In November next year, Unstone village will be commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War. I have been asked to produce an exhibition in St Mary’s Church and a book of the exhibition as I did for the centenary of the laying of the foundation stone at the church. It is anticipated that the church will be decorated in a patriotic theme with hand-made poppies, one for each of the 41 soldiers lost in both World Wars. Thirty-one men are named on Unstone War Memorial, yet there are a further ten soldiers with Unstone connections not named locally. The book will tell the stories of all those lost including a soldier who served his country and a year after the war, was killed in a pit accident. There will be a wartime themed tea available, organ recitals of music from the war era and a short video about the war showing at times throughout the day.
If you have a story about a relative from Unstone who fought in either of the World Wars, I would love to hear from you.
New designs have been added to the History Made Memorable range at Unstone Post Office. There are also some old favourites as well. For those interested in all things ‘railway’ they include some using images of Unstone Station and Viaduct. Check out ‘Lost Landmarks’ which remembers the Adam and Eve trees near Grange Farm, Walker’s Shop on Station Hill and Summerley Colliery ‘Engine House’. New in are card designs featuring Unstone from the Stone Age as a centre of excellence for edge tools!
Since publishing ‘On the Doorstep and Beyond the Gate’ I have been asked whether ‘On the Track of Unstone’s Past’ is still available. Actually the book is currently out of print but a revised edition is planned for 2017. It is more than five years since information for the book was researched and in that time more material has been gathered together, so it is now due an update. Keep an eye on the website for when ‘On the Track’ will be available to purchase from Unstone Post Office.
Some of the old images I have collected of Unstone are truly wonderful. Many were taken by H. Walker, Newsagent, from around 1910 to the 1930s and copies have been for sale on Chesterfield flea market for a number of years. Working with the images and enlarging them reveals adverts on billboards, number plates on cars and certain styles of clothing relating to the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Starting with images of Unstone Post Office in three of its four locations I have created new images which will be coming soon in the form of blank cards for sale at Unstone Post Office.
There are many quirks of fate in Unstone’s history. One being that for such an ancient village – (mentioned twice in the Domesday survey of 1086 and with a Jacobean Manor), it has a 20th Century church. Another is that we have a Church Street but the church of St Mary is and always was from its outset very firmly situated on Crow Lane. It is such a shame that St Mary’s wasn’t built with its proposed tower. Maybe if it had been, Crow Lane would have been renamed Church Street.
Don’t forget to visit Unstone Post Office, and get your copy of ‘On the Doorstep and Beyond the Gate’, in time for Christmas. For every copy sold £1 is being donated to Ron Gains’ chosen charity, the Neurovascular Fund.
How many of you reading this blog found history a dull subject in school? Was it that teachers were ‘non-inspirational’, or topics studied were totally boring and had little relevance to the ‘here and now’ of teenage life?
I have to admit that history was way down the list of my favourite subjects, though not as bad as learning a foreign language when I had little idea where France was.
Yet, today I write history books. I have a desire to make history interesting, meaningful and tangible. Is it an age thing to find that I suddenly start to feel sorry for the dilapidated state of the K6 telephone box and ask the Parish Council to adopt it for £1? Then I realise all I did by this action was to shift the liability and the K6 falls into a state of more dilapidation without even a use for those who may have forgotten their two plus mobiles, have broken down and need to call out the fourth emergency service.
But whatever the state of Unstone’s K6, the once iconic symbol of ‘Britishism’, it has become the main character in my Old Red Box series of books for children. You never know, a few of those kids out there might start to notice these diminishing red boxes and wonder what they were for.