Thursday, 31 March 2011

Article - Queen Vic chips in for fund to rebuild Minster (Doncaster)

A NORMAN fortification is known to have occupied the site of Doncaster’s minster and it is most likely that the materials from that building were partly used to build the early church.
The church was described as “one of the noblest of its own degree, if not in England, certainly in Yorkshire”. It had a lovely chancel screen, rather ugly galleries, a three-deck pulpit, fine stained glass, and many memorials.
Its Harris organ and its bells were famous. It’s crowning glory was undoubtedly the central tower standing 141 feet above the surrounding countryside, the pride of the town and the neighbourhood.
Its destruction by fire on the night of February 28, 1853, was a major calamity for the town.
Amazingly, within seven days, a rebuilding committee had been formed and raised over £11,000 ,helped by a donation of £100 from Queen Victoria who broke her own rule of not contributing to local charities.
The Archbishop of York also sent £500 and the town council donated £5,000.
It was a tribute to the determination of all concerned that it was possible for the Archbishop of York to lay the foundation stone for the new church exactly one year to the day after the fire, a truly amazing achievement.
The new building to the design of George Gilbert Scott took four years to build at a cost of £43,126 4s. 5d. Great celebrations accompanied the consecration of the building by the Archbishop of York on October 14, 1858.
The local newspaper said of the new building: “It is undoubtedly better than the average Gothic revival building, and it has been suggested that it is the ‘proudest and most Cathedral-like of Gilbert Scott’s parish churches.’”
The tower is 20 feet square and is supported by massive pillars with a circumference of 28 feet which are needed to support the full height of 169 feet as well a peal of eight bells within it.
The observant will note that although the clock strikes every quarter hour there is no visible clock face on the exterior of the tower. The clock was designed by Lord Grimthorpe and made by Mr Dent, as was “Big Ben”, and the chimes were first heard on October 23, 1858, just a few weeks before Big Ben was first heard.
There are rich carvings both inside and outside, the fine stained glass and the magnificent organ, which was added in 1862 by the famous Organ Builder, Edmund Schulze.
The Forman Chapel, which also serves as the baptistry, was built at the sole expense of William Henry Forman in memory of the Seaton Family and is built in an advanced decorated style.
In the centre of the chapel stands the massive font carved out of a single piece of serpentine. As the civic church for Doncaster, visitors will note the ornate pew at the front of the nave , with a special stand for the official mace, where the civic mayor sits.
It was then and still is now a splendid building but it was not until June 17, 2004, that the Bishop of Sheffield granted the Church of St George its minster status in recognition of its unique position in Doncaster and district and its involvement in so much of the religious, social and cultural life of the town.
On December 8, 2008, the minster was honoured to receive a visit from HRH The Princess Royal who came to view the building and meet many of the people involved with the current restoration programme.

News - Historic site funds pledge (Sheffield)

Sheffield Council is to take over the running of the historic Bishop’s House from MuseumsSheffield.
The authority has pledged to maintain the same budget as it gave MuseumsSheffield to run the building last year.
Coun Roger Davison, cabinet member for culture, said: “We have protected this cultural gem from funding reductions. We are working extremely well with the Friends of Bishops House group and that will continue.”
Suggestions are believed to include the Friends group providing volunteers to help run the building.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

News - Dave to recreate walk last completed 350 years ago (Sherwood Forest)

WHEN writer Dave Wood is in need of inspiration, he goes for a long walk.

However, few will have been as momentous as the one he plans to complete later this year.

The 45-year-old, from Stapleford, wants to recreate a walk of Sherwood Forest last completed nearly 350 years ago.

The "perambulation of Sherwood Forest" was last carried out in 1662 by a team of explorers intent on mapping the landscape around them.

Mr Wood intends to replicate the original journey, noting how the landscape has changed over the centuries and the threats posed to the remaining ancient woodland.

He said: "Most of the forest has disappeared, so hopefully my walk will highlight the danger of losing the rest of it.

"I intend to travel around using the original notes as much as possible, talking to locals and visitors and producing my own reflections."

The route will start at Trent Bridge and take him through areas including Wilford, Lenton, Radford and Bulwell, which were all once part of the forest.

He will then journey through north Notts before heading back down to West Bridgford via villages including Oxton and Epperstone.

Mr Wood is hoping to cover the journey on foot over a three month period, starting in July.
He will be holding events and workshops along the way.

Mr Wood said: "I want people to come along the route with me, noticing the environment.

"A lot of the trees will have disappeared. Hopefully we'll be able to plant a few new ones along the way.
"I also want to get people inspired about the origins of their communities, and the natural and built environments around them."

He added: "The plan is much more than about setting down the boundaries and making copious notes; it's about alerting people to their own creativity, their environment and having fun with their imagination."
The poet is planning to apply for an Arts Council grant in order to run the workshops.
The Sherwood Forest Trust has already offered its support for the scheme as part of its Special Trees project.

Mr Wood wants to hear from community groups, walkers, and tree specialists who would like to get involved.

Call 07709977684 or e-mail

From: This is Nottingham

News - Vulcan flies home (Finningley)

THE LAST flying Vulcan bomber has returned to its former Cold War base.
The iconic aircraft will spend the summer based at Robin Hood Airport, formerly RAF Finningley, the home of the Vulcan in the 1960s.
The agreement to base the XH558 at Doncaster for the summer could be the first stage in the development of a visitor centre that will eventually be linked to a facility to inspire the next generation of engineers and technicians.
“We are thrilled that the last flying Vulcan has come home,” says Vulcan to the Sky Trust CEO Dr Robert Pleming.
“We all feel that something very special could be created here but I must emphasise that these are early days in the discussions.”

News - Let’s make the most of our trains, tigers and horses (Doncaster)

Most of us know - and perhaps love - Donny as a working town, a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of a place.
Not the most obvious place for a weekend break or to be promoted as a tourist hot spot, perhaps. But the penny has now dropped that many places have built a name for themselves - and boosted their economies - on the back of far less than Doncaster has to offer.
Diary noticed the Free Press editor writing about this in the paper last week but, as he said, the trouble is we’re not great at selling ourselves, so even locals ignore what’s on their doorstep when planning a break and head off much further afield.
It seems to have taken a couple of “outsiders” in particular to see that, actually, Doncaster has a lot going for it.
There’s history in the form of Romans, railways and flying, nationally significant castles and stately homes, a world-class racecourse, internationally known wildlife reserves and not forgetting, of course, our new arrivals, the lions and tigers!
Imagination and slick marketing seem to be the key to turning things we take for granted into visitor magnets.Think Catherine Cookson Country aka industrial South Tyneside. Or Salford Quays with its Lowry connections.
A fledgling tourism group with wildlife park boss Cheryl Williams and new borough tourism boss Colin Joy among its members has interesting plans to put Doncaster on the tourism map, with some success already at an international tourism fair. Doncaster ticks many tourism boxes, from weekends to sample the party life, sporting breaks and environmental tourism to heritage holidays and family fun opportunities.

News - Company told to move container (Mansfield Woodhouse Conservation Area)

AN industrial company has been told to move a steel container after putting it on land in a historical conservation area without permission.
C&D Group laid concrete then placed the unauthorised container on land for which it did not have planning permission together with some large steel gates, which prompted complaints from residents.
The company, which deals with the removal of asbestos, has now asked the council to approve its plans retrospectively.
Several trees and some bushes were cleared from the site on Ley Lane, Mansfield Woodhouse, to make way for the storage area which the company moved onto after being granted permission to extend buildings on its nearby Portland Street site.
Eight letters of objection were received from residents in the area on the following grounds:Trees and bushes on site had been felled,It was unclear whether the developers owned the land, The site would be used for the storage of asbestos, There were listed buildings in the area, It was an unauthorised development.
At a Mansfield District Council planning committee meeting Sheila Mcfarlane, of Ley Lane, said the land which was not registered to anyone, on which the container was placed was separate to the company’s Portland Street site and should not have been put there.
Said Sheila: “I am dismayed and the development should not have happened. They have already done the damage and this retrospective application is to put the damage right.
“This is a quick fix to put bad planning right. It should go to a more suitable industrial site.”
Nottinghamshire County Councillor Joyce Bosnjak, member for Mansfield North, said the storage container was put on site without consent and should be removed and the trees which had been destroyed should be replaced.
Speaking outside the meeting, Coun Bosnjak said she was concerned about the number of retrospective applications being submitted. “They do what they want then they apply for permission afterwards.
“This is a big company who should know the rules so to put up gates and a concrete base without permission is appalling,” she said.
Permission for the container was refused as it was not in keeping with the character of the area but councillors voted to approve the access gates with the condition that a speed hump be placed on the site behind them to keep traffic under control.
C&D Group declined to comment.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

News – Field Survey Study at Braithwell (Priories Historical Society)

Priories Historical Society took part in its first field survey at Braithwell, South Yorkshire on Sunday 27th March.  The morning was very cold as I arrived, the sky was scattered with grey cloud which made the day look daunting but during the day the sky cleared leaving a beautiful blue sky.  The field was originally five fields over time these boundaries have been removed.  At least one of these boundaries seems to have been made from stone due to the change in soil colour and blocks of limestone present although this could have been a hedge and the limestone in this area might not have been cleared during field improvements.  
There were many finds during the day. The field is littered with bits of clay pipe throughout although there is a concentration to the northern hedge possibly indicating where the labourers rested and ate whilst working in the field.  Glass and modern pottery is also numerous so care was taken when inspecting shards. Roman finds were quite numerous in one section of the field so this will be inspected further on the next few visits.  This pottery comprised mainly greyware but other more exquisite pieces were also found.  The star find of the day was a Charles II farthing coin from 1674 (with the date below Britannia).  At some point livestock have been kept in the field as there are numerous bone fragments.
To be able to go on Field Surveying with the society you need to become a member which is a nominal amount of £5 per year (due in April), this also gets you £1 off meetings and free copies of the societies magazine.  There is also a Health & Safety document which needs to be signed.  If you wish to metal detect with us you will need to have approved Metal Detector Insurance (NCMD or FID) and have to be vetted by the committee before being allowed on-site.

News - Papplewick conservation appraisal is completed

A FINAL decision is looming on a scheme designed to preserve the history and image of picturesque Papplewick.
Gedling Borough Council announced last year that it wanted to extend a conservation area in the village.
It launched a Conservation Area Appraisal to gauge public opinion on the plan because it would result in new developments and the restriction of certain changes to homes
A consultation was organised and a public meeting was held in the village last month.
That consultation ended on Thursday last week and now council officers are sifting through the results. These will be presented to a steering group on Thursday April 14.
If approved, any changes to the conservation status in Papplewick will be brought in during the summer.
Six of the borough’s villages have conservation areas, including Papplewick and neighbouring Linby. Gedling says it has a duty to protect them to ensure that their appearance is preserved or enhanced.
The Conservation Area Appraisal is designed to identify special areas or buildings that should be protected.
In medieval times, Papplewick marked the southern gateway to Sherwood Forest, In 2002, it was crowned Nottinghamshire’s best-kept village in the category of those with 200 to 500 homes. It currently has a population of about 650.
Within the current conservation area, which was created in 1973, are 18th-century cottages and the historic Papplewick Hall.

News - Notts Palace step nearer renovation dream (Southwell)

THE medieval palace of the archbishops of York in Southwell is a step nearer being restored to its former glory.

The former home of Cardinal Wolsey, next to Southwell Minster, has got through the first round of the Heritage Lottery Fund's (HLF) restoration application process.

It will now receive £155,000 from HLF and be able to apply for a further £1m to support its restoration plans.

The palace rests on part of one of the largest Roman villas in the country, and was where the surrender of King Charles I was organised by his Scottish captors.

The building is now partly in ruins.

The Great Hall within the palace is in regular use by the Minster's young choristers, visiting school parties and community groups from across Notts.

A proposed wide-ranging revamp of the Great Hall will include the tackling of structural problems and decorative decay while improving public access. The ruins will be stabilised and the whole palace, once renovated, would be more widely available as an education and community resource.

The Dean of Southwell, The Very Reverend John Guille, said: "These initial funds are a fantastic boost and will enable us to begin planning for the work to preserve and restore this hidden historical gem for future generations and for the wider benefit of the community now. I am deeply grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for this development award."


News - Residents asked for views on buildings at risk (Notts)

PEOPLE in Notts are being asked to tell English Heritage which industrial buildings they think are at risk.
English Heritage wants to hear the views of owners, developers, local people, voluntary bodies, academics, professionals and politicians as part of its Industrial Heritage at Risk research programme.

People can visit to post photographs and comment on favourite industrial buildings on a Flickr group.

English Heritage will reveal in October how much of its listed or scheduled industrial heritage is at risk.
It will also make proposals for the way forward and will form part of the launch of the annual Heritage at Risk register.

Anthony Streeten, English Heritage planning director for the East Midlands, said Papplewick Pumping Station and Ruddington Framework Knitters Workshops were among the buildings that reinforced the reputation of the East Midlands as an engaging destination for visitors.

He added: "But much of our country's industrial heritage is now at risk and the current economic climate isn't helping.

"Owners are finding it hard to look after the needs of their buildings as well as their businesses. We're determined to see what can be done to help. Our industrial past is too important to ignore."
For more information visit


News - Military museum to open in Notts

AN expert from TV's Antiques Roadshow expert has visited Notts ahead of the opening of a new military museum.

Bill Harriman held a question and answer session about the history of the exhibits at the new museum at Thoresby Hall, which is due to open at the end of this spring.

As a former Territorial Army Officer with the South Notts Hussars and the Sherwood Rangers, Bramcote-born Bill was the guest of honour at a special event for friends and supporters of the museum.

The attraction will chronicle the history of the Queen's Royal Lancers and the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry and tell the human, social and military history of the regiments as well as the ongoing story of the British Army today.

A collection of arms, uniforms, medals, silver and paintings will show the role that the local regiments have played in battles of the last three centuries.

As well as giving his expert view on some of the most notable exhibits from the museum, including the Balaclava Bugle, which sounded the Charge of the Light Brigade, Bill also spoke about his work on Antiques Roadshow.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Course - Kiveton Creative Family history Courses 2011

Kiveton Creative are currently taking registration of interest for the following courses, due to commence April:

Beginning Family History: 
Introduce the learner to the terminology and methods available to assist in family history research. Explain the importance of good record keeping and organisation of research Decide upon the best way to store and record ones own family history research Explain what a Family Group Record is and how this contributes to a family tree Describe what information can be found from Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates Explain how to obtain a copy of a BMD Certificate Explain what information can be found from viewing Census Returns Describe how to use online search facilities to obtain Census information Analyse information from example Census Returns Describe how to locate the meaning and history of a surname Explain what information can be found from visiting the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website View WW1 Medal Roll Index Cards belonging to wartime heroes View demonstrations of online searching Describe how to complete a Five Generation Chart Complete a Pedigree Fan Chart Prepare a to do list.

Researching & Recording Family History on the computer: 
Use the computer to research family history and to record information in a suitable way to display genealogical information for personal use. Choose the relevant genealogy websites to aid specific research Understand the best search criteria and methods to use after selection Practice researching Explain the extent of what research is available on specific sites, namely; and Download, print and save relevant information Record relevant information in a Family History computer program Retrieve information by way of reports and lists using tools available on a family history program Display information recorded in a family history file.

All courses are two hour sessions running for between 10 & 12 weeks, cost per week £4.00 including refreshments. The courses are run by an outside tutor who has extensive knowledge of these subjects and has been delivering them successfully for a number of years. 

If you would like any further details please do not hesitate to contact Kevin on 01909 773348

Article - An afternoon with Sheffield’s Medieval Re-enactment Society

Will, one of the leaders of the Medieval Re-enactment Society, has just arrived in Fusion.  He is casually dressed, and has brought a large bag with him, which he places down on one of the sofas with a clanking thump. One of the group reaches inside and pulls out a small axe. “Why do we never do axes?” he asks.

“Because I don’t have the correct insurance,” says Will. “The University only cover me for swords and bills.”
Clearly, the modern world has intruded on the battles of the Medieval Re-enactment Society, one of the 300 societies students can join at the University of Sheffield.  The society was founded around 1994, and currently between eight to 25 people meet each Sunday to train with different weapons, and create costumes and chainmail.

Will leads us to his car, reaches inside the boot and pulls out a heavy canvas bag with swords rattling around inside and six long wooden poles with an array of fiendish metal implements on the top- they are the glave, partisan, traditional English bill, Italian bill, pitchfork and halberd.  The group take the weapons and march across the Union concourse with them. Aaron Kulakiewicz, an Archaology student, shouldering the partisan, glave, and halberd, tells me: “People don’t double-take at us. They triple- or quadruple- take.”

The boys have trouble getting the weapons back in through the doors of Fusion: they’re not designed for halberds and swords. Will leads them in a warm-up and the six of them run in circles, their trainers sticking to the floor.  His wrist flashes silver occasionally as his gauntlet catches the fluorescent lights.  Soon, sweaty and red, they go outside to begin training.  I soon discover the cause of the strange scratches over the patio.  They start fighting, and occasionally there are shouts of “Trap!” as one of the fighters wedges the head of their opponent’s weapon between their own weapon, scraping the blade along the patio tiles and leaving a fresh white scar.  After a period of battling, they stop and switch sides, before starting again.  Eventually Chris is declared the winner.

Many of the society’s members are freshers, attracted by the displays of armour and weaponry at Freshers’ Fair.  First year Computer Science student Chris Hunt was one of them: “I wasn’t intending to join, it was just seeing all the costumes and medieval things at the fair.  I have always been interested in medieval history, and it’s something I get to do that I could not do at home.  It was slightly daunting at first, but now after a while you just think ‘Oh well, they’re holding a sword.’”

Lin McGroary, a first-year economics student, is sewing herself a long plain green linen dress.  “I’m making a very plain dress,” she says.  “It’s because when you start out you’re a commoner and then you move up the ranks, so to speak.”

Will and Rachel Earl, the society’s President, are inside discussing a request from a stately home to have the society come over and run a medieval day.  This is a complicated affair to set up, as they have to follow medieval dress codes approved by “The Fed”, the Wars of the Roses Federation, who oversee medieval reenactment groups.  Men must be clad in hose, ladies in long dresses, and you can only have glasses if you’re a member of the nobility, and can afford to have them handmade.  “You can wear modern underpants though,” Rachel informs me.

Rachel joined the Medieval Re-enactment society in her first year: “What initially attracted me was the violence, and that was really good in first year when I was living in halls, so turning up once a week and beating people with big sticks really helped.  Now I turn up and knit- but we haven’t worked out whether knitting is an appropriately medieval craft!”

The group then embark on full-scale kitmaking- some of the boys are sewing the plain linen undershirts that will form the basis of their costumes, while Lin hems her dress and Chris embarks on the ambitious task of some hose and his very own codpiece.  It’s certainly been an interesting afternoon.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Event - Nottinghamshire Community Archaeology Riverside Audits 2011

Monday 28th March - Normanton Parish
Meet by the church in Normanton on Trent.  From there we will drive closer to the section of riverbank we will be looking at. 
Friday 1st April - Normanton Parish. ***CANCELLED***
Meet by the church in Normanton on Trent.  From there we will drive closer to the section of riverbank we will be looking at.
Monday 4th April - Fledborough
Meet by the church in Fledborough.
Tuesday 5th April - Winthorpe
Meet near the Winthorpe Railway Crossing, to the North of the village.  They will be walking down the Trent Valley Way.
Wednesday 6th April - Besthorpe
To the south of the village is a road called Trent Lane, which heads towards Besthorpe Wharf.  We will meet along there.
The CA team will meet each day at 10.30am.  They will provide hot water and cups.  Please wear sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing, and remember to bring adequate lunch and liquid with you.  This type of survey tends to involve a lot of walking, so expect to walk 3 miles or more on a survey day.  They aim to finish around 3 each day.
Please let them know if you would like to come along to any of the above dates.  Also it would be helpful to provide a mobile number if you have one, just in case they need to change where we are meeting or cancel for any reason.
Due to the nature of the survey there will rarely be times when we can park in car parks or similar.  As such, please take care and be courteous when pulling up on roadsides.  Make sure there is room for vehicles to pass and that you are not obstructing any gates or entrances.  Please also take extra care when crossing the roads.

News - Castle to undergo cut-price restoration after deal agreed (Rotherham)

A RESTORATION project to transform the 18th-century Boston Castle in Rotherham is set to move forward, after being scaled down owing to funding pressures.

Semi-derelict and out of use for a decade, the castle dates back to 1775 and was built by the Earl of Effingham as a hunting lodge.

A £1.7m scheme to renovate the castle was signed off last year, with the Heritage Lottery Fund providing £600,000 towards the project and Rotherham Council putting up the rest.

However, owing to budget cuts, Rotherham Council has now agreed a revised scheme which will see the authority contribute £600,000 rather than £1.1m towards the restoration. The work will see repairs carried out and a new visitors’ centre built.

The battlements will be reinstated, the windows repaired and the courtyard transformed into a space for outdoor events.

Coun Ian St John, Rotherham Council’s cabinet member for culture and sport, said: “I am delighted that the scheme can go ahead – albeit a scaled down version of the original.

“The castle is of historic importance to Rotherham. It is an absolute gem – a major landmark, which deserves to be restored to its former glory. It will be splendid to see its regeneration go ahead.”

Work is set to begin in August and Boston Castle could be open to the public by next spring.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

News - Wrought with mystery (Weston Park, Sheffield)

THE case of Sheffield’s missing park gates has finally been closed after 17 years.

They disappeared from one of the entrances to Weston Park, with mystery surrounding how a 20ft wrought iron structure could be removed without anybody noticing.

It was assumed to be a professional job, with police believing the ornate gates, listed for their architectural value, were to be shipped abroad, possibly to South America.

Replica gates were installed at the corner of the park off Western Bank, next to Sheffield University’s Firth Court, as part of the park’s lottery-financed restoration in 2008, and the question of whatever happened to the Victorian originals was left open.

Now, after all this time, they have turned up on a development site in Derbyshire after being spotted by a member of the public.

The two gates, each weighing a ton, are now being restored by local craftsmen and are due to go back into Weston Park in the summer.

The replica gates will probably be moved to the other side of the park, off Winter Street.

Named after Godfrey Sykes, who designed similar structures at the South Kensington Museum in London, the Sheffield gates were erected in 1875 alongside distinctive terracotta pillars.

They were padlocked together by park keepers one night in September 1994. The following morning university staff reported them missing.

Detectives said thieves, probably working to order, must have used a crane.

At the time, the council said: “These gates are part of the fabric of Sheffield and are irreplaceable. We think the theft was organised by someone with a big mansion who wanted the gates for themselves. I can’t believe they would be melted down – they are too valuable.”

In fact, they were valued at £20,000 – and they were not melted down.

This week David Cooper, the council’s policy and projects manager in the parks service, said the gates had turned up at the end of a drive on a farm redevelopment site in Derbyshire.

“A member of the public spotted them and alerted us. We are now in discussions with the property owner to get them back. We believe he acquired the gates in good faith. He was very co-operative and he was happy to return them.”

The owner had acquired them from a business colleague. Police were notified of the discovery and they were content to put the matter in the hands of the council, which is just pleased to have them back.

“We established from expert craftsmen they were the actual gates and we are now getting work done on them with a view to them being back in their rightful place early in the summer,” said David.

News - Found penny to sell for £1,500 (Nottingham Mint)

A PENNY found in the county is tipped to fetch £1,500 at a London auction house today.

The 900-year-old coin made during the reign of William the Conqueror between 1066 and 1087 – shortly after the battle of Hastings – was found at Grafton Underwood last year and will go under the hammer at auctioneers Spink.

The auctioneers have confirmed the penny was found in Grafton Underwood last year, but exactly where and by who are a mystery.

Despite its age the coin is in what Spink describe as about very fine/good condition and it is particularly rare and valuable because it was made at the short-lived Nottingham Mint.

It was made there by a so-called moneyer. Moneyers were personally responsible for ensuring that the weight and the silver-fineness of the coins they produced were correct. If they got it wrong, they were severely punished.

Some were mutilated or executed as a penny was a fairly large sum of money at that time.

Robert Wharton, a co-ordiator at Wellingboorugh Museum was fascinated by the news said: “It just goes to show what can be found in the county.

“The important thing to realise here of course is that the person who found it handed it in so that historians can analyse it.

“We have people bring things into the museum all the time and we have a finds officer who helps collate the information.

“These finds can help us build a picture of the past.”

News - Guardian museum award shortlist announced (Mansfield Museum)

Six attractions across the UK have been shortlisted in the 2011 Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award, the winner of which is due to be announced on 7 April.

Abbey House Museum, Leeds; Corinium Museum, Cirencester; Kilmartin House, Argyll; and Horniman Museum, London, are among the museums in the running.

Mansfield Museum, Nottingham; and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent are also vying for the 2011 Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award.

A panel of experts led by Heritage Lottery Fund chair Dame Jenny Abramsky selected the six museums as part of the award, which is run by charity Kids in Museums.
Each shortlisted attraction will be visited anonymously by families and measured against the Kids in Museums Manifesto in order to determine the winner.

Book - Book on lace trade printed for second time (Nottingham)

LACE made by machine has played an important role in the industrial life of Notts and Derbyshire since the 1760s.

By the early 1900s, Nottingham was the lace capital of the world with one third of the entire population earning their living in the trade – two thirds of them women.

Lace was a way of life, full of characters and interwoven into the region's industrial heritage.

Sadly the trade is now just a shadow of its former self with a handful of surviving firms doing their best to maintain pride in producing beautiful products, while facing fierce overseas competition, especially from the Far East.

With the demise of the UK lace industry, it is more important than ever that its history and contribution to society is faithfully and accurately recorded.

After years of highly detailed research, Sheila Mason, of Wollaton, compiled a comprehensive history of Nottingham Lace, first published in 1994.

Such was the international interest in her book that more than 3,000 copies have been sold throughout the world. Now it has been revised and reprinted.

Mrs Mason combines her passion for history with a deep knowledge of the lace trade and the machines used in its production.

She is secretary of the British Levers Lace Manufacturers' Association and a director of the Cluny Lace Company in Ilkeston, the last Levers lace-maker left in the UK.

How times have changed. When Sheila's husband John joined the family-owned firm, there were 63 similar companies in Nottingham, Long Eaton, Ilkeston, Heanor, Stapleford and Sandiacre.

Cluny can trace its roots back more than 250 years.

Charles Mason, managing director of the company, is the ninth generation of the family to work for the firm.

The updated edition of the book reproduces the front page of a letter, written in March, 1729, showing that the Mason family were in at the very beginning of machine-made lace making.

It is surprising how much has happened in the 17 years since Mrs Mason's original book was first published.

For example the Anglo-Scotian Mill in Beeston has been converted into up-market apartments while the Player's Lace Factory in Player Street, Radford, and the Boulevard Works on the corner of Hartley Road and Radford Boulevard, are both now student accommodation.

Mrs Mason has added information about Peace Mills in Perry Road, Sherwood, which was missed out of the first edition.

Built in 1920, it once contained 94 machines and employed 300 workers.

Mrs Mason is delighted that her revised edition has been printed locally.

She said: "It was organised by Steve Summers, a director of Sherwood Press, of Glaisdale Drive, Nottingham.

"They have done a first class job. The pages are sewn in, which is I understand, is the old fashioned way, and bound together by another local company in Ilkeston."

The 381-page book contains scores of photographs and illustrations. As part of her research, Mrs Mason studied lace machines and their technology, visited numerous sites and examined documents from individuals, firms and factories all over the world.

Nottingham Lace 1760s-1950s by Sheila Mason is available from Cluny Lace Co Ltd, Belper Street Works, Ilkeston, Derbyshire DE7 5FJ at £25 plus £5.50 for postage and packaging (no credit cards).