Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust newsletter - november 2023

Chair's introduction

Dear Supporter,

What an amazing response we have had from the public visiting the restored Wingfield Station!

We were almost overwhelmed by the numbers attending over the first three open days and a steady stream continued over the following weekend. It was a delight talking to our visitors, many of whom had stories to tell of relations who had worked at the station - one person even having taken a photograph of the station from a passing train before it was closed in the 60s (trains travelled slower then). For those that missed our open days, there are more to come in November/December and in 2024 – see below.

Please consider attending our Awards ceremony in Buxton, and/or let me know how you could help the trust by volunteering to be a trustee or just give a talk once or twice a year. There are more projects in the pipeline and a wide variety of activities to come. Watch this space.

Yours ever,

Derek Latham, Chair of DHBT

Cover Photo: Wingfield Station, October 2023

The next stop for wingfield - opening celebrations October & November 2023

Visitors arriving to site ahead of the official opening on the 27th October

On the 24th October 2023 we celebrated completing the final phase of restoration work at Wingfield Station. The days following this were very busy as we prepared for the private opening on the 27th October and a number of public events straight afterwards. We've been overwhelmed by the positive responses, support and feedback received so far.

For the private opening around 200 people joined us to share stories (about both the project and the station) and marvel at the restoration work and craftsmanship carried out by ASBC Heritage & Conservation Specialists and Ackroyd Construction under the watchful eye of project architect, James Boon Architects. We enjoyed speeches from Historic England, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, The University of Derby (Derby School of Photography), the High Sheriff of Derbyshire and our lead trustee, Peter Milner. The Rhubarb Kitchen served delicious soup and cake and project supporter, Linda Ford, read a thought provoking poem (see below), inspired by growing up in the locality and attending our restoration tours last year.

There are so many people to thank and acknowledge - including all our funders, volunteers and community supporters as well the many consultants engaged over the last three years.

Perhaps the most emotional part of the day was the cutting of the ribbon. We were delighted that the daughter of William Barlow, who was Wingfield Stationmaster until 1961, took on this task. Enid Buxton spoke fondly of her time living in the Stationmaster's house as a young girl. She felt sure that her father would have been very proud of the transformation - as are we.

Film maker, Gavin Repton, has been visiting site since 2020 to document the restoration process. At nine minutes this one is a little longer than our usual films, but it is a great reminder of all that has been achieved and definitely worth a watch!

Enid Buxton, daughter of Wingfield Stationmaster, William Barlow.

Linda Ford's poem inspired by Wingfield Station.

Many thanks to Linda for taking the time to write such a thought-provoking poem and for sharing it with us.
Even George Stephenson made an appearance at the pubic opening on the 28th October!
The Alfreton Male Voice Choir (above) entertained visitors, as did the Shirland Welfare Brass Band (below)
Inside the restored station - including the ladies' waiting room wallpaper, recreated from a recovered fragment from 1840 - and the Midland Railway benches, superbly restored by Fred's Shed Antiques and Restorations (more on these features in the next newsletter)
Some before and after images of the station
A number of heritage boards and points have been installed - with text researched and written by project volunteers and designed by G+ Studio
Young visitors had great fun taking part in a family treasure hunt with Summerton the Mouse!
On the evening of the 28th the station was opened for a lantern-lit reading of Charles Dickens 'The Signalman' by the Kirk Ireton Light Programme. This provided an atmospheric finale to the grand opening day.
Photo credit: Ian Castledine
Some excellent photos of the station at night, taken on the 1st November 2023 by Ian Castledine.
Chairman of the Midland Railway Study Centre, Adrian Tester, studying the Wingfield Station model crafted by DHBT supporter, Louis Heath. We'll be including a full article about this in our Christmas newsletter. Photo credit: Dave Harris

public tours of wingfield station - new dates added and more to come

Our tours of the station, providing new insights into the station's history and the people that worked there have proved to be very popular. We're aiming to offer more dates, with our knowledgeable tour guides, over the next few weeks. The remaining dates for 2023 are 19th November, 26th November and the 6th December - two tours on each day at 11am and 1pm.

It's free to join a tour but due to limited space per tour, booking via Eventbrite is essential. Please add your name to the waiting list if sold out. Parking for the tours is at the Station (Holme Lane, DE55 7LJ) but please take care when driving up the track, as there are likely to be pedestrians/dog walkers etc. If you have any questions, please get in touch: wingfieldstation@gmail.com

Our first 2024 tour dates will be announced in our Christmas newsletter. We know there is a large demand for tours and our aim is that everyone who wishes to visit will be able to do so between now and the the next few months.

Tour at Wingfield, November 2023

speakers wanted for our developing talks programme

Hello, my name is David Young and I’d like to introduce myself. I volunteered for the Trust earlier this year having been drawn in by an introductory talk at our local history group in Little Eaton. I have no relevant occupational background, just a shared interest in conserving local buildings of interest.
Happy to help, I then took on responsibility for coordinating educational talks for the Trust. We now need to establish a team to deliver those introductory talks on the work of the DHBT.
The talk would be given to interested groups around Derbyshire, typically local history groups, but there are many other possibilities. The talks are already delivered by a few of our senior board members, but they naturally have limited availability, and we need more people to help shape a plan and get our message out to the wider county.
I envisage that the talks would be pre-scripted with slides, to be used either verbatim or simply as a guide. I shall repeat this appeal in a group mail to Friends and Trust members but if you already feel this is something that might interest you do, please get in touch to find out more (email: talks@derbyshirehistoricbuildingstrust.org.uk).
I very much look forward to hearing from some of you in due course.
With best wishes,
Dave Young.

online talk about the derbyshire architect, george widdows

On Sunday 3rd December, 2pm, we will be delivering an online talk about George H Widdows (1871-1946), the Derbyshire architect who pioneered changes to school building design.

George Henry Widdows was the schools architect for Derbyshire County Council in the early years of the twentieth century. Designing and altering nearly 60 schools across the county, he broke the mould of the near-universal Schools Board layout to prioritise the health and welfare of the children.

DHBT Trustee, Allan Morrison, will present an online talk for about 50 minutes. This will be followed by a Q&A session. Please join the Zoom via the Eventbrite link a couple of minutes before 2pm on the 3rd December. Tickets cost £3 (only one purchase needed per viewing device/household!).

DHBT Architecture Awards 2023

The DHBT Architecture Awards 2023 will be held at the Assembly Rooms, Buxton Crescent

Our Architecture Awards for 2023 will be held in the magnificent newly restored Assembly Rooms at Buxton Crescent on Monday 27th November from 6pm- 7.30pm.

The tickets are £10 per person, which includes a glass of Prosecco, wine or soft drink. It will be a great evening celebrating new and innovative building restoration, craft skills, conservation champions and much more. All of which are taking place in Derbyshire currently, or within the past five years. The event will be presented by architectural historian and writer, Jeremy Musson. There is a bar in the hotel for those wishing to stay a little longer and socialise or why not book a spa break/stay whilst you are there!

memorable tour of historic melbourne, sunday 20th august 2023

Seventeen people enjoyed a memorable tour of historic Melbourne on Sunday 20th August led by historian and historic building expert Philip Heath. It began with an explanation of how the Royal Castle, which once towered over the old market place gradually fell into disrepair until it was ‘mined’ for it’s excellent building stone and now only below ground archaeology survives.

Visit to Melbourne, August 2023

Then on to how the Norman parish church was surrounded by three farms, one of which belonged to the Hall (the origin of which was a ‘safe-house’ for the Bishop of Carlisle, who considered Melbourne because, as the furthest north, it was safe from attacks by raiding parties of marauding Scots). The two hour tour ended with a visit to the site of the birthplace of holiday tour agent Thomas Cook and then the almshouses he built for indigent fellow Baptists.

Following this we were invited to walk through a doorway off a car park to discover, to our amazement, several tables laid out in a wonderfully pretty flower garden, where we were treated to a sumptuous tea party prepared by Philip’s wife Penny and helpers. A very special experience for which we are immensely grateful to Philip and Penny.

An amazing tea party prepared by Penny and Philip Heath

visit to lode mill, Sunday 17th September 2023

Another fascinating visit took place on Sunday 17th September. Lode Mill has been rescued from a state of dereliction by Mr Jim Campbell. The Mill may be on the site of a lead smelting mill of 1741- 1760. The water powered mill that attendees saw was built in 1814 for grinding corn and oats and as a granary. In 1920 it became used for coffin making and by the 1940s had fallen into loose use for general agricultural purposes. Its location is spectacularly beautiful; standing beside the River Dove which forms the boundary between Staffordshire and Derbyshire.

The visitors were impressed by how a delightful dwelling had been created without loss of the mill workings.

Lode Mill
Visit to Lode Mill, September 2023

a call for trustees and volunteers

Some of the Wingfield/DHBT team at Wingfield on the National Lottery Heritage Fund 'ThanksToYou' day, acknowledging the role of National Lottery players in making projects like this possible

Earlier this year we successfully recruited two new trustees who are already making a big impact on our charity - we will introduce them properly in the next newsletter.

However, we are still looking for people who would like to make a difference by taking on the following trustee roles: Vice Chair; Supporter & Community Engagement and Fundraising and these volunteer roles: Volunteering lead; Walks & Visits Coordinator; Community Ambassadors; Events Organiser and Fundraising Coordinator.

Even if you're not quite sure you've got the right experience or skills, please do get in touch to discuss the various opportunities. Contact DHBT Chair, Derek Latham: derek@dereklatham.co.uk

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