Local people are being invited to take part in a community history project called Legacy Makers – exploring the cotton mill which the Evans family ran in Darley Abbey, now part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. As well as investigating the history of the mill and discovering more about the people that worked in it, the project is also attempting to trace the journey of goods supplied to the mill including the sources of raw cotton from the Americas. In addition, the project is exploring who the mill’s customers were and where they were located. Archival research has led project volunteers to identify some of the Nottingham hosiers who were the mill’s customers during the late eighteenth century. They hope to build on this research and trace other customers during the nineteenth century.
The Legacy Makers project is therefore reflecting more widely on the lives of the cotton mill owners, cotton spinners, hosiers and framework knitters in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire as well as the lives of the enslaved people who grew the cotton in the Americas. The project is building a ‘story bank’ of information relating to individual people and families who worked in the textile industries in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire during the late eighteenth century through to the mid-nineteenth century as well as those involved in the supply of raw cotton. Legacy Makers is keen to not only tell the story of powerful, well-connected people like the Evans family but also the forgotten people whose lives were intrinsically shaped by their work with cotton. If you have a story to share about your Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire ancestors who worked in or supplied these industries or have discovered information relating to people who lived in your town or village (c. 1780s-1850s), please get in touch with Dr Helen Bates, Research Lead, by emailing email@example.com. Helen is also keen to hear from anyone interested in volunteering to help with archival research or genealogical research.
Nottingham 2019 meets Nottingham 1847 in a time travel history adventure. An original musical written by Brian Lund.
In a corner of Nottingham’s Arboretum stands a statue of a man with a parchment in his hand. Most people walking by hardly give him a second glance, and those who look rarely take in the significance of the structure. Few people in Nottingham have heard of or know anything about the man with the parchment, who was a member of parliament for Nottingham from 1847-52 and an inspiration for people nationwide, during his lifetime and afterwards. He has been largely airbrushed out of the city’s history.
But now, over a century and a half later, that man – Feargus O’Connor, and the parchment he is holding, the Chartist petition of 1848 – is celebrated in an original musical looking at his philosophy and achievements, linking it to contemporary Nottingham and the love lives of four students.
The all-singing, all-dancing show, Feargus The Musical is based on the attachment to this period in history of present-day university student Adam, who travels back in time, intrigued by O’Connor and the Chartist movement and becomes entangled in the dangers inherent in Chartism, the first working class national political movement. There are some parallels to this in the experiences of the writer of this musical, Brian Lund (minus the time travel!), from Keyworth, who studied history at Nottingham University and included a module on Chartism in his studies. He said,
“I always thought Feargus O ‘Connor was a great piece of Nottingham’s history, but he has never been in the city’s consciousness – long been forgotten despite the importance of what he stood for”.
Local history publisher and songwriter Brian went on to say,
“I intended to write a biography of O’Connor over the years but there were too many other distractions. The idea of Feargus The Musical just came to me in 2017 in a sudden flash of inspiration because I thought some songs I’d recently written would fit in well once I’d thought about setting it in the present with students as central characters. The rest is history…”
The city of Nottingham is the focal point of the musical, along with some London scenes, as the present day and 19th century meet though a web of fantastic characters. There are plenty of moments of comedy and drama included, and Brian has written the complete script and songs himself. Nottingham’s most famous landmarks, people (including icons Robin Hood and Brian Clough!) and even the tram network, are acknowledged in the show through its catchy numbers.
Feargus The Musical, was premiered in the South Nottinghamshire village of Keyworth in November 2018 and proved to be a big hit with local audiences during its four-night run.
Audience feedback included;
“It captivated me with its mesmerising all-singing, all-dancing cast”
“A phenomenal achievement and a superb history lesson”
“Excellent cast and music. Learnt a lot about local history and in a fun way”
“The direction, acting, singing, music, dance and choreography were excellent”
“Time travel, romance and a big heaping of history blended together in a tale that surprised as much as it entertained”
“The feedback was so encouraging that the city of Nottingham was of course the next port of call for Feargus The Musical”.
The original cast are returning, this time to the Nottingham Arts Theatre, George Street, Hockley on 8th and 9th November 2019, including acting talent with an age range from 11 to 72, a RADA-trained actor and a Shakespearean veteran, as well as new-to-acting performers. Dancers are from Keyworth School of Theatre Dance and a brilliant live band supplies the music. Director is Ros Jones, who has vast experience of directing stage plays, including Shakespeare dramas, and musicals.
Chartism and its significance have featured heavily in the media recently, particularly around the 200th year anniversary of the Peterloo massacre in Manchester (which partly inspired the Chartist movement), and has been brought to a mainstream audience through ITV’s Victoria and BBC1’s Gentleman Jack. Even comedian Jack Whitehall has got in on the action when he discovered through BBC 1’s ‘Who Do you think you are’ that his ancestor was a prosecutor of Chartists after the 1839 Newport Rising. And as the musical reveals, Chartism has many parallels with the politics of today.
The musical celebrates in dialogue and music this long-forgotten hero. Feargus O’Connor’s funeral procession was accompanied by tens of thousands of people before his burial in Kensal Green Cemetery, London. A statue to him was erected in the Arboretum here in Nottingham, its unveiling attended by vast crowds, despite the opposition of the town corporation. O’Connor’s role as an inspiring campaigner for political reform and his ideas for improving the lot of the poorest in society deserves much more recognition, especially here in Nottingham, than it has ever received. Feargus The Musical is helping to restore what should be his legacy. If you want to see his charismatic charm recreated then don’t miss this show!
Tickets for the show on 8th and 9th November are available from The Nottingham Arts Theatre https://nottingham-theatre.co.uk/ and the Nottingham Tourist Information. Ticket price: £14 (concessions £11, groups of 10 £9 pp) Further information can also be found on the Feargus The Musical Facebook page: @FeargusTheMusical
We are pleased to announce the public tour dates for 2020 of the Famous “Robin Hood Express” Sherwood Forest Archaeology and History Red Bus Tour One Day Tour… Why not come with friends and family, or with members of your history group, student group, U3A, Womens Institute, archaeology society, Rotary Club, church, choir… or anything else you might be a member of!
Pick-up & Drop-off at Nottingham Playhouse at 9:30am
Renowned expert archaeologists from Mercian Archaeological Services CIC (us!); Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project, have been brought together with local historian, archaeologist and specialist Peter Hammond, and Blackmore Commercials Ltd. to provide this fantastic heritage tour of legendary Sherwood Forest.
The tour combines unrivalled local knowledge of historic Sherwood Forest with an opportunity to ride on board a vintage RouteMaster bus.
THE FAMOUS “ROBIN HOOD EXPRESS” ONE DAY TOUR
The tour departs from Wellington Circus in Nottingham at 9:30am and returns at 17:30 depending on the traffic.
The tour stops at the famous Sherwood sites of Rufford Abbey, The Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve & Legendary Major Oak, King John’s Palace, and Newstead Abbey.
You will also explore many of the sites and villages along the way that make up this magical landscape.
The tour stops (an hour) at Rufford Abbey to allow for a visit around the site and for refreshments stops at the various cafes at the site, to visit the shop and exhibitions.
The tour also stops for an hour at the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve to allow visitors time to explore and also to purchase lunch or eat at the visitors centre, and to visit the shop and exhibitions.
The afternoon visits are for half an hour at King John’s Palace with a tour of the site provided by Andy Gaunt of Mercian.*
The visit to Newstead includes an external talk by Peter Hammond. The cafe is available for afternoon teas.
Some comments people have said about the tour:
“Excellent, informative and entertaining Red Bus Trip round Sherwood Forest today, a great introduction to the historical, social and political influences in our unique and undervalued landscape”.
”Great to tour around the area with a guide who brings history to life. Cheers Andy””
“thank you for a great day out. Really enjoyed the interesting talks on all the places visited. We are local to many of the sites visited, but learned much more”
“This trip is such good value. A great way to explore Nottinghamshire, this was my fourth trip but each time I see and hear something new.”.
“Well done to all involved”
“I was on the bus tour yesterday with my 10 year old grand daughter. We had a fantastic day out, made all the better for Andy’s in depth knowledge of the area. I have lived in Nottingham for all of my 72 years and didn’t know half the information he knew. We really enjoyed it…”
“We had a super time! Can definitely recommend.” – Experience Nottinghamshire via facebook.
“Many thanks for a really enjoyable day. The itinerary was generous with plenty of time to explore four of the most interesting locations in the county. The on-board commentary was entertaining and authoritative. Andy is a mine of information with regard to Sherwood Forest and environs and Peter’s skill behind the wheel was complemented by his infectious enthusiasm”.
We really hope that you will come and join us on one of these tours – if you are part of a local group the why not arrange to come along with other members and enjoy a day out with your friends!
Please share this email with anyone you think would be interested, the more the merrier! Best wishes, Andy Gaunt, Director, Mercian Archaeological Services CIC is a limited company registered in England and Wales.
Company Registration No. 08347842; Registered offices:
The Digging Deep Exhibition will take place at the National Coal Mining Museum for England (Wakefield, Yorkshire) from 21st September 2019 – 5th January 2020, 10am-5pm, free entry ( £5 donation for underground tour). The museum exhibition in the Main Gallery, forms part of the Black Miners Museum Project, kindly supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund East Midlands, supporting the collaboration, preservation and showcasing of new heritage within existing mining organisations.
At the exhibition view:
8 new exhibition panels with audio documenting aspects of the personal journeys/experiences of former coal miners of African Caribbean heritage
Original artwork by Honey Williams, Karen Thompson and other aspiring artists
A documentary film by project volunteers (in the film booth)
Portrait photography by David Severn
Archive and contemporary images
Coal art by Winnie Kwok
‘Black Miners’ Poetry
And much more!
Norma Gregory, will give a curator’s talk on the 21st September 2019 from 2-3pm and also during November (date tbc) for the production of a play on the miners by Garry Morris. Bespoke curator talks and tours can be made for school/ community/ educational groups on request. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
This year (2019) marks the centenary of the Nurses Registration Act of 1919 which was only realised after a lengthy campaign. Ethel Gordon Fenwick nee Manson (1857-1947) was one of the leaders of this campaign and appears as Nurse Number 1 when the register opened in 1923. She played a major role in the history of nursing in the United Kingdom through her campaign to procure a nationally recognised certificate for nursing. Born in the Morayshire town of Elgin in Scotland, the daughter of a wealthy doctor who died before Ethel had turned one, the family moved to Nottinghamshire when her mother remarried. Her stepfather was George Storer (1814-1888), Member of Parliament for the South Nottinghamshire constituency. Ethel’s formative life was spent at Thoroton Hall, near Bingham in the Vale of Belvoir where the family resided.
Ethel’s stepfather, George was the son of Rev John Storer of Hawksworth, Notts and the grandson of John Storer a leading physician in Nottingham and one of the founders of the General Hospital, the Sneinton Asylum and the Vaccination Institution in the town. In 1816 he was involved in the setting up of the Bromley House Subscription Library.
At the age of 21 Ethel commenced nurse training at the Children’s Hospital in Nottingham as a paying practitioner, and in 1878 she left and relocated to Manchester Royal Infirmary. She then went to London where she worked in hospitals in Whitechapel and Richmond. In 1891 she was appointed Matron of St Bartholomew’s hospital, a post she held until 1887 when she resigned to marry Dr Bedford Fenwick with whom she had one son. Ethel was instrumental in establishing the International Council of Nurses in 1899 becoming their first president, she also owned and edited the British Journal of Nursing up until her death in 1947 and was a founder member of the British Nurses Association, now the Royal British Nurses Association. Ethel was also active in the campaign for women’s suffrage and during WW1 organised Nursing Corps for active duty in France. Ethel Gordon Fenwick’s ashes are interred in the family grave at St Helena’s Church, Thoroton.
Ethel Gordon Fenwick’s association with Nottingham and Notts is not well known and members of the national Ethel Gordon Fenwick commemorative project group are researching her early life and career. 2020 will be a worldwide commemoration of the bicentenary of Florence Nightingales birth. The aim of the ‘Year of the Nurse’ the term proposed by the World Health Organisation, is to help to raise the profile of nursing and midwifery and promote the recognition the profession deserves. Nottingham Women’s History Group will also be organising talks, walks and events to mark these centenaries. www.nottinghamwomenshistory.org.uk
Ethel Bedford Fenwick The First Nurse by Jenny Main published in 2003 is available in local libraries or follow events and comment on twitter- Ethel Gordon Fenwick @ethel_fenwick, a website will be launched late September 2019. Nightingale comes home for 2020 is a AHRC funded project at the University of Nottingham, reflecting her links to Derbyshire and the Midlands, details available at www.florencenightingale.org
Using photographs, marketing materials and business records from the University of Nottingham’s lace and hosiery archive collections, this exhibition explores surviving evidence of the textile trade which was once a major feature of the East Midlands. Other collections reveal the struggle for workers’ rights, from the targeted campaign of machine breaking by the Luddites of the East Midlands (in protest at unfair pay and the introduction of ‘cut ups’ in favour of the superior fully-fashioned stockings), to the development of unions such as the Nottingham-based Amalgamated Society of Operative Lace Makers and Auxiliary Workers. The exhibition illustrates the rise and eventual decline of the trade, as it struggled to survive the ravages of war, the vagaries of fashion, and the battle to compete with cheap imports. The exhibition also reflects upon the ways in which both the legacy of the Luddites and the city’s lace heritage continue to inspire tourists, artists, and activists.
The exhibition has been curated by staff from Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham.
Architecture is one of the more visible remnants of the textile trade; the grand warehouse buildings of the Lace Market stand as a reminder of the lace industry but what is less well known is that many grand houses in the area were originally built for successful master hosiers. Lenton Firs on University Park was built for hosier Thomas Wright Watson and subsequently occupied by lace manufacturer Thomas Adams. Lenton Eaves (University Social Club),was built for lace manufacturer Benjamin Walker, who also co-founded the co-operative movement in Nottinghamshire.
Many of the University’s business archive collections relating to textiles have survived due to the efforts of Emeritus Professor of Business History Stanley Chapman, who first came to the University as Pasold Lecturer, funded by the Pasold Research Fund. The Fund was established by Eric Pasold whose clothing firm was the first to recognise the appeal of the Tshirt. Eric Pasold came up with the childrenswear Ladybird brand and would take time out of compiling company reports to write a regular comic strip for annuals such as Swiftand Robin. Examples of colourful Pasold marketing material can be seen in the exhibition.
The exhibition explains how both the hosiery and lace industry have their origins in the invention of the stocking frame in 1589 by Calverton curate William Lee which launched three centuries of development in machine-made textiles in the East Midlands. With over 2000 parts, it was able to produce at a fast rate stockings, underwear, and eventually lace
Photographs from the archive of lace firm JB Walkers show the interior of one of the many lace show rooms which used to be found in the Lace Market. The grand warehouses were designed to impress the buyers who would travel up from London. It was not where lace was made, but an emporium where lace was finished, marketed and sold. The lace makers (the ones owning the lace machines) tended to be based in Radford, Basford, Long Eaton and Ilkeston. Lace made by the Cluny Lace Company Ltd of Ilkeston, the only UK firm still using the original Levers machines, will be on display in the gallery.
Although little evidence of the framework knitters survives, Nottingham is proud of the spirit of rebellion embodied by the Luddites of the East Midlands who smashed the machines of the employers who exploited them. The exhibition looks at the development of unions to represent the rights of workers, and features material from the archive of the Amalgamated Society of Operative Lace Makers and Auxiliary Workers,one of the oldest unions in the world.
The exhibition programme features talks on the Luddites, the business archives of high end knitwear firm John Smedley, and the exciting plans for the new Lace Gallery at Nottingham Castle. It also includes a tour of the Lace Market, workshops on cyanotype printing and bobbin lace making, and a roadshow for the Textile Tales project which is collecting oral histories from workers in the trade.
The records of many companies are lost forever, victims of mergers, takeovers and bankruptcies but this exhibition showcases the wealth of visual material such as marketing ephemera and photographs that can be found in the surviving business archives. These collections are supplemented by the research papers of academics and records of organisations such as the Wholesale Textile Association and the Nottingham Chamber of Commerce, which provide researchers with a wealth of contextual information to explore in the reading room at King’s Meadow Campus. Manuscripts and Special Collections would love to hear from anyone with archives of any other local textile businesses.
Archivist and curator of the exhibition Sarah Colborne said: “Although I have lived in Nottingham for over twenty years now and had briefly worked in the textile trade, I had no idea of the hosiery industry’s significance for the region. It has been fascinating exploring the impact that changing fashions have had on the fortunes of the workforce in the East Midlands, from the sufferings of the framework knitters due to reduced demand for fully fashioned fitted stockings as men took to wearing trousers, to the masses of female workers employed to meet the demand for fancy tights as a result of rising hemlines for women.”
The exhibition will be held at the Weston Gallery, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD from Friday 6 September 2019 – Sunday 1 December 2019. Admission is free.
The Lawrence Society Week, entitled “Lawrence and Locality”, runs from 6-13 September 2019, marking a significant concentrated sequence in the wider 2019 Festival.
Diverse events can be enjoyed from local walks, talks, music and poetry – all linked by a common local thread. Appreciations will also be given of Jessie, Frieda and Louie by Ruth, Annabel and Sheila respectively.
It begins with a ‘Welcome Reception’ followed by Ruth’s talk. Reference will be made to her recent stirring DVD, ‘Jessie’s Lament’.
The Lawrence Leavis Conference subjects include consideration of Leavis’s assessment of Lawrence as a great literary critic and his criticism of the treatment of Lawrence by the relevant ruling authorities and its continuing effect on his reputation.
Lawrence’s own responses to such treatment will be reviewed. There will also be an evaluation of Lawrence as a dramatist.
The Birthday Lecture welcomes the acclaimed writer, Annabel Abbs, who has recently published a book entitled ‘Frieda’ This book attracted very positive reviews in the Guardian and the Observer.
‘Songs of Praise’ is a chance to get together and sing rousing traditional hymns, some favoured by Lawrence., supported by local personal tributes.
The DH Lawrence text study group pursues a small group text study of DH Lawrence’s short story “Hadrian”, led by Malcolm and Andrew.
The Haggs Farm Day is led by expert local historian Carol with scenic walks and information about the Haggs farm Society and the breach House.
As part of the regular Midweek Mass at the RC Church, Alan Wilson will adorn it with colourful organ improvisations, following the great French liturgical tradition, as explored in Notre Dame, Paris. To the theme ‘Death and Resurrection’, the organ portrays Notre Dame rising again from the ashes, and Lawrence’s ‘living’ spirit now abounds in Eastwood.
Our other ‘local historian’ Sheila will be taking us on the ‘Rainbow Walk’ with a tribute to Louie and hopefully a visit to Cossall church.
The day rounds off with a lively foot tapping celebration of ‘Songs from the Mines’, led by David Amos and his rhythmic group at the Horse and Groom pub.
The Lawrence and Theology Seminar is a first, studying Lawrence’s references to God, through his religious background, his letters, his novels and of course his poetry.
He was obviously very conversant with the contents of the Bible, but his extremely radical views on God, far too ahead of his time and totally misunderstood by his contemporaries, speak more today in an uncertain cosmopolitan and diverse world. This seminar promises to be an interesting one, exploring a little known understanding of his inner turbulent mind.
The final day takes us over to Kimberley, beginning with the expert popular veteran speaker, Roy Plumb, on the area’s history and connections with Lawrence.
After afternoon tea and talk over at Beauvale Priory, the week concludes with a follow up to Roy’s talk with a sparkling organ concert, devised by Alan, and presented in the newly restored Holy Trinity Church, playing on a fine newly purchased instrument with all the colours imaginable.
Lawrentian musical popular associations will be pursued, along with tributes paid to his great grandfather John Newton (who retired in Kimberley) and Arthur Linwood, a music entrepreneur from Eastwood, who would have supplied much music for the Lawrence family and the churches throughout the area.
A week jam packed with delights for all Laurentian and local history devotees!
In 2018 Dr Rosalind Crone of The Open University launched the 19th Century Prisons database at www.prisonhistory.org which has recently been updated and extended.
Alongside the 19th Century Prisons database (www.prisonhistory.org/19th-century-prisons/), which provides a searchable list of 847 prisons and their archives, Rosalind Crone has developed Your Local Lock-Up; a public engagement project which aims to locate any structures used for temporary imprisonment or restraint. These lock-ups might have confined the accused until they appeared before a local magistrate, when being moved between penal institutions, or when undergoing trial. Some lock-ups, like stocks, could also have been used to punish those ‘behaving badly’ in the local community.
Lock-ups have been almost entirely overlooked by penal historians, but they are essential for understanding criminal justice at the local level, and the use and experience of imprisonment in British history. YourLocal Lock-Up at www.prisonhistory.org/local-lock-up/ is building a national database of surviving or demolished lock-ups and other places of local confinement. This will allow us to explore various aspects of lock-ups’ use, character and design, and enable us to complete the next stage in the recovery of the penal landscape of historic Britain.
To do this, we now need the help of local historians! There are around 650 lock-ups in the database at www.prisonhistory.org/local-lock-up/, but currently only 7 for Nottinghamshire. This is far from exhaustive, and we anticipate that there are countless others we know nothing about. We are therefore calling upon local historians and members of the public to help us recover more lock-ups, and would be very grateful if you could tell us about any in your area. The project is compiling data on any place or structure used for temporary confinement between the 16th and early 20th centuries; including purpose built lock-ups, police stations, cells in town halls, courthouses, workhouses, stocks and even rooms in pubs used to detain prisoners.
You can easily contribute information on a new lock-up directly into the database through an online form at www.prisonhistory.org/locallock-up/submit-lock-up. Or if there are more details and photographs of somewhere already listed in the database please make any additions or corrections via the ‘Anything to Add’ button on each lock-up entry. We are also inviting anyone interested in lock-ups and penal history more generally to join our project team to help with research and the development of the database at www.prisonhistory.org/local-lock-up/become-a-contributor/
YourLocal Lock-Up is interested in collecting many different types of evidence on lock-ups, and especially welcomes historic and present-day descriptions of structures or their uses, and pictures. It need not be written evidence, either. We are equally keen to hear anecdotes about incidents involving the lock-up, the prisoners held there and the location of any that are now lost.
To increase YourLocal Lock-Up’s usefulness to local history societies and communities, every lock-up entry in the database includes a ‘print’ button, which generates a ready-made pamphlet containing information and an image that can be displayed or distributed. Please do let us know if this facility is of use and whether there are any additional features that you would find valuable on the site. We need your feedback to develop this resource further!
Running from Saturday 31st August till Saturday 14th September this year’s festival includes: live music, open days, exhibitions, walks, talks and much more!
Pick up your free leaflet from various locations around Broxtowe (including the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum) for a full list of events including timings, locations and prices, plus 10% off in the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum shop for the duration of the festival.