Dear Member,
A happy and prosperous New Year to you all!
Firstly thank you all so very much for the beautiful Christmas Hamper presented to me at our Christmas Social Evening on the 8th December 1994, and a special thanks must go to Vera and Fred Moxon who put it together
This year I propose to change the format of our usual January Newsletter. Recently I spent two weeks listing everything in our archives and putting these into a booklet format. I will therefore be omitting this section listing new acquisitions this year. If you wish to see this document, which consists of over twenty pages, it is to be found in all our local libraries and can be obtained from myself on request.
1994 - Newsletters and Events
JANUARY This month saw a very enjoyable talk by the Leader Bros. on the Rockingham Pottery, and our newsletter was a recap on 1993's Newsletters and gave a list of new acquisitions for the archives.
FEBRUARY This month there was to have been a talk by Derrick Riley on Archaeological Photography, but after his sad death his place was filled by Eric
Houlder (too ill in September to carry out his previous booking) who gave a tongue in cheek account of the early history of the lavatory, and our newsletter covered 'Pictures of Old Mexborough' taken from a talk given by Mr. Norman Watson a few months prior to this. February also saw the continuation of the government's policy on pit closures, as the 4th February saw the last load of coal removed from Goldthorpe Pit, the 11th February was the closure of Manton Colliery, then on the 24th February came a real surprise for me when Eckles Colliery closed, and along with the men who were made redundant went the last four pit ponies in the British Isles, these being retired to Capphouse Colliery (the Mining Museum).
This month also saw the takeover of Rossington Colliery by a firm which at this time was little know to us, Budge's.
MARCH This month was a talk given by Peter Wild on The Canals of South Yorkshire, and the newsletter told us of the ships and other vessel owned by Kilners Bros. Glassworks, Denaby Main, and also Denaby and Cadeby Main Collieries Company Limited.
12th March - the first thirty two women were ordained into the priesthood, the ceremony taking place at Bristol Cathedral.
15th March was the 45th anniversary of the abandonment of Clothes Rationing. 16th March - ten women were ordained as priests at Sheffield Cathedral by the Bishop of Doncaster.
Then on a more mundane level, areas of Mexborough received `Wheely Bins' for the first time on Monday 21st March 1994.
This month also saw the opening of the Sheffield Supertram.
APRIL Was our A.G.M. and a talk was given by Tony Mumford who is head of the Archives at Rotherham Central Library and he spoke about this and the library services. The newsletter was 'A Short History of the Roads in Mexborough to 1894'. The 16th of this month also saw the first excursion of the year to Lincoln.
MAY Was the first of our summer visits, and this one was to the Dove Cote at the site of Barnburgh Hall. We were also taken on a tour of the parish church. Our newsletter this month covered my thoughts on the origins of Mexborough which I personally believe to be older than Saxon.
6th May saw the opening of the Channel Tunnel.
10th May there was a partial eclipse of the sun. Also on this date Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the first black president of South Africa,.and the first thing he did was to give his new country a new flag and anthem.
14th May - Blackpool Tower was one hundred years old and was painted gold in honour of its centenary.
20th May - Jackie Kennedy died of cancer.
Last year was the 800th anniversary of Doncaster receiving it charter, and on the 22nd May there were festivities to celebrate this at the racecourse, part of which was a local history exhibition which your society took part in.
This was followed by a lengthy exhibition at Mexborough Branch Library, and for these exhibitions the Society was awarded a certificate in recognition of the help we gave in the celebrations. This was signed personally by Councillors C. L. Webb, Chairman of the Festival Group; the Mayor, Councillor G. Gallimore J.P.; and the Festival Director, Martin S. Tyas.
JUNE As it was fifty years this month since D-Day our newsletter covered 'A Local Hero of the D-Day Invasion' and our visit was to the Clifton Park Museum.
5th June - D-Day Commemorations.
30th June - Tower Bridge was one hundred years old.
JULY Was a very busy month all round.
2nd July saw an excursion to Ironbridge and Coalbrookdale.
14th July - the government declared that R.A.F. Finningley was to close and this year's air show was to be the last.
20th July saw the 25th anniversary of man landing on the moon
23rd July was Mexborough Carnival and we put on an exhibition at the library. We also took this opportunity to launch our booklet 'An Everyday Story of Mexborough Folk' and our first batch sold out that day
Then on the 26th July we went on a tour of Hickleton Hail and Church.
Our newsletter was on lronbridge, Coalbrookdale, and the Squatter's Cottage. This month also saw the death of Reg. Glen at the age of 101 years - the last surviving member of the Sheffield Pals.
AUGUST There wasn't a meeting this month and the only thing of note was that the old red Jubilee Public Telephone Box was removed from the bottom of Adwick Road close to the Health Centre, this being on the 11th August.
SEPTEMBER September began with the sad death of Roy Castle after his long and arduous battle to defeat cancer.
The Society went on another excursion, this time to Eyam and Bakewell on the 17th September.
Eric Houlder gave us a talk this month on photographic techniques as applied to local history
The newsletter was entitled The Summer of '94' and told us of the visit to Barnburgh and a little of the history of the hall, the hundredth birthday of Tower Bridge, plus the 50th anniversary of D-Day, our visit to Clifton Park Museum in Rotherham, Reg. Glen, lronbridge and Coalbrookdale, how we published our first booklet, and how I came to write the early history of Doncaster Road School and a little about it, letters received from America and New Zealand about our history, then last but not least, the Dearne Valley Opera.
OCTOBER On the 9th October the last pit left in the Lancashire Coalfield was closed.
The newsletter covered Hickleton Hall and Church, for which many people requested more information following our visit on 26th July.
John Griffin gave us a talk on antique town and provincial furniture.
NOVEMBER On 4th November the magnificent shipyards of Swan Hunter at Newcastle-upon-Tyne launched what is possibly their last ship. This was a Royal Navy frigate which was named the 'Richmond'. This was the same boatyard which in 1898 built the `Reresby' for the Denaby and Cadeby Main Collieries Company Limited.
14th November saw the first passengers through the Channel Tunnel at a cost of 195 each and the National Lottery began.
On 18th November and in December we said goodbye to two characters of our roads, firstly the firm which made the Reliant Robin went into receivership (January
'95 - now to be rescued), then in December it was announced by Rolls Royce that after all these years the engine of their world famous car will no longer be made by them but by B.M.W. and other parts will be made in Japan, but the bodywork will still be made here. Goodbye you old and faithful servants!
The newsletter told us 'What Mexborough was like in the middle of the 19th century', the title deriving from an article which appeared in the Mexborough and Swinton Times in November 1894.
Our talk this month was on the history of Manvers Main Colliery and was given by Alex Fleming, a teacher at Wath Comprehensive and member of Wath Community History Group.
Frickley Colliery was closed this month, and THE MACHINE WHICH ENABLES YOU TO LOOK AT BACK COPIES OF THE MEXBOROUGH AND SWINTON TIMES WAS RETURNED TO MEXBOROUGH BRANCH LIBRARY. All you need to do to use it is to ask a member of the staff! Please help to justify its return.
DECEMBER It was announced by the government that they are to reestablish the counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire, and Rutland.
Our Social Evening this year was a very enjoyable one, mostly due to the hard work put in by the Committee who devised a series of quizzes which were slightly different. Thanks to you those who worked so hard to make it into an enjoyable night for everyone.
In April our newsletter covered some of the history of the roads in Mexborough, and contained within this was the story of how a group of travellers in 1524, whilst crossing Strafford Sands, had nearly been drowned, and it was only by praying to "Almighty God and to the Blessed Lady" that they were saved. I also went on to tell you how when they got to Doncaster they found it to be 'Mare Mawdleyn's Day' and went to the church of Mary Magdalene, which was situated in the market place, and there declared that a miracle had happened. Songs were sung and the bells rung. This old church has long since been pulled down but at the beginning of December 1994, whilst doing work to renovate the Corn Exchange at Doncaster, human bones began to be unearthed, archaeologists were called in and after excavating quite a few skeletons, declared it to be a Christian graveyard. Since the Church of Mary Magdalene is the only church I know of which once stood as near to the market as this, I believe that they must have unearthed the graveyard to the church where our travellers who so nearly drowned on that day over 400 years ago came to give thanks to God.
30th December - British Coal to be disbanded and the remaining 30 pits sold off to the private sector.
Above you will find mention of all the newsletters compiled over the past year, as well as other information which I thought may be interesting to you. If you wish to obtain a copy of any of the newsletters I have listed please do not hesitate to ask for a copy.
Your Archivist J. R. Ashby.
PS Our archives are open at most times for all our members to look into and study the history of our town, with some exceptions. These are Sundays, Bank Holidays and over the Christmas period (16th December 1995 - 2nd January 1996) and after 10 pm at night (including telephone calls).