Here are the answers to our fourth Quick Quiz, set earlier this month on the Chase website.
Hopefully you got all the answers correct. If not, then you will have to see if you do better in our fifth quiz, coming very soon.
The solutions are:
Who was the British Prime Minister at the start of the 20th Century? A) Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman B) Arthur Balfour C) Robert Gascoyne-Cecil (3rd Marquess of Salisbury) ANSWER: C) Robert Gascoyne-Cecil. He served from 1895 to 1902.
Who was the only English-born Pope? A) St Felix IV B) Pope Adrian IV C) John XV ANSWER: B) Pope Adrian IV. His real name was Nicholas Breakspear and he was Pope from 1154-59.
On which island did the dodo live prior to becoming extinct? A) Mauritius B) Tasmania C) St Helena ANSWER: A) Mauritius
In which country was comedian Spike Milligan born? A) Australia B) Canada C) India ANSWER: C) India
What was the name of an autobiography by US president Jimmy Carter? A) Where’s the Rest of Me? B) At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends C) An Hour Before Daylight: Memories of a Rural Boyhood ANSWER: C) An Hour Before Daylight: Memories of a Rural Boyhood. Ronald Reagan wrote Where’s the Rest of Me? and At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends was written by Dwight D Eisenhower. Each wrote a number of autobiographies.
What is the scientific name for a fear of beautiful women? A) Venustraphobia B) Tonitrophobia C) Phobophobia ANSWER: A) Venustraphobia. Tonitrophobia is a fear of thunder and Phobophobia is a fear of phobias.
The Sun newspaper in the UK was begun in 1964 to replace which failing publication? A) The Illustrated London News B) Daily Herald C) Today ANSWER: B) Daily Herald
Which bird lays the biggest egg? A) Mute Swan B) Emu C) Ostrich ANSWER: C) Ostrich
Which Blue Peter presenter had previously been a Dr Who companion? A) Peter Purves B) John Noakes C) Valerie Singleton ANSWER: A) Peter Purves
Galler, Tara Galilor and Pays de Galles are various European countries’ names for which other land? A) Greenland B) France C) Wales ANSWER: C) Wales
A new book encourages us all out into the great countryside of the north of England – on our bikes. Chase reporter ANTONY CLAY takes a look at the publication.
GETTING out and about in the great outdoors of the North has very much been on the minds of many of us in recent months, and the growing desire for health and fitness means people have been considering exploring the region on two wheels.
A new book, published by Wild Things Publishing, offers up 36 superb bike ride ideas in northern England, covering the wonderful landscapes of Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lancashire, Northumberland and County Durham.
Written by Jack Thurston, Lost Lanes North introduces bikers to the lost lanes and forgotten byways which only two wheels will allow someone to explore fully.
It is a book full of great ideas and stunning pictures which show what is on offer in our glorious part of the world. Fells, moors, dales, coastlines and even some settlements are covered – with all important added information on wild camping, pubs and gourmets, history, culture, organised events, wild swimming and even ideas on keeping the kids amused.
Jack, who presents The Bike Show podcast on Resonance FM in London which has seen a million downloads, has also written for The Guardian, Cycling Plus, Sunday Times and Cycle.
More than half a million copies of the Wild Things series of books have been sold since 2012 so it shows there is a clear interest from people in exploring the most beautiful parts of our country by bike.
Lost Lanes North offers up a detailed but concise route for each of the 36 journeys suggested, with a map, written journey itinerary, and a little background information. There are details about the terrain – some routes are more arduous than others! – and plenty of photographs to show you what to expect. For each route you also get a list of pubs and pit stops, which will come in very useful when you are out there.
The book also offers ideas on the practicalities that should be observed when venturing out, such as ensuring you have the right maps and equipment (including suitable clothing to cope with our British meteorological extremes), advice on wild camping and which routes are best for long weekends, wild swimming, families, pubs, gourmet eateries, history, arts and culture, challenging biking and stunning scenery.
It’s a beautiful book to just sit and read but will really inspire you to want to get out there. It could also be useful for walkers who could venture along the same or similar routes.
The well-experienced cyclist who is out and about every weekend and holiday on his or her machine will find this book invaluable, but so will families thinking about a break away together. There are routes for the experienced and inexperienced. Some have very challenging ascents and descents in rugged environments, others offer a more subtle challenge, which is what makes the book so enjoyable.
But it is an fascinating read as well, perhaps just to remind one of a place visited in the past or as a stimulus to a future journey out.
So, let’s take a look at what Jack suggests for our part of the world here in deepest Yorkshire. The section on West and South Yorkshire has five quite different routes but which encompass the area’s industrial heritage.
The Hammer and Chisel chapter, for instance, explores the landscape of the South Yorkshire Coalfield. The 41-mile route goes from Woolley Edge near Wakefield towards the majestic Emley Moor transmitter (bigger than The Shard in London apparently which makes it the tallest free-standing structure in Britain) and on to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park at West Bretton. From here it’s on to Royd Moor, Penistone and then Cannon Hall near Barnsley, Cawthorn, Silkstone and finally Darton.
The Where There’s Muck route explores riverside paths, old rail lines and forest trails north of Sheffield. It encompasses Wentworth Woodhouse, Hoober Stand and the Needle’s Eye, Elsecar and Wortley Top Forge. The West Yorkshire route covers such places as the Five Rise Locks at Bingley, Ilkley Moor, Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall (where you can find the grave of poet Sylvia Plath in the graveyard), Haworth, Todmorden and Saltaire.
The routes through the rest of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Northumberland, County Durham and Cumbria are equally enthralling and full of surprises. All in all this is a book that makes one realise just how great our countryside is and what our rural places have to offer as travel destinations.
Other areas of our fair land are explored in the Wild Guides UK series of books from Wild Things Publishing, including central England, Wales, the South West, Scotland, the Lakes and Dales, and London and the South East.
There are Wild Abroad titles covering Scandinavia and Portugal, and wild swimming guides for Spain, France, Italy and Sydney.
Jack Thurston has written other Lost Lanes titles for the West, Wales and the South and there are other books by the same publisher on bikepacking, wild running, crossing France by bike, as well as guides on bothy walks, 50 secret islands, garden weekends, and wild ruins. That’s pretty much every type of wild holiday opportunity catered for really.
Jack said that he was keen to get people to explore places a little off the beaten track.
He said: “The routes in the book all combine quiet country lanes and traffic free tracks and byways with great places to visit, whether for a swim in a river, a poke around an atmospheric ruin or prehistoric monument, a great cafe for lunch or a pint in a cosy country pub. A day out on the bike isn’t all about cycling, it’s about exploring and experiencing the world around us in a relaxed and immersive way.
“Quite a few readers have shared their photos and experiences on social media using the #lostlanes hashtag, especially on Instagram. It’s great to see people enjoying riding my routes and to see how my favourite places and lanes change with the seasons and the weather.
“For me it’s about simplifying things and taking the stress out of going on holiday. We’re lucky in Britain to have so much wonderful countryside within easy reach of where we live. There’s no need to fly halfway around the world to have a truly memorable holiday. And rural businesses are providing ever more variety of places to stay, from traditional hotels, B&Bs and campsites to new glamping destinations like yurts, treehouses and shepherds huts.
“Travelling by bike is a great way to slow down and smell the roses, quite literally.”
Daniel Start, publisher of the book, said he was encouraged to go into print because of the author’s enthusiasm for the subject.
Daniel said: “Jack is a very talented travel writer and photographer, and already had a very successful cycling radio show, and a lot of routes ideas. We felt there was a need to rekindle the love of slower cycling, exploring ancient lanes and old ways, at a more leisurely pace, rather than sprinting around the main roads in Lycra.
“The old ways tell us a lot about the history of our countryside and landscape, but are lesser-known and it can also be tricky to create a route. Jack has spent years poring over maps, cycling thousands of miles, to find the most beautiful and enjoyable lesser-known lanes.
“Readers love Jack’s books, and the original guide to southern England has become the best-selling cycle travel guide in the UK.
“Many of the cycle rides can be accessed by train. We are encouraging a detox from urban life, hopefully a day travelling through a more old-fashioned countryside, where cars rarely feature, but where landscape and history are everywhere.”
Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance (ROAR) chief executive SHARON GILL talks to artist Rob Young
IF you have been over to visit the Clifton Park Museum in Rotherham recently you will have come across an artwork by Rob Young based on the famous Whistlejacket horse painting by George Stubbs in 1762 and in response to Ghost by Turner prizewinner Mark Wallinger.
The piece is currently hanging in the main entrance, to create a trilogy of work based on the portrait of a magnificent horse.
Rob says: “Whistlejacket is the world’s most famous painting of an animal. The horse that inspired it was brought to Wentworth Woodhouse. It wasn’t the biggest, it wasn’t the fastest, but it was beautiful. Along with its mate, they were the first two Arabian stallions in Britain and half of our racehorses come from these two.” Rob responded to an artist call out to work with RMBC Heritage Services. What attracted Rob to work in Rotherham are the similarities between the history and the people of the town with his own home town of Shields.
He says: “I decided to create something modest, that any child could make themselves, with a bit of cardboard and a torch. These days, when people look for stories, they turn to Hollywood but some of the best stories are right here, in Rotherham. That’s what I wanted to share. If you look around Clifton Park Museum, there are some terrific stories. There’s a cat with two bodies that lived for five days!”
Through working on the commission Rob spent a long time in Rotherham and was really genuine in his appreciation of how warm and welcoming the people are, and how dedicated the museum staff are with passion for their work.
“The Rotherham project was one of the happiest experiences of my life,” admits Rob.
What I found disarming about Rob was that even though he has had quite remarkable success in practically everything he has turned his hand to, even if lady luck has helped along the way, he is a very grounded artist who recognises the opportunities he has been given and now wants to put his success to good use by working for those less fortunate.
Of the Rotherham project, he says: “It’s been a lovely project. I’ve worked with every stratum of society from actors to archivists, blacksmiths to curators, composers to x-ray specialists, local mums and local children — they’ve all played a part. It’s not my exhibition, it’s theirs; it belongs to the town. And it’s free. How wonderful is that?”
Rob was born in a deprived town where unemployment was high. Shipworking was the main industry after the closure of the coalmines. There was an air of little hope, no holidays, no culture. The nearest thing was a working men’s club with 500 men and lights on full blast. For Rob, all this led to low self esteem and lack of direction.
Not surprisingly, he was in a gang of 15 boys and even though he found a life in the arts, he assured me that he was not the wimp in the gang and held his own. His parents were good and supportive in the way they knew best. Rob was toughened up through karate classes. As mentioned, he has a tendency to success, which meant that in the martial art he excelled and was promoted to the men’s class. That meant he was beaten regularly, so every Monday night on his way to lessons he would drink a bottle of cider to soften the inevitable blows.
It is remarkable how some people can pinpoint the moment that their life changed. Rob’s lightbulb moment came when his then dancer girlfriend took him to see a dance performance. As he so eloquently states, he realised “I am in the wrong gang.” Okay, so he was not about to become a world class dancer, but the desire to be close to the ‘cool people’ took Rob to London to study theatre design — with a clear ambition to own a colour TV.
London is a culture shock to many the first time they go. The museums and galleries and sheer density of people were overwhelming to the point that Rob wasn’t sure he was even allowed to walk up Regent Street or go to a museum. His only previous experience was that he had been shushed and not made welcome. Rob remembers the taste explosion that came from access to international foods and gorging himself on everything that was available in contrast to the tomato sauce and crisp sandwiches of his youth.
After his three years of study, finding work was harder than expected and Rob found himself homeless, living on a building site, in survival mode. But it seems this was not to be his future as at the age of 21 years he won a competition to spend three months on an adventure holiday in South America from the purchase of a blank CD. This feels like Charlie and the Chocolate factory’s golden ticket.
It soon came to pass that Rob’s survival skills and ability to keep smiling on through would enable him to become a charity photographer, visiting extreme locations in harsh conditions, including leading 70 people up the Himalayas to swamps in Tanzania. You are asking, like I did, how did that come to pass? I ask if he had ever owned a camera. Rob laughs and says no, he had to borrow one and teach himself to begin with.
The next 13 years saw Rob comfortable in his photography career, often working out of London, until one day the world as he knew it came to an almighty end. An horrific traffic accident left Rob hospitalised and with his legs in plaster for a period of nine months.
I am going crazy in lockdown after that period of time and I am mobile so I cannot imagine the mind-numbing frustration of such a situation. But not Rob. He picked up a pen and started to write, even though he failed his English O-Level. He wrote anything, poetry about his life just to pass the time. This is another one of those pinpoint moments that changed his life.
Rob works hard and has a fearless approach to his endeavours. He used his compensation money to present himself as a poet on stage. You will not be too surprised to hear the reviews were great and creative opportunities started to come in.
It is almost impossible to explain why some people succeed and some do not. Rob works hard, he says he is shy and humble, suffering from imposter syndrome which makes him work all the harder and he learns from his mistakes.
He says: “Failure is part of the journey.”
One of his poems was made into a film, called Miranda. Rob modestly says he was mistaken for a TV show producer of the same name which is why he was invited to present his film pitch. His poem had been mistaken for an interesting interpretation. He came clean and said it was just a poem but Film 4 made it anyway. Rob was commissioned to write the screenplay and had to borrow money to buy a word processor — and he hasn’t looked back too much since.
When he was commissioned by Working Title Films he was a little scared until a kindly face said: “Don’t be scared, the entire British film industry is run by women in cardigans”, which Rob assures me is true.
I am not going to list Rob’s achievements here as you can find them easily for yourself. Rob had a commission with the Royal Shakespeare Company that received 25 million Twitter hits and won two internet oscars. He asked why he was chosen, as someone who doesn’t know the posh words for things and so uses little words instead, with a bad education and plain English?
It is precisely because he was bored at school that he would understand how to engage with that audience. Rob refers to himself as one of the most successful writers no one has heard of, often used as the lowest common denominator (“If Rob can understand it…”).
With a 20 year award-winning career writing for film, TV and stage, Rob did look back and wonder what else there was to achieve. Was he after more applause? Having managed to secure the ambition of a colour TV and a warm room in which to live and work, Rob decided to start giving back.
“I’ve helped thousands of young writers find their voice,” he says, adding: “As a Faculty Associate at NHS Research & Development North West, I help NHS leaders communicate complex conditions like HIV and FGM in a way that is warm, welcoming and accessible to all. I was the first patron of the first arts festival in England to be run by an NHS Trust (the Love Arts Mental Health and Wellbeing Festival in Leeds). I’ve worked with every stratum of society from Hollywood stars to tower block kids, terminally ill lung patients to young cancer survivors.”
So Rob urges you to go and visit Clifton Park Museum. It’s free, it’s interesting and full of stories, it’s warm and welcoming.
You can be inspired to express yourself, have fun with what’s available to you. Make funny films with your friends. Be true to yourself, you never know where it will lead. Rob’s exhibition is open until February 2021.
Chase reporter ANTONY CLAY takes a look at a fascinating book highlighting railway history
OLDER readers may remember old railway lines which criss-crossed our land in large numbers, with a multitude of little rural stations and thriving big ones.
Trains chugged their way back and forth carrying people, cattle, coal, steel – much more than is ever carried by rail these days.
But times changed, and Dr Beeching came along with his axe in the 1960s, which has led to the loss of much of this network.
Some of the loss could be justified on cost-saving grounds but socially the termination of many lines was disastrous to some communities, and it could be argued has led to the popular move away from rail to roads.
But it is interesting social history to look back on the railways of yesteryear which were an important part of the country’s social fabric. During the war years, the rail network was a vital means of transporting vital equipment, food, people and raw materials around quickly, and while freight has become less important to the railways today, passenger numbers are on the rise again.
Which brings me to a fabulous publication by Middleton Press, a publisher which specialises in keeping an invaluable record of the UK’s railway heritage in a collection of books bringing together images and information from the past.
The 96-page Scunthorpe to Doncaster book by Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith contains 120 photographs spanning decades showing activities throughout the steam and diesel years.
The book also looks at the Isle of Axholme Joint Railway plus the lines between Whitton and Elsham and is part of Middleton Press’s Eastern Main Lines series.
The book is not weighed down with words and gives a brief but concise historical background, as well as offering copies of old timetables, statistics and maps. There are even old tickets.
The book is divided into sections, each covering specific areas such as Barnby Dun, Crowle, Epworth, Hatfield and Stainforth, Scunthorpe Steelworks Area, and Whitton.
Each picture has a detailed but brief explanation offering a window into what is sometimes a lost world. Some lines have gone, many of the buildings have been knocked down.
The pictures show people at work, engines of varying types busily keeping industry going, station staff and passengers in times when they were still visibly astonished to have someone taking their photograph.
There are also sailing boats on the canal at Crowle, impressive old bridges, signal boxes, trains still servicing big factories.
It is fascinating to see the variety of trains, large and small, perhaps bringing home how technologically the railways have changed over the years.
It is a very interesting book to browse through and hats off to Middleton Press for publishing such collections. Pictures say a thousand words, so the saying has it, and this collection brings history to life. Older people will remember the places shown, young readers can see how the world has changed.
This is history which we can all relate to.
* Scunthorpe to Doncaster (Eastern Main Lines series) by Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith, published by Middleton Press £18.95. For information on local stockists, telephone 01730 813169. Books are available post-free from Middleton Press, Easebourne Lane, Midhurst, West Sussex. GU29 9AZ. Contact http://www.middletonpress.co.uk.
Chase reporter ANTONY CLAY gets nostalgic over a new book on Mansfield to Doncaster railway history
WHEN I was a child I was a trainspotter. There, I’ve admitted it and can now move on with the rest of my life.
But whilst the hobby seems to have fallen somewhat out of favour these days with the younger generation, and is only kept going by older men standing on station platforms with cameras and heavy bags, interest by the public in railway history is as strong as ever.
There is an appetite amongst folk to find out about the long-gone stations, signal boxes and lines which once served their area.
Publisher Middleton Press has certainly tapped into this nostalgia for both steam trains and diesel by bringing together a wealth of pictures in its Country Railway Routes series, as well as other collections on topics ranging from Branch Lines and Great Railway Eras to London Suburban Railways and Narrow Gauge lines.
A recent addition to the Country Railway Routes tomes is Mansfield to Doncaster via Shirebrook and Shireoaks by Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith which was published on October 20.
Packed full of photographs, maps, plans and timetables, the book is a fascinating dip into the area’s railways of the past.
History and rail buffs can enjoy images of stations, trains and lines at Anston, Dinnington and Laughton, Doncaster, Maltby, Tickhill and Wadworth, and locations further afield such as Pleasley, Langwith, Mansfield and Sutton-in-Ashfield.
Each picture has a detailed caption so the reader can see when and where it was taken and the book is helpfully divided into areas so you can find out about the place where you live or are interested in.
The fascinating book starts off with a potted history of how railway lines developed over the area, beginning with the Mansfield and Pinxton Railway in 1819, which eventually linked up with the Midland Railway.
The first railway to reach Doncaster was a Lancashire and Yorkshire Railways route from Knottingley in 1848. Coal and other business transport objectives were the spark for most lines being built, but the growth of passenger services became more significant over time.
The book is an interesting read, detailed but not off-puttingly technical.
Seeing old stations standing proud in the dim and distant past in places like Anston and Dinnington sparks a sense of nostalgia and the impression that something was lost through station closures during the Beeching era and similar axe-falling times.
Seeing pictures of long trains hauling coal at Harworth Colliery and at Langwith Junction Station Shed takes the reader back to a time when freight was a major reason for the railways existing. Today, carrying people takes up the bulk of rail time and effort, and the roads are full of lorries.
Images of steam trains alongside diesel engines reflect the transition from one era to another. A cultural change for a modernising country. I recall seeing a steam train rush through Arksey railway crossing north of Doncaster when I was very young but that must have been the last time I saw one on duty, as it were, rather than being sent out as some sort of historic totem.
I also attended the launch of the Blue Peter steam train at Doncaster Works, conducted by the programme’s legendary presenters John Noakes, Peter Purves and Valerie Singleton and watched by literally thousands and thousands of people on a Sunday afternoon. I’ve just checked and it was 1971. Ah, memories…
Anyway, Middleton Press have done us all a favour by catching these little nuggets from the past. These images show our industrial and historical heritage because the trains and buildings caught in these black and white pictures actually affected the lives of our parents and grandparents.
It’s great that this information is available in book form and I hope that Middleton Press keep up the good work.
* Mansfield to Doncaster (Country Railway Routes series), published by Middleton Press £18.95. For information on local stockists, telephone 01730 813169. Books are available post-free from Middleton Press, Easebourne Lane, Midhurst, West Sussex. GU29 9AZ. Contact http://www.middletonpress.co.uk.
So how did you do with our quiz over the Christmas period?
Hopefully you got a good score – though hopefully you found it at least a little challenging.
There will be another Quick Quiz soon.
Here are the answers:
Who is the principal character in Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment? A) Raskolnikov B) Turgenev C) Mishustin ANSWER: 1. A) Raskolnikov. Turgenev was the writer of such classic Russian novels as Fathers and Sons. Mikhail Mishustin is the current Prime Minister of Russia.
What is the state capital of California? A) Los Angeles B) San Francisco C) Sacramento ANSWER: 2. C) Sacramento
According to the Genesis song and album, where did the Lamb lie down? A) Madison Square Gardens B) Time Square C) Broadway ANSWER: 3. C) Broadway. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway was a concept double album released in 1974 and the last to feature singer Peter Gabriel.
Who painted The Scream? A) Edvard Munch B) Salvador Dali C) Rembrandt ANSWER: 4. A) Edvard Munch
In which organ of the body would you find the aqueous humour? A) Ear B) Eye C) Kidney ANSWER: 5. B) Eye
Which David Lynch film starred Dennis Hopper? A) Dune B) The Straight Story C) Blue Velvet ANSWER: 6. C) Blue Velvet. Dennis Hopper starred alongside Kyle MacLachlan and Isabella Rossellini. Dune starred Kyle MacLachlan and The Straight Story, about an old man who travels across America on a lawn mower, starred Richard Farnsworth.
Which of these was not a member of the Monty Python team? A) Terry Gilliam B) Terry-Thomas C) Terry Jones ANSWER: 7. B) Terry-Thomas. Real name Thomas Terry Hoar-Stevens, he was a popular comedy actor who appeared in scores of films from the 1930s to the 1980s, often as a devious character.
Which of these DJs once presented the BBC Radio 1 breakfast show? A) Mark Radcliffe B) John Peel C) Annie Nightingale ANSWER: 8. A) Mark Radcliffe. He presented the show in 1997 following the departure of Chris Evans alongside Marc Riley, under the names Mark and Lard.
Which of these is a presenter of BBC2’s Newsnight programme? A) Emily Maitlis B) Fiona Bruce C) Mishal Husain ANSWER: 9. A) Emily Maitlis. Fiona Bruce presents Question Time and Antiques Roadshow. Mishal Husain is a presenter on Radio 4’s Today programme.
Which James Bond actor starred in the epic BBC 1990s drama series Our Friends in the North? A) Timothy Dalton B) Daniel Craig C) Pierce Brosnan ANSWER: 10. B) Daniel Craig. He played George ‘Geordie’ Peacock alongside Christopher Eccleston, Mark Strong and Gina McKee.
A SURVEY has found that most drivers wants a crackdown on speeding outside schools.
Road safety charity IAM RoadSmart’s annual Safety Culture Study found that 82 per cent of the British driving public are in favour of using speed cameras to automatically fine drivers travelling more than ten miles per hour over the limit near schools.
However, the survey of 2,000 motorists went on to highlight that attitudes towards speeding on motorways were significantly different, with only 63 per cent of drivers supporting the use of cameras to detect those driving ten miles per hour above the limit on motorways.
It also identified that just under half of all motorists (46 per cent) think it is acceptable to drive at 80 miles per hour on the motorway, while as many as one in four believe it is acceptable to do so at speeds greater than 80 miles per hour.
While acceptance of motorway speeding remained broadly consistent among drivers aged 17-69, there was a noticeable increase among those who travel longer distances. A staggering 56 per cent of those who cover more than 10,000 miles on the road each year believed it acceptable to reach speeds of 80 miles per hour or more on the motorway.
Neil Greig, policy and research director at IAM RoadSmart, said: “It is reassuring to see that the majority of motorists we surveyed are in favour of using speed cameras to improve road safety outside schools. Speeding in towns may be universally disliked, but it is clear that we still have a long way to go before the same message gets through on motorways.
“Speeding causes more than 4,000 casualties each year on UK roads — that’s an average of 11 people a day killed or seriously injured. So it is extremely disappointing to see such apparent acceptance of speeding on motorways, and we need to do more to create a fundamental shift in attitude and behaviour here.”
Important historic sites in South Yorkshire have been recognised for their great significance. Chase Editor ANTONY CLAY reports
PROTECTION has been boosted for 16 historic sites in a South Yorkshire village to mark their historic importance.
The sites in Elsecar have been recognised for their significance to the village’s industrial heritage and links with the visionary Earls Fitzwilliam who owned the nearby Wentworth Woodhouse estate.
Six sites have been newly listed, nine upgraded to Grade II* status and one site’s listing has been expanded.
The sites have been listed and upgraded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England, giving them greater protection and recognition.
The new listings follow recent research which has been carried out by Historic England which highlighted Elsecar’s significance as an international centre of industry and innovation in the late 18th and 19th century.
Elsecar was built by the Earls Fitzwilliam from the late 1700s and had coalmines and a huge ironworks. Aristocratic investors in industry were common in the late 18th and 19th centuries but their work sites were usually located well away from their homes. However, the Earls Fitzwilliam located their industrial sites close to their stately pile and made them a prominent feature of their estate.
The 16 new listings and upgrades form part of the legacy of the Elsecar Heritage Action Zone, a three-year partnership project between Historic England and Barnsley Museums, aimed at uncovering Elsecar’s heritage and realising its economic and social potential.
There are six newly listed sites, which include the former Elsecar Ironworks that produced plating for HMS Warrior, the Royal Navy’s first armour-plated warship; Hemingfield Colliery, a rare surviving mid-19th century pithead; and a school, which reflects the paternalistic attitude of the Earls Fitzwilliam towards their workforce.
Nine sites have been upgraded from Grade II to II, putting them into the top 10 per cent of England’s most important historic buildings. These form a pioneering centralised workshop complex serving the Earls’ industries, which includes the 6th Earl’s personal railway station.
Hemingfield Colliery – also known as Low Elsecar Colliery – was developed in the 1840s by the 5th Earl Fitzwilliam (1786-1857) and remained in operation until 1920.
The creation of the colliery was overseen by the Earl’s superintendent, Benjamin Biram, an influential engineer who was a pioneer in mining safety. He developed an improved safety lamp, experimented with fan-powered ventilation and invented a mechanical anemometer, a device which was used for measuring mine ventilation.
Biram used Hemingfield as a test bed for new ideas including the installation of a hydraulically-powered ventilation fan. On December 22, 1852, 10 miners were killed and a further 12 were injured following an explosion in the mine. An inquest found that the incident would have been far worse had it not been for the mine’s ventilation system designed by Biram.
Elsecar New Colliery included the Elsecar Newcomen Engine which was the world’s first practical steam engine, which was invented in 1712 by Thomas Newcomen. Elsecar retains the only surviving example still in its original position in the world. Installed in 1795, it pumped water from Elsecar’s mines for more than 125 years.
The engine and its house became a Scheduled Monument in 1973, but recent excavations have shown that important remains of the associated colliery pit head survive, justifying the extension to the scheduled area.
The former Elsecar Ironworks, protected as a Scheduled Monument, was built in 1795 and was one of two created in the area by the 4th Earl Fitzwilliam (1748-1833). Here, coke produced from locally mined coal was combined with iron ore – mined to the west of Elsecar – and smelted in massive steam-powered blast furnaces to create iron. This was then refined into wrought iron that was rolled in the rolling mill or made into castings in the casting shed to produce an array of goods sold and shipped out via the canal and railway that were linked to Elsecar by the Earls.
In 1859, the ironworks produced iron plating for HMS Warrior, the Royal Navy’s first ironclad warship, which was built to maintain Britain’s maritime supremacy.
The Earls’ Central Workshops, upgraded to Grade II, had a central complex of workshops, offices and stores added in the 1850s by the 5th Earl Fitzwilliam to serve his various industries. This pioneering industrial complex is now home to the Elsecar Heritage Centre and all of its buildings have now been upgraded to Grade II*.
The complex includes a private railway station opened in 1870 by the 6th Earl (1815-1902) which was used by him and his guests at Wentworth Woodhouse, often acting as their departure point for days out at the Doncaster Races.
But the station also served for more ordinary purposes, such as annual railway excursions to the seaside for workers’ families.
The railway station is now used as a nursery, aptly named Railway Children.
Elsecar Holy Trinity CE Primary Academy and School Master’s House, listed at Grade II, was created due to the 5th Earl’s paternalistic relationship with Elsecar which saw him take a keen interest in his workers. He provided good-quality housing, funded the construction of Holy Trinity Church in 1842 and built a new school to replace an earlier, smaller one.
The Earl opened the new school with a fundraising tea and sale for the Church Missionary Society on June 1, 1852. The following day children and teachers celebrated with tea and plum cake and an evening entertainment of magic lanterns and fire balloons.
Four classes of mixed boys and girls were taught by the under master, his wife, and two pupil-teachers.
The 4th Earl was a supporter of the abolition of the slave trade. His son, the 5th Earl, held similar views and was a supporter of the Great 1832 Reform Act, which widened the voting franchise in England and Wales.
Nigel Huddleston, Heritage Minister, said: “The village of Elsecar in South Yorkshire undoubtedly played a vital role as a hub of industry and innovation in the 18th and 19th centuries. I’m delighted that these listings will ensure its rich legacy and history will be protected for the local community and visitors to enjoy over the years to come.”
Veronica Fiorato, listing team leader for the North at Historic England, said that Elsecar is an important location.
She said: “What is remarkable about Elsecar is that so much of its rich industrial heritage survives today. Not only can we see many of the remains of its collieries and ironworks but also the community that was built around it – the school, the workers’ cottages and the church.
“These new listings will both help to raise the profile of Elsecar’s significance and also protect its rich heritage for future generations.”
Councillor Sir Stephen Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, welcomed the move to provide further protection for the buildings.
He said: “We are very proud of this official recognition of just how important the heritage at Elsecar is. Already visited by over half a million people each year, the village means a great deal to local people and supports jobs and economic impact for our communities.
“Elsecar’s potential is even greater as a result of this recognition and we are committed to fully realising this over coming years.”
The full list of new listings and upgrades in Elsecar:
The former Elsecar Ironworks (Scheduled Monument)
Building 1, former Elsecar Ironworks casting shed (Grade II*)
Building 2 & 3 and boundary wall, former Elsecar Ironworks entry range (upgraded to Grade II*)
Housing at the former Elsecar Ironworks, 2 and 4 Forge Lane (upgraded to Grade II*)
Buildings 4-7, stores at former Elsecar Central Workshops (upgraded to Grade II*)
Buildings 8-12, former workshops, offices and warehousing at the former Elsecar Central Workshops (upgraded to Grade II*)
Buildings 13-14, former railway station, offices, housing and gate piers at Elsecar Central Workshops (upgraded to Grade II*)
Building 17, former fitting shop at Elsecar Central Workshops (upgraded to Grade II*)
Building 19, former workshop at Elsecar Ironworks (upgraded to Grade II*)
Buildings 20a and 21, former rolling mill at Elsecar Ironworks, including two halved colliery pit wheels (upgraded to Grade II*)
Building 22, former Joiner’s Shop, including chimney and rebuilt boiler (upgraded to Grade II*)
The former Elsecar New Colliery, including the Elsecar Newcomen Engine (Footprint of Scheduled Monument expanded)
Former Cornish pumping engine house at Hemingfield Colliery (Grade II*)
Hemingfield Colliery (Scheduled Monument)
Elsecar Holy Trinity CE Primary Academy and School Master’s House (Grade II)