Rolleston-on-Dove today

The end of a year is traditionally a time to reminisce about the past and look forward to what the future may hold. A time perhaps for taking stock. The end of a Millennium must provide even more justification for such thoughts.

The historian has been defined in many ways but one that appeals is "of a prophet looking backwards".

The village of Rolleston on Dove must have seen more changes in the last hundred years than the previous nine hundred and the turn of the century saw the appearance of the first commuters into the local community following the coming of the railway. I wonder if anyone then said "it will never last". The village hall was another Victorian arrival and lasted about as long as the railway. Both remain in other guises with reminders of what used to be. The Parish Council arrived at about the same time and for better or worse (mostly better) is still with us having celebrated its centenary in 1994.

Education in the village received a major boost at the end of the first decade with the opening of the Council School again happily still with us but now accommodating the lower age group only.

The sale of the Mosley Estate in the 1920's was bound to bring changes and this was the trigger for subsequent residential development although most of this did not arrive until the Second World War had come and gone. This brought many new people into the village and coupled with the building of the Forest of Needwood High School, wrought a transformation of village life. Social life expanded due to the enthusiastic band of "doers" headed by committed leaders. Very often the former were members of a number of organisations. The premature closure of the High School in 1985 had a profound effect on village life. Not only had Rolleston lost an excellent school but also its youth club and many associated social activities.

Perhaps this was Rolleston's Golden Age which inevitably would be followed by a time for regrouping before further heights are reached.

At the present time, there is an air of uncertainty about the village - the proposed demolition of the former Forest of Needwood High School buildings and the consequential loss of even more facilities to make way for more houses is a cause for concern.

The recent Village Design Statement provides a position statement of the current level of development and hopefully a blueprint for the future. That is certainly the wish of the enthusiastic band of volunteers who worked so hard to produce it. The document has received National recognition.

Change, of course, is inevitable but Rolleston on Dove ought to be remembered for its achievements rather than a community that is good at losing things! Perhaps it is a sign of increasing age when we think of the "Good Old Days" as the days of the 70s and it is time to look forward. Let us hope that the enthusiasts we need to keep community life expanding in the new Millennium will be around to pilot a new "Golden Age".

Alan Woodbine

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This site was created by Richard Bush

Last updated: 5 April 2000