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Showing posts from February, 2009

Derbyshire Villages

Hereby I would like to recommend a book about Derbyshire villages, edited by Derbyshire Federation of Women's Institute, and published byCountryside Books.This book contains descriptions of over 100 villages written by the people who live in them - the local members of Derbyshire's Women's Institutes. Their entries record the history, architecture, atmosphere, anecdotes, people and events which make each village different from its neighbours.Completing their text are 50 full-colour photographs taken by well-known landscape phptographer, Bill Meadows. They show Derbyshire at its best in all seasons and demonstrate the appeal  of its villages and countryside.Their entries are arranged in an alphabetical order, rather than geographical one or other ways, this arrangement may give you an impression of a dictionary or encyclopedia, quite plain and a little bit boring. But it's really a good book for you to keep on bedside table,  read one or two pages before go to bed. Ever…

What does '-worth' mean in place names?

As far as I know, there are two -worth places in Derby: Mackworth and Isleworth. One day I wonder what 'worth' mean and its word origin. I did a quick search and found lots of -worth places in UK:

Ailsworth, Babworth, Backworth, Elworth, Holworth, Kegworth, Tadworth, Wigglesworth, ...

worth and worthy originated from Saxon terms and mean 'enclosed land'. For example, Mackworth means Mac’s enclosure.

Politics in Derby City

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Although many people says that they have been let down or betrayed by Labour, but Labour still has the majority of 40%,  Lib Dem has 31% in the middle, and Tory just 26%. The majority and the minority made an alliance to block the middle Lib Dem. The alliance between Derby's Labour and Conservative groups began when Labour and Tory councillors announced back in 2006 that they would be working together to run the Council. Two years later voters rejected both parties, forcing them to publicly distance themselves from each other, but it's still live  on the Council says senior Laberal Demorats
Strong Conservative areas lke Allestree, Oakwood and Spondon will move out of Derby North into a new "Mid-Derbyshire" constituency. The Lib Dem strongholds of Littleover and Mickleover and part of abbey Ward move from Derby south into Derby north.
According to Lib Dem's Derby City Reporter, Littleover councillor, Lucy Care will stand at the next election. Lucy was born in Derb…

Odd and weird place names

In Ashford, there is a picturesque and ancient Sheep Wash Bridge. Sheep were washed there until recent times: the lambs would be penned within the stone-walled pen on one side of the river whilst their mothers were thrown in at the other side. They would naturally swim across to their off spring, thus ensuring a good soaking.
Approaching Bamford on the A57 from Sheffield the name 'Cut-throat Bridge' may strike terror into the heart of the traveller. This name was given by local 16th century inhabitants who found a man lying there with many wounds to his face and neck. He was carried to a house nearby and then on to Bamford hall where he died two days later. 
In Breaston, there was no burial ground and until 1824 coffins were carried on shoulders across the fields to Wilne. The 'Coffin Walk' is still a public footpath over the fields from Breaston to Wilne.
Lover's Leap in Ashwood Dale is a huge natural cleft in the limestone rocks and was so named because two runaway …

Pancake Day: the locking out of teachers day

In Derbyshire, one funny custom was the locking-out of teachers. On Shrove Tuesday, the older boys would arrive at school early and tie the doors. when the teachers arrived, the children would chant:'Pancake Day is a jolly day, If you don't give us a holiday, We'll all run away'. 
The teachers would then pretend to be angry, but when the doors were opened, prayers said and register taken, the school would close for the day.

Lead Mining in Derbyshire History

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In Derbyshire, the present peace and serenity are in sharp contrast to the industrialisation and activity of former times. One of the most bustling industries is lead mining  in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
According Derbyshire Villages (edited by derbyshire Federation of Women's Institutes), the lead smelting industry provided work which was anything but healthy. The flues were cleaned out twice a year when the workers had to have nose and mouth covered and to keep special clothes on shelves at the works. At dinner time all was spoon meat, broth or Irish stew or a posset in winter because they might not touch the food with their hands.
Many local people were employed by the lead mine. When lead mining was at its peak the miner's holiday was a great event. For a week in May, country dancing took place on the green, there was a gingerbread stall, donkeys to ride and greasy pole to climb - with a prize at the top of - a leg of mutton.
The moral level must have been very low. …

How the first Bakewell pudding was created

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The first Bakewell pudding was created during the 19th century,  and was the result of a misunderstanding between the mistress of the rutlands Arms inn, Mrs Greaves, and her cook. On a day when important visitors were expected at the inn for dinner, Mrs Greaves instructed her cook how she wished the pastry made for a strawberry tart; the egg mixture was to be mixed into the pastry and the strawberry jam spread on top. Mrs Greaves was called away to receive her visitors and the cook either forgot or misunderstood the instruction and poured the egg mixture over the jam instead of mixing it in the pastry and what should have been a tart was now a pudding, went to the oven and thence to the table.
Dinner over, the guests sent for Mrs Greaves and complimented her upon her delicious pudding. Mrs Greaves thought it odd that her tart should be called a pudding and she questioned the cook who confessed what she had done.

Derbyshire Overview

Derby shire is a county of great contrasts, bordered by seven other counties. The most northerly countryside attracts many visitors with its high moorlands of peat, cotton grass, heather and tumbling streams which feed the reservoirs of the upper Derwent Valley. The long gritstone edges which flank the east and western borders enclose a massive limestone plateau studded with unusual rock formations, cliffs, caves and deep wooded gorges, carved over the centuries by the rivers flowing through the county. Continuing south ward, the countryside changes to a more lowland pastoral scne.
The county is steeped in history, from ancient stone circles, to Roman settlements, to relics of past industry and the historic houses of Chatsworth, Hardwick, Haddon,Kedleston, Sudbury. To this day agriculture and industry play their part in the continual transformation of the country side, but the most attractive feature of Derby shire is its many small villages and their inhabitants.
(Derbyshire Villages, …

An imaginary Derby Citizen from early 19th early century

There is an article in Derby local newspaper Mercury telling an imaginary Derby citizen from the early 19th century how good things were now:

Consider! In your day only a few people could read and write. In your day you walked to Nottingham, or you spent 10 hours in getting to London by coach. In ours the Nottingham run takes half-an-hour; we get to London in three, to Paris in a day, to America in a week. Your best idea of a telegraph was a line of signal posts from the sea to London; we have wires and we can communicate with anyone in a few hours; with other wires we can telephone and actually talk to people either in their offices in Derby or their offices in London. Your news from the Continent took weeks to come, now we can get it flashed under the sea, from all parts of the world in a few hours.

You lighted your homes with rush-lights or candles; we light our houses or streets with gas or electricity. You took your pitcher to the pump; we get our water, fresh and pure from the co…