Friday, 30 January 2015

99 years since the Zeppelin raids on Loughborough

A little more about the Zeppelin raids on Loughborough

Some time ago I posted about a guided walk led by a friend of mine, which covered the spots hit by the Zeppelin raid on Loughborough of 31st January 1916. Next year will be the 100th anniversary of this dreadful attack, so I thought it would be appropriate to share a few links with you.

The BBC World War One at Home website has an interviewer talking to an expert about the event.

In this video, ITV take a lady back to the area of the attack.

The Charnwood Great War Centenary Project is planning a community commemoration event.

The Loughborough Roll of Honour website has an extensive account and list of those killed and injured in the attack.

The Leicester Mercury of 26 February 2014 has an account of the attack, and contains a selection of photographs.

Leicestershire Revealed, 100 Museum Objects puts exhibits from the Zeppelin raid, on show in the Carillon Museum in its top 100 items.

Last year an academic from Loughborough University gave a talk to the Friends of Charnwood Museum on the journey from the start of the war to the Zeppelin raid on Loughborough.

The borough council have produced a self-guided walk, which encompasses The Rushes, site of one of the bombings.

Information on the Leicestershire War Memorials Project.

In 2000 this artefact was put up for auction: "Loughborough, Leicestershire, 42mm, in silver, die struck medallion, obverse with profile of Herbert Morris and inscription ‘Carry on’, reverse inscribed ‘Herbert Morris Limited, Empress Works Loughborough, in appreciation of services rendered Aug. 4th 1914 - Nov. 11th 1918’, edge inscribed ‘Walter Williams’, contained in its original hinged fitted case of issue, extremely fine £40-50". I believe it actually went for £130.

There's a tiny bit on the raids under the heading "1916" on Wikipedia, but not mention specifically of Loughborough.

The new artwork by Silent Hobo installed in Devonshire Square, above the shops, has a Zeppelin as one of its images.

An interesting initiative on Twitter, although not directly related to the Zeppelin raids on Loughborough, helps inform people today by sharing the war diary of William Grudgings, a former schoolteacher from Cobden Street School who signed up in 1916.

The recently re-discovered war diaries of Alfred Angrave, from the Leicestershire Regiment, have just started to be shared on Twitter.

In two of the locations where the bombs fell, there are granite crosses still to be seen, and one brass plaque on Empress Road, and another housed in the Carillon Museum.

Empress Road

Empress Road

The Rushes
The Carillon, a memorial to those who fell during the First World War, and later conflicts.

A selection of postcards of the Carillon

A postcard of the Carillon

Borough Carilloneur

The Carillon bells in Taylor's bellfoundry

A postcard relating to the Carillon and its bells

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Winter walk around the water - Charnwood, that is!

Last week I shared with you some information about needle-making in Loughborough, and promised you a post about one of the needle-making families in town. Although I've done quite a lot of work on this, my research is not yet in a fit enough state to be published on this blog. Apologies, but please enjoy this week's offering. I'm hoping to post next Saturday, instead of Sunday, Saturday being, rather significantly, 31st January.

Recently, we were going to go for a walk at Beacon Hill, but when we got there, there was a queue waiting to get into the car park because of a running event that was taking place, so instead we took a meander around Charnwood Water, and we weren't disappointed! Loads of swans, coots, ducks, remote controlled boats, and a steam train, not to mention lovely trees, and a view of the back of the Cedars (formerly the home of the Loughborough town banker)! Charnwood Water used to be called Tucker's Pond because before being filled with water, this was a clay pit, the clay from which was used by the local firm of Tuckers to make bricks.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Needle-making in Loughborough

Although last week's post included a little bit about needle-making, I've been meaning to write a longer post about needle-making in Loughborough for a very long time, prompted by a number of things, including spotting a photograph of a building I walk past every time I walk into town in a local history book, a postcard sent to someone in Loughborough with the same surname as the local needle-makers, a visit to the needle-making museum in Redditch, and a visit to Astley Book Farm!

At the Book Farm I discovered a book in the Shire Books series on needle-making, which was fascinating, and in the back was a list of places to visit, which included Redditch.

I had only ever been to Redditch once before, so put a trip there on my wish list, particularly to visit the Forge Mill Needle Museum. Here I discovered that not only was Redditch famous for sewing needles, but also for other, related sharp, pointy bits of metal, like darts, hooks for fishing rods, and medical syringes.

This got me to thinking about Loughborough, because I was sure on my travels through some of my local history books I knew I'd seen reference to needle-makers in Loughborough, and wondered why Redditch became the centre of needle-making in the country. Now, having tried to do a bit of research, I can only assume it was because the needles manufactured in Redditch were the sort used for hand-stitching, whereas those made in Loughborough were for framework knitting machines, initially bearded needles, then superseded by latch needles.

On a trip to Lichfield a long time ago I spotted some postcards that had been sent to someone in Loughborough, but it was only when I got home that I worked out the significance of the addressee, and I so wished I'd bought them. A little while before Christmas 2014, I visited Lichfield again, looking for some solace in the Cathedral and some Christmas presents in the shops. I suddenly remembered about the postcards I'd seen before and on the off-chance popped into the same shop I'd seen them in to look for some other presents. Imagine my surprise to find the postcards still there: This time I bought one - only when I got home I wished I'd bought them all!! The one I bought was a postcard from Leicester from an elementary school teacher to her slightly older elementary school teacher sister who was living in Loughborough. They were associated with one of the main needle-making families in the town.

As for that building, I admit I don't get into town as often as I used to, but when I do I always walk, and my journey takes me along Albert Street. I've often looked at the strange building on the end, but it wasn't until I acquired a copy of  Bygone Loughborough in Photographs, vol.2, that I discovered the building used to be a factory making needles.

Some of the needle-makers I've found listed are:

  • Samuel Armstrong, Mill Street
  • Samuel Chester, Bridge Street
  • John Holland, North Street
  • William Priestley, Woodgate

  • William Battison, Mill Street
  • Luke Cashmore & Sons, Mill Street
  • Charles, Thomas & Josiah Grudgings, Albert Street
  • William Hubbard, Regent Street

  • Luke Cashmore & Sons, Mill Street
  • Charles, Thomas & Josiah Grudgins, Albert Street
  • William Hammond, 64 Leopold Street
  • Hartshorn & Hoult, 39 Pinfoldgate
  • Walter Hubbard, Meadow Lane

  • Daniel Grudgings & Bros, Albert Street
  • J T & C Grudgings, School Street
  • William Hammond & Son, The Rushes *
  • William Hubbard, Meadow Lane

  • Daniel Grudgings & Bros, Albert Street
  • J T & C Grudgings, School Street
  • William Hubbard, Meadow lane

  • Daniel Grudgings & Bros, 1 Albert Street
  • J T & C Grudgings, 8 School Street

* I believe Hammonds might have been on Havelock Street at one time too.

Pop back next week or the week after to read a bit more about one of the needle-making families in Loughborough.


Sunday, 11 January 2015

Needlemaking and other Loughborough connections

This week the Loughborough Archaeological and Historical Society held their members event which sees members of the society give presentations on things they've been researching that would be of interest to others. This year, I decided to give it a go, and presented a short talk on archaeology - my kind, not the trench-digging, field-walking kind - with examples of artefacts I've found on my travels that have informed my research.

If you would like to see the presentation, I've uploaded the slides , and I've included the transcript below.

Archaeology and the fundamental interconnectedness of all things (with thanks to DA)

In late 2012, when I responded to an advert for members of the public who were interested in the history of Loughborough to enrol on a 6-month course in Leicester on learning how to lead a guided walk, little did I know what was actually in store for me!

At the first session of the course I felt like a complete interloper! Almost everyone else there was attached to a museum  - The Old Rectory, The Abbey Pumping Station, The Space Centre, The GCR, Newarke Houses etc. – so I attached myself to the unattached chap next to me and we got on like a house on fire, which was great as he was a retired fire officer!

As a daughter of the grim industrial areas of South Wales, what exactly did I think I had to offer to people who might be interested in the history of our little market town – and probably knew more about it than I did anyway!

Well, to cut a very long story short, I may have known very little about Loughborough at the start of the course, but many years of researching significant (that’s significant to me) areas of Wales, and endless hours of pouring over census returns and bmd records in a quest to complete the family tree, all held me in good stead. And maybe, just maybe, being a librarian by day was also a bit of help!

So, I passed the tour guiding course, and have shared some of my knowledge on guided walks. But when I read on Twitter about 18 months ago that some people viewed Loughborough as a rubbish town, I decided to try and do something to raise the profile of the town. Thus, the blog, lynneaboutloughborough was born. Each Sunday evening I write a piece about, or related to, our wonderful town, and share this on the internet for anyone to read.

Articles are prompted by my own interests, by things people have said to me, by events happening in and around the town, and by chance finds.

I know the Loughborough Archaeological and Historical Society started life as the Loughborough and District Archaeological Society, and although I was daunted at the prospect of joining such a prestigious group, I paid my subs and showed up at meetings. Now, I know nothing about archaeology except what I’ve seen on television programmes like Time Team, and in truth, I have a bit of an aversion to getting dirty, but I bit the bullet and went on a fieldwalking event, and thoroughly enjoyed walking through a recently ploughed field looking for bits of debris that might be a flint arrowhead, or some kind of pottery. Problem was though, having been brought up in South Wales I could easily recognise slate, and had there been any granite I would have recognised that too, from regular holidays in Cornwall. But, I didn’t find anything significant, and was really rather more interested in the 19th century horseshoe I spotted!

So, if digging trenches and walking ploughed fields isn’t quite my kind of archaeology then what is?

Well, antique and junk shops are! Charity shops are! 2nd hand bookshops are! The internet is!

So, I dig around all of these, looking for clues, usually about something specific, but equally often just picking up things that might be of interest. Everything I see of buy helps me to build up a picture of what I’ve been researching into and helps me to understand more about social history.  

Take this postcard. A picture of Leicester, sent to someone in Loughborough and bought over 100 years later from Lichfield. To me, this is all hugely significant: My journey from home to town takes me along Albert Street, and I’ve always been fascinated by the engineering factory on the corner. Research revealed that it had once been a needlemaking factory, one of the ones run by the Grudgings family, at least one of whom died during WW1, and at least one other who survived (and whose WW1 diary is tweeted via the Carillon Museum). And here I am holding a postcard sent to Flo Grudgings, an elementary school teacher and a member of that needlemaking family. The card was posted in 1903.

And then, of course, there’s the Lichfield connection. Wasn’t Lichfield Cathedral once the cathedral associated with our town? And at least some of the current bells were cast by Taylor’s Bell Founders in 1947. It was Taylor’s, of course, who cast the bells for our beautiful war memorial, which can still be heard on Sundays when the carillon is played.

I did a spot of volunteering at the Carillon Museum this year, just before my grandmother died. How strange then to learn at her funeral that a long lost uncle who emigrated to the States in the ‘60s, regularly plays the carillon in his home town of Morristown, New Jersey.

But, back to archaeology! Earlier, I said I could recognise slate and granite, but perhaps I should also add alabaster to that list. I first met Ray State in the local studies library about a week after I’d written an article on spar ornament makers of Loughborough, so it was a real pleasure to come along and hear him talk, just before Christmas. Curiously, also a couple of weeks before Christmas, we had a sale of unwanted goods at work: We’re trying to raise money to train a guide dog, and for the huge sum of 50p I bought this alabaster egg. I got the feeling people thought I was a bit mad, but I’m now so glad I did buy it! Needless to say, I have been scouring the shops for other alabaster ornaments, but I don’t think I’ll ever find any! But, who knows, I might yet be surprised …

… as I was on another recent shopping trip looking for suitable Christmas presents!

Imagine my total astonishment and excitement when I stumbled across this trunk! Ok, so it’s a steamer trunk, but not just any old steamer trunk! Fortuitously, the last luggage label had been left on: This trunk belonged to Charles Knight Deeming, he, latterly of One Ash House, the former owner of the current Odeon (aka The Empire, The New Empire, The Curzon, The Reel), and the now demolished Victory Cinema, which stood in Biggin Street on the site now occupied by a card shop, Games Workshop and Bonkers.  

Ironically, I’m a little bit interested in cinema and theatre and had been researching the family tree of Charles Deeming. Unfortunately, at £165 the trunk was too expensive for me to buy – so no prop to show you!

Finally, it was a visit to a 2nd hand bookshop in Warwickshire that led me to this publication,  Needlemaking, and the list of places to visit in the back. This included Forge Mill Needlemaking Museum in Redditch. This, of course, takes us back to the Grudgings family where we started, unless we want to explore these connections further, for Bordesley Abbey was on the same site as the needlemaking museum and there is a strong connection to Garendon Abbey and has been the subject of a community dig.

So, our archaeologies are fundamentally interconnected, but I must stop here, otherwise I could carry on connecting for a very long time!

Thanks for listening!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Loughborough 2014 in pics

I'm still reviewing 2014! Last week I shared the top blogposts and my favourite blogposts with you: This week I'm sharing my favourite pics from 2014! Warning: Lots of pics and I haven't as yet worked out how to make them smaller without loosing quality, so they load more quickly: A job for 2015!

From January 2014 - Warner Street School shortly before demolition. All that now remains is the portion which was the schoolmaster's house, to the right of the main school in this photo. The blogpost this appeared in was a veritable pot pourri and included info about resources in the public library, a bit about Aumbery Gap, mention of a talk on Luddites, a WW1 project, the Leicestershire Green Plaque scheme, and a few other things.

Warner Street School shortly before demolition
From February 2014 - an open day at Unity House led me to the discovery of a rulebook for the Oddfellows, published in 1904. Unity House is a lovely building erected in about 1889, and has an interesting history, described in the blogpost. The Oddfellows had various meeting places in Loughborough, and Unity House was one of them.

Oddfellows rulebook for 1904

From March 2014 - ghost signs of Loughborough produced some really interesting photos of painted signs on the sides of buildings advertising businesses that were no longer there (and a few other carved, embossed, and painted signs that really weren't ghost signs!). I think my favourite is the Wool Shop on Nottingham Road: Someone recently told me that the lady who ran the shop knew exactly where everything was, despite the seeming disorder, and when she eventually shut up shop went on a worldwide cruise!

The Wool Shop on Nottingham Road

From April 2014 - during WW2 Sir Malcolm Sargent toured the country with his orchestra, visiting industrial cities affected by the Blitz. He was supposed to conduct at the Empire Cinema, but was unfortunately indisposed on this particular occasion, his place being taken by Warwick Braithwaite.

The programme for the concert at The Empire Cinema
From May 2014 - a rare guided walk around the Dishley Estate led to some really exciting photo opportunities (although I didn't get into the photograph that appeared in the Echo, because I was too busy looking at the walls of the church!)

All Saints Church, Dishley
From June 2014 - For the last couple of years the Loughborough In Bloom initiative has commissioned sculptures to adorn the pond area of Queen's Park, outside the Charnwood Museum. This year the sculptures were on the theme of remembrance.

From July 2014 - having helped out at the Carillon Museum for a few weeks during the 2014 season, imagine my surprise when I discovered that my uncle in New Jersey was the carilloneur in their carillon!!

The Loughborough Carillon in Queen's Park

From August 2014 - a wonderful event took place in Queen's Park, as a reminder of the start of the First World War. There was a parade from John Storer House, a service at the base of the Carillon, and there were stalls and events in the park.

From September 2014 - the spotlight on ancient Loughborough part 1 as a feature on The Windmill Inn, a regular haunt of mine during the 1980s! One of Loughborough's most historic and characterful pubs.

Possibly the oldest pub in Loughborough!
From October 2014 - following my research into Temperance, and particularly into the Temperance Hotel in Nanpantan, I took a visit to Nanpantan Reservoir - its old workings, its surrounding farms and houses, and its wildlife.

A view of the reservoir at Nanpantan

From November 2014 - the son et lumiere on Loughborough Carillon turned out to be rather controversial - some people objected to such an event, and many others simply didn't know it was happening. I went along and took some rather rubbish photos, but it gives you an idea of the event.

Everyone loves a cat

From December 2014 - December gave me an excuse to focus on Christmas events! The Christmas in Leicestershire blogpost gave me a chance to indulge in Hathern Band (particularly the trombone section) and in Christmas trees (although I was unable to attend the Loughborough Christmas tree festival, so the ones on show here are Melton Mowbray).

The trombone section of Hathern Band playing at the Melton Mowbray Christmas tree festival

And, here's a selection of my other favourite pics from 2014

The granite cross in the road on Swan Street

Book by local author!

Unity House on Fennel Street

Bullrushes at Pillings Lock

Lambs at Oakley Grange

The Temperance building in town

The 1930s Echo offices on Swan Street

The Georgian Theatre, Richmond

At the last canal boat festival

Robert Bakewell and Dishley

The Old Rectory Museum

The former Temperance Hotel, Nanpantan

Radmoor House

WW1 research on display in Hathern Church

At the fair!

Queen's Park in November

Songster on display in Charnwood Museum

The new Devonshire Square mural

Spar egg cup - though probably not made in Loughborough

Andy Everitt-Stewart's exhibition in Charnwood Museum

And finally ...

The public library!