Posts

Showing posts from April, 2009

Taiwan Camp: When the West meet the East

During the Second World War, in May 1943, the Derby Evening Telegraph carried reports of several local men who had been taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore, the first news that they were still alive. Some returned home but many did not survive the rigours of a Japanese war camp.

Signaller J. E. Saunders (23), of the Royal Corps of Signals, only son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Saunders of 39, Mansfield-street, Derby, is also in Taiwan Camp. He enlisted in June, 1938, and was drafted to India in July, 1939, transferred to Malaya in 1941, and taken prisoner at Singapore.

There were more than 16 Japanese prisoner of war camps on the island of Taiwan (Formosa) during the Second World War, and almost 30,000 allied prisoners of war who travelled to and from the Taiwan camps or stopped here en route to Japan, Korea and Manchuria during WWII.

To be a Far East Prisoner of War meant:

25% of FEPOWs captured by the Japanese were killed or died in captivity, compared with 5% of those captur…

The earliest bus was a horse drawn bus

There were all manner of improvements to make daily life easier. The first bus service to Little Chester from the centre of Derby to the Coach and Horse had begun in 1903 as Derby Corporation route no. 3; the earlier Derby Omnibus Company came only as far as the Bridge Inn en-route to the Nottingham Road. It was a horse drawn bus. Clifford Burton wrote,
We can recall the driver, Mr. Whittaker, with his magnificent white beard, sitting aloft in the driving seat. It was a rare thrill to be lifted up to share his high seat on a trip to town. The 'bus' had a rear entrance and passengers sat facing each other on each side. Signals to stop and start were from a whistle blown by the conductor. The horse responded quickly to the signals. Local imps soon became aware of this and many an unscheduled stop  was caused by the lads running alongside and blowing a whistle, much to the fury of the man in charge of the vehicle. No tramways were laid to Little Chester so the horse drawn bus servi…

Typical 19th Century Terraced House

Typical terraced house has cellar under the front room. To the rear were gardens and out houses. 
Typical dwelling had two downstairs rooms, the front one for 'best' and living room at the rear, off which a steep staircase ascended to three bedrooms. The larger houses had two attic rooms above. 
Heating was by open coal fires and they were gas lit. 
In the kitchen cold water was piped to a hand pump at the side of a stone sink and in one corner stood the wash day copper. 
Built in cupboards and a walk-in pantry with a stone thrall provided storage space. 
Running behind the houses was a lane for the night soil men who came round after dark with horse and cart to empty the cess pits. These were later replaced by an outhouse toilet attached to the coal house. 
There was a yard for hanging out washing and enough space for a vegetable plot.

My Little Handprints

Image
I miss you when we're not together
I'm growing up so fast
See how big I've gotten
Since you saw me last.

The years will fly right by
You'll wonder how I grew so quick
When and where and why?
So look upon these handprintsThat are hanging on your wall
And memories will come back
When I was very small.

The New Poor Law 1834

When hard times came, obtaining support under the New Poor Law of 1834 was not an easy option.

In 1834 the New Poor Law was enacted which joined together about six Parishes into a Union for the administration of the measures to deal with the poor under the national leadership of the Poor Law Commissioners. Several citizens in the Parish, usually the well to do, were appointed to run them, the Guardians.

The Guardians normally served ratepayers interests not the paupers, they might regard poverty as the fault of the poor, and they supported and carried out harsh treatment of the poor.

Every Union had a Workhouse. Homes were broken up and people moved into the Workhouse if they had no relatives to look after them.

The applicant for relief had to go before the Board of Guardians who would decide whether to offer support in the home or in the new 'deterrent' workhouse. The board of Guardian's Minute Books contain many snapshots of personal tragedies, such as 'bastard'…

Guess who might be the owner of this Villa Residence

This is an auction advertise on the Derby Mercury, on 1 October,1851: 
A handsome Modern Villa Residence, and finished in the most substantial and complete manner for his own  residence, situate at Little Chester, near Derby, containing spacious entrance hall and staircase with lobby, dining, drawing, and breakfast rooms, large kitchen with excellent fittings, five bedrooms, five dry arched cellars, bath-room, and pantry. Also a coach-house, and stable for two horses, with chambers over, back kitchen, summer house with three sashed windows, pleasure and kitchen gardens and orchard, containing with the site of the buildings, 7,130 square yards.  The premises are walled round, and have a never failing supply of excellent hard and soft water.
This house was  built by the proprietor, and "now in the occupation of Misses Harrison". Mr. Harrison advertised himself as 'Engineer, steam and kitchen apparatus, all kinds of buildings warmed by hot water, steam, or hot air, and smith&…

Extremes of weather in Derby history

Extremes of weather were a notable feature in seventeenth Century. The Chronicle records 'a great snow' in 1614, followed by 'a great drought which continued four months'. In 1634, during another great fall of snow, four people froze to death while travelling between Chaddesden and Derby. In contrast, in 1661 'The River Derwent wonderfully dried up so that people might go over unshod'. In 1674, the Markeaton Brook flooded the centre of Derby so that 'St. James Bridge was landed at the pump in St. Peter's parish.' Even more dramatic was the extreme weather of 1676. The Chronicle records,

A very dry summer, and a hard frost this winter. - Derwent frozen over so as persons went up to Darley, and waggons loaded went over the ice upon the Brook at Tenant Bridge, and lasted from the end of October and until the latter end of January.

The Chronicle finishes its comments on the seventeenth century with words which presage the problems which later faced Little…

Accident Report

Date 24-3-09
Dear Parent,
You child ................................. has had a bump on the head today at school.
Details:
Accidentally hit on her right cheek with a bat. 
Cold compress applied
(Bruise on cheek) He/She has been observed and seems to have suffered no obvious ill effects. However, I would be grateful if you could keep a special eye on your child this evening just to make sure.
Many thanks.
Your sincerely
Signed  ........................................................ on behalf of

xxx Headteacher.

Derby: From Saxon Settlers to Domesday Book

In this post, I mentioned the book A City Within a City, Little Chester Derby, AD80 - AD2000, by Joan D'Arcy, and Derby local history during Roman Occupation period. 
In the early fifth century the Roman legions were withdrawn from Britain to defend Rome from barbarian attacks and Angles and Saxons from northern Europe began to colonise the land. Small bands of Anglian peoples began to penetrate the Midlands.
As the various groups of Angles and Saxons tightened their hold on the land, kingdoms were formed and boundaries drawn. The midlands became part of a large kingdom of Mercia. King Penda ruled in the early seventh century. 
Derby began to develop to the south of Little Chester, in defensible area between the River Derwent and a brook known today as Markeaton Brook. The name Northworthy (which the Danes called Derby) has been given to this Saxon phase of Derby's history.
Saxon occupation was disrupted by the arrival of Vikings, or Danes, who made their first recorded appearance…

Bank incentives: a funny story

First Direct promotion said get £25 for opening an account. Yet the terms stated opening an account simply meant putting in a penny. The angry bank closed the loophole within hours after 10,000 plus MoneySavers came from the weekly email, opened accounts, grabbed the cash then closed it.

Happy Easter

Image
School closes for Easter, and will be re-open for summer term on Monday 20th April.
Brenda made a card, a tiara with a yellow chick on the front,  a paper basket full of chocolate eggs, and a little yellow chick.
Her teacher Mrs. Roome wears an pair rabbit ears, looks really funny.

What is Chinese Cloth Powder?

I noticed that there were many advertisements on 19th Century newspaper Derby Mercury selling Chinese cloth powder, and I am wondering what this thing is.