Monday, 31 October 2011

Events- Notts CC Community Archaeology Riverside Audit - Upcoming Dates

Join the Community Archaeologists on one of the upcoming Riverside Audit dates. The Audit aims to record archaeological features along the River Trent. An audit day is essentially a walk along a stretch of riverbank, where we keep our eyes peeled for any archaeological features. Anything we see is recorded with photos and a GPS location.

So why not come along and stretch your legs, and hopefully spot a bit of archaeology along the way!
If you would like to come along to any of the following audits, please let us know. (We need to know who may be coming in case we need to cancel or change arrangements.)

Thursday 24th November - Farndon
Meeting outside the Riverside pub, North End, NG24 3SX, at 10am.
Walk is approximately 4 miles. Bring suitable footwear and clothing, and something to drink en route.

Thursday 1st December - North Clifton and Bubble Dyke
Meeting at North and South Clifton Church (lies on the road directly between the two villages), at 10.30am.
Walk is approximately 4 miles. Bring suitable footwear and clothing, and something to drink en route. Also, bring your lunch if you want.

Thursday 15th December Morning - Laneham and Dunham
Meeting by Laneham church, in Church Laneham, opposite the Ferry Boat Inn, at 10am.
Walk is approximately 4 miles. Bring suitable footwear and clothing, and something to drink en route.

Afternoon - Trent Port and Littleborough
Meeting by Marton church at 2pm
Walk is approximately 3 miles. Bring suitable footwear and clothing, and something to drink en route.

Friday, 28 October 2011

News - Police hit the roof as metal thieves stoop to new low (Newark)

In police raids on three scrap metal yards in Newark, stolen lead sheeting, flashing and drainpipes from a number of churches in Nottinghamshire have been found.

At the most recent raid last Friday (21 October), a significant haul of suspicious material was seized and is currently being examined. One man has been arrested and bailed on suspicion of possession of stolen goods.

Detective Sergeant Rob Lloyd, who is heading up Nottinghamshire Police’s metal theft reduction team, said: “We have seen church buildings scaled, roof tiles ripped from their fixings and protective lead sheeting, flashing and drain pipes stolen.

“It is obvious that these stolen materials are simply not scrap - the sheer quantities, quality, finish and workmanship make it obvious they are from crime.

“This isn’t just extremely disruptive and costly for the church, but a very dangerous pursuit for the perpetrator, especially as the weather turns wintery.”

St Martin’s Church, in Bilborough, was hit three times in six months while they were trying to restore the building.

Church warden Hilary Wheat said: “We were on the thieves’ hitlist for a while. Thousands of pounds worth of lead was stolen from our roof, including very old tiles featuring historical graffiti known as ‘plummers’ marks’ and ‘lovers’ marks’. 

“We are delighted some of our lead has been retrieved as it shows that SmartWater and dedicated policing together does work, but we have had to repair the damage with clay ridges so as not to attract any more thieves back.”

SmartWater is a forensic liquid invisible to the naked eye but detectible under ultraviolet light. It cannot be washed off and includes a unique code registered to the owner of the property it is protecting.

Dave Reynolds, of SmartWater, said: “We went into one yard and found a stack of lead glowing like a Christmas tree.

“Once back at the lab it was analysed and found to be from churches in Nottinghamshire. Without SmartWater it would have just been lead, and completely untraceable.”

Kati Link from Ecclesiastical Insurance said stealing lead from a church roof can have a major impact  on both the parish purse and the community.

She said: “Essentially £50 worth of stolen lead means £1000s worth of damage for the church. In many instances, the church warden first becomes aware of the theft when the rain leaks through to the interior, damaging not just the external fascia of the building but the internal contents as well. Wooden organs and pews are expensive to replace and can put churches out of use for a while.

“For many, the church is the heart of the community and when it is forced to close because of the thoughtlessness of thieves it can have a devastating effect.”

While insurance companies do not raise the premiums for churches following a metal theft, they can only provide them with £10,000 per year to replace materials and repair damage. Some churches falling victim to metal theft on a number of occasions can tot up a bill, which runs well in excess of this limit.   

English Heritage has recently reviewed its policy on replacement materials for Listed Buildings. 

Guidelines to replace stolen materials like-for-like has been relaxed in light of the rising trend of lead theft. Now churches hit by thieves are permitted to replace stolen lead with an alternative material if security measures are unlikely to prevent further attacks.


See anyone on a church roof contact the church warden or dial 999 and take reg plate details of any dodgy looking van/car in the vacinity!

TV - Lottery projects in the running (Wentworth)

TWO South Yorkshire lottery projects are waiting to hear whether they have been successful in winning national awards.

Wentworth Castle and Stainborough Park Trust, near Barnsley, and Altogether Better in Sheffield, who have both benefited from lottery funding, will find out if they are winners in a live show to be screened on BBC One on Saturday, November 5.

Altogether Better used lottery funding to train and support people in Sheffield to help others improve their health and well-being.

Wentworth Castle was rescued from ruin through a Lottery-funded programme of restoration.

The winning projects in each of seven awards categories will be announced on TV and each winner will receive a £2,000 cash prize.


News - Sunny Jim the weather king (Nottinghamshire)

UNSEASONABLY warm autumns, flash-flooding and violent storms may seem like modern phenomena – but a Notts researcher has proved that unusual weather is nothing new.

Retired meteorologist Jim Rothwell, 80, has spent more than 20 years collating climate data. His information dates back to 56 BC and includes logs on severe storms, flowers blooming at Christmas and an ice floe so severe it destroyed a bridge on the River Trent.

Mr Rothwell said: "People talk about things like last winter being the coldest in 130 years, but really it's not unusual.

"We have always had extremes, dating back to when Julius Caesar was in Britain, when the records start, so it's not as quirky as people think.

"In the short term people notice these things, but if you look at it on a wider scale it has all happened before."

The data includes cold, wet weather in August 1357, when wolves were seen in Sherwood Forest, and a thunderstorm on July 17 which, along with a tornado and large hail, destroyed Lenton and Wilford and killed five people.

Mr Rothwell has long been fascinated by weather. He said: "I'm a retired weather forecaster and I worked for the Met Office for 38 years. I've always had a feel for climatology."

He became interested in the shifts in weather at an early age. "My interest started during the war in 1940,'' said Mr Rothwell.

"There were no forecasts then because they were secret, and they would have given the Germans information they could use against us.

"I went to bed one night as a little boy, and then when I woke up there was six inches of snow. It was like magic and I wanted to understand it better."

From 1990, he has spent a few hours every day creating reports on the weather from 56 BC to the current day.

He donated the reports, called the Central England Weather Series, to Nottinghamshire County Council's archive services in 2008, but still works on them now.

His sources include council and university archives, weather reports from the Middle Ages, newspaper reports and history books.

His work as a meteorologist has even taken him to the set of a James Bond film, when he was an advisor for 1965 film Thunderball, which was filmed at RAF Waddington. "I worked as an advisor, because they needed good, Caribbean weather and wanted to know when that would happen.

"It was only five minutes of film, but it took us a week of waiting for the right moment.

"Unfortunately I didn't see any Bond girls."

Mr Rothwell continues with his work, spotting the trends in weather. He said: "For me, something like a storm in October is unusual. But the weather has always had extremes."

Event - People, Places...and Baskets: a Nottinghamshire Historical Miscellany(Ravenshead)

History lovers will be exploring the past of communities around Nottingham this weekend.

Speakers will give presentations on the history of Ravenshead, Bramcote, East Leake, Elston, Cuckney and South Clifton at Nottingham Local History Association's next day school.

The event will take place at Ravenshead village hall tomorrow from 10am until 4.30pm.

The subject is People, Places...and Baskets: a Nottinghamshire Historical Miscellany. Tickets are £6.50 for members and £7.50 for non-members.

article - Archives show year of winter blooms (Nottinghamshire)

Recent record-breaking temperatures may have surprised those of us ready for chilly autumn weather but they are nothing compared to the year Britain's summer flowers were in bloom at Christmas, records in Nottinghamshire show.

This October we have seen deckchairs on the beach, gritters on stand-by and warnings of floods but in 1607, under the reign of James I, many summer buds decided to open, weather archives have shown.

The unusual data has been revealed in the Central England Weather Series, which begins at 56BC in the era of Julius Caesar, and is housed at Nottinghamshire County Council's archives service.

It is the work of retired meteorologist Jim Rothwell, 80, who donated the collection to the archive service in 2008.

He said: "The records show that the warm weather in October that we have witnessed this year is not unique. All sorts of unusual weather has occurred during all of the seasons in central England in the past.

"The direction of wind plays a big part in the weather situation. People are alert to unusual weather patterns at the time they happen, but do tend to forget these exceptions as time goes on."

Mr Rothwell, who lives in Archers Field, in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, is a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, on the editorial board for the journal Weather and worked for the Met Office for 38 years as a forecaster.

On his retirement in 1989, he turned detective to begin to piece together the comprehensive weather study for central England. He said Central England is defined as almost a geographical 'pear shape' with Leicestershire at the centre.

Mr Rothwell said it takes in the area of central England which is largely flat and not disturbed by hills, as hilly areas can vary and skew temperature records. Central England therefore stretches from the north Midlands to Winchester and London in the south.

Mark Dorrington, team manager of archives and local studies at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: "This is a fantastic and comprehensive record of weather in Central England and we are privileged to have it in our archives. The weather is always a fascination for people and this collection of records is a hidden gem, so we are delighted to let people know it is available."

Thursday, 27 October 2011

News - Plea to protect cottage (Bingham)

A man who spent part of his youth living in one of Bingham’s historic houses has appealed for it to be saved from demolition.

Mr Jim Campbell, 42, of Walkers Close, lived at Close Acre, Newgate Street, with his parents, the late Mr and Mrs David Campbell.

The 230-year-old building, in a conservation area, is set to be demolished to make way for a health centre.

Mr Campbell said no proper case had been made for the demolition of the building, which consists of three cottages joined together.

“It was my family home and I have some affection for it. I know my mother would not have sold it if she had known it was going to be demolished,” he said.

The house has many original features, including the fireplace and wooden beams. It also has a stable and a warehouse.

An extension was added at the rear in the 1950s by Captain Patrick Vaulkhard, a professional cricketer.

Mr Campbell said the property had a large garden that could be used for the health centre without destroying the house.

“Clearly the town needs a new health centre, and if you ask people if they want it then the answer is yes,” he said.

“However, if you ask them if they want it at the expense of a historic building then they are not so sure.

“The case for the health centre is unarguable, but that is not the same case as the one for knocking down the cottage.

“If someone said to me there is no other option then I would, with great regret, say fair enough, but I don’t think that case has been made.”

Mr Campbell was concerned that the town did not sacrifice all its character.

“Once it is gone, it is gone,” he said.“There are so many things going on, like Tesco and The Crown Estate proposals, that will change the character of the town, so it seems an odd decision to make to knock down a historic building.”

Mr Tim Bradford, director of Banks Long and Co, development consultant for the health centre project, said justification for demolition was comprehensively covered in the planning statement submitted to Rushcliffe Borough Council.

It said the cottage was not listed and had been unsympathetically altered. It says retention was considered but the buildings were found to be unsuitable for refurbishment or reuse.

It says: “To keep them would seriously compromise the quality of the services on offer and changes to their fabric so dramatic that the remaining historical asset would, in effect, be destroyed.”

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

News - Write your page in city’s history (Sheffield)

IT was the decade of The Limit, cheap bus fares, the council Egg Box and the miners’ strike.

A time of recession, of mass unemployment and of pivotal events that would change Sheffield forever.

Now a new Sheffield University programme is seeking to capture the essence of the 1980s as the starting point of a major oral history project.

People who lived through those turbulent times will be interviewed for an online record which will become part of a new permanent archive of the city’s recent past, to be titled Witness.

Historians Dr Andrew Heath and Dr Charles West are appealing for Sheffielders to to share their memories. The 1980s will be the starting point. Each year a team of students trained by the Oral History Society will research a different topic or period.

A sample of the interviews, with an accompanying historical report, will then be posted online for free public access.

Dr West said: “There’s a proverb that says, ‘When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground’.
“History isn’t just books in the library, it’s also people’s lives and experiences, at home and at work. That’s the starting point of the Witness project.

“Preserving the voices of Sheffield’s citizens, helping train a new generation of historians and creating a historical resource for the future – Witness aims to achieve all these things by bringing together students, staff and Sheffield’s wider community.”

David Holland, aged 47, a mature undergraduate history student, said: “I’m coming to higher education quite late and, as I’m in my 40s, I can remember Sheffield in the 1980s very well.

“Anyone who lived in Sheffield in the ’80s will remember the huge changes to the city’s industry and economy wrought by both recession and government policy and the massive impact on life they had, with the closure of much of the steel industry, the miners’ strike, mass unemployment and the shadow of the Cold War.

“There were also the other fascinating insights into people’s lives in the Sheffield of the 1980s.

“The music scene was world renowned and clubs such as the Leadmill and The Limit were booming.
“The buses were incredibly cheap and frequent too.

“Long-gone bits of civic architecture such as the Hole in the Road, the Wedding Cake and the Egg Box made up an important part of Sheffield’s skyline, as did the massive housing developments of Park Hill and Hyde Park.

“For me, it is people’s experience of such events and buildings that help give a three-dimensional picture of them. I think our role is to help add this human dimension to what has often been reduced to a dry list of ‘historic’ events, where the people who actually experienced them and felt their effects have been written out of the story.”

Dr West said: “The 1980s seemed suitable as a starting point partly because it gives us a very wide pool of memories to draw upon and partly because there may be some parallels with the Sheffield of today - job cuts, recession, tension between local government and national government.”

n To help the Witness project and share memories of Sheffield in the 1980s, get in touch by emailing or call the Department of History on 0114 222 2555.


Article - What did the Romans ever do for us? Created Broxtowe's hidden fort

What part did Broxtowe play in the rise and fall of the Roman Empire? In the first of a series of articles on Roman Nottingham, Mark Patterson revisits the amazing story behind the city council estate...

NO sign or plaque today marks the spot, but around 2,000 years ago the invading Roman army built a fort on the land now occupied by Broxtowe estate.

The structure was first discovered in late 1937 when the Corporation was building the new estate and workmen digging drains and foundations found three Roman coins in Lindbridge Road, and later the floor of an ancient hut.

Subsequent excavations revealed what seemed to be a fully-fledged Roman military installation with a defensive ditch and parapet 600ft long aligned with the edge of the estate where it drops down to Broxtowe Park.

The discovery was big news. The Nottingham Journal ran a headline announcing "Striking Roman Finds on the Broxtowe estate" and listed many fascinating artefacts found in the fort, including coins, jewellery, metal knives and tools.

Also found was a complete and striking Roman skillet marked with the name Albanvs, which can now be seen in the University of Nottingham Museum.

The fort was, perhaps, an unusual shape, being more a squashed triangle than the classic "playing card" shape of most Roman forts.

Nevertheless, the discovery was a significant one that helped reshape understanding of Notts' ancient landscape and the regional movements of the Roman army, which may have built the fort within 10 years of invading Britain in 43AD.

The discovery was an "event" in other ways, too, propelling local ancient history into the newspapers and public consciousness while effectively gifting Nottingham with its first major Roman structure.

Until the excavations, it was known that the Roman army had built a few garrisons and roads in Notts, while evidence of dense civilian settlement had been seen in the remains of villas up and down the Trent Valley and in the north and west of the county.

But the ground occupied by Nottingham, founded by the Saxons or Danes, seems to have been bypassed by the Romans and the evidence of Romano-British occupation was decidedly thin on the ground.

The discovery of the fort changed that because it pulled Nottingham – or at least its north-western estates – into the story and the grander narrative of Roman Britain. Why, then, did the Corporation decide to cover the fort over?

In 1938, work on building Broxtowe estate resumed and the remains of the Roman fort were reburied. To modern eyes the speed with which such an important site was covered over again may seem puzzling, and perhaps akin to an act of cultural vandalism at the most. Yet then, as now, local authorities needed space for housing as the slums of Nottingham were being torn down.

Seventy-odd years later, the fort, if it is still intact, is untouchable because of the estate which sits on top of it. This inaccessibility is a problem, as it hinders modern archaeologists from reinvestigating the site to discover more or to confirm original conclusions.

The man who led the original 1937-38 excavations, George Campion, like many of his peers working in this area at the time, was a passionate, but amateur, archaeologist.

Campion had been director of the family motorbike manufacturing business, the Campion Motor Cycle Company, but had retired to pursue his enthusiasm for archaeology.

Working from premises in Castle Boulevard, he helped recover Bronze Age canoes from the Trent at Clifton and investigated Lenton Priory and the city's cave system. Yet his name today has almost become a byword for archaeological unreliability. As a short biography of the man said: "His interpretation of the finds left a good deal to be desired."

Suspicions that Campion's conclusions about the Broxtowe site may not have been quite right were raised in 1964 when a ditch was found that didn't fit the plan of the fort that Campion had produced.

The confusion was compounded because Campion and one of his chief excavators had produced different plans of the fort. Worse, Campion's pre-war records of the excavations have since disappeared.

In 1955, when Campion died, the records were left to his son-in-law Herbert O Houlds- worth, of West Bridgford, but they disappeared after Houldsworth's own death.

Houldsworth's papers are in Nottinghamshire Archives and while they contain many details about the fort, including Campion's colour drawings of pottery he found, the excavation records are not there.

Despite all this, the Broxtowe site is generally accepted to be a Roman fort and is marked as such on the Ordnance Survey maps of Roman Britain.

But what was the value of the Broxtowe discovery? The Roman army's expedition to Britain, ordered by the Emperor Claudius, began in 43AD and it is accepted that at least one legion had conquered the Iron Age people of the East Midlands by around 47AD. The founding of the fort has been dated to around 50 or 60AD, which both confirms an early military presence in the area and shows the Roman army underlining its dominance.

The fort's location to the north and west of the Trent also suggests that the army was beginning to establish strong points to strengthen its advance into possibly hostile territory to the west.

However, just as significant is that the coin finds suggest that the fort may have been garrisoned no later than around 70 or 71AD. If the Roman army command no longer felt the need to man forts such as Broxtowe, this suggests that the area was considered to be safely pacified by this point.

In Rome, a general with much experience of fighting in Britain, Vespasian, had become Emperor at the end of 69AD and a new period of military campaigning in the early 70s began to push the Roman legions north from the land now known as Nottinghamshire. The Broxtowe garrison may have been abandoned as part of this move northwards.

The excavation led to the discovery of pans and brooches, pots and silver cutlery – which remind us that ancient Notts was once connected to the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. That there are no signs at Broxtowe telling anybody about the fort's existence is curious, or perhaps even shameful.

Roman Nottinghamshire, by Mark Patterson, is published by Five Leaves Publications, £11.99.

News - Still years to wait for new Robin attraction (Nottingham)

A NEW Robin Hood attraction for Nottingham is still years away and will not open by next June as previously hoped.

The Post can reveal that new plans for the attraction at the castle will be unveiled in "a couple of months" but will still take several years to put in place.

This is despite the city council having set up a Sheriff's Commission in 2009 and spent £10,000 of taxpayers' money on sending a delegation to America to research tourist attractions there.

The commission – which was established to decide how the city could best maximise the tourism potential of Robin Hood – agreed that a new Robin Hood attraction was needed at the castle by June 2012, as well as a new Sherwood Forest visitors' centre.

But there are currently no concrete plans or funds in place for either.

Conservative councillor Roger Steel said: "I'm really disappointed. The Sheriff's Commission seems to be a damp squib. Joe Public hasn't seen anything from it."

However, Hugh White, the city council's director for sport, culture and parks, said the delay was due to the state of the economy.

"Where we were 18 months ago to where we are now is very different economically," he said. "The scale of ambition doesn't reduce, but the timescale of delivery needs to adjust."

A working group is expected to unveil new plans for the castle attraction before the end of the year. Ted Cantle, former city council chief executive, who is chairing the group, said it hoped in a couple of months' time to present an idea that had a "reasonable chance" of attracting funding.

"I think it will capture people's imagination," he added.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

News - MP buys a slice of city’s manufacturing heritage (Sheffield)

A LONG-running campaign to save a piece of Sheffield’s manufacturing heritage has been boosted by Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield.

The Labour man put his hand in his pocket to buy a share in Portland Works, a complex of little mesters’ workshops where stainless steel cutlery was first ever manufactured.

Craftsmen, artists, musicians and artisans have come together to try to buy the Randall Street works, just off Bramall Lane.

They need £750,000 to purchase the buildings and start the restoration - and have asked members of the Sheffield community to buy a share in the project.

Mr Blomfield has now bought a share in the scheme.

Derek Morton, chair of the Portland Works Committee, said: “We have a six-month window of opportunity to ensure the survival of the works. We’ve had a wonderful response from 150 people, mainly from the Sheffield area, but as far away as Australia and South Africa, to the community share issue.

“We now have £140,000 raised in share sales and donations and need to double this by the end of January.

“Paul has supported this cooperative project from the beginning and has taken an active interest in developments.”

Mr Blomfield added: “Portland Works is a part of Sheffield’s heritage that we can’t afford to lose. The committee have a fantastic vision to develop Portland Works as a community-run social enterprise. Today there are still strong Sheffield manufacturing businesses, artists, musicians and craftspeople at Portland Works, and they need clarity about their future.

“If enough people buy shares then I know that together we can ensure Portland Works remains home to traditional Sheffield skilled jobs and crafts for another century.”

Monday, 24 October 2011

Event - Did you work in town factories? (Barnsley)

BARNSLEY Council is calling on women who worked in the town’s factories to come forward and share their experiences as part of a new exhibition.

The authority is particularly interested to hear from former employees of the sewing factories, the tennis ball factory and Barnsley Canister Company.

The council are also asking for photos and any objects from the workplace to feature in Experience Barnsley, a museum which will open in the Town Hall in 2012 following a £2.6 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

Anyone who would like to contribute can meet the Experience Barnsley team at the Central Library on Saturday, October 22, between 1 and 4pm

Saturday, 22 October 2011

News - 'Fascinating dig' at Old Manor House uncovers mix of artefacts (Kirkby Hardwick)

AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL dig on the site of the Old Manor House in Kirkby Hardwick has revealed interesting finds.

The two week excavation, which culminated in a Heritage Open Day, discovered a 17th century clay pipe, 2000BC flint, a Tudor earthenware cistern, Chinese export porcelain and 18th century Notts salt-glazed stonewares.

Carried out by Kirkby and District Archaeological Group and the county's community archaeologists, the dig was funded by Nottinghamshire County Council's Local Improvement Scheme.

The Old Manor House, the ruins of which are behind Sutton Parkway Station off Penny Emma Way, dates back to the 13th century.

Cardinal Wolsey stayed there in 1530 and Charles I was garrisoned there after the attack on Newark Castle.
The Manor House was demolished in 1966 and much of its footprint was lost under waste from Summit Colliery.

Local MP Gloria De Piero attended the dig along with Richard Butler of Nottinghamshire County Council and local councillors John Knight, Steve Carroll and Rachel Madden.

Two former residents of the Old Manor House, Geoff Shirley, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, and Betty Kirk, from Ravenshead, were among volunteers who took part in the project.

Geoff said: "I have very fond memories of living on this site as a child so I was fascinated to come back and try and trace aspects of my childhood."

County council archaeology leader Ursilla Spence said: "This site has proved to be a fascinating dig. We have uncovered a mix of artefacts and as a result have built up a remarkable picture of the area."


Friday, 21 October 2011

Book - New book about Nottinghamshire in the Stone Age

If you've ever wondered what life was like in Nottinghamshire during the Stone Age, our new book should be on your reading list.

‘Stone Age Nottinghamshire’ has been written by the Council’s conservation and heritage staff David Budge and Chris Robinson, and edited by Virginia Baddeley. It is published by the council’s libraries, archives and information publications group.

The book is the first in a planned series of popular guides to the archaeology of Nottinghamshire. It will be launched at a special event by County Councillor John Cottee, cabinet member for culture and community.

Councillor Cottee said: "Nottinghamshire County Council is delighted to be able to continue to promote the county’s archaeological and historical heritage. The book is well illustrated with photographs including some impressive images of the art and finds from the Creswell Crags caves. It should appeal to both the general reader and also the specialist.”
The Stone Age
The guide covers the period known as the Stone Age, because metals had not yet been discovered and tools made of stone were widely used instead. This period comprises the following ages which are all covered in the book: Palaeolithic (meaning old Stone Age), Mesolithic (middle Stone Age) and Neolithic (new Stone Age).

Creswell Crags, a dramatic limestone gorge close to the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire border, is an appropriate setting for the guide’s launch. Archaeological and environmental evidence excavated from the caves show the caves provided shelter for nomadic human groups through a crucial period of human evolution between 55,000 and 10,000 years ago, and stone, bone and ivory tools from the caves reveal Middle and Upper Palaeolithic occupation.

Buy the book
You can buy a copy of ‘Stone Age Nottinghamshire’ from major libraries in the county for £7.50.

You can also order a copy by post by sending a cheque for £10.50 (including £3.00 for postage and packaging) payable to Nottinghamshire County Council to: Libraries, Archives and Information, 4th Floor, County Hall, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 7QP.

Event - National Trust's leaders in talks (Nottingham)

THE National Trust has announced it will hold its annual general meeting in Nottingham.

There will be talks by chairman Sir Simon Jenkins and deputy chairman Sir Laurie Magnus. The event will also feature displays and a conker competition.

Visitors can also plant an acorn outside the venue, the Royal Concert Hall, which will be grown and then planted in the Peak District.

National Trust attractions in the county include Clumber Park, traditional grocer's home Mr Straw's House in Worksop and the Workhouse in Southwell.

Beccy Speight, Midlands regional director, said: "This is a great opportunity to raise the profile of what an amazing region the Midlands is, and how special Nottinghamshire is.

"Over 79,000 of our members are from this county and this is a chance to say thank you for their support."

The AGM takes place on Saturday, October 29.

It is open to members of the trust, who can register to attend by e-mailing or via their voting papers in the autumn edition of the trust's magazine.

News - Civil war centre a step nearer (Newark)

A planning application is set to be submitted for the long-awaited transformation of the Old Magnus Buildings, Newark, into the National Centre for Civil War Learning.

The plans include a modern, glass-fronted structure which would be added to the unoccupied buildings that were home to the original Magnus Grammar School on Appletongate.

The project development manager, Mrs Briony Robins, said the modern structure would add to the architectural heritage of the site, which includes the Tudor Hall, dating from 1529, plus a Georgian townhouse and Victorian schoolroom.

As part of the plans all three of the older buildings would be extensively restored and facilities for permanent and temporary exhibitions incorporated.

The Tudor Hall, which would be restored to its original colour scheme, could be a study area, meeting space and café.

Mrs Robins said the museum could bring an extra 26,000 visitors to Newark and the surrounding area, potentially drawing in up to £1m a year to the local economy.

In July, Newark and Sherwood District Council’s museums service commissioned concept drawings of how the interior could look.

The project is dependent on a successful bid for £2.8m to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The plans will be submitted to the district council’s planning department.

If they are approved the development, which will cost in excess of £4m, could be open by 2014.

The museum would need more than 60 volunteers to help run it.

Mrs Robins said: “This is more than just building a new museum. It is about creating a new community resource for learning.

“This venture will bring lots more visitors to Newark and Sherwood.

“We want to promote the historical significance of Newark because it is very undervalued.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund previously granted development money, which helped to pay for preliminary investigations and remedial works.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Events - Priories Historical Society Talks 2012

13th February – North Notts Priory Churches by Pat Mclauglin
Come and see the history of the priory churches In Nottinghamshire.

12th March – 2 Queens & A Countess by David Templeman Of Sheffield Manor Lodge.
This is not the life story of the three ladies but an in depth talk on the interaction between the three most colourful and charismatic women in Elizabethan history: Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots; and Bess of Hardwick. A unique insight into a predominantly man’s world, entered into and conquered by these 3 most powerful women.

23rd April –Life Of A Native American by Roger Boshauer.
A Real Life Descendant Of Pocahontas. Will Include Other Indians And Later Eras. Come And Find Out The Real History Of The Native Americans! Brought Back By Huge Demand!

21st May – Skye, Outer Hebrides & The Western Isles by Andrew Firth

A look at these almost mythical islands that many people will be unable to visit. Come and see what we are missing!

Not forgetting our excavation which should hopefuly start on 11th June

News - Architectural heritage under threat of permanent decline

NOTTS has no shortage of important historic buildings – with landmarks like Newstead Abbey and Hodsock Priory attracting thousands of visitors each year.

But a new survey by English Heritage has shown that many of the county's most loved buildings are in danger of a rapid decline if more is not done to look after them.

The charity has published its annual At Risk register today and 11 extra buildings in the county make the list for the first time, with none having been removed.

Overall the East Midlands has the third highest number of buildings at risk in the UK, with 192 identified – 4.5 per cent of all buildings.

Notts sites make up 33 of those.

Planning director for the East Midlands Anthony Streeten, of English Heritage, said the high number of new buildings this year is not surprising given that this is the first year that churches have been included in the register.

"If you think about places in the city and the county it's very often the churches that have the greatest architectural quality," he said.

"In rural Nottinghamshire, for example, it's very often the parish church that's the most highly graded building, so if it's in poor condition it's a matter of great concern."

As well as churches, the register includes country houses, collieries, viaducts and hotels.

Mr Streeten says the fact no buildings have been taken off the list shows how difficult it is to restore listed buildings and how important it is that people take ownership of them.

"I think it's a pattern we've come to expect," he said. "Very often you get a pattern of some coming on and some coming off, but this year there weren't any that came off and that shows how difficult it is with some of the big projects – to get the funding together and to get the project off the ground and ready to deliver.

"That doesn't mean people shouldn't try, though. As traditional manufacturing across the East Midlands' has shrunk over the years, we have a responsibility to safeguard the visible reminders of our industrial heritage.

"Everyone has a part to play in ensuring that significant survivals from our industrial past do not fall prey to dereliction, decay and ultimately demolition."

English Heritage is launching a national five-point action plan, which will include help for developers, owners, heritage rescue groups and industrial sites preserved as visitor attractions.

News - English Heritage brand Newcomen Beam Engine 'at risk' (Elsecar)

A listed building in South Yorkshire continues to be one of the most at risk, according to English Heritage.

English Heritage listed 10 key industrial sites on the at-risk register which included the Elsecar Newcomen Beam Engine.

Earlier this year the Heritage Lottery Fund [HLF] gave £40,500 to the Elsecar Heritage Centre to develop plans to restore the engine house.

The centre will submit plans next month and await a decision on its funding.

The Elsecar Heritage Centre, near Barnsley, estimates it will cost £500,000 to restore the engine back to working order, as well as developing and updating the visitor attraction, if it is awarded full funding by HLF in March 2012.

The engine, which was built by John Bargh of Chesterfield in 1795 at a cost of £167, was used to pump water out of the colliery in Elsecar to allow the exploitation of deeper coal seams until 1923.

The engine was placed on the at-risk register by English Heritage last year and is thought to be the only remaining example in situ.

The engine was later replaced with electric pumps, and remained working until the 1950s.

The site of a former ironworks and colliery is now an antique centre and used by local craftsmen and women as workshops, as well as showcasing the village's rich past.

News -English Heritage praises Pleasley Colliery restoration

Preservation work at a colliery on the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire border has been praised by English Heritage.

Pleasley Colliery's restoration, which has been carried out by a group of volunteers, was said to be a "great example" of how to preserve the rich industrial history of the region.

The colliery, near Mansfield, is one of 129 buildings listed on the East Midlands' "at risk" register.

Event - Insight into Victorian life (Retford)

An Art exhibition capturing the life and death of a Victorian child is to be displayed at Bassetlaw Museum.

Nellie was the daughter of T.J. and H. Barker of Sheffield and runs until 5th November.

A fascinating insight into mourning in Victorian times is provided by a poignant collection of the belongings of young Nellie Barker who died from TB at age 12 on December 27th 1890.

Opening times Monday to Saturday 10am-4.30pm.

For more information contact (01777) 713749.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Book - New history book on talented artist Marjorie Bates

MARJORIE Bates always knew her destiny lay in art.

She was only six years old when she impressively sketched a windmill while sitting on a wall near her pleasant village home of Kings Newton in Derbyshire.
And the fact that she was a distant relative of Dame Laura Knight suggests such talent was in her genes.

The daughter of George Bates, a wealthy manufacturer of mosquito netting from New Basford, she lived in the family home The Grange at Wilford and that made it possible for her to enrol at the Nottingham School of Art in Waverley Street, a time she would look back on with great happiness.

She quickly displayed an award-winning talent that prompted her parents to send her to Paris to study under Professor Jean Paul Laurens at the National High School for Fine Arts.

Marjorie prospered and in 1912 a pastel of a French kitchen earned another gold medal, displays at the Salon des Artistes and the Royal Academy in London.

From Paris, Marjorie embarked on a journey down Africa, with a commission from the Sultan of Zanzibar helping to pay her way.

But war came in 1914 to interrupt Majorie's travels. She joined the British Red Cross and was posted to Malta where she treated the wounded from the Gallipoli campaign, opening her eyes to suffering on an unimaginable scale.

Marjorie suffered personal tragedy when her unnamed fiance was killed in action.

She never found another man to take his place, although she did raise her sister's children following her marriage break-up.

After the war, she returned to Nottingham and the world of art. She was a member of the Royal Society and Nottingham Society of Artists, based in a studio in the Lace Market where she produced a prodigious quantity of paintings and drawing, which later appeared as postcards and in book and magazine illustrations.

Her paintings are mainly in watercolour or in pastel with subjects including garden scenes, landscapes, architecture, street scenes, figure studies and portraits.

Between the wars, her work was used extensively by the British Art Company to illustrate books.
Then, in 1953, she was approached to produce a series of "period" drawings to be turned into postcards, to mark the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. An original of Barrogill Castle in Scotland was accepted by the Queen Mother.

Marjorie C Bates, as she always signed her paintings, was interviewed by the Weekly Guardian in 1954, the reporter commenting: "Quietly, busy, happy in her occupation and modestly proud of her success, she is a truly delightful person to meet."

Last year, a Marjorie Bates painting that depicts child poverty in local workhouses in the early 1900s was rediscovered by Notts County Council. The painting measures 47ins by 39ins and shows a workhouse nursery, possibly at Southwell.

It was discovered in the council's facility in County Hall by officer Graham Jarvis, who is interested in local art.

He said: "As soon as I saw Marjorie's picture, I understood how important it was to this county, especially if we could attribute it to Southwell Workhouse.

"The painting is in excellent condition and probably the best Marjorie Bates painting I have ever seen."
A number of the artist's illustrations are on display in County Hall.

Majorie Bates died in 1962 at the age of 76, her ashes being buried in the family plot in Wilford Churchyard.
Marjorie C Bates, by Ztan Zmith and Brian Walker, is available from Stan Smith, 44 Church Tree Close, Brinsley Notts NG16 5BA; email or call 01773 783009. It costs £2.50.