Friday, January 08, 2016

Five on Friday

It's Friday so I'm joining in with  Amy at Love Made my Home for this week's Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

We recently re - visited the town of Swadlincote in Derbyshire, this time not for family history purposes, although that does come into it, but to find the new sculpture by Ray Lonsdale.  I've shown you his work before in this post about Filey in Yorkshire - here,  and in this post about Gretna in Dumfries and Galloway - here.  Below are five more detailed photos of the sculpture.

This sculpture was commissioned by the South Derbyshire Area of the National Union of Mineworkers to commemorate the miners of South Derbyshire.  Many of my ancestors on my father's side of the family were miners in South Derbyshire starting with my 5x great grandfather who, according to one of his descendants, interviewed for the local paper in the 1960s, came from the Welsh Borders near the Forest of Dean leading a gang of men prospecting for coal.  He opened up what were known as 'bell pits' to find coal seams for the local landowners the Gresleys of nearby Drakelow and Netherseal.   As he was married at Stapenhill in 1789 I'm guessing he would have arrived in South Derbyshire in the mid to late 1780s.  I've never been able to trace exactly where he came from. 

The caption on this sculpture reads 'Don't worry son, it's just a hole in the ground where you'll find your roots.'  I think it represents a father taking his son to work down the pit for the first time.

As with all Ray Lonsdale's work I love the detail.  The miner's lamp.

The work boots

The flat cap and huge moustache.

My 5x great grandfather Thomas Gough died in 1812 and had four children, one boy and three girls.  He married a second time and had one more daughter. His only son Benjamin (my 4x great grandfather)  had nine children, eight of whom were boys.  Of those four were colliers. The other four escaped the pits and were in order of seniority a blacksmith;  a grocer, rate collector and census enumerator; a pottery manufacturer at one point setting up his own works with a partner and the fourth was a dealer in tea.

 The site on which the sculpture stands is now a retail park with a cinema.  It was formerly a pipe works and the tall chimney is from those times and is attached to what is now a Hungry Horse restaurant called, of course, The Tall Chimney.  It is strange to think that where there was once a thriving, noisy, dirty manufacturing industry there is now a rather sterile retail and service industry.  It seems to be the way of the world nowadays. The loss of a lot of manufacturing capabilities and opportunities in this country is a sad thing.  Having said that it is good to see that the old buildings have been incorporated into the new and that the site was still actively in use, albeit with the ubiquitous high street stores and pound shops.  I wonder what our ancestors would think of the sights we are used to seeing now? 

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

39 comments:

  1. Fascinating post Rosie and the sculpture is wonderful. Like you, I love all the detail in it.

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    1. Thanks, Jessica - glad you like it:)

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  2. What an amazing sculpture - fabulous!
    Liz

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    1. Hello Liz, thanks for visiting and for following, it is an amazing sculpture isn't it?

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  3. How wonderful that you can trace back to your 5 x great grandfather! You must be very proud of your family's mining heritage - the salt of the earth people. x

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    1. Yes, I suppose I am proud of my working class heritage. Many of my ancestors on both sides worked either in factories, on the land or down the mines with just a few exceptions of those in trades and crafts:)

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  4. You know so much about your ancestry, it's wonderful. Loved reading this post and I too love the detail in the sculpture. Can you imagine hoe the boy must have felt that first day...

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    1. The boy would either be terrified or proud to follow his father, I guess mother at home would be full of worries though:)

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  5. You have a rare talent for researching your ancestry. The sculpture is a great nod to what the site was.

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    1. Thanks, I've been researching for about 30 years now and still manage to find little details I'd overlooked first time around, I don't think I can get back much further though especially on this line:)

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  6. I loved reading your post today as your family history is quite fascinating. It's been a few years since I worked on my family history. I enjoyed seeing the exquisite detail of this sculpture, too. Enjoy your weekend, Pat

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    1. Thanks Pat, glad you enjoyed the post. The sculpture is great isn't it?:)

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  7. That's such a powerful sculpture. Family history is so fascinating.

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    1. Thanks, Janet, glad you like the sulpture. Yes family history is quite fascinating:)

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  8. Very interesting family history and a lovely sculpture to commemorate what once was booming employment. It's nice to see the old being incorporated with the new. In so many places, they would rather just flatten the land, removing everything in sight, before they start to build. Preserving the past is important. Best wishes, Tammy

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    1. In the town they have preserved quite a few of their old buildings including the bottle overn at Sharpe's Pottery and the old Co-op shop. From this site you can see the modern dry ski slope as well:)

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  9. Very interesting to read about some of your family history, it must be so fascinating to look back. The sculpture is incredible, it is amazing work isn't it. Thank you for joining Five On Friday again this year! Happy weekend! xx

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    1. Thanks Amy, glad you liked the sculpture. thank you for organising us all each Friday - have a great weekend too:)

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  10. It's fascinating looking back over all the family history, you see places quite differently imagining the people out and about on their daily business. How things have changed. :-)

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    1. I love to see old postcards and photos of the places my ancestors lived imagining them going about their daily business, shopping, travelling or walking to work and etc. I think they would be astounded at some of the things around now:)

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  11. It's a beautifully crafted sculpture of the miner father and his son. It touches the heart for what it represents. My mother's family were miners in Northumberland and some went north from the Cornish tin mines. My grandmother was a pit prop girl before she married, but her husband didn't go down the mines. Grandpa was a master baker. I've thought about doing some family history posts myself. I always enjoy reading about what you've researched about yours and your husband's family.

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    1. Thanks Linda. It was a hard life for our ancestors wans't it? Moving around to ensure they had work, I think they moved around far more than we imagine they did. The pit brow lasses worked hard too. I'd love to read some of your posts if you write them one day. Most of my family history is on a separte blog and website, link on my sidebar althougb I haven't updated there for ages:)

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    2. Thank you for the link to your family history blog. I had wondered whether to set up a blog dedicated to writing about my family history or to include posts in my general blog so it's something to think about as a project for this year in order to have a record. Meanwhile I shall take a longer look at yours as social history is fascinating.

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    3. I forgot to say that the link to my family history pages is on the Family Matters blog. Only a few names researched in any detail and then mostly direct lines so still much to find out. the Young family is where the Scottish line comes from and Gough the Welsh - I think but I'm not sure about that - hard to get back any further on either of those:)

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  12. That statue is beautiful, like you say so much detail. And I'd think the same as you about the quote, have a fab weekend

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    1. Thanks Stephanie, glad you liked the sculpture:)

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  13. What an amazing sculpture, so much detail.

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  14. What a fascinating post. I love finding out about people's lives in the past. Anyone working in the mines would have really suffered especially the small children. Barbara

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    1. I think the little children had the worst time of it before they stopped them working so young. I'm guessing this boy would be about 13 or 14 - as children seemed to leave school at that age in late Victorian, Edwardian times:)

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  15. It's a while since we've been to Swad. I love the Ray Lonsdale sculpture in Scarborough so I think this miner and his lad might be worth a drive out to see them. Thanks for letting us know about them.

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    1. Quite a few nice things to do in Swad. I've yet to see the Scarborough sculpture but I've seen the one nearby at Filey:)

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  16. Absolutely fascinating. And how wonderful to have a census enumerator on your family tree! Hope you have had a good weekend. x

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    1. Yes, I was all quiet in the archives and almost yelled when I saw the name of the census enumerator. Almost as exciting as when you find a household you are seeking

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  17. What a beautiful sculptures a so is the story! I also like to take pictures of sculptures. I didn't realise it until a person tell me so.

    Sandra xx

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    1. There is something about sculptures isn't there? I love looking at and photographing them:)

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  18. What an incredible sculpture, Rosie. I love knowing the history of things, makes all the difference.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. It does help to appreciate both past and present doesn't it? Glad you liked the sculpture:)

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  19. Your family history is so interesting, it must be great to go so far back. This sculpture is amazing and very touching, I love the title, how very appropriate. rhank you for sharing and have a lovely weekend xx

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