Black Miners Museum Project – Digging Deep Exhibition 2019

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
  • Costume displays
  • ‘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: or

See more at: and

Ethel Gordon Fenwick

The First Nurse 

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.

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

Fully Fashioned: Archival Remnants of the Textile Trade

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.

Lawrence and Locality: The Lawrence Society Week (6-13 September 2019)

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!

Your Local Lock-Up

In 2018 Dr Rosalind Crone of The Open University launched the 19th Century Prisons database at which has recently been updated and extended.

Alongside the 19th Century Prisons database (, 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.  Your Local Lock-Up at 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, 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 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

Your Local 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. 

We are also collecting ‘stories’ of lock-ups or prisons for our new features page, some of which can already be seen at

To increase Your Local 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!

Finally, why not connect with Prison History UK on social media?  You can follow us on Twitter (, ‘like’ our Facebook page ( ); and share material with us on Instagram ( You can also subscribe directly to our mailing list at to receive the latest project news and updates.

D.H. Lawrence Festival 2019, 31st August – 14th September

The D.H. Lawrence Festival is back for 2019!

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. 

Where Was Great Grandad In The War?

This was a question posed whilst D-Day and 2nd World war events were being screened on the television. A family ring round found that we knew very little about my father’s war service. Just like many others of his generation, they went off to serve their country and on return put their medals in a drawer and said very little about their experiences. They were happy to come home and resume their jobs if they were fit and able to do so.

This prompted me to try and find out more information and was pleasantly surprised to find the Government offer a free service for next of kin, or £30 plus death certificate for other relatives of full service records including postings and other details. This applies to Army, Royal Navy and Air Force Service. You only have to provide date of birth, but if you know their Service Number and Regiment it helps speed up the process.

Some private companies can charge a fortune for the same service and similarly data base searches or membership of for example can also be expensive.

The web site is at

Take advantage of this free service – we have.

Richard Mills 

Collingham & District Local History Society Newsletter

Irregular 1 has now sold out. Copies of 2 & 3 are still available at Gascoignes, Collingham Archives and at Collingham & District Local History Society events.

Black Sabbath Volume 4, Led Zeppelin IV and Foreigner 4 were bestselling and highly critically acclaimed albums. I won’t mention Beyonce 4, which was critically acclaimed, but is her lowest selling studio album to date at only 3.5 million. So, what about Irregular 4?

Our best yet? Yes, we think so! Over 180 ‘editorially acclaimed’ pages on a diverse range of local subjects, which include contributions from six writers, who will be new to our readers.

Anne Speed has contributed a surprising, personal and timely article based on her recent conversations with Dendle French, who sadly only saw a draft of this article before he died last November. If you are a Royalist you can read some exclusive comments on Princess Anne and the Queen Mother amongst his other stories here!

Our second article was submitted by Keith Franklin of Essex, who writes about his fond memories of being evacuated to Collingham and his subsequent holidays here in the 1940s & 50s. He stayed with the Bococks in what is now Collingham’s chip shop. The faces may be fading but his memories, gossip and fondness for Collingham remain strong.

Anne Akrill has composed a moving article based on her Uncle Bill’s letters to his mother at Potter Hill Farm, Collingham whilst he was training and in his early years as a bomber navigator in WW2. The letters and the article express many emotions, including what was for William and his friends, both the heavy burden of the job they had to do and the sense that it was also a great adventure.

One aspect of The Irregular is the exclusive nature of much that is written by accomplished or promising authors, many of whom have not been published before. If Irregular 4 were a commercial, national publication, this next article might well have “Exclusive” plastered in red on the cover. However, we are more modest than that, so you will just have to turn to page 88! There you will find a clever poem written by Di Slaney, an acclaimed, published and award winning Nottinghamshire poet ( She is also the ‘Poet in Residence’ for Nottinghamshire Local History Association, through which she announced a competitive opportunity to provide the subject for her first poem in residency. The result was that she chose ourselves and has written the excellent poem on John Barton of Holme, which will be published in her forthcoming anthology. We are proud that it was written for us and first published in Irregular 4. Following this, is a short article by Jeremy Lodge on Holme Church, which identifies the members of John Barton’s family, who are named in the poem.

In yet another exclusive, former firefighter Michael Vaughan gives a first-hand account of the fire in 1989, which led to the demolition of Morton Hall, Swinderby. Morton Hall was the home of the Torr family, which was commandeered by the RAF in 1942 for its Commando School, then by the Home Office in 1958. Jeremy Lodge then contributes another short article; this time on the almost forgotten and colourful author and traveller of the 1920s and beyond, the ‘preposterously hatted’ Rosita Forbes, who was brought up at Morton Hall. This includes an original drawing by Jean Wright.

You may recall the flooding questionnaire that was handed out at a recent meeting. The results of this survey are included in an article written by Tom Burd, which is based on a submission for his ‘A’ level coursework on perceptions on flood risk in Collingham. This is bracketed by Dr Harvey Wood’s rewrite of his essay on his first-hand experience of the flood of 2000, when he lived on the banks of the Trent at ‘The Wharf’ on Carlton Ferry Lane and a brief reminder of some of the other Collingham Floods.

It is strange how compelling and popular it has proven to be, to watch men with (and women without) knobbly knees, digging holes in people’s lawns. We couldn’t get Bernard Cribbins (look for ‘Hole in the Ground’, Bernard Cribbins on YouTube), so instead we have, at great expense, commissioned our Archaeology lead Phil Docherty to write about our recent Test Pits at Vine Farm, The Old Hall in Collingham and The Spinney, Winthorpe.


Can you identify these men? In Irregular 1 we included a picture who, we were told, was William Bacon of local Charge of the Light Brigade fame. We have also been told that the image is of local Methodist missionary Edwin Nicholson. Do you have any family or other photographs which could contribute to this discussion? Also, in Keith Franklin’s article we have a photograph from our archives, of Collingham’s High Street in the 1950s, in the centre of which is a man on a motorbike with a sidecar. On the back is written the name ‘Giggy’. Do you know who Giggy was?

And thank you to Harry Constantine for his illustration!

Irregular 4 is on sale now. Can it match the sales of Irregular 1 but sell out sooner?

John Player & Sons – friends of cricket?

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of Sunday League cricket, which for the first 18 years was sponsored by John Player & Sons.

We would like to celebrate this milestone by remembering the various links between one of Nottingham’s biggest employers and the sport of cricket in general – and we’d like you to get involved:

  • Did you play cricket for any of the John Player teams, or in any of the company’s competitions?
  • Did you play against Players, at their company sports ground on Aspley Lane?
  • Did you watch any Nottinghamshire matches or benefit matches at “Players’ Rec”?
  • Have you got any John Player cigarette cards featuring famous cricketers?
  • Did you go to any Sunday League matches at Trent Bridge during the ‘John Player era’?

If you have any memories you’d like to share, or any photographs, scorecards or other memorabilia that we could see, we’d really like to hear from you!

Please email your name and phone numbers to and we’ll contact you for more information.

Thank you for your interest, and your help!

Wymeswold Airfield in the 1950s and 1960s

Although not strictly a Wolds Heritage Organisation publication, the WHO web site is hosting a remarkable new free PDF.

This is a detailed history of activities at Wymeswold airfield in the 1950s and 1960s which has been been prepared by Richard Knight, who grew up at the western end of the runways.

Most of the information is about the activities of the RAF and Fields Aircraft Services, although there is also lots of previously-unseen photographs taken in the winter of 1944 and during the build up to D-Day; and photographs taken during public open days.

In total there is about 40,000 words and almost 400 photographs. And this is available as a free PDF  Note this is about 97 Mbytes so may be slow to download.