts Generation’, in which they are interviewing people about their life experiences, with £47,000 funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Film maker Michelle Vacciana has been working at the YMCA with the help of young year eight pupils from Brunts School in Mansfield.

She explained: “Young people have been forging links with the community, in particular older generations who have knowledge of their immediate area and who may have lived most if not all of their lives there.

“The ultimate aim of the project is to work with local young people that we train up in film making and interviewing skills.

“The intention is to unite them with members of the elder generation to find out what life was like for them when they were growing up- as life has seen significant and rapid changes.

“In Mansfield we’ve interviewed five residents from the Berry Hill area.

“A significant part of these short films shall incorporate historic film footage and photographs to illustrate the stories and memories collected.”

Most recently, the pupils attended Berry Hill residential care home in Mansfield where they spent two hours talking to the residents about their lives, where they worked, lived and how much it had changed.


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Book - Read up on history of printing (Newark)

A history of printing in Newark has been written as the final part of a project funded by a £30,000 Heritage Lottery grant.

Carolyn Drury, of Albert Street, came up with the idea after reading in the Advertiser about the value Newark Local History Society found in the paper’s archives.

She also realised that many young people were unfamiliar with printing before the invention of the computer.

“When I started the research I realised how ignorant I was about the enormous skill involved in being a printer,” she said.

“The long apprenticeships and the passion for their craft fills me with admiration.”

Her book, Printing And The Press, looks at the history of printing in Newark starting in 1788 with James Tomlinson who set up a print shop in Church Street.

He produced the first book to be printed in the town, a copy of which is in Newark Library.

Her book also features information about John Ridge whose print shop was in Newark Market Place. His most important customer was the poet, Lord Bryon, whose family home was Newstead Abbey.

The book looks at the history of the Advertiser and charts its early years when printer William Tomlinson first printed the Newark Advertiser and Farmers’ Journal in 1855, with Mr Samuel Whiles as the editor.

In 1874 Cornelius Brown was appointed editor and moved to live next door to the Advertiser building at 1 Magnus Street.

Carolyn Drury interviewed the Advertiser’s editor-in-chief and chairman, Mr Roger Parlby, and staff.

The book also looks at the town’s printing companies, including Davages Printers, Partners Press, Willsons Printers, Printing. com and For Colour Ltd.

Copies are available from Newark Library and Millgate Museum or by contacting Carolyn Drury at


Monday, 11 June 2012

Event - Great Nottinghamshire Steam Fair (Worksop)

The Great Nottinghamshire Steam Fair will be taking place this weekend (16-17 June) at Kilton Forest Showground off Blyth Road, Worksop.

There will also be vintage cars, buses and a fun fair as well as trade stands and working demonstrations.

£8 for adults, £6 for concessions and children under 16 go free.  The event opens at 11am.


Book - A tale of day to day life in Sheffield

IN years to come Sheffield historians will recount that on this day in 2012 a book was published which does exactly what it says on the cover.

Just as the title suggests, The Sheffield Book of Days takes the reader through every day of the year, with each day plucked from a different year.

Written by Margaret Drinkall, it features hundreds of interesting snippets of information and tales each gleaned from the vaults of the city archives.

Featuring original research and detailing many incidents that have never before been published, it makes an ideal read for those who prefer to dip in and out.

Despite not being a Sheffielder herself, Margaret, a Rotherham lass, delves deeply into events from varying periods in the city’s history.

And the book includes events which have had a major impact on the religious and political development of the city as well as quirky, eccentric, amusing and important incidents and facts.

Some involve matters of national importance, such as the Coronation of George IV, and there are also local incidents including the Sheffield Outrages and accounts of various riots.

There are also amusing incidents picked up by the newspapers of the time.

Articles include one detailing the punishments dished out to young boys who dared to play ‘trip’ during Divine service and an outbreak of people being bitten by ‘mad dogs’.

The book covers events recorded in Sheffield from as far back as the 13th century to 1940.

Margaret said in order to write it, she trawled through old newspapers and council minutes in pursuit of the most interesting and unusual stories.

And she enjoyed the laborious task much more than you might think.

“I was in my element going through the archives,” she confessed.

“I had to stop myself getting sidetracked because I’d be reading one story and then stumble on something else.”

She recalls there was no shortage of unusual material.

For example on April 15, 1899, the dead body of a young whale which had been captured in the River Trent could be seen in the yard of the Green Dragon at Attercliffe.

The whale had been spotted near the mouth of the River Idle close to West Stock a few days previously.

The spectacle drew a large crowd of onlookers eager to catch a glimpse of the monster.

The earliest event chronicled in the book happened on August 10, 1297, when a Charter was granted to the people of Sheffield by Thomas de Furnival.

He obviously held local people in high regard, calling them ‘my free tenants of the town of Sheffield’ and he gave their heirs ‘all the tofts, lands and holdings which they hold of me’ at the fixed annual rent of £3.8.9¼d.

The book records how Sheffield has had its share of famous visitors over the years, like Picasso who came here briefly for the second World Peace Congress in 1950.

Margaret also discovered that on August 2, 1572 the Earl of Shrewsbury wrote a letter to Queen Elizabeth complaining about one of his prisoners.

That prisoner, a certain Mary Queen of Scots, was at the time was being held captive in the city.

Margaret also recalls people who, unlike Mary, visited the city of their own accord.

She said: “Charles Blondin came here and did a tight rope walk over New Valley Gardens and the famous circus act Barnumand Bailey came here in 1899.

“The circus came with a freak show that would never be allowed today. It had a giant nearly eight foot tall and a Japanese lady whose act involved doing things with her feet that people normally do with their hands.”

The author also records some of the more tragic episodes from our city’s past.

Stories like the case of George Needham, an 11-year-old boy who died in 1853.

“George had been playing in a workshop with a couple of friends when he climbed up a ladder to get something and his clothes caught on the shaft,” Margaret explains.

“He was whirled around and later died of his injuries.

“At the inquest it emerged that he was meant to be being supervised by the 17-year-old workshop owner’s son and it’s then you realise how young these children were and how hard life must have been for them.”

On December 6, 1848, the Sheffield Times reported a woman’s unfortunate mistake.

The story explains how the chief constable of police was returning from a meeting when he was accosted by a prostitute in the street.

They started heading towards the Town Hall, but she became suspicious and walked into a shop where the owner let slip the chief constable’s identity.

At this point she let off a stream of abuse and fled.

Two constables were sent after her and she was dragged before the courts and sent to prison for 21 days.

Margaret, who has a Masters degree in history, says taken together the events create a unique picture of the city.

“You get a glimpse into the past and an idea of what everyday life was like for people.”

Since retiring Margaret has become a full-time writer.

A keen local historian, her previous books include Rotherham Workhouse, Murder and Crime in Rotherham, Murder and Crime in Sheffield and Sheffield Crimes.

The Sheffield Book of Days, published by The History Press, is out now, priced £9.99.


News - Bow Street dock is kept in city museum (Nottingham)

THE original dock from Bow Street Magistrates' Court is being kept in the Galleries of Justice museum, Nottingham.

To celebrate is arrival, the museum is holding exhibitions on its history, the first being on Nottingham suffragette Helen Kirkpatrick Watts, who stood in the dock in the early 1900s.

Bev Baker, senior curator and archivist at the museum, said: "The National Curriculum includes this subject and so this is perfect for school projects and visits.

"We also want to engage the wider community and invite them to look into their family history and bring along any memorabilia, photographs or jewellery related to the suffragettes for us to display in this new exhibition."

Further exhibitions will happen over the coming months.


Event - Worksop Priory launch ‘appeal for renewal’

THE ICONIC Worksop Priory has launched an appeal for renewal to carry out some ‘much needed maintenance’ work.

The Worksop Priory Church of Our Lady and St Cuthbert in the town centre is looking to raise over £450,000 for a new heating system, in order to ‘meet the demands of the 21st Century’.

A church spokesman said: “The Priory Church is the most historically significant building in the area and has been serving the needs of the people of Worksop for over 900 years.”

“Since time immemorial, the good folk of Worksop have had only one grumble - that it’s too cold.”

He continued: “We have now taken the decision to explore renewable energy, couple with new unobtrusive underfloor heating as the best way to provide for the needs of the church.”

To help raise money, the church will be providing guided tours of the grounds, gatehouse and monastery site on 22nd June. Pimms and Canapes will also be served.

For tickets and more info call David Caseldine on 01909 475934 or email

Cheques and donations can also be sent to Father Nicolas Spicer, The Vicarage, Cheapside, Worksop, Notts, S80 2HX.


Sunday, 10 June 2012

News - Second Thorpe Marsh Tower comes down (Barnby Dun)

Cooling tower 2B was felled at 6.50 this morning and the rest will be coming down in the next few weeks

For a history of the power station visit

Friday, 8 June 2012

News - Search for Notts 'lumberjills' to tell their wartime stories (Notts/Yorks)

NOTTS women who worked as "lumberjills" in wartime are being sought to tell their story.

Women who worked felling, cutting and measuring logs in a North East England wood in the 1940s are being asked to share their experiences.

Groundwork North East, which is a federation of charities, wants to work with the Forestry Commission and the Friends of Chopwell Wood to set up a heritage project recording the experiences of the Women's Timber Corps.

Members of the corps, which was set up in 1942 as an offshoot of the Land Army, served in Chopwell Wood, near Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.

Women from all over the country, including Notts, were involved and at its peak the corps employed thousands.

If you or a member of your family served in the corps, contact Joanne Norman on 0191 567 2550 or


Missed this story initially but it has recently been brought to my attention via the Yorkshire Post with updated contact details:
Anyone who has family that served in local Forestry Commission woods during the Second World War, is urged to contact Petra Young on 01751 472771 or email via

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Article - Those were the days - The Yards of Doncaster

The streets of bygone Doncaster were many and varied, some of which contained beautiful mansions and huge ornate houses, there were of course more humble dewellings and then there were The Yards!

These usually enclosed and claustrophobic spaces consisted of dwellings which stood at the rear of the main French Gate street and though often less than desirable, they nevertheless provided valuable (if small) living quarters for certain elements of the less well off in society. What follows are just a few examples of these fascinating thoroughfares.

Aldred’s Yard was situated on the east side of the street and was owned by a Richard Aldred an iron merchant. The yard had been in existence on this site since the early 1700′s and Mr. Aldred died in 1839 at Liverpool having reached the rare old age of 93.

Boothman’s Yard stood on the West side of French Gate and was the property of Mr Thomas Boothman and his wife, Anne. Thomas was a shoemaker in the town and died on Thursday 20 March, 1845, at the tender age of 57. He was buried in the Parish Church yard. His wife, Anne outlived him reaching the age of 80 died on June 1865 and she was buried in Doncaster (now Hyde Park) cemetery.

Crane’s Yard this was essentially a passage which linked French Gate and Factory Lane. It was named after the pub sign at the upper end of the alley, namely the Three Cranes which was built in 1784-85. In a deed of 1612, the Three Cranes is listed as an inn and, was at the time, occupied by a William Cowper. It was sold in 1698 to Thomas Squire a gent of Doncaster for £300 and was then described as an “inn heretofore called the Crane, since then called the Crowne,” and occupied by Mr Gibbins. Then in 1788 it was sold to Mr Dey, and is spoken of as being “divided and made into several tenements” (apartments) and was then occupied by a number of different persons. It is possible that the Three Cranes was a corruption of the Three Crowns – the Tiara or triple crown of Rome. There was a pub that went by the name of the Three Crowns listed on the High Street in 1684.

Oxley’s Yard Situated on the west side of French Gate and owned by the Oxley family since the year 1561. Mr Thomas Oxley was the secretary to the Doncaster Gas Light Company and a descendant of Robert Oxley who was for many years a ‘Fellmonger’ (a dealer in hides and skins, particularly sheep skins).

Another was Priest’s Yard, situated on the west side of French Gate it faced Church Lane and was owned and occupied by Mr Thomas Priest. He grew flowers for a living and boasted that his ‘tulips were better than those of the Dutch’. At that time tulips were flowers only for only the super rich. An example of it’s status was demonstrated in 1835 when a bulb of the variety called ‘Miss Fanny Kemble’ was sold by public auction in London for seventy five pounds! Mr Priest belonged to the Royal Jubilee Lodge of Ancient Druids, established at the nearby Green Dragon pub on 9 October 1809. His father was also called Thomas Priest who was a baker.

Lyon’s Yard was to be found on the west side of French Gate. The owners were Samuel Lyon, a tailor and his wife Sarah. They died within 6 weeks of each other in 1868 both of them in their 70′s.

Volunteer Yard This was situated on the east side of French Gate and was more of an open thoroughfare than an enclosed yard. It stretched from Friars’ Bridge all the way to the Parish Church-yard (the Minster). It was also an inn yard which was ‘bounded on one side by the back of houses and on the other side by a strong paling, behind which ran a river’ (the Cheswold).

Our image from that era shows the entrance to Doncaster from the north, with the Church on the left and Frenchgate stretching south into the distance, behind the fine houses seen here would be the Yards.


For further info on Doncasters history visit

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

News - Town trails for curious people (Newark)

Two new Heritage Trails have been launched by Newark Civic Trust, completing a series of eight.
The Victorian Trail and the Curiosities Trail are the latest in a series of trust leaflets that chart the heritage and historical significance of some of Newark’s best-known landmarks, buildings and people. The popular Historic Riverside Trail has also been revised.

The latest trails have been paid for by Nottinghamshire County Council’s Local Improvement Scheme, Newark Town Partnership and the Trent Vale Landscape Partnership.

The Victorian trail looks at how Newark gained from the arrival of the railways and how the dependence on agriculture diminished. It also looks at the impact of increased manufacturing and the rapid increase in population.

Buildings earmarked along the trail include the Gilstrap Centre, built as a library, and the Buttermarket Shopping Centre, which opened as the New Market Hall in 1884.

The trail also includes the former Warwicks and Richardsons Brewery offices on Northgate and the Ossington Coffee Palace on Beastmarket Hill, which has a sundial on the south wall with the motto Delay Not, Time Flies.

The Curiosities Trail features more unusual facts about the town such as Newark’s thinnest house, the double row of brass studs in the Market Place marking the Alderman’s Walk, and the controversial Jubilee Arch commissioned by the town council to mark the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.

The trail also takes walkers to Cuckstool Wharf by the riverside and the site of the town’s cuckstool or ducking stool, a Medieval punishment usually reserved for women, who were strapped into a chair, swung over the river and ducked. It was last used in 1801.

Newark county councillor Mr Keith Girling, who supported the application for funding, said: “These trails are a wonderful asset both for local people and visitors. Every time I read one I pick up new facts.”

The trails were written by the trust’s acting chairman, Mr George Wilkinson, secretary Mr Rupert Vinnicombe and committee member Mr Mick Gill.

Mr Wilkinson said: “These trails are a wonderful promotion of Newark’s history and heritage.

“The trust is very grateful to the organisations who have helped with the funding.”

Copies of the leaflets are available from the Tourist Information Centre in the Gilstrap Centre, Newark Library, Ann et Vin, Millgate Museum and Newark Town Hall.

Mr Vinnicombe said the trust was always looking for new members to help with its work to safeguard Newark’s heritage.


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

News - Grant boost for Sheffield museums

MUSEUMS Sheffield has received an extra £650,000 from Sheffield Council on top of its normal funding of £2.4 million a year to help the trust continue its current programme of exhibitions and events.

The trust, which runs the Millennium and Graves galleries, and Weston Park Museum, lost out on a bid for £4.4m from the Arts Council in January for the next three years.

Museums Sheffield is waiting to see if it will receive support in another round of Arts Council funding, to be announced in the next month.


Friday, 1 June 2012

Event - Doncaster Museum open this Sunday

Museum to open on Sunday 3rd June

In order to help celebrate the opening of the Sir Nigel Gresley Square in the new Civic and Cultural Quarter, the Museum & Art Gallery will be open on Sunday 3rd June from 10.30am to 4.15pm. It is also planned that the Museum's Ford Popular, built in Doncaster in 1958, will be in the Square toplay its part in the celebrations that are taking place from 1-5pm.

So take the opportunity to come and look round the Museum, gaze atour case of royal memorabilia (some of which dates back to Queen Victoria's Gold and Diamond Jubilees) and try our trail to spot the other ten royalty-related objects around the Museum.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend the Museum will be open Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd June 10.30am-4.15pm, closed Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th June.

For further details contact Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery on 01302 734293

News - Hopes raised for a Doncaster railway museum

PLANS are being drawn up which could lead to Doncaster finally having a permanent railway museum.

A collection of rare memorabilia - described as ‘amazing’ - has been uncovered and talks are under way over the possibility of using it as the centrepiece of a visitor attraction.

Doncaster was one of the most important railway towns in the 20th century, with the Plantworks in Hexthorpe manufacturing some of the most famous steam locomotives in the world - including the Flying Scotsman and the Mallard.

But despite its long and illustrious tradition, many high profile figures in the borough, including elected mayor Peter Davies, have voiced concern about the lack of anywhere in the town which reflects its heritage.

Mr Davies has seen the collection which is being lined up to go on display and is keen for something to be arranged.

He has held talks with the collection’s owner, Doncaster Council’s tourism manager Colin Joy and the National Railway Museum.

Mr Joy said: “We met with the National Railway Museum last week. They came to Doncaster to discuss establishing a closer relationship.

“We would like to create something more permanent that celebrates Doncaster’s railway history.

“It is early days and we have spoken with the trustees of the collection we have found in Doncaster.

“The director of the NRM who had never seen it before was amazed by the collection. There are things that pre-date the NRM’s collection in York.

“If we can find the right location, the owners would like to put the collection on display. The NRM did agree that the ideal place was for it to stay in Doncaster.

“It is an amazing collection.”

The collection includes locomotive name plates, parts of engines, funnels from early locomotives, and signs from stations across the country.

The scheme is the latest railway related project tourism bosses have examined. There are also plans to build a new steam engine in the borough - similar to the construction of the engine Tornado in Darlington.

Tornado was initially planned by enthusiasts who met in Doncaster.

The engine which would be built in Doncaster would be the P2 class of engine, called Cock O‘The North.

Last month Mayor Peter Davies revealed he was hoping for Doncaster to borrow the Mallard from the National Railway Museum next year to mark the 75th anniversary of it setting the world speed record for a steam engine.

He said: “We have discovered a treasure trove of railway memorabilia which may be put on public display.”

Property consultants have in the past suggested the former railway buildings at Denison House, overlooking the railway lines, as a venue for a railway themed attraction.


The first thing they should do it rescue 56031 from Crewe before EMR scraps her!