Civic Trust News 2007

Civic Trust Donation

Have You “Nô-Ôticed” Anything New Outside The Methodist Chapel? If not – then L00K again!!

The Civic Trust is very pleased to have been able to add to the very excellent renovations that have been carried out recently by donating a new Notice Board for the exterior wall. It has always been our desire to support projects that enhance the look of the village, and we hope that this small gesture will give both practicality, and pleasure, to the many people who attend the Methodist Chapel. The photograph shows Bob Lockley who accepted the donation on behalf of the Methodist Chapel.

Winter 2007

Recent Events

August should be quiet. Holidays mean that many members are absent and the rest of us hope for a peaceful month. Some hope – see ‘Planning Matters’.

But in September the Committee load returns to normal. Early in September, the repaired historic cast iron fingerpost at the School Lane - Chapel Lane - Beacon Road junction, for which the Civic Trust had made a contribution of £1000, was re installed. Included in this sum was a generous donation to the Civic Trust of £350 from the Jinnie Inn and their customers from a bar collection made earlier in the year.

On the 19th, historian Roger Shelly, the Keeper of Derby’s Silk Mill Museum and a specialist in industrial history, introduced us to its history and to future intentions for its development. Precisely when the Mill first opened is unknown but the buildings by the river are believed to be the first factory buildings in England. They certainly became the first continuously running manufacturing plant – water powered – and the labour force was the first to be organised for a mass production process. The total production process, from raw material to silk thread was performed in these two buildings by about 1720.

There were lots of illustrations – not photographs of course until 1870 – to show how the factory developed over its first century or so. The 300 to 400 work force was about 10% of Derby’s population in the early 18thC. By 1800 Derby had 12 more silk mills and by 1830 the town’s silk work force was 6000. However the silk industry died, by 1910 the Mill manufactured chemicals and was gutted by a major fire. It was rebuilt in essentially the same form and, since 1974, has been ‘Derby Industrial Museum’.

Plans for the future centre around improving the whole Derby Museum structure with the theme on ‘Derby and its people in industrial development – from the 18thC enlightenment to the 21st Century’.

By splendid coincidence, as Mr Shelly left the Cricket Club, Mrs Press of 8 Church Road was presented by the Chairman with the Shelly Cup for the best front garden of 2007. Many Congratulations Mrs Press from the Civic Trust!

And so to October 17th and another historian (to replace the proposed lecture on the restoration of Hilton’s Wakelyn Old Hall). Richard Stone, chairman of Burton Civic Trust and countryside lover, educated us with his presentation of ‘English Landscape Art and Hidden History’. In the 18th and 19th centuries, England had the best agricultural industry in the world. This was led, perhaps, by King George III – known to his subjects as ‘Farmer George’ and influenced the land-owning aristocracy to use their great areas of land to produce food. Without this Agricultural Revolution it is believed that the Industrial Revolution (of which Derby Silk Mill was an early part) might well have failed for lack of food to sustain the town workers. 

Now, however, since the aristocratic land owners were doing ‘a good thing’, they couldn’t resist showing off just how good they were, and commissioned pictures that illustrated this good and – in many cases – with their own portraits superimposed. Many of these paintings are still in existence.

Richard illustrated this history with slides of a dozen or so well known pictures by Lambert, Hately, Gainsborough, Stubbs, Turner, Constable and Brett. These depicted the landscape and the Lords (and Ladies), and also the labourers at work or at home, their tools and their families - a cross-section of English social history not commonly brought together.

Our Autumn Programme - - - -

Wednesday 16 January, 8.00pm at the Cricket Club
Tim Moss on ‘The Salt Road’

Sunday 27 January noon at Apple Acres
The Civic Trust’s Mulled Wine and Nibbles. 
Ticket only – from Committee Members

Wednesday 20 February, 8.00pm at the Cricket Club
Derek Palmer on ‘Derbyshire and District Well Dressings’

Saturday 23 February 2.00pm on the Croft
The Civic Trust’s Pancake Races
Entry forms for teams will be available nearer the date.

Wednesday 19 March 
Ticket Event, available from Committee Members near the date.
A guided visit to Burton Constitutional Club

Planning Matters

Just a single application to be picked out. Many of you will know about it but, for the others - it appeared in August. The quiet period!! An application to ESBC was made for permission to build a two storey house near the Dovecliffe Hotel but outside the Development Boundaries of Rolleston and Stretton. In return for this permission, the applicant offered land adjacent to the Cricket Club, free of charge, to be used for a second cricket square for Rolleston and two football pitches for Stretton. There were also some other goodies in the offer. An offer we thought too good to turn down. So we supported it.

But, sadly, on the day of the relevant planning meeting the applicant withdrew. A Shame !

Autumn 2007

Recent Events

On 16 May, Ken Brown – a professional photographer of 30 years’ experience introduced us to ‘The Evolution of the Camera – from Obscura to Digital’. In 1646, in a darkened room, with bright sunshine outside, light through a pinhole cast an image of the view outside. Given the right conditions the picture could be very clear – but upside down. There was a series of developments, all based on drawing the upside down image and it wasn’t until the development of wet collodion ( gun-cotton in ether) solution painted on to a glass plate that pictures could be ‘taken’ in a manner similar to that we know today. They needed several minutes’ exposure - could you stay still long enough? So Fox Talbot in England and Daguerre in France had got things moving. Over the years there has been a wide variety of developments in technology until the industry arrived at Digital, where loads more technology has been applied over a very much shorter time. So, although early digital cameras were difficult to use successfully, development has vastly improved the quality of the picture – bigger, sharper, no camera shake, colour, zoom and image manipulation – removing the bride’s mother’s nose, unwanted background people, changing colour and all those other little tricks undreamed of in the days of my box brownie.

That was the last of our early ’07 lecture meetings. Summer began with the 20 June guided walk, this year around Burton, led by three members of Burton Civic Trust. They had an enormous knowledge of the buildings and history of Burton and even though rain threatened the sunny evening at one point, we all retired with a fund of new information, to the Burton Bridge Inn for supper and beer about as good as it can be. All in all a perfect follow-up to the April lecture by Valerie Burton on Burton’s buildings (reported in the previous Rollestonian).

7 July brought the Civic Trust’s Cheese and Wine evening held in the Scouts marquee on the Appleacres lawn - an enjoyable sociable evening on one of the best days in July.

Rolleston Conservation Area

Those of you with long memories will remember that much effort was put into helping the ESBC Conservation Officer with the revision of the Conservation Area document. He left the ESBC in February 2006 and current information is that ‘Cabinet’ have passed the document. However the proposed changes in the boundary of the conservation area now have to be advertised formally in newspapers and then it will go to the full Borough Council committee. It is also necessary that a new Conservation Officer be appointed first. All of this is a move in the right direction, but don’t hold your breath!

Planning Matters

An application has been made for permission to develop the Highfield Garage site by building three pairs of semi-detached and two detached houses.

Our Autumn Programme - - - -

Friday 14 to Monday 17 September
Heritage Weekend – Village Event.

Wednesday 19 September at the Cricket Club, 8.00pm
Roger Shelly on ‘The Derby Silk Mill’.

Wednesday 17 October at the Cricket Club, 8.00pm
Bobby Sodhi on ‘Wakelyn Old Hall, Hilton – The Restoration’.

Wednesday 21 November at the Cricket Club, 8.00pm
Stuart Dixon on ‘The Eden Project and Eden Gardens, New Zealand’.

Friday 7 December – Ticket Event
Civic Trust Christmas Meal.

Heritage Weekend (14 – 17 September)

The Civic Trust is producing a series of three leaflets of short walks (less than a mile each) with guidance as to which aspects of village history can be seen. One is wholly within the village, the others also go briefly into the fields with longer views. Visit us at St Mary’s Lych-gate during exhibition times, get a copy and take a short, healthy and informative walk!

Jottings From The Chairman

In these days of whingeing and moaning, and litigation (and we all get caught up in it), it is good to sometimes stand back from it all – and take stock of what there is around us. Many of us like Rolleston as a place to live – for what it is. Certain aspects could be better but generally it’s OK.

It’s worth appreciating the better things about us that we like – and some of the people who do their best to make it pleasant. People with the right attitude - who make an effort. People like those good folks at Starbucks – always (nearly always) with a smile and a greeting – and a willingness to oblige. They create a happy centre for the village and a meeting point in the morning for people posting letters, collecting papers, stamps, snacks, sweets, etc. Likewise, Justin and Wendy at the Jinnie Inn – entering into the spirit of the village and working hard to provide a nice ‘local’. Will, at the Spread, running an attractive eating place and bar at the picturesque site near our Alderbrook. And then, there are the hard-working volunteers, people like Marek Trelinski and Wally Hodson-Walker who have recently retired having put in a stint of 44 years between them on the Parish Council. And many others of course.

The feel of a village is always good where folks make an effort and take on a helpful and encouraging approach – rather than the critical one which often seems to be the style of the day.

Have a good autumn.
Roger Gawthorpe

Civic Trust Front Garden Award

Sadly the 2007 Back Garden Award had to be abandoned due to the lack of entrants, but we hope to re-instate the competition for Summer 2008.

The Front Garden Award took place in June this year. The village, as last year, was divided into 9 areas with each area covered by members of the Civic Trust to establish a short list of three gardens for each area. These were then forwarded to the independent judge for a further inspection – the outcome of which is as follows:

The winner of the O. D. Shelly Cup Front Garden Award is 8 Church Road – Mrs J. Press. “.... a very colourful cottage garden. Particularly liked the Foxglove / blue Iris / white Lupin / Aquilegia combination. Good Acer palmatum by the door. Clematis colonising old tree stump.”

The following gardens were highly commended:

44 Hall Road – Mr & Mrs D. Aspinall. “.... a nice mix of formal, well – clipped lawn with cottage garden bedding, arches adding height interest.”

14 Brookside – Mr & Mrs A. Starbuck. “.....a beautiful mixture of cottage garden favourites. Lovely colour combinations including purple Alliums, blue Polemonium and dusky pink English Roses. Love the way the plants complement the picket fencing.”

Special mention was also given to the following gardens:

6 Neville Close.
38 Shotwood Close.
“..... both have attractive, low maintenance planting schemes which provide year-round interest. Both had a Mediterranean feel – Shotwood had a lovely bed of Hostas without damage.

“Hilltop” South Hill.
“Grey Gables” Hall Grounds.
“.....have well kept gardens with mature trees and shrubs providing all round colour.

The committee would like to thank the judge and members of the Civic Trust for all the hard work undertaken in searching out examples of horticultural excellence.

The presentation of the Shelly Cup and a gardens voucher for the Front Garden Competition will be held at the Rolleston Civic Trust meeting on Wednesday 19th September 2007 at Rolleston Cricket Club, 8.00 pm.

Summer 2007

Back Gardens Competition Cancelled

Sadly the Civic Trust has had to cancel this year’s Back Garden Competition due to a lack of entries. It is hoped to reinstate the competition next year as a biennial event.

Street Furniture Review 2007

It was way back in December 2006 and with some anxiety that we asked for volunteers to review Rolleston’s street furniture.

With much relief, eight hardy members offered their help to tread the pavements and roads of the village noting down comments about litter bins, street signs and lamp posts etc.

It may not sound earth shatteringly exciting but their efforts could form a baseline for future reference and influence the decision making of County, Borough and Parish Councils.

The village was divided into six areas. The idea was for the volunteers to walk these roads several times over three months and really look hard at the design, location and function of the street furniture therein. This was not intended to be an inventory, more an impression of continuity (or lack of it) in the village street scene.

The results have been interesting and not totally predictable. It goes to show that we don’t always really take in our everyday surroundings!

Some general points were common to all the reports. On the positive side there was praise for our ‘village gateways’-it was noted that they were well maintained and attractive. It was also felt that most litter bins were placed in useful spots and seemed to be emptied regularly.

There was, however, little positive feedback concerning the replacement, installation and maintenance of street lights and signage.

Rolleston has a significant Conservation area with many attractive individual properties and group scenes –these were recently highlighted as having special value in the Conservation Area Appraisal document produced by the Borough’s Conservation Officer. The street lighting on Brookside has been traditional and in keeping with the age and proportions of the buildings. There is room to improve this aspect of street design elsewhere in the Conservation Area and to extend the design features to a larger area. To this end, it is vital that in the future the various Village groups (such as the Village Design Statement Group and the Civic Trust) are part of the consultation process when these matters are considered.

Secondly it was commented that there seems to be a lack of ‘joined up thinking’ regarding road signs. 

There will need to be a further report on the responses from County regarding a list of queries ranging from street sign cleaning and maintenance, criteria for side road signs, status of the ford, removal of paint from pavements following repair of underground gas, water and electric supplies. Also the removal of paint from the road outside the old college site still indicating SCHOOL! This was carefully replaced after the last lengthy road disruptions on Station Rd four years after the closure of the college.

Rolleston Parish Council has recently initiated the restoration of the fingerpost at the junction of Beacon Rd/School Lane. The Civic Trust felt this project deserved support and donated £1000 towards repairs. Two further fingerposts have been identified as needing work.

Of particular concern is the indicator at the Craythorne Lane/Beacon Rd junction. Perhaps this will be considered for repairs as part of a rolling plan of maintenance.

The junction has also been highlighted as lacking sufficient warning signs from all directions and poses an identifiable hazard to road safety. 

This report is a preliminary presentation of the volunteer’s findings. I hope that by the next Rollestonian there may be some comments and feedback from the County and Borough Councils.

If anyone is interested in making any further comments about our village streetscape please e-mail: 

Recent Events - Inside

On 21 February Jeff Clinton, aided and abetted by James, his grandson, shared with us his experiences of many years as an antiques dealer. Currently, he said, we are in a buyers’ market, but nonetheless, if one wishes to maintain a real interest, dedication is essential. Remember that there is no firm price and that negotiable prices this year may be more or less than last year – or even less than the prices expected three decades ago.

His talk was illustrated both by slides and by the interesting collection of items brought along to give us a feel for the real thing. So we finished the evening better informed about clocks, pictures, cloisonné, pewter, silver, glass candlesticks, swords, chests, chairs, tables and desks to name but a few.

There were also several entertaining stories about price discrepancy between early offer and final purchase that really illustrated his early stricture that ‘there is no firm price’.

And so to 21 March, when Rodney Paul shared with us his ‘Life on a Hebridean Island’, illustrated with slides. The island in question was Coll, then owned by one of Rodney’s family – and covenanted always to pass on to the oldest male heir. Rodney was invited to visit for ‘a couple of weeks’ work’, stayed for two years and ‘enjoyed every minute’ working, mainly as a shepherd.

At various times, Coll has been famous for cheese, tulip farming and the largest known collection of rare sheep and cattle. It’s now a bird sanctuary providing a home for more than 200 species, most famous, perhaps, for the corncrake. There was a shop, an hotel, a one-room school and single track road with just 100 yards of dual-carriageway. The shop received stock three times a week by ferry. Overall there was a totally different pace of life which was clearly Rodney’s overriding fond memory, well supported by other memories of fine beaches, undulating hills, crevasses and, in one area, a veritable lunar landscape.

For our third meeting on 18 April, we moved to something completely different. Valerie Burton, President of Burton Civic Trust presented her view of Burton’s development, ‘Conserving the Best of our Past; Challenges for the Future’ also illustrated with a fine slide record of both successes and failures. Her overriding concern is retaining Burton’s history and, wherever possible, the appearance of individual and valuable groups of buildings.

Many of the old brewery buildings, of course, have gone – whether of historic value or not. However, the stories of the preservation of the early Bass and Worthington town houses, sometimes despite the plans of the Council of the day, gave us some insight into what a Civic Trust can do if the will is strong.

Among the many examples brought to our attention was the example of the Riverside centre, designed for modern shopping but quickly superseded by Cooper’s Square and associated developments. These drew away the commercial business. One area of old Burton gone for ever. Nonetheless Horninglow Street still shows examples of historic buildings still in decent condition and in up-to-date use. There may also be relics of 14th century structures hereabouts – Jee-Ja-Jees restaurant is an example. Sadly, of course, there are also examples where commercial pressures have led to much less attractive results. However, on several recently developed sites, Mrs Burton suggested there are successful combinations of new-build and conversion.

Recent Events - Outside

Pancake Races
On Saturday 24th February we held, on the Croft, what may have been the best Pancake Race day ever. The weather was good and 26 teams competed (we believe this is a record) with clear winners as follows:

Infants Rolleston Pre-School
Juniors Flaming Pancakes
Seniors Starbucks News Girls
Family Swiss Family Hickman

The collecting tins yielded £74.47 so that £100.47 was given to St Mary’s Church fund.

Afterwards many of those present repaired to the Club to buy and eat pancakes prepared by the Pre-School Play-group.

Plant Swap
Our second plant swap event proved once again to be a great day. The weather was excellent, the setting wonderful and the fund raising a huge success – enabling the Civic Trust to donate £100 to St Mary’s Restoration Fund. A big thank you is extended to Heather and Paul Taylor for allowing us the use of their garden.

Our Summer Programme

Wednesday 16 May, 8pm at the Cricket Club
Ken Brown on ‘Photographic Evolution

Wednesday 20 June in Burton
Richard Stone guiding us on a Walk & Talk around Burton (numbers limited – ticket only).
With supper at the Burton Bridge Brewery.

Saturday 7 July at Apple Acres.
Cheese & Wine Evening – ticket only – at AppleAcres
Our thanks to Mr and Mrs Richardson

14 to 17 September - ‘Heritage Weekend’

Planning Matters

Nothing new and exciting to report, but two permissions granted:

Spring 2007

Recent Events

However good the planning – and that for our monthly meetings is very good – things can go awry. Our early winter schedule hit us with a real double whammy. On November 15th we should have met and heard Ms Anne Owen presenting the “Diary of a Flanders soldier” but she was taken ill. So, almost literally at the last moment, Sylvia Martin, one of our very own members, stepped into the breach (not for the first time) to introduce us to a selection of “improving poetry” from the Victorians and Edwardians. And those of us there on the night are greatly improved as a result. Whammy number one.

Later in November came the bulb planting exercise. The Civic Trust’s working party set to, improving two small areas of the village – the bend at the top of Knowles Hill and an area of St Mary’s churchyard – with spring bulbs. Remember this note when you see the results.

December, of course, brought our annual Christmas Dinner. A very good one too at the Meynell Ingram Arms, Hoar Cross. In a marquee, no less, in December. Some of our number were looking forward to this with a certain amount of trepidation. But a warm marquee and a very good dinner removed the trepidation and replaced it with a rosy glow.

And so into 2007 and the second whammy. On January 17th our Tree Surgeon speaker was unable to introduce us to “The life of a ----------“. But Ms Anne Owen (see above if you need to refresh your memory), quite recovered from her bronchitis, brought her transcript of that Flanders soldier’s diary. We wouldn’t have missed it for anything. The original diary (the right size to fit into a battledress pocket) was rewritten by Ms Owen to become readable by the soldier’s family. She backed this up by her own research and her exploration of those battlefield areas where he had fought and rested. Eventually a serious head wound caused him to be invalided out and sent back to Blighty. Serious as this was, our man returned to the family farm and lived as a successful farmer into his 80s. A fascinating story.

January was completed by our Mulled Wine event at Apple Acres. A truly social occasion and a couple of hours of non-stop conversation.

Our Spring Programme

Wednesday 21 March at the Cricket Club
Rodney Paul on ‘Life on a Hebridean Island’

Wednesday 18 April at the Cricket Club
Valerie Burton, President of Burton Civic Trust on
‘Conserving the best of our past; Challenges for the future’.

Sunday 29 April at the Old Hall, Hall Grounds.
Plant Swap 2.00 to 4.00pm. Refreshments
By kind permission of Mr. and Mrs. P.Taylor

Wednesday 16 May at the Cricket Club.
Ken Brown on ‘Photographic Evolution’

Wednesday 20 June: Ticket Event
Walk and Talk round Burton.
Guided by Richard Stone, Chair of Burton Civic Trust.
With supper at a local hostelry.

Planning Matters

Significant items that have popped up in November, December and January.

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Last updated: 22 December 2007