Wednesday, 29 February 2012

News - Nick Dodd to step down as chief executive of Museums Sheffield

Departure follows loss of Renaissance funding
Nick Dodd has taken voluntary redundancy and is to step down as chief executive of Museums Sheffield in June.

His departure forms part of a wide-ranging restructure at the service following the loss of £800,000 Renaissance funding, a 15% cut in funding from Sheffield Council and “significant cost pressures.

Museums Sheffield is making 21 posts redundant at the end of March, with a further 23 redundancies expected in late summer. All affected staff, including Dodd, will receive statutory redundancy severance.

s application for voluntary redundancy was accepted by the charitys board of trustees last week. He joined Museums Sheffield in 2002 as its chief executive.

It is with great regret that I will say goodbye to Museums Sheffield, Dodd said. I would like to have left the organisation at a time when its future funding was more secure. However, I know from experience how resilient Museums Sheffield is, and I have no doubt that it will strive to come back from this loss of funding.

Museums Sheffield was yesterday awarded £341,000 in transitional funding from Arts Council England.

A spokesman for Museums Sheffield said a new chief executive would be appointed in due course. The new role will involve managing a smaller organisation and will be awarded a lower salary, he added.

News - Notts County Council support for ‘Ice Age’ tourist centre (Creswell)

Nottinghamshire County Council has approved plans to continue to help provide vital funding for the Creswell Heritage Trust for the next financial year.
The Creswell Crags, in Welbeck, near Worksop, sit on the border of both Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, and are recognised as one of Britain’s most important cultural, archaeological and scientific sites. In 2003, archaeologists discovered Britain’s only Ice Age rock art in Church Hole Cave as part of the Crags.
A recent decision made by Coun John Cottee, Cabinet Member for Culture and Community at Nottinghamshire County Council, has approved for £38,000 to support the Trust for the coming financial year.
The money will go towards helping running costs of the museum and visitor centre and the outreach programme for 2012-13.
The Creswell Heritage Trust opened up a new visitor centre in 2009, funded largely by the Heritage Lottery Fund and has had funding since then from both Nottinghamshire County Council and Derbyshire County Council.
Coun John Cottee said: “We are delighted to be able to support the Creswell Heritage Trust for the next financial year with this funding.
“The Crags represent the most northerly place on earth to be visited by humans during the Ice Age, providing a unique opportunity to share an incredible story of life both then and now.”
Nottinghamshire County Council highlights the success story of the Creswell visitor centre with increasing visitor numbers each year. In 2011/12, the Trust was also included on the new UK Tentative List of future World Heritage Site Nominations to UNESCO, and any Government nomination must first involve a challenging technical evaluation process which the Trust must undertake.
Last autumn, a new archaeological publication about Stone Age Nottinghamshire was launched at Creswell Crags. ‘Stone Age Nottinghamshire’ was written by Nottinghamshire County Council’s Conservation (Heritage) staff David Budge and Chris Robinson and edited by Virginia Baddeley, and published by the county council’s Libraries, Archives and Information Publications Group.
‘Stone Age Nottinghamshire’ can be purchased at £7.50 from Nottinghamshire Archives and major libraries. It can also be purchased 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.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

News - 'Rare' Battle of Britain aircraft on show in Doncaster (Aeroventure)

A museum in Doncaster is displaying the remnants of what it claims is a rare Battle of Britain aircraft.

The South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum said it had acquired the fuselage of a Blackburn B.2 after it was discovered in a tree in a scrap yard.

Curators believe the plane, built and flown in Yorkshire, is one of only two still in existence.

Coordinator James Stables said the biplane, withdrawn from service in 1942, had its original paintwork.

Mr Staples said: "It's actually trained a third of pilots who flew in the Battle of Britain and was produced in limited numbers.

"When it was withdrawn from service it was given to air cadet units, and as they disposed of it, it ended up in a scrap yard.

"It sat up in a tree for 37 years and it was rescued."

The museum said it was now looking to restore the aircraft.

From BBC

Book - Alan’s recollections of a Grimesthorpe long gone

MUCH has changed in Grimesthorpe since Alan Billam was a lad.
But now, at the age of 84, his memories of the place he grew up are etched as deep as the River Don.
So clear and fond are those memories they have inspired him to put pen to paper and write about Grimesthorpe as it was in the 1930s and ’40s.
His book - Recollections of Grimesthorpe and Beyond - is one man’s love story for a place many will never forget, and also serves as a an introduction to life as it was for those who never knew it.
It’s a tale of Grimesthorpe brimming with life, industry and characters, combining history, information and pictures.
Alan said: “I have always had a keen interest in local and family history. I always wanted to write about my birthplace as I remember it, along with some of the characters, buildings and the tricks us kids got up to.
“Grimesthorpe has gone through many changes since I was young. There is little left of the area which was once a thriving community. Much of the surrounding area is unrecognisable.”
Alan, who now lives in Lincolnshire, has devoted the book to his late wife Muriel.
The father-of-three, grandad-of-eight and great-grandfather-of-four - soon to be five - hopes his book will give younger readers an idea of how things were. And, for those old enough, he hopes to remind readers of the Grimesthorpe of their youth.
“I hope my book gives an insight into what life was like for an ordinary lad growing up in Grimesthorpe and that I haven’t made it boring.”
Recollections of Grimesthorpe and Beyond by Alan Billam is for sale in The Star shop, York Street, Sheffield, for £12.99.

News - Coal body facing £100m claim for damage (Wentworth Woodhouse)

COAL Authority bosses will face a legal claim for more than £100m after the owners of one of Yorkshire’s most neglected stately homes won the first stage in a court battle for compensation.
The Newbold family, led by octogenarian architect Clifford Newbold, bought Wentworth Woodhouse, near Rotherham, a decade ago for £1.5m and have plans to bring the empty building back to life.
But in order to make the plan work, Mr Newbold and his sons Paul, Marcus and Giles, must prove mining work carried out both beneath and around the house have led to its current “dilapidated state”.
Yesterday in the High Court, the Coal Authority, which is responsible for investigating and paying out in subsidence claims, applied to have the case struck out over “invalid” paperwork.
But a judge found in favour of the Newbolds, paving the way for them to make their case and potentially win hundreds of millions of pounds to turn the house into a hotel, museum, tourist attraction and business centre.
The Grade-I listed stately home was built by the Earls Fitzwilliam in the 1700s.
It has the longest facade in Europe, is reputed to have 365 rooms and covers an enormous area of over 2.5 acres.
It is former seat of the Second Marquess of Rockingham, who was twice Prime Minister, and stands above one of Britain’s richest coal seams, which supplied the profits needed to keep the estate afloat.
The Newbold brothers now claim that the mineshafts which once provided the cash to run the house could be its undoing, with the building sinking in several places, and large cracks appearing in walls and ceilings.
Earlier this year, Giles Newbold gave the Yorkshire Post access to the stunning mansion and told how he and his family had already spent millions of pounds on restoring the areas where they currently live,
The High Court heard that the house was occupied by the military during the Second World War, and was used by Rotherham Council as a teacher training college.
It was later abandoned by the local authority and subsequently fell into disrepair until the Newbold family read about its plight in a newspaper and decided to launch their plans.
The court heard that the brothers are seeking compensation “likely to be in excess of £100m” from the Coal Authority, claiming mining works carried out in the area from the 19th Century until about 30 years ago have caused “extensive subsidence damage” over the past decade.
However, the authority is disputing the brothers’ claims and, at the Upper Tribunal, attempted to deliver a knock-out blow by arguing that “damage notices” issued against it in February 2007 and August 2009 were invalid.
Nicholas Baatz QC, for the Coal Authority, claimed the notices were not worth the paper they were written on because they were issued in the name of Paul Newbold alone, rather than by all three brothers who have been freehold owners of the stately home since 2005.
The barrister also claimed the notices failed to give “prescribed particulars” demanded by the strict terms of the Coal Mining Subsidence Act 1991.
However, ruling in favour of the Newbold brothers, tribunal judge, George Bartlett QC, said: “I conclude that the authority’s contention that the notices were invalid must fail...that is sufficient to dispose of the authority’s case”.
The Newbold’s case will now go ahead for a full hearing later this year, at which it will be up to the brothers to prove that the bill for “remedial works” needed to restore Wentworth Woodhouse to its former glory can be laid at the door of the Coal Authority.
Yesterday Giles Newbold said he and his family welcomed the court’s decision and added that they hoped it would lead to a brighter future for the house and its estate.
He added: “We are pleased that we are able to take our case further so that we can secure the regeneration and long term future of this magnificent part of the nation’s heritage.”

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Event - The History of Calverton

Calverton Preservation & History Society presents - "The History of Calverton" - An illustrated account of the settlement and some of the people who have lived in the Calverton area during the last 5000 years!

The talk takes place at Baptist Church Hall, The Nook, Main Street Calverton NG14 6FN at 7.15pm on Friday 30 March. Entrance costs £3.50 including light refreshments. For further details please ring 0115 965 4843.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Article - Why Byron's first speech in House is now the only one for which he is remembered

IN 1798, Byron succeeded to the Barony of Byron on the death of his great-uncle, the fifth Lord Byron. He also inherited the Newstead estate.

At the time, Byron was only ten, but once he reached 21 in January 1809, he was entitled to take his seat in the House of Lords as the 6th Baron Byron.

Byron formally took his seat in March 1809, but he played no direct political role until he returned from his grand European tour, which lasted from 1809-11.

On his return to England, Byron had to sort out his estate at Newstead, and to deal with other matters, but he spent three weeks over Christmas and New Year 1811-12 at Newstead.

Part of his time was devoted to reading history and political memoirs to prepare him for a career in the House of Lords.

We have to remember that at this time he was a young peer with a small landed estate, and not all that many alternative prospects, so a political career must have looked enticing.

In January 1812, he returned to London, and began preparing a speech on one of the great political issues of the day, Roman Catholic Emancipation.

He was intending to vote with the radical Whigs, in opposition to the ruling Tories.

But on February 4, he learnt that the government was going to introduce a bill which would make the breaking of a stocking frame punishable by hanging.

As he had been in Nottinghamshire during some of the worst Luddite troubles that winter, Byron considered himself an ideal person to oppose the bill.

Newstead was quite close to some of the worst of the frame-breaking troubles at Basford, Bulwell and Hucknall.

Byron worked with his political mentor, Lord Holland (who held the largely honorary position of Recorder of Nottingham) to make sure that on the crucial second reading of the bill on February 27, he would be the lead opposition speaker.

Byron probably knew very little more about Luddite activities than anyone else who was able to read the local papers, and he had to rely on Holland to provide him with some background information.

This took the form of a letter to Holland from George Coldham, the town clerk of Nottingham.

Byron then had the temerity to tell Holland he did not really agree with Coldham's thoughts about the disturbances.

On February 27, Byron arrived at the House of Lords ready to speak. He was clearly nervous, and had written and re-written his speech several times, as well as trying it out on his friend Robert Dallas.

The arrangement was that the bill would be introduced by the Tory leader of the House, Lord Liverpool.
The Lord Chancellor, Lord Eldon, then called on Byron to address the House, which he proceeded to do.
Byron told his fellow peers that he felt justified in opposing the frame-breaking bill on the grounds that he was a person "in some degree connected with that suffering county", and had heard a great deal about the disturbances during his recent visit to Newstead.

His view was that the government needed to listen to the legitimate claims of the framework knitters rather than trying to overawe them with threats of capital punishment.

Byron went on to complain about the military presence in Nottinghamshire, and to ask questions about how the legislation would be put into practice if it passed through Parliament.

Then he sat down, but no one from the government front bench answered him, which suggested to other politicians that although they had listened attentively, they had not found the speech convincing.

After he had finished, Byron left the Chamber and met Dallas, who found him in a state of great agitation, an adrenaline rush as we would see it.

For several days, he received all sorts of messages saying what a wonderful speech it had been and he enjoyed every one of them.

The debate itself continued after Byron had sat down.

In due course, a vote was called and the Tories won, as everyone expected. The bill then had a third reading and became law on March 1, 1812.

In fact, no one was executed for Luddite activities in Nottinghamshire, and so the Whigs had enjoyed a moral victory even if they had been unable to prevent the legislation from passing.

Byron continued to attend the Lords through 1812 and 1813 and spoke on a number of issues, but eventually he lost interest in politics as his fame as a poet spread.

From 1816 until his death in 1824, he lived abroad and could take no direct role in politics.

His first speech is now the only one for which he is remembered.

It can be read on the internet, and there is even a YouTube video clip showing a young man of about Byron's age delivering the words.

On the anniversary of the speech, members of various Byron Societies, including the Newstead Abbey Byron Society, the London Byron Society and the Irish Byron Society, are to celebrate the occasion in the Cholmondeley Room, House of Lords, with a buffet.

The Earl of Lytton, who is a descendant of Lord Byron, will repeat the speech.


Thursday, 23 February 2012

News - Positive talks over memorial (Ollerton)

Agreement between Tesco and Ollerton Town Council over the erection of a miners’ memorial at the former site of Ollerton Colliery is edging nearer after the two groups held positive talks. 

The council is supporting a campaign to have a memorial erected at the roundabout off Forest Road, the former pit entrance. The land is now owned by Tesco.

Two officials from Tesco’s corporate affairs department went on a site visit with council representatives and are due to make a decision on March 6.

Town clerk Mrs Karen Wakefield told a council meeting that Tesco recognised the importance of the issue to the community and that the delay had been because of a proposed extension to the Ollerton store, which could mean the memorial location would cause highways problems.

Mr Stan Crawford said: “They accepted that it needs to go somewhere where it is visible from the high street.

“What they did not want to do was agree to it only to then have to dig it up. They have their own agenda with the development of the store, but we pointed out that there should still be room for the memorial and they accepted that.” 


News - Medieval remains revealed (Southwell)

Evidence of extensive Medieval burials has been found on a site earmarked for homes in Southwell, it can be revealed.
The graves could prove a continuation of burials in the Church Street area from at least the late Saxon period to modern times.

The results of an interim evaluation of what has been found at Platts Orchard, which has planning permission for three homes, is expected to be made public next week by Newark and Sherwood District Council.

The private company, Pre-Construct Archaeological Services Ltd, with oversight from the county council archaeological team, was commissioned to conduct an investigation by site owner, Gascoines Group Ltd, eight months ago.

Six trenches were dug. According to the company’s report, Trench Five revealed the presence of an extensive area of human burials, which the district council’s planning services manager, Mr Pete Wilkinson, believes are Medieval.

Samples taken from the trench have been sent away to be carbon-dated.

Since the burial area is proposed to be gardens under the development plans, it is recommended to leave it undisturbed and the remains preserved in situ.

Mr Wilkinson said Trench Six did not reveal human remains, leading the archaeologists to believe the burial ground ended before reaching it.

Four more trenches were dug in locations where the three homes can be built.

These revealed archaeological remains within 50cm of the surface, but no further evidence of burials.

It is proposed the topsoil be removed from this area when earth-movers return to site, and what is found examined, excavated and recorded.

The district council told the Advertiser it intends to publish the interim archaeological report in full when the carbon data results are returned.

It is an interim report because the topsoil removal has not yet taken place.

The district council insisted on a full archaeological study in 2007 when a planning inspector granted planning permission on appeal for three dwellings it had refused.

There was no requirement to carry out archaeological investigations until construction work started.

Mr Wilkinson said if important discoveries were made as a result of the carbon-dating or topsoil removal and the site had potential to become nationally significant, then English Heritage could step in.

Any planning consent could be overridden by such a discovery, he said.

English Heritage were called in when a Roman wall on the former Minster School site on Church Street was unearthed during a similar study.

The site, close to the minster, contains the remains of what is believed to be a Roman villa, which, linked to Platts Orchard, could provide evidence of continual burials through the ages to modern times.

Nottinghamshire County Council was accused of not keeping the people of Southwell informed of what was happening with regard to the archaeological investigations at Platts Orchard.

A Southwell district councillor, Mr Julian Hamilton, described the non-publication of the evaluation report as an inordinate delay and said the county council should give timely reports on this, and other similar evaluations in Nottinghamshire.

Sally Gill, the county council’s planning manager, said: “The owner of the piece of land formerly known as Platts Orchard in Southwell commissioned Pre-Construct Archaeology to carry out an archaeological investigation of the site last June.

“The vast majority of archaeological work that takes place in the UK is carried out by commercial archaeological companies commissioned by developers.

“The role of the county council’s archaeological team has been to monitor the investigation at Platts Orchard on behalf of Newark and Sherwood District Council and ensure that it has been carried out to the best possible standard.

“We look forward to seeing the final report which is expected shortly.”

A spokesman for Gascoines Group said: “Gascoines Group took the best possible archaeological advice which it followed to the letter to the complete satisfaction of the district and county councils.

“We then commenced development and as it progresses we shall continue with the advice of our archaeologists.”

Monday, 20 February 2012

Event - Biographical Research Worksop (Sheffield)

As part of the Hunter Archaeological Society Centenary, they are organising workshops at Sheffield Local Studies Library and Sheffield Archives. Both workshops will introduce the collections, show how they can be used for historical biographical research and introduce the material about the Hunter Archaeological Society.
The session at Sheffield Local Studies Library is 6pm on Wednesday 22nd February.
The session at Sheffield Archives is 4pm on Friday 23rd March.
Both are free.
There are 6 spare places for the 22nd February (Local Studies) and 13 places for the 23rd March (Archives). If anyone would like to come along please email Ruth Morgan on Places will be allocated on a first come basis.
Further details of the Centenary can be found on the Society's website -

News - A fine plan in General (Sheffield)

IT is one of Sheffield’s most magnificent architectural gems, a stunning grade II* listed 19th Century chapel which, when opened in 1836, was considered one of the grandest buildings in the city.
“We can’t go inside,” says Alex Quant today, peering through a small entrance in the bricked-up door. “There’s so much bird poo in there the ammonia makes the air poisonous.”
You join us, reader, outside Sheffield General Cemetery’s stunning Non-Conformist Chapel.
For some 60 years this incredible building – opulently modelled on a mix of ancient Greek and Egyptian architecture – has stood empty and unused; left to the birds and to the vandals.
But things, it seems, are changing.
An ambitious £400,000 restoration plan is set to once more transform this hidden jewel into a visitor attraction and central feature of the Sharrow cemetery, itself a grade II listed landscape and no longer a working graveyard.
The massive two-stage revamp – to be funded through heritage grants – will see the chapel made safe, cleaned up and eventually reopened as a combined education complex, community centre and function suite for private parties such as wedding blessings.
“When you think the chapel has been left untouched since the Fifties, it’s such a shame,” says Catie Evans, of the South Yorkshire Building Preservation Trust, which has been commissioned by the Sheffield General Cemetery Trust to work on the plans. “The potential for it is huge.”
Indeed, it was that potential which inspired the SGCT, the charity which manages the cemetery on behalf of Sheffield City Council, to bring the chapel back into use. “This is key to our plans,” says Alex, office manager of the trust. “We are not doing this just to restore an old building, although that in itself is worthwhile. Rather, we believe there is a genuine and much-needed end use.
“We are getting increasing numbers of school groups coming to the cemetery for the day to study, and they have nowhere to go. What this restoration would do is give them an on-site classroom and meeting point and shelter if the weather turns.
“It would also be available to the community to use for neighbourhood meetings; and it would allow the cemetery to host income-generating events so we could hire it out for corporate parties or wedding blessings. It’s an unusual building in a magnificent setting, and we’re sure that would attract people.”
Those alterations, then, will take place over two phases.
The first £200,000 stage will see the building secured, reopened and access improved while it remains internally as just a single large room.
A second phase, pencilled in to take place 18 months later, would potentially see sympathetic alterations made inside, including the installation of a kitchen and mezzanine floor with office space.
“The plans are ready to go,” says Catie. “We’ve applied for funding from two grant bodies and if and when that comes through we can start working more or less straight away.”
In an ideal world, she adds, that process will have started by the end of 2012.
And if it sounds ambitious, don’t worry, the SGCT have got form.
Eight years ago the group of two staff and more than 50 volunteers oversaw the restoration of the site’s Egyptian gate and office into a snug administration space, which itself has helped improve the running of the cemetery.
“We’re confident we can deliver this too,” says Alex. “And we’re confident it would be another step in improving the cemetery.”
The General Cemetary -a few general facts
Sheffield General Cemetery was opened in 1836 and at the time was one of the largest commercial cemeteries in the UK.
It was designed by Sheffield architect Samuel Worth in the style of a botanical garden.
Some 87,000 bodies were interred there before the last, Margaret Norah Wells, was buried on December 21, 1978.
Rumours of body snatching dominated its early history. Some believed an underground tunnel ran from the heart of the cemetery to a local surgeon’s house.
Confectioner George Bassett, steel manufacturer Mark Firth and revolutionary Samuel Holberry are among those buried there.
It is listed in the English Heritage Register of Historical Parks and Gardens and is home to 10 historic monuments including the Nonconformist Chapel.

Friday, 17 February 2012

50 years of fighting to preserve city's heritage (Nottingham)

JUST over 50 years ago, a group of men – and they were all men – came together to form the Nottingham Civic Society.

They set up an acting committee and then called an inaugural meeting on January 11 1962 at the Co-operative Education Centre, in Broad Street.

Half a century on, the society is still flourishing, and one of the original committee, Robert Cullen, is still active as a vice-president.

The society was formed because of a shared concern about the buildings and heritage of Nottingham.
In 1956 the Collins almshouses, on the south side of Friar Lane, were demolished, and in 1961 it was possible to save the 14th-century Severns Building, originally in Middle Pavement, only by re-erecting it to a site at the top of Castle Road, where it still is. At the inaugural meeting in 1962 the Civic Society declared its aim to be "to encourage the improvement, development and preservation of the features which go to make a pleasing environment for the citizens of Nottingham".

This "pleasing environment" was partly about saving buildings of historic importance, and partly about taking an interest in what was being planned for the future.

They wanted to co-operate with, rather than to be seen as opposing, the city's planning authority.

This was not as easy as it sounds. An early speaker was the city engineer, Fred Little, who set out plans for encircling inner-Nottingham with a motorway.

The Civic Society decided it could not co-operate but must put up a fight. As a result, a public inquiry was ordered and the plans were terminated, although it was too late to stop Maid Marian Way.

At least the rest of this scheme, which would have seen an inner ring road cutting straight through the Park, and the demolition of part of the Lace Market, was halted.

Since then, most of the Civic Society's work has been concerned with conservation and new design.

Some battles it has won and some it has lost. A "victory" was persuading the government to think again about the original plans for the Inland Revenue building on Castle Boulevard. The society lobbied for an architectural competition, which was won by the Michael Hopkins partnership.

Subsequently the Hopkins partnership went on to design the University of Nottingham's Jubilee Campus.
A recent defeat was the failure to stop the plans proposed for redeveloping the Odeon site, in Angel Row. There have been other setbacks as well. The society is still fighting to save 41 Pilcher Gate, believed to be Nottingham's oldest house, and County House in High Pavement.

The Civic Society rightly respects and rewards good design. Its long-running Mark of the Month award, now known as its Commendation scheme, aims both to support and draw attention to good quality new architecture, environmental improvements, restoration and conservation.

Recent awards have gone to Maggie's Cancer Care Centre at the City Hospital, a new building by Piers Gough, an architect of national standing; and a converted Wetherspoons pub, the William Peverel in Bulwell.

Fifty years ago Nottingham was primarily a lace-making city, and it had four coal mines inside its boundaries.
There are no collieries today. Raleigh has gone. Players has moved to a single factory in Lenton, and Boots is primarily focused on its Beeston site.

The Civic Society has had to think about the buildings left behind by these changes, and to suggest new use of the vacated sites.

In the early days the society also had to worry about the building of the Victoria and Broadmarsh centres, and the demolition of one of the city's iconic buildings, the Black Boy Hotel in Long Row.

Hilary Silvester, the current chairman, recently said the aim of the society was to maintain "the character and vitality of Nottingham".

Ken Brand, a long-serving vice-president, talks of how the society seeks to "create an interest in the local built environment and its architects past and present". Among those "past" were the great Victorian architects T C Hine and Watson Fothergill, on whose work Ken is the acknowledged expert.

Above all it must continue to support the good, and oppose the not so good, to keep the city council on its toes, and preserve the heritage of the city.


Book - Chad’s new tourist book promoting Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire set to go on sale

A BRAND new local tourism book which accompanies the popular Chad Audio Guide series is to go on sale.

The 80-page book has been penned by Chad journalist and first-time author Stephen Thirkill and features tours around seven prominent tourist hotspots and beauty locations across Mansfield and Ashfield.

The venues included are Hardwick Hall, Teversal Trails, Chatsworth House, Southwell Workhouse, Newstead Abbey, King’s Mill Reservoir and Clumber Park - the same attractions featured in the Chad Audio Guide series.

The book, which is priced at £9.99, includes a wide range of colour images, opening times, facilities and interesting facts and timelines from each venue as well as an in-depth tour.

Said Stephen: “The current audio guide CD has been a success so far and hopefully the book will enjoy a similar response.

“Mansfield and Ashfield has a lot of beauty spots and attractions to be very proud of.

“It also has many passionate people who give up their time as volunteers to make these attractions the success story they are today and to help preserve the area’s history and heritage.

“This book will give the volunteers the credit they deserve, the attractions the attention they require and hopefully help to inspire more people to play their part in the region’s thriving tourism industry.”

In the book Stephen takes a step back in time to learn about the success of a national social experiment at Southwell Workhouse and what made the world-famous Lord Byron tick during a special behind-the-scenes visit to Newstead Abbey.

Stephen also explores the magnificent Chatsworth House to discover why the attraction is proving so popular with film-makers.

He also learns about the fascinating life of Bess of Hardwick, who became the second richest lady in the realm behind the Queen with Hardwick Hall a lasting legacy to her fame and fortune.

And nature lovers are also in for a treat as Stephen tours the picturesque King’s Mill Reservoir to discover its Royal connections, the beautiful Teversal Trails, which is playing a key role in the district’s regeneration, and Clumber Park, where he learns all about the battle to conserve, preserve and thrive.

If you would like to pre-order your copy of Tourist Trails call Stephen Thirkill on 01623 450292 or visit Chad receptions.


Event - WWII bombing threat is subject of talk (Mexborough)

A TALK will be given on the defence of Sheffield during WWII at the next Mexborough and District Heritage Society meeting.
Historian Cory Garner will give the presentation at the George and Dragon pub in Mexborough on Tuesday, February 28, at 7.15pm.
He will explain how General Sir Fredrick Pile, Commander-in-Chief of Anti-Aircraft Command, organised defences from the north of Doncaster to the south of Chesterfield in order to protect Sheffield’s industrial factories.
Mr Garner will also show a short film depicting the defence of the city.

Event – Memorial for B17 ‘Mi Amigo’ crew (Sheffield)

There will be a wreath laying service in Endcliffe Park on Sunday 19th February at 1.15 followed by a memorial Service at St. Augustines Church, Brocco Bank at 2pm in memory of the USAAF B17G-10-BO crew of 42-31322 “Mi Amigo” from 305th Bomb Group which crashed during the evening of 22nd February 1944 in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield after returning from a mission over Aalborg, Denmark. 

Lt Kriegshauser, 2nd Lt Curtis, 2nd Lt Humphrey, 2nd Lt Hernandez, S/Sgt Estabrooks, Sgt Tuttle, S/Sgt Mayfield, Sgt Ambrosio,  M/Sgt Williams and Sgt Robbins were killed after the bomber caught fire after attempting to land the stricken aircraft in the park but hit the hillside after maneuvering to miss some children playing football there. The bomber seems to have been lost returning some 100 miles north of its base at USAAF Chelveston.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

News - War museum passes first planning step (Newark)

District planners have given the green light to plans to create a national Civil War museum in Newark.
The application — put forward by Newark and Sherwood District Council — features a glass extension between the Palace Theatre and the Georgian Old Magnus Buildings, as well as internal and external alterations.

Its planning committee expressed reservations about how a modern glass extension would look, but approved the proposal.

However, because the council cannot determine its own applications, it will go to the Government for a final decision.

The committee was told the buildings had been empty since 2005 and, including the Tudor Hall that dates from 1532, were grade two listed for protection, putting them in the top 6% of heritage assets in the country.

A bid seeking £3.5m has been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund to pay for the project.

The committee was told the Civil War museum would have national and international significance and could attract 60,000 visitors a year.

It would also feature exhibitions relating to other parts of Newark’s history and the history of the wider area, as well as offering educational and meeting space, a cafĂ© and a shop.

The vice-chairman, Mr Ben Wells, was the only committee member to vote against the proposal.

He described the glass block as a “carbuncle, a monstrosity to be placed in the centre of Newark” as well as dull, boring and uninspiring.

Mrs Sue Saddington felt the design was too clinical and could be home to flats, a hospital or similar instead of a building of culture.

Mr Dennis Jones suggested the glass frontage be etched with images of Roundheads and Cavaliers.

Mr Julian Hamilton said the buildings’ progression through the ages appeared disjointed.

He said: “It doesn’t look like a museum to me. It doesn’t look appealing. There is a lack of originality.

“However, what is behind the facade will be an iconic museum making Newark a destination rather than a visit.”

The cabinet member for leisure, Mr Roger Jackson, told the committee that the glass and the visible steel girders behind it were necessary to house a complicated lift system opening at different levels and in different directions, a requirement of the Disability Discrimination Act.

The committee felt they would have a chance to tweak the scheme as the process went on.

Committee chairman Mr David Payne said: “It is an important project, an exciting project. It is the council’s own project.”

Describing the glass section of frontage, he said: “It’s novel for Newark but not for the rest of the country.”


News - Protection for war memorials from metal thieves (Hucknall)

ACTION has been taken to protect plaques on Hucknall’s precious war memorial from being targeted by metal thieves looking to cash in.
The value of scrap metal has shot up in recent years and this has sparked a huge rise in the number of theft offences.
Metal roadside grates have been taken, lead from churches stolen and even drainpipes from Newstead Abbey pilfered.
Nothing is safe.
That’s why Ashfield District Council, the War Memorials Trust and Ashfield Memorials Group have joined forces to ensure that all metal plaques on war memorials within the district are marked with SmartWater and registered on a database.
The SmartWater is invisible to the eye but appears when scanned using an ultraviolet light. It is also almost impossible to remove once marked and can even withstand being burnt.
Plaques on the cenotaph to remember Hucknall’s war dead in the town’s Titchfield Park have been treated.
If a plaque now gets stolen and taken to a scrapyard anywhere in the country, police can locate exactly which one it is and where it has been stolen from.
Also, a thief who tries to remove Smartwater risks inadvertently spreading forensic evidence on to their clothes and any tools. This can be used by police to link a suspect directly to the crime scene.
Local groups, parish and town councils across Nottinghamshire are being reminded of the scheme to use this forensic technology to help reduce the risk of thieves and vandals stealing or damaging metal from war memorials.
Notts County Council has worked with local groups since 2006 to fund projects and create 23 war memorials in the county through its Local Improvement Scheme at a cost of £364,500.
It is estimated that on average one war memorial a week across the UK is being targeted by thieves intent on stealing bronze, copper or other metals to sell on for scrap despite the metal having relatively little monetary value.
Ashfield councillor Warren Nuttall (Lab) said: “We are very pleased to be involved in this scheme and are doing all we can to help try to reduce this sort of crime.
“The SmartWater technology is very impressive and we hope it will help to protect our war memorial plaques.”
Coun Richard Butler (Con), the county council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “War memorials are an important focal point in our communities and are a crucial reminder of the sacrifice of those who lost their lives for their country. It is shameful if any are stolen.”