Saturday, 29 January 2011

Revamp caused museums debts (Museums Sheffield)

MUSEUMS Sheffield built up a £1.7 million debt with Sheffield Council by underestimating running costs at the revamped Weston Park building and due to changes in Government funding, its management revealed.

They also said the organisation received insufficient funding for its programme and was being hit by rising utility bills.

But chief executive Nick Dodd and chairman Sandra Newton said costs have now been slashed and the Trust expects to be in the black at the end of 2010/11.

The Trust faces further challenges, including phasing out in 2012 of a Government grant worth £600,000 annually, funding 28 workers who provide its education service.

But this could be compensated for with a bid to become one of nine groups of city museums recognised as being of national importance.

It could bring in up to £2m of extra each year and a bid is to be made in September.

Mr Dodd revealed the Trust found itself £650,000 over budget at Weston Park Museum in March 2008, six months after it was officially-reopened, after “anticipating lower figures”.

The £600,000 Government grant funding education workers was also switched to be paid retrospectively rather than for the year ahead in 2009, meaning a funding-gap for a year.

Mr Dodd said: “We had three choices - cut, raise more money ourselves or ask the council for more money.

“We did all three. We cut costs, shed staff, froze salaries and cut exhibitions, saving £500,000 a year.

“We have also made more money, including from extra sales in our shops, and secured external funding for a Sports Lab at Weston Park and £200,000 for revamping the Ruskin Gallery.

“We wanted to pay our debts, then the recession came and hikes in bills. Ms Newton added: “Changes affected us such as how Government altered the way it paid a grant to us from being in advance to being at the end of 2010/11.”

She said the rest of the debt came because the trust had not received sufficient funding to “allow us to deliver the service the city wants us to deliver”.

Museums Sheffield, which receives £3m a year, including £2.3m from Sheffield Council, is preparing to make a 15 per cent budget cut as council funding is reduced in 2011/12, making further job losses among its 121 staff “almost certain”.

“We are now in the black but only by a tiny amount,” Mr Dodd added.

A report to Sheffield Council’s audit committee on Monday says two reviews are being carried out into the Trust but Mr Dodd and Ms Newton said the reviews, and two others, have been completed - giving a “clean audit” and recognising the service had been under-funded.

Friday, 28 January 2011

TV - Children of the Revolution (BBC4 01 February 19.00)

Historian Jane Humphries tells the story of the child workers whose exploitation contributed to the success of the Industrial Revolution. The programme features animation and testimony from children - some of whom were aged as young as six - who worked in Victorian Britain, and the presenter sheds light on their experiences and the importance of their labour

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Save Doncaster Libriaries: Bawtry Meeting 2nd February 19.00

There will be a public meeting at 7.00 pm on Wednesday 2nd February  at the PHOENIX THEATRE, Station Road, Bawtry.  The Doncaster Mayor and Cabinet Member Cynthia Ransome will attend. Three ward members will also be present.
Save Doncaster Libraries

Medieval crosses found in nearby villages to on show at Bassetlaw Museum

A COUPLE of found in Tuxford and South Leverton are set to be shown at Bassetlaw Museum.
The Grove Street building has recently acquired several gold and silver objects through the Treasure Act.

Two of the star pieces are symbols of Christian devotion from over 400 years ago.

One item, found in the Tuxford area, is a gold crucifix, showing Jesus crucified on the cross and is described as small but spectacular.

Christ is shown with a crown of thorns, a halo and even the nails in his hands and feet are visible.

Originally the body was coloured with white enamel. Above Christ's head is a tiny enamel plaque with the letters INRI, standing for the Latin title, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." There is a second inscription in black enamel on the reverse of the cross. This translates as "By your cross, save us, Christ."

The second artefact, a small silver cross dating from medieval times, was discovered in South Leverton.

It is also inscribed with a Latin phrase meaning "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews". It was made to be suspended, perhaps as a necklace, or with prayer beads on a rosary.
Both objects were purchased for more than £4,000 funded entirely from donations made to the museum.
Museum Curator, Sam Glasswell said: "These are fantastic additions to the museum's collection. I am so grateful to everyone who has put something in the museum's donation box.
"Even the pennies add up and make it possible for us to acquire important and valuable items like these when they are offered for sale through the Portable Antiquities Scheme."

Deputy leader of the Council and Portfolio holder for Community Prosperity, Keith Isard, said, "The crosses from South Leverton and Tuxford are the latest additions to the invaluable collection used by the staff to do their work throughout Bassetlaw.

"This includes giving talks to any group that asks, help with the Young Potential project at the Regal in Worksop and lending items for display at Worksop's new library.

" The Museum is keen to do more. It's patch extends from Tuxford to Carlton-in-Lindrick to Misterton and we are looking for ways to extend its services across the district."

The museum, owned and operated by Bassetlaw District Council, is on Grove Street in Retford and is open from 10am to 4.30pm Monday to Saturday.

Admission is free.

TV - Wentworth Estate on country show (BBC1 Sunday 30 January 19.00)

A GARDEN estate in South Yorkshire is set to feature on the BBC One television series Countryfile this Sunday.

The show team spent a day at Wentworth Castle Gardens near Barnsley earlier this month, and was given a tour by estate manager Michael Klemperer.

The feature will be screened at 7pm and looks at the development of Stainborough Castle, the parkland and the restoration of the estate’s 19th century conservatory. 

Heritage director Vicky Martin said she was “thrilled” the programme chose to film at Wentworth.

I'm surprised the buildings not "too old" to appear :P 

English Forests to be Leased Out (Sherwood Forest)

Around 18 per cent of England's publicly-owned forests - which the Government had planned to sell into private hands - are to be offered on 150-year leases. 

Environmental and countryside campaigners led nationwide protests against the planned sell-off, warning that the future of ancient woodlands could be threatened by developers or timber firms and that public access could be curtailed.

A range of celebrities, from Dame Judi Dench to the Archbishop of Canterbury, urged Ministers to think again about the sale, describing it as "unconscionable". And a poll carried out at the weekend found 75 per cent of those who responded were against a sell-off.

Now the Government's decided that the land won't just be sold off to the highest bidder - and wants charitable trusts, community and other local groups to take a role.

The consultation document calls for heritage and community forests with considerable public benefits to be protected, by asking charities to take them on. Forests with a commercial value will be leased to private operators, but public access and other rights will be preserved under the terms of the lease.

Ministers said they'd listen to all feedback before reporting back in the summer - and today the Evironment Secretary Caroline Spelman said it was time for the Government to "step back and allow those who are most involved with England's woodland to play a much greater role in the future...and we will make sure that public access is maintained, and biodiversity protected."

"We are not going to sell off our heritage forests to the highest bidder, we are not going to remove public access to forests - there will be strict rules in place to prevent that happening." Prime Minister's official spokesman

But the compromise means the Government will raise far less cash than it would have done under its original plans - with the value of leasing woodland estimated at between £140m and £250m.

The chair of the Forestry Commission, Pam Warhurst said the plans would require "a fundamental shift in our thinking and how we work".

The organisation was one of the few quangos to survive the Government's axe last year. Some of its functions are expected to be scaled back - but it will continue as a regulatory body, while providing advice on a range of environmental, social and economic issues.

However it'll lose its estate management role - and more than 80 per cent of its 1,200-strong workforce are currently employed in running the estate.

Staff numbers were set to be cut as part of the Government's efficiency savings - although today Defra said it was too early to say what the impact on jobs at the commission would be.

Downing Street played down fears over the future of the forests.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We are not going to sell off our heritage forests to the highest bidder, we are not going to remove public access to forests - there will be strict rules in place to prevent that happening.

"There is a consultation. We are going to have that consultation and listen to people's views and then come to some conclusions."


Forget Russell Crowe—we’re more interested in seeing what a Robin Hood movie featuring Tom Savini and Kane Hodder looks like. And now that a teaser trailer for ROBIN HOOD: GHOSTS OF SHERWOOD has hit the web, we have a taste.
Savini is the Sheriff of Nottingham and Kane Hodder is Little John in GHOSTS OF SHERWOOD, a 3D feature directed by Oliver Krekel. The film also stars Tom Paladin Bareck as Robin, Carolina Grigorov as Maid Marian, Kai Borchardt as Friar Tuck and Martin Hentschel as Will Scarlett, in a scenario that has the undead Merry Men haunting the titular forest. Check out some exclusive pics from the movie here and here, and see its Facebook page here.

Good timing with Sherwood Forest being in the news today and the Robin Hood Festival being saved yesterday JIt actually looks like Sherwood in the trailer too and I’m impressed by the way it goes back to the semi-pagan outlay of the 80’s TV series

Stamp of approval for Nottingham Castle

Nottingham Castle has been recognised by VisitEngland for its excellent customer service through the national tourist board's Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS).
The Castle was praised for its image, presentation of staff and welcome.

Councillor David Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Customers at Nottingham City Council, said: "Nottingham Castle is a fantastic site enjoyed by local people and visitors alike. Being accredited by VAQAS gives external confirmation that customers will enjoy excellent service when they visit. 

"It is a huge honour for the team at Nottingham Castle and recognises the hard work they put in day in and day out, from the exhibition team and maintenance team, to the trading team and front of house staff. We would like to thank Renaissance East Midlands who funded this assessment.

"If you've not been to the Castle recently, or have friends and family due to visit soon, why not make a date to come along to this popular and historic Nottingham attraction."

During the application process, an independent assessor visited the Castle considering various aspects such as the layout of the attraction, the range and quality of signage, the appearance and cleanliness of the grounds, quality of presentation and interpretation, appearance and attitude of staff, retail, catering and toilet facilities, information leaflets and attractions inside the museum. 

Recent improvements at the Castle over the past year have included:
  • a new Hood in the Wood Gallery - a new Robin Hood themed feature telling the story of Nottingham
  • improved audio and video facilities
  • a wide range of information leaflets which can be picked up on site, including details of The Nottingham Museum of Life, Green's Mill, Wollaton Hall and Newstead Abbey .
  • The Castle was also praised for its local exhibitions such as the along the River Trent exhibition currently showing in the Mezzanine.
James Berresford, VisitEngland's Chief Executive said: "We know 59 per cent of Brits feel they don't make the best use of their time. A day out at any of our amazing cultural attractions like Nottingham Castle can be as inspirational as it is enjoyable.  The VisitEngland Quality Rose Marque is a stamp of approval showing our visitors that the attraction they are visiting offers a high quality and memorable experience."

The Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS) is managed by VisitEngland and, through its network of regional assessors. It has an incredible reputation for instigating, modifying and shaping change to the customer experience at visitor attractions across England. The scheme encourages participants to make VAQAS work for them as a management tool. 

Industry support has been consistently strong with participants eager to take on board the recommendations of their local assessor.

Nottingham Castle is a magnificent 17th century ducal mansion built on the site of the original Medieval Castle, with spectacular views across the city. The Castle has a turbulent past, linked to kings and conquerors and still has a maze of original caves hidden beneath its imposing walls.

For further information about Nottingham Castle please visit Nottingham Castle. For events at Nottingham Castle visit What´s On in Nottingham

Grand-daughter of former Newstead Abbey owner appeals against closure

THE man who gave Newstead Abbey to the people of Nottingham in 1931 would be distraught at plans to close it six days a week, said his granddaughter.
Miranda Rijks, whose grandfather Sir Julien Cahn owned the abbey, is calling on Nottingham City Council to change its proposals.

Mrs Rijks has written to the authority urging it to consider other options – including giving the abbey, once home to Lord Byron, to another organisation to run.

She said: "My grandfather gave it to the Corporation of Nottingham for them to be custodians so it could be open to the public.

"This year it's the 80th anniversary of him giving it to the public – essentially they're taking it away from the public on its 80th anniversary."

Her appeal has been backed by the current Lord Byron, who has described the proposals as alarming.

Other supporters include Professor Michael O'Neill, chairman of the International Byron Society Advisory Board, and Dr Christine Kenyoun Jones, who is on the executive committee of the Byron Society.

At the moment the abbey is open four days a week in the summer, with the grounds opening every day all year.

Under the council's proposals, the grounds will remain open but people will only be able to visit the abbey and the Byron museum on summer Sundays as part of a tour.

Council leisure spokesman Councillor Dave Trimble said: "Our priority in relation to Newstead Abbey is to protect the legacy of Lord Byron and Newstead Abbey.

"The grounds remain open and we are not closing the park or the abbey. Our aim is to guarantee a sustainable future for this internationally important heritage site."

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Council’s U-turn on future of parks (Robin Hood Festival)

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE County Council has decided to continue running its Robin Hood Festival and keep a number of specialist park ranger posts open after complaints from the public.

The county council planned to put an end to the festival and make some park rangers redundant to save money in next year’s budget.

But a spokesperson said the council has done a U-turn and revised its savings to the country park service after listening to comments from the public.

The council has to make savings of £187m over the next four years.

The original proposal which identified savings of 47 per cent, has been reviewed by the council and revised to provide a further £200,000, reducing the savings to 34 per cent.

Comments came from a public consultation.

Tom Simpson's life could be made into feature film

This is England' film director Shane Meadows has said that he'd like to make a film of British cyclist Tom Simpson's life.

Meadows' interest in Simpson's life comes from shared roots - both were originally from Nottinghamshire.

"He is a Nottingham guy and it is just one of those legendary stories that feels like a Hollywood movie script, though I would not treat it like that," Meadows told the Press Association. 

Simpson was a colourful character and the first British cyclist to make a mark on the continental racing scene, as popular off the bike as he was on it. He won the World Championship in 1965 and a host of other high-profile races such as Milan-San Remo (1964), Bordeaux-Paris (1963), Giro di Lombardia (1965), San Sebastian (1965), Paris-Nice (1967) and two stages of the 1967 Vuelta a Espana.

Simpson tragically died on Mont Ventoux whilst taking part in the 1967 Tour de France. A post mortem carried out on Simpson found that he had ingested alcohol and amphetamines. Meadows has said that he would not shy away from Simpson's involvement with drugs in any film.

"He was very open about taking amphetamines and it was very different then," said Meadows.
"I just think it is a great story. For example, the French loved him because after two weeks in France he was doing his interviews in French, broken French admittedly, but this was just an ordinary guy from Nottingham."

Meadows stated that he has not sought the film rights to Simpson's life, nor had he considered who would play the lead role in the film.

The critically-acclaimed This is England, released in 2006, was directed and written by Meadows and won the Best Film category at the 2006 British Independent Film Awards. Meadows also wrote and directed Dead Man's Shoes and Once Upon a Time in the Midlands


Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Council could write off £1.7m loan to Museums Sheffield

THE trust running Sheffield's museums has run up a £1.7 million debt to the city council - which may never be paid back.

Sheffield Council's culture department is facing a £1.1 million overspend - as it prepares to write off the debts racked up by Museums Sheffield.

A report to Sheffield Council's cabinet meeting tomorrow outlines the extent of the trust's liabilities.

Eugene Walker, of the council's finance department, said the culture department's overspend was directly due to the money owed to them by Museums Sheffield.

He said: "The forecast overspend assumes the following - that current loans to Museums Sheffield of £787,000 are not recovered, a £650,000 outstanding loan is written off, and that debts in relation to insurance recharges and a change of agent, of £278,000, are written off."

He added that the total debt of £1.715 million was being off-set with £240,000 left over from funding to pay for the failed City of Culture bid, bringing it down to £1.475 million.

Mr Walker said the impact of the debt could also be offset with a £170,000 underspend on the major sporting events budget and a £205,000 underspend in libraries.

The £787,000 loan total includes a £190,000 bailout given to Museums Sheffield by the council in August.

Mr Walker said the trust was not expected to exceed its budget further during this financial year.

Coun Simon Clement-Jones, cabinet member for finance, accepted writing off such a large sum of money was "difficult" as the council makes £219 million of cuts.

But he said: "The Museums Sheffield money simply isn't there and the idea is that the trust can go forward without this millstone around its neck.

"The debt goes back to the cost of revamping Weston Park Museum and we have been trying to get the trust on an even keel ever since, which is necessary to allow it to move forward."

Nick Dodd, chief executive of Museums Sheffield, said: "An independent financial review commissioned by Sheffield Council last year concluded Museums Sheffield is operating efficiently but is critically under-funded for the service it provides.

"The review recognised Museums Sheffield needed a significant cash injection to re-capitalise the charity and solve the cashflow problems which were limiting its business capabilities. Museums Sheffield is also carrying a historic debt related to the development of Weston Park Museum.

"We are working with the council to agree a settlement which reconciles both the funding shortfall and the historic debt with the subsequent loan made by the council.

The details outlined in the cabinet agenda are the subject of negotiation and have yet to be finalised."

Museums Sheffield was set up in 1998.


Digging in at historic site (Sheffield Manor Lodge)

RUINS dating from the 15th century are due to be exposed when work gets under way at the historic Manor Lodge site in Sheffield this week.

Soil which covers the kitchen quarters of the historic house and outbuildings will be removed by hand when a team of archaeologists, gardeners and volunteers start work on the site today.

Once the ancient walls have been revealed, protected and cleaned up they will be used as the base for an apothecary garden which will be planted with traditional medicinal herbs used in the 15th century.

Another garden will be created in what would previously have been an inner courtyard of the historic house.

It is to be called the Queen Mary's Garden - in recognition of the fact that Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned there for up to 14 years - and will feature lavender beds planted in the layout of a traditional medieval maze.

The work is being led by Green Estate Ltd as part of a three-year scheme to improve the historic 14-hectare site - a former deer park - by creating eight Romantic Ruins, of which the Apothecary Garden and Queen Mary's Garden will be two.

Ruins around the site will be developed into areas where visitors can relax and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells.

As well as fragrant plants, herbs and flowers, there will be seating, artwork, play areas, more trees and meadows will be developed.

Sue France, chief executive officer of Green Estate Ltd, said: "Our ambition for this project is to create one of the most beautiful new inner city landscapes in South Yorkshire.

"The title Romantic Ruins says it all really - over the next three years we want to add that all important layer of atmosphere and beauty to this historic site so it can be enjoyed by all.

"The scheme is really taking shape and people can drop by any time in the week to look around or to get involved with design or practical work."

Margaret Cobbold, executive director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, which is part-funding the project, said: "It's great to hear that this important project is progressing well.

"This scheme will protect and preserve an important part of Sheffield's heritage and create a place where people can relax and unwind."

Going, going, gone...another giant of the coal era reduced to rubble (Welbeck)

THIS massive explosion brought decades of Notts history to the ground in a few seconds.
The 100ft coal loading bunker was the largest structure at the site of Welbeck Colliery, which closed in May last year.
But last Thursday it came down in a cloud of dust as part of the project to clear the site.
The pit was nearly 100 years old, and one of the last two in Notts when it closed
The bunker was used to fill coal trains, and was capable of filling a train with sixteen tons of coal in two hours.
Colliery manager Geoff Mountain, who is supervising the sealing of the mine and clean-up of the site, said: "Because of the height of the bunker and the fact that so much of the weight is in the top of the structure, it was decided that the quickest and safest way of demolishing it was to use explosives."
David Wall, contracts director of demolition firm Ron Hull, said: "It went down very gracefully and with remarkably little damage to the main structure.
"When the smoke cleared it was simply lying on its side. We can now get to work and dismantle it safely."
Mr Wall said: "The steelwork and metals are being removed to our recycling centre in Rotherham but all of the brickwork and stone is being crushed on site and is to be used in the operation to fill the shafts."
The filling work is set to start mid-February, and is expected to take two weeks.
The final stage of the clearance will involve the removal of the mine's two headgears by explosives.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Trans-Atlantic "treasure" for Rotherham Archives

The hidden history of one family’s trans-Atlantic trip, and return to the town they love, will be forming the basis in the next in line of a phenomenally popular Rotherham exhibit.

A small cache of documents, handed in anonymously to Rotherham Archives and Local Studies last year, will be the highlight of the Service's new "Treasures from the Archives" display.

The items belonged to the Uttley family, who ran various small businesses in Rotherham in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The Uttleys belonged to a large extended family from Greasbrough, many of them employed as coal-miners from at least the late 18th century. 

In one respect they were unusual. Isaac Uttley was born at Greasbrough in 1847, one of nine children of John Uttley, a miner. He married Martha Sellars, a miner's daughter, early in 1870 and almost immediately they were on their way to Liverpool where they boarded the "Nemesis" arriving at New York on April 25 1870. 

In best pioneering tradition, they made their way to the mid-western plains country of Illinois, where their two children John and Emma were born. In July 1870 when the US federal census was taken they were living in a small settlement called "Scott", where Isaac had found work as a coal miner. In1880 they were still in Scott, but Isaac had taken up farming.

Perhaps they were not successful, perhaps homesickness got the better of them. Whatever the reason, the family was back in England by 1885 and Isaac was running the Carter's Rest beerhouse at 30-32 College Road, with a sideline as a grocer.

It was there in January 1897 that Emma died and shortly afterwards her parents moved further up College Road to no 62 where they ran a tobacconist's until Martha's death in 1922 (Isaac had died in 1912).

Meanwhile John had done very well for himself. He qualified as a pharmacist and founded the retail chemist's business J. Uttley Ltd, initially at 66 College Road and later at 11 Bridge Street, where it traded until the late 20th century. 

John died in 1931 aged 59.

The items on display give some snapshots of the lives of a Rotherham family a little over 100 years ago. They include a photograph of John outside his chemist's shop (which also sold the relatively new 'phonographs' and 'records', as in demand then as iPads are today), an 1897 invoice for some smart bedroom furniture from London and a letter from the brewery, who owned Carter's Rest, to Isaac suggesting ways of attracting a 'different class' of customer, that is, the more respectable type of working-man.

Assistant Archivist Celia Parker said: "These are, on the face of it, unremarkable items left by unremarkable people. However, it's possible to tease some information from every single document, even an empty envelope from the US suggesting the family kept some links with their former home."

The display can be seen in the Service's searchroom in Central Library.


Thursday, 20 January 2011

Town Hall pigeons to be culled in bid to prevent damage to historic building (Retford)

PIGEON problems at Retford Town Hall have led the district council to propose swooping in to start a cull.  Bassetlaw District Council say dead birds and excrement are clogging up guttering at the town hall leading to water leaking into the historic structure.

The plans say a trap is to be set up on a flat roof at the top of the hall and will be baited on weekdays only.  It will be left open and baited on weekends to avoid access problems to the hall and to ensure pigeons did not remain trapped for unnecessarily long periods of time.

In a proposal put to the council's Health and Safety Committee this week, the author says: "Pest Control Officers would be happy to build and install a trap large enough to allow pigeons to be trapped and humanely fed and watered pending euthanasia."

But the report added that the roof of the hall would need to be checked to make sure it will safely support the loads imposed, an area of decking or a parapet rail would need to be installed, a safer ladder would need to be put in place and permission may be needed as the plans include alterations to the outside of the listed building.
Local ornithologist and registered bird ringer, Adrian Blackburn, said he supported the proposal.
"It's been an ongoing problem and the fact is those pigeons should not be there and they are slowly destroying listed buildings," he said.  "The council phoned me around ten years ago about it and they need to get in touch with me again.  The trap would need to be checked regularly as it could catch all sorts of birds, not just pigeons.  The best option would be getting a pair of peregrine falcons on a church roof and they would get the job done very quickly.  Although I'll get some criticism for this view; it needs to be done."

New Year Honours List 2011

Local historian Joyce Williams will be receiving an Order of the British Empire, Civil MBE for services to Clifton Park Museum, Rotherham in the 2011 New Year's Honours presented by Queen Elizabeth II.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Exhibition draws on town's historical past (Barnsley)

A WEALTH of culture went on display as Barnsley's history was brought to life at an exhibition involving more than 50 organisations and 1,150 visitors.
Subjects ranged from the area's mining heritage to military traditions and included a man dressed in historical soldier's uniform standing on guard outside Barnsley Civic in Hanson Street, where Barnsley History Day was held. There was cake making, and youngsters could get creative drawing and colouring history-themed pictures.

Highlights of the free event included a performance by Barnsley folk singer Dave Cherry in aid of Barnsley Hospice, an exhibition of photographs of Barnsley Markets past and present and a special internet session, with experts helping anyone wanting to probe their family history for the first time.

There was also a 1940s-themed café, fun games and activities for all the family, a variety of plays and performances, a TV studio to record visitors' stories, previews of the Experience Barnsley Museum opening next year and a giant screen of photographs and film footage of Barnsley past and present.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Search is on for 100 inspiration women from Notts

INSPIRATIONAL women from across Notts will be rewarded as part of a new project.The 100 Women of Substance scheme aims to celebrate women who have been an inspiration to others and has been launched to marked the 100th International Women's Day.
The Nottingham Post, along with Nottingham Women's Centre, the Women's Voluntary Action Network and other organisations in the city, are backing the initiative.  Joanne Glynn, the Post's managing director, will be on the judging panel. She said: "Quite simply, this is the perfect opportunity to celebrate what has been achieved.

"The Nottingham Post wishes to recognise the brilliant achievements that women have brought to the city and county. The Post is delighted to be involved, as there are some great stories to tell."  Councillor Penny Griggs, the Sheriff of Nottingham, is also a judge. She says the inspiration for 100 Women of Substance came from herself and High Sheriff of Notts Amanda Farr.  She said: "It's the first time in 1,000 years that two women have held the positions.  "We thought about it and realised it's been a good few years for women in the city – we've had the first woman chief executive, the first woman chief constable, the first woman who's a Member of Parliament for Nottingham.  I think it's important that we recognise the contribution that women have made to the city, and, most importantly, encourage young women to come forward and take a role in civic and public life."
Nominations were open to anyone. "We're looking for somebody who's made a contribution and been inspirational to other women." said Mrs Griggs. "It could be somebody who's very active in their community and had a real impact on just one or two people, or somebody like the chief constable who's been an inspiration to many, many women.  "We're looking for people of any age and any realm of life that you think should be acknowledged and celebrated.  "I think women often stand back and let other people take the credit, so this is a time for unsung women to take the limelight."
Marie Ashby of the BBC's Inside Out and Politics Show, is also on the judging panel. She said: "I think women do many inspiring things and it's great to hear stories about women who have achieved amazing things in their lives."  The final panellist is Faith Gakanje, director of the Nottingham African Women's Empowerment Forum, who said: "I'm looking for the women who have been contributing, volunteering and giving their time for free."
The 100th International Women's Day is on March 8, and a events will include a history walk organised by the Nottingham's Women History Group, a portraits exhibition at Nottingham Castle and a talk by feminist writer Nina Power at Nottingham Contemporary.

Anyone wishing to make a nomination has until 5.30pm on February 11 to submit 100 words describing why their choice should be recognised, along with a recent photograph and their contact details.  Nominations should be sent to or posted to Nottingham's Women's Centre, 30 Chaucer Street, Nottingham NG1 5LP.

I'm not sure if this is open to historical figures so I thought better safe than sorry and include it on the blog.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Budget Cuts: How are they Affecting Nottinghamshire & South Yorkshire

As the financial situation in the country seems unwilling to abate and money is being cut from most services it's important to keep up to date with how these are affecting our region.  At present there are five main areas within the Nottinghamshire & South Yorkshire area to note:

1) Nottinghamshire County Council Cuts
The Councils Conservation budget has been cut by a whopping 75% in an attempt to save £376,000.  This means only 6 out of the 33 staff in that department will remain and community help will be severely impacted.

In the proposal Nottinghamshire County Council state "...Reduced access to the Historic Environment Record for all external service users.

District, town and parish councils, community groups and individuals willl need to identify other sources for advice on conservation and heritage issues . External conservation and heritage partnerships, projects and events will need to secure any support they need from other sources. ..."

Libraries and Archives have also been impacted to save £3,306,000 over a three year period.  This involves reducing opening times at most libraries and costs for groups using libraries will be increased

2) Museums Sheffield
 In October 2010 the last "Keeper of Archaeology" left leaving no archaeologists employed by the trust.  The position wasn't offered out as a job vacancy due to the position being frozen due to lack of funds.

The trust is also no longer collecting archives from archaeological contractors,at present these contractors will have to hold on to their archives.

3) Doncaster County Council Library Closures
14 libraries are due to be closed in the Doncaster area. There is currently a campaign to save these valuable assets to the community with a planned "read-in" to be held on 29th January at Doncaster library between 1pm and 3pm.  The official "Save Doncaster Libraries" website can be found at

4) Cuts at English Heritage
English Heritage are having to deal with a 50% administration cost reduction in all of it's offices Government ministers have announced.  From:

5) Portable Antiquities Scheme Cuts 
15% of the PAS budget was cut in November 2010 for the next four years and  running of this valuable commodity to historians and archaeologists alike will be taken over by the British Museum.

If you know of any more please let me know and I'll update this.

Dave Cook

TV - Rome Wasn't Built in a Day (Channel 4) Thursday 20th February 21.00

Two thousand years ago, the Romans transformed Britain with straight roads, spectacular aqueducts and magnificent cities. The countryside was studded with luxurious villas. But today only ruins remain.

Now, six skilled builders are changing that. Foreman Jim, plasterer Tim, plumber Kevin, carpenter Fred, brickie Darren and labourer Ben are trying to construct an authentic Roman villa, using only tools and materials that were available to the Romans. The villa is for English Heritage and they have just six months for the job.

Episode 1:
In this first episode, the builders meet Prof. Dai Morgan Evans, the archaeologist who's designed the Roman villa they're attempting to build with just authentic tools and materials.

He strips them of most of their modern tools and shows them how to consult the Auguries to make sure the gods approve the site.

The first critical phase of the build is the stone work, which includes half-metre-high base walls, which will support a vast oak frame, and full-height bath house walls. So the six men need to hand hew 150 tonnes of sandstone, mix 30 tonnes of ancient lime mortar and build a cart to shift it all about.

Thousands of stones will have to be hand shaped, just as the Romans did. It's a steep learning curve as they must master a new range of skills including quarrying stone, making lime mortar and using Roman tools including a Roman surveying device, the groma.

Plaster Tim falls in love with the Roman recipe for mortar, carpenter Fred struggles to make a working cart without his power tools and foreman Jim's blunt management style gets on everyone's nerves.

One month into the build they are already slipping behind schedule and in desperate need of help. So labourer Ben takes to the local airwaves appealing for volunteers to come to the rescue.