All posts by Tim Marsh

Flower Power’ by Rod Amos – 16/9/2019

Flowers are an essen­tial part of our lives, and are used in drink­ing, for eating, attract­ing part­ners, admir­ing, treat­ing mal­ad­ies etc…………

Rod, a Rheumatologist, talked to us today about the myths, magic and medi­cinal qual­it­ies of English wild­flowers.

As a warn­ing, in case we fan­cied trying out a few myths and exper­i­ment­ing, we were shown pic­tures of 4 very sim­ilar look­ing plants – Cow Parsley, Sweet Cicely, Angelica and Hemlock, the last of these being the killer. Beware! The devil is in the detail!

Modern medi­cine is deemed to have taken shape from the 19th cen­tury, but prior to that, medi­cine up to the 1700s was based on Quackery, when anyone could sell any sup­posed home-made remedy. Purging the humours was another dodgy wheeze.

As far back as the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians (e.g. Hippocrates, Paracelsus, Dioscorides, Galen) rem­ed­ies, con­cocted from plants, based on myth and magic were pro­moted.

Even today there are myths.
— Why do we apply a dock leaf to a sting? Is this another sting to mask the first? Is it a placebo? It has been found that if you chew a dock leaf first, it releases anti-inflammatory prop­er­ties, so maybe there’s some­thing in it after all.
— Hawthorn (its altern­at­ive name being ‘’Mother will Die’’), brings bad luck if brought into the house, because decay­ing Hawthorn smells like the decay of bodies, giving off the same chem­ic­als.
— Lilac was used to line coffins, as the purple colour was asso­ci­ated to the last stage of mourn­ing.
— Red and white flowers are banned in hos­pit­als as they infer blood and band­ages.

Some myths and super­sti­tions gave rise to the Doctrine of Signatures – This is when nature pro­duces objects used to treat parts of the body which are sim­ilar in appear­ance :-

e.g. — Walnuts used in treat­ment of the brain
— The Eye Bright plant used for the eye
— The Lungwort plant with spots on their leaves appear­ing like air spaces in lungs, which was used for coughs etc

However, some of the main plants that have con­trib­uted to myth, magic or medi­cine, are listed below. In some cases their prop­er­ties were found by acci­dent, or because of the per­ceived Doctrine of Signatures :-
Lesser Celandine and Figwort. Their roots are like haem­or­rhoids (piles). The former is the first flower of Spring and, like fig­wort, is used to treat piles. Both are used to treat Scrofula (TB of the skin) as they con­tain sapon­ins and tan­nins which are a nat­ural pro­tec­tion for the plants and may be anti-inflammatories. Scrofula was also called ‘Kings Evil’ and was thought to be cured when the mon­arch touched you. Because of the time this involved for the King, ‘Touch pieces’ were minted with the Kings head on, as a sub­sti­tute for the mon­archs touch.
Early Purple Orchid. Its roots are like testicles, so it was power­ful in sexual magic, as an aph­ro­dis­iac, or in determ­in­ing the sex of an unborn child. This myth goes back to the Greeks and the plant has lots of folk names, but, there is no known medi­cinal value. The Church called it Gethsemane or Cross Flower because of the spots on the leaves, which rep­res­en­ted drops of blood.
- Lords and Ladies. There were lots of folk names here too, because of its shape, all infer­ring sexual magic.
Foxglove (Digitalis Purpurea). There was lots of folk­lore sur­round­ing this plant, with the Church naming it ‘’Ladys’ Fingers and Virgins’ Fingers’’. Fox=mischievous animal, glove= digitalis in Latin, mean­ing you can put your finger in it. William Withering in 1775 acci­dent­ally real­ised that a medi­cine con­coc­tion for bal­an­cing the ‘’humours’’ con­tained digoxin, an extract from fox­glove, as its active ingredi­ent, which was effect­ive against dropsy, which is a swell­ing caused by heart fail­ure.
- White Willow and Meadowsweet (Spirea), which both grow in damp places, give us sali­cylic acid, a major com­pon­ent of Aspirin. Johann Pagenstecher extrac­ted sali­cylic acid from Meadowsweet. Johann Buchner isol­ated a yellow sub­stance from willow tree tan­nins which he called salicin (Latin for willow). Raffaele Piria con­ver­ted this into sali­cylic acid. Further con­tri­bu­tions in this field were made by Thomas John Maclagan. Felix Hoffman went a step fur­ther and found acet­ylsali­cylic acid using acetic acid. He called this A for ‘acetyl’ and ‘spirin’ as it came from Spirea. ASPIRIN was born. (He also found HERO-IN.)
Oskar Lassar inven­ted his famous paste, which has sali­cylic acid in it, for treat­ing skin prob­lems.
Rev. Edmund Stone found by chew­ing willow bark, which is bitter like Peruvian bark, he could cure fever, as it con­tains quin­ine, a treat­ment for mal­aria.
Naked Ladies, (Latin name col­chicum autum­nale) which is an Autumn crocus. This comes up in Autumn before the leaves (hence the name naked ladies) and an over­dose can be pois­on­ous. It pro­duces col­chicine, used to treat gout. This was dis­covered acci­dent­ally by John Hall who mar­ried Shakespeares daugh­ter in 1607. It was recor­ded as having been used as ‘Eau de Medicineale’ by Banks and Cook on the ‘Endeavour’.
Nightshades – The deadly vari­ety (Belladonna) con­tains atropine (from Atropos, one of the 3 Fates). This dilutes the pupil and even­tu­ally leads to death. It is one sub­stance in ‘Flying Ointment’, used as a hal­lu­cin­at­ory exper­i­ence.
Monkshood – All parts of this plant are toxic, reflec­ted in its folk names. It is still used in homeo­pathy in small quant­it­ies. Cerberus and Hecate in Greek myth­o­logy men­tion the toxin acon­ite in this plant.

Now well aware of how to poison someone, Rod fin­ished his talk with a story about Dr. Edward William Pritchard who put the above inform­a­tion to use by pois­on­ing his rel­at­ives, but even­tu­ally was hung for his crimes!!!

Cheers’ Barry Starmore 8thJuly 2019

Today’s talk by Barry Starmore, was an intro­duc­tion to wine and spir­its.

Barry has been in the wine busi­ness over 25 years, during which time he has been a Sommelier at the Savoy Group, and worked for ‘Odd Bins’ and the ‘Wig and Pen’ (both no longer in exist­ence). He is now a Director of ‘StarmoreBoss’ in Sharrowvale Rd. where they offer tast­ings of wine and whisky, and talks on how they are made.

 

An Overview.

Distillers and wine makers must have exper­i­ence, and a pas­sion for what they do, as the para­met­ers are ever­chan­ging – cli­mate, loc­a­tion, farmer, vit­i­cul­tur­al­ist etc

A gen­er­a­tion ago, wines were mainly from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Portugal, Italy, Spain, but now they are from all over the world, but, nev­er­the­less, wines from tra­di­tional sources are still very import­ant.

The UK is the biggest importer of wines which come from Japan, Georgia, Holland, South Africa, South America etc……… Australian wines first came to the UK in 1986. However, research is ongo­ing world­wide to locate new ter­rains, grape types and how to farm them.

In the UK there are 503 vine­yards and 133 winer­ies. The most north­erly vine­yard in the UK is at Junction 46 on the M1 at Leventhorpe (near Leeds) and the nearest one is at Renishaw Hall.

Sales of wine in the UK topped £10bn last year and sales of Spirits were sim­ilar. The duty on a bottle of wine is £2.80 plus 20p for the label and bottle, whereas whisky has a duty of £7.50/bottle.

Big retail­ers import wine by the tanker load and bottle in the UK, which is all strictly con­trolled, so it is still good, even when ‘’bottled’’ in mag­nums or boxes.

 The Grapes –There are 5 noble main grapes but 10000 vari­et­ies of grapes in total. Italy uses 2000. The rest of the world diver­si­fies on vari­et­ies to suit their situ­ation.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon with a black­cur­rant fla­vour is the most pop­u­lar as it is slow­est to ripen but good in dif­fer­ent soils. Malbec grapes have medi­cinal prop­er­ties!
  • The soil is treated with manure and the vines allowed to trail, rather than being trained, with, some­times, roses added to the lines of vines, for help­ing the pro­cess. Less chem­ic­als are now used as there are new meth­ods of get­ting rid of bugs.
  • In the Northern hemi­sphere the grapes are har­ves­ted from late August to October, in the even­ing, which stops oxid­a­tion of the grapes. If the fruit is ripe and the sugars high, then they may be picked earlier. They are then put in a cool tank or vacuum for 10 to 12 days to sta­bil­ise them.
  • The pro­cess then includes adding yeast and sugar to the unfer­men­ted grape juice (the must) plus a bit of sul­phur (min­imal nat­ural sul­phur if pos­sible, to reduce the effects on head­aches and pan­cre­atic prob­lems that some drink­ers suffer from).
  • Oak bar­rels are import­ant for fer­ment­ing or stor­ing, as they take out the tan­nins and allow long time devel­op­ment. For Beaujolais Nouveau the grapes are not pressed hard, they are stored and pro­cessed in neut­ral stain­less steel, clay or con­crete tanks and bottled quickly so that they have less tan­nins and more fla­vour.

The Cork

Cork tree bark is har­ves­ted only every 7 to 10 years to allow the tree to recover. The cork must be washed in clean spring water, so as not to leave a taste and to allow it to last longer before drying out. Wine matures better with a cork than with a screw top. Plastic stop­pers are OK but shrink after about 5 years. Glass stop­pers are used by the Australians.

General

Wine should be drunk within 3 or 4 days of open­ing. Some wine brought back from Europe which was good drunk in Europe when fresh, is only designed to last 2 weeks, so it is never as good at home.

Keep wine at 8 to 10 degrees a long time before open­ing. There is no need to turn the bottles during stor­age. Stand the bottle up 2 days before open­ing and decant and filter reds before drink­ing.

Ice wines are made from grapes left on the vine and picked after they have been frozen. They have less juice as they are shriv­elled, and pro­duce a sweet wine.

There were com­ments from the mem­bers about the descrip­tions of wine, writ­ten on the bottles. The palette is most sens­it­ive in the morn­ing, so see if you can taste the wet grass and goose­ber­ries then!

This was a very inter­est­ing and inform­at­ive insight into the appre­ci­ation and making of wine, but there is obvi­ously a lot more to learn.

CHEERS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Work of the S. Yorks. Police and Crime Commissioner – Dr. Alan Billings 15th April 2019

Dr. Alan Billings was born in Leicester and read Theology and Philosophy at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He has been a parish priest and an aca­demic as well as being active in polit­ics. (For full details go to — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Billings)

Dr. Billings had planned to return to Sheffield to retire but was elec­ted as the S. Yorks. Police and Crime Commissioner (P.C.C.) in 2014, repla­cing the first Commissioner who had been a Rotherham Councillor and had held a senior pos­i­tion in Child Services. He resigned after a report exposed child sexual exploit­a­tion in Rotherham between the years 1997 and 2013, which Rotherham Council and S. Yorks. Police had chosen to ignore.

Police and Crime Commissioners have been elec­ted through­out the coun­try since 2012, to replace Police Authorities. They were made up of Local Councillors and the public, but the new posts provide a focal point. Prospective can­did­ates are sponsored by polit­ical parties, and the Labour Party now sup­port the scheme, although ori­gin­ally fear­ing politi­cisa­tion of the posts.

The duties of a P.C.C. include pro­du­cing a policy plan (reviewed annu­ally), for poli­cing and crime pri­or­it­ies, and then, to ensure that the police force follow them. There are monthly meet­ings with the police, press and the gen­eral public, and the P.C.C. also scru­tin­izes police reports. All this helps to determ­ine what type of police force is needed and where funds are to be alloc­ated.

The two prin­cipal sources for funds — Government 73%, Council Tax 27%, are alloc­ated thus :-

-           The police budget – 96%

-           Commissioning ser­vices for vic­tims

-           Running activ­it­ies for com­munit­ies

The 3 pri­or­it­ies for poli­cing, in the 2019 policy plan (copy avail­able on the inter­net) are :-

  1. Protecting vul­ner­able people

A greater pro­por­tion of police time is spent on this sub­ject :-

  • It is pre­dicted that by 2045 more than a third of the pop­u­la­tion will be over 60 years of age. With public ser­vices shrink­ing, more time is spent find­ing demen­tia patients who have wandered off.
  • Children are brought from the South of England , to homes in Barnsley and Sheffield where it is cheaper to look after them. The police, rather than the homes, spend time find­ing those who have broken their curfew hours.
  • Grooming either in person or on the inter­net requires more police staff in offices.
  • Since 2010, police officer num­bers in S. Yorks. have reduced from 3000 to 2500, but in 2019 a fur­ther 55 officers will be recruited, of which 40 will go into Neighbourhood Teams and be seen on the beat, and will be able to make arrests — a matter reg­u­larly reques­ted by the public. Police Support Officer num­bers, (intro­duced by David Blunkett, who dealt with anti-social beha­viour), who cannot make arrests, will not be cut.
  1. Tackling crime and anti-social beha­viour

On this matter, the P.C.C., who has no exec­ut­ive power, meets reg­u­larly with the Chief Constable to dis­cuss :-

-Knife crime, (which is mainly a London prob­lem). Incidents since 2018 in S.Yorks. are fall­ing, dis­cus­sions taking place as to why.

-Sex crime

-Cyber crime

-Drugs. This is wor­ry­ing and is linked to knife crime. Once when there were turf wars, based on post codes, the police knew the gangs, but now the gangs are under­ground with vul­ner­able young chil­dren being groomed to carry small pack­ages for a reward. The gangs offer an ‘altern­at­ive family’ so it is essen­tial to under­stand their psy­cho­logy. Failure within the gang means brutal repris­als.

The 4 pris­ons in Doncaster have drug prob­lems which the police are deal­ing with. Unintended con­sequences of drug leg­al­isa­tion, are also under con­sid­er­a­tion.

-Anti-social beha­viour. S.Yorks. has a minor­ity diverse eth­ni­city, unlike Leicester where the ethnic minor­it­ies are the major­ity. Our pit vil­lages are white, with noth­ing for the chil­dren to do, so anti-social beha­viour, rather than crime, is the main prob­lem. But city centres are dif­fer­ent, so there is more police demand. The Roma/Slovaks give prob­lems due to cul­tural dif­fer­ences, and traf­fick­ing is a world­wide prob­lem, with can­nabis farms involving vic­tims as well as crim­in­als.

  1. Treating people fairly, whether victim, sur­vivor, wit­ness or sus­pect.

The three main ongo­ing costly ‘legacy’ issues for S.Yorks. police are :-

  1. The Hillsborough dis­aster
  • It is the 30th The ongo­ing court case is paid for by Legal Aid but Civil claims are being made by around 600 people, who were affected by the tragedy.
  1. The Child Sexual Exploitation Case in Rotherham
  • 200 extra detect­ives in Rotherham are seek­ing the 1400 alleged child vic­tims, cost­ing £40million/year.

£20million has been alloc­ated for civil claims for both the above cases.

Dr. Billings has applied to the Home Office for spe­cial grants, but they still require S. Yorks. to meet £2.4m for each of the above issues.

  1. The Miners strike – still an issue.

For other fair­ness issues, Dr. Billings has set up Independent Panels such as the Ethics Panel to think through situ­ations, e.g. ‘stop and search’ with the body camera issue.

-    The P.C.C. can put pro­pos­als and oppor­tun­it­ies to the police to con­sider and report on, but cannot order the Chief Constable what to do. The N.H.S., the Local Councils, etc. are also involved and all work together as a team.

Dr. Billings con­vinced us that he has a tough job on his hands, which he said felt ‘like turn­ing a huge oil tanker around’, although there are not­able suc­cesses.

He was heart­ily thanked for a very enlight­en­ing and well delivered talk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Hucklow Theatre (1927–1971) Peter Myles 18th Feb 2019

This theatre was the brain child of Lawrence du Garde Peach, known as ‘Laurie’.

He was born in 1890 in Sheffield, but brought up in Great Hucklow, Derbyshire, where his father was the pastor of the Unitarian Old Chapel. Educated at Manchester Grammar School, Manchester University and  Gottingen University, where he learnt fluent German, and after a spell in the trenches, which included put­ting on plays with the troops, he spent the rest of WW1 in the Intelligence Corps inter­rog­at­ing German sol­diers. He com­pleted his formal edu­ca­tion in 1921, with a PhD at Sheffield University in drama.

After a short time in Academia, at what is now Exeter University, he took up full time writ­ing and went back to live in Great Hucklow, where his father was still the pastor, and the pop­u­la­tion was 90.

He wrote for radio, films, magazines, includ­ing ’Punch’, and for theatre. He became edit­ing author for the Ladybird his­tory books, and wrote Toytown scripts for ‘Childrens Hour’ on the BBC, as well as some of the Ladybird books. He did pageants, made cards, painted, and even found time to stand for Parliament as a Liberal can­did­ate for Derby, but unsuc­cess­fully.

His father at this time had set up a hol­i­day home for chil­dren in Nissan huts in the vil­lage, which Laurie adap­ted as a theatre, and in 1925 The Village Players were formed, a com­pletely ama­teur group of vil­la­gers, per­form­ing in the Nissan hut. There was no power, so plays coin­cided with the full moon or were lit by oil lamps or bat­ter­ies that had been bor­rowed. The first play was ‘The Merchant of Venice’ which ran for 3 nights at 8pm – 1s2d admis­sion, chil­dren 6d. Other plays included the ‘Scottish Play’ and ‘Clive of India’. ‘Journeys End was the only WW1 play that was per­formed. Costumes were hired and the dress­ing rooms i.e.the wings, were out­side, which was alright, in the right weather and there was no snow.

The ama­teur vil­lage actors were invited to act, and if there was no new script for you for the next play after your per­form­ance, you knew you were not wanted in fur­ther plays.

This con­tin­ued until 1937, when a new min­is­ter was appoin­ted and the Nissan huts were required for another use.

So a barn adja­cent to the remains of the vil­lage lead mine was pur­chased, with the help of a ’loan’ (which was never repaid) from the Sheffield indus­tri­al­ist J.G.Graves, and con­ver­ted into a pro­scen­ium theatre with an aud­it­or­ium of 250 seats (acquired from Montgomery Hall at 6d each) on a slope.  In 1938, they moved in.

The first play was ‘Shells’ about WW1, and was writ­ten by Laurie. The next play was ‘Mrs. Grundy comes to Tea’, but in 1939 and during WW2, the theatre closed and the actors joined the Home Guard. The theatre was used as a club for chil­dren.

Recommencing after the war, per­form­ances were always full. There were 3 plays per year with 3 weeks rehearsal and 3 weeks per­form­ances on 6 days /week + 3 mat­in­ees i.e. 21 per­form­ances. The list of plays per­formed was ambi­tious and varied.

4 local men did the stage set­tings, which were always pro­fes­sional.

Lauries wife was the prompt and some­times fell asleep. Programmes were free.

Refreshments at half time were sup­plied by a mobile van, nick­named ‘The Desert Rat’, appar­ently not to be recom­men­ded.

There were some­times com­plaints that there were too many plays writ­ten by Laurie, so he wrote one under an assumed name, with a glow­ing descrip­tion of this person, which was of course him.

In 1954 Laurie wrote a play on vil­lage life and even wrote plays around vil­lage char­ac­ters.

In fact he did nearly everything, includ­ing writ­ing Newsletters which were highly amus­ing.  Audiences came from all over the world and famous actors per­formed there. Edna Raiworth, the grand­mother of Sophie Raiworth of telly fame, was first lady in many plays there.

By 1971, Lauries wife was not well, and des­pite being encour­aged to con­tinue, Laurie said  ‘When you’ve fin­ished with a toy, you throw it away’. The theatre was sold to the Sheffield Scout Association with the con­di­tion that it should never be used for per­form­ances again.

To the Manor Born’ was the last play and every­one involved received a letter of thanks for their con­tri­bu­tions.

Lawrence du Garde Peach died in 1974.

There is a plaque on the side of the barn where the action took place.

A small trib­ute to a remark­able achieve­ment, by a remark­able man who gave so much pleas­ure to so many, espe­cially in Great Hucklow.

An excel­lent morn­ings talk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funny Turns — Returns” Dave Moylan 17th December 2018

How do you write a blog on a magi­cian? Well. Here goes.

This was Dave’s third end of year talk to us in suc­ces­sion, (which speaks for itself), put­ting us well and truly in the hol­i­day mood, with another, and dif­fer­ent, enter­tain­ing per­form­ance of magic, comedy and music.

As a Jeremy Corbyn look-alike, he star­ted with some magic involving cards, money and sleight of hand. Awesome!

Max Miller songs and jokes fol­lowed :-

- The boy who was told to stop biting his nails, or else he would get fat. He met a preg­nant lady and stared at her, and she said ‘What’s the matter with you?’. He replied ‘Nothing, but I know what you’ve been up to!’

- He was on Countdown once with the girl in the short skirt, who has taken over from Carol Vorderman. He got excited – a seven letter word.

The sum of the num­bers in three of the mem­bers birth dates didn’t quite tally with Dave’s pre­dic­tion, but he said he didn’t want to appear too pro­fes­sional! We should have low expect­a­tions, then we would enjoy it.

There were Charlie Chester songs, ‘Rainy Day’ and ‘Down in the Jungle’ and remin­is­cing over Ken Dodd, Chic Murray and Bob Monkhouse :-

  • A man with a long stick walked into a pub and the barman said ‘Are you a pole vaulter?’ He replied ‘ No I’m German, but how did you know my name was Walter?
  • A man bought a talk­ing dog. He took it into a pub and wagered the barman that he could talk, but the man couldn’t get the dog to talk, so he lost his money. When the man took the dog out­side, he said ‘Why didn’t you say some­thing?’ The dog replied ‘Just think how much more we will make when we go back inside tomor­row and take bets’
  • We’ve just had the 2 worst win­ters on record – Mike and Bernie!
  • A Chinese cook made a man an omelette. When he asked him how it was, he said ‘It’s rub­bery’. The Chinese cook replied ‘Thank you very much, I’m glad you liked it’
  • What’s the dif­fer­ence between a Chiropodist and a Drummer? Can you remem­ber? I can’t read my notes as I was laugh­ing too much!
  • During WW2 a couple were in bed when the air raid siren went. He couldn’t find his teeth, to which his wife said ‘We’re dodging bombs not eating pies’
  • A recruit for the army was having his med­ical, and the Doctor said ‘You’re not very well endowed’ to which he said ‘I thought we were only sup­posed to be fight­ing the Germans’.

Comedians have any­thing, includ­ing nuts and bolts, thrown at them, if they are not being well received. And who goes to the trouble to take a dead cat to a show, to throw at the enter­tainer? However, they can retali­ate with put downs :-

  • 2 rather large ladies heck­ling in the front row, to which Dave said ‘When is Cinderella coming?’
  • To another large lady giving him some grief he said ‘I know it’s rude to ask a lady her age, so how much do you weigh?’
  • Once he saw a lady crying her eyes out at his per­form­ance, so Dave said ‘Madam, I’m glad you are moved by my act’, to which she replied ‘Why don’t you…………!’
  • Dave had a mince pie once dir­ectly in the face. He thought ‘Either they are get­ting more accur­ate, or I’m get­ting slower’.
  • After a rous­ing couple of songs accom­pa­ny­ing him­self on the guitar, a lady was crying in the front row. He said ‘I’m glad you enjoyed that’. She said ‘I didn’t. I’m a musi­cian’.

Dave involved some unsus­pect­ing Probus mem­bers, seem­ingly des­troy­ing their £20 note, bam­booz­ling them with sleight of hand, and get­ting Graham to blow a bazooka! You should take it up pro­fes­sion­ally Graham! Only joking.

Some double-entendres were sprinkled in amongst the humour, magic and singing. I didn’t get any of them!?*

A very enter­tain­ing morn­ing, which sent us home smil­ing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Peak District in the Mid-1900s By Tim Knebel 15th October 2018

Tim is a volun­teer local arch­iv­ist for ‘’Peak in the Past’’ which is a com­munity her­it­age group com­pris­ing a small col­lect­ive of indi­vidu­als with a shared pas­sion for the Derbyshire Peak District and its past. Teaming up with his High Peak Journalist sister Holly, Tim has, from humble begin­nings in 2014, obtained fin­an­cial sup­port to enable the group to work with school­chil­dren, inspir­ing and enga­ging them in their local his­tory, through to eld­erly res­id­ents in res­id­en­tial care homes, gath­er­ing remin­is­cences. With gen­eral his­tory from ori­ginal archive sources, the group gives talks & has made films to reflect & con­trib­ute towards the import­ant sense of regional belong­ing, pride & iden­tity, to help strengthen & enrich com­munity cohe­sion.

The excel­lent illus­trated talk focused on local his­tory and com­munity events, rooted in the real lives of hard work­ing, some­times impov­er­ished rural folk, where the chances to travel away, were not as they are today.

Some past vil­lage cel­eb­ra­tions that occurred in the mid 1900s, high­lighted in the talk, were :-

  • Empire Day on 24th May, which was Queen Victorias’ birth­day and sub­sequently became Commonwealth Day on Queen Elizabeth IIs’ birth­day.
  • May Day, which is dying out
  • The Wakes e.g. on the dates of the Patron Saints of the local Churches
  • Well Dressings, still pop­u­lar
  • Festivals, Fetes, Carnivals, Garland Days, some now gone
  • Bakewell Show, star­ted in 1819, and Bakewell Carnival.
  • The choos­ing of Miss Village from the local beau­ties.

Schools held a more prom­in­ent role in the smal­ler com­munit­ies. Corporal pun­ish­ment was meted out at school & the chil­dren were sub­jec­ted to some­times tough regimes.

The churches were more at the centres of com­munity life with Sunday schools, choirs, girl guides, scouts, womens’ groups, fest­ivals, and sports teams of cricket, foot­ball, tennis, and tug-o-war.

In the smal­ler com­munit­ies enter­tain­ment was avail­able in the form of cinemas, Whist Drives, and theatre, in par­tic­u­lar the legendary Great Hucklow Village Players (1927–71) foun­ded by Dr. Du Guard Peach, which had a world­wide repu­ta­tion.

Pubs, Clubs and Institutes played a major part in vil­lage life, with Ex-Servicemens clubs, and the Mechanical Institute of Eyam prom­in­ent. There was a vil­lage police­man sup­por­ted by Special Constables from volun­teers in the vil­lage, and local emer­gency fire and ambu­lance ser­vices with cot­tage hos­pit­als in nearby larger towns.

WW2 brought evacu­ees to the area, and the Nightingale Institute for Guernsey evacu­ees at Great Hucklow was foun­ded. POW camps were set up in Stoney Middleton and the quarry was bombed to try to stop pro­duc­tion, even though some of the work­ers were POWs. Bombs were also stored at Stoney Middleton.

There was the inev­it­able loss of life amongst those who joined up for both world wars, remembered with prom­in­ent monu­ments and reg­u­lar memorial ser­vices.

Transport devel­op­ments changed hori­zons, with the Railway, cars, & sub­sequent road improve­ments. Winnats Pass was sur­faced in the 1930s & the AA man with his motor­bike and side­car appeared. The horse and cart deliv­ery meth­ods were dying out.

Attitudes were chan­ging and the Kinder Trespass took place in 1932. More leis­ure time was being taken which lead to Caving, Rambling, Climbing, and the first National Park in 1951.

Employment was centred around mining, espe­cially for lead and fluor­spar. Farming and agri­cul­ture and the mills at Bamford (closed 1965), Litton (1960), and Cressbrook (1971) were big employ­ers. The Hope Cement Works since 1945 is still a big pro­du­cer and employer.

There is a time­less splend­our to the Peak District, even with the pres­sures on it, like the flood­ing of Ashopton in the Derwent valley, to con­struct the dams, but the talk show­cased how an import­ant cul­tural her­it­age role is help­ing to pre­serve the past in the Peak District, which is integ­ral to its endur­ing appeal, its con­tin­ued envir­on­mental pro­tec­tion and its long-term sur­vival.

We’re very lucky to have volun­teers like Tim doing this work. More power to your elbow!

A most enjoy­able morn­ing.

For more inform­a­tion (and a few phrases cribbed from it) go to :-

www.peakinthepast.co.uk      e-mail for con­tact  info@peakinthepast.co.uk