I have just (30th Dec. 1995) been informed of some outstanding news. One of our committee members, Counsellor Malcolm Jevons, has received official notification that he is mentioned in the New Years Honours List and is to be awarded the M.B.E. later on this year at Buckingham Palace.. It is to be given for his services to politics and the community. Congratulations Malcolm from all of us.
It is well deserved.
Normal people have "off days" but me, being awkward, I have to have "off years" and last year was one of them. My family just seemed to catapult from one catastrophe to another, and a whole catalogue of misfortunes seemed to descend upon us from a great height. Even the cat gave up on us and died, so as you can guess this is one person who is pleased to see the back of '95.
JANUARY arrived with a flash, at least at our house it did, as an electrical fault in my cooker started a fire in the kitchen and caused smoke damage to the whole house. This was followed by a multitude of workmen who seemed to inhabit our home for weeks to follow. What I would have done without the help of some of you who kindly volunteered to come and help to scrub out I will never know.
Our talk this month was by Vera and Fred Moxon on the subject of Family History, and the newsletter this month was as it is now a recap of the past year's newsletters and events.
1995 was the 50th anniversary of the end of World War Two so there were many commemorative services to remember this. The first of these was a service of remembrance held at Auschwitz Concentration Camp, as the 27th January 1945 was the date on which it was liberated.
FEBRUARY This month the Ferry Boat Inn, The Business Centre, Douglas Axe, Frank Vernon, and I were all involved in the making of a radio programme for Radio Sheffield, where we each gave an interview on differing subjects. I represented the society and told a little of the history of our town. (We're getting quite well known aren't we ?) These interviews were broadcast to the public between 27th Feb. and 3rd. March in a programme entitled "On Location with Tony Capstick" (The tape of this is available on request).
The middle of February saw an exhibition staged at The Miners' Chapel Denaby Main under the theme of mining.
There was another commemorative service this time in Dresden, as it was fifty years since it was destroyed by British bombers.
A very well known adopted Yorkshireman died on the 28th of this month, his name was Dr. Alf. White better known to hundreds of us as James Herriot. How eagerly I would wait for the release of his new books, and when they were made into films made a special journey to Doncaster to view them. When they were adapted to the small screen I can remember how, on Sunday at 7:15p.m., our T.V. would be turned to B.B.C.1 and we would sit patiently to await the new humorous episode. His ready wit and charming tales of an innocent time long ago will beĽ missed by thousands, not just in this country but all over the world.
This month we had a talk given by Ena Walker and Brenda Mitchell on the subject of Brodsworth Hall. Unfortunately I was unable to either attend this meeting or write a newsletter, but I was informed that I missed a treat as it was a highly technical display, using both an audio and visual system.
MARCH. By March the official date on which the Fiftieth Anniversary of V.E. Day had been fixed as the 8th May 1995 and we were approached by Mexborough Branch Library with a view as to staging an exhibition on the theme of "The End of the War". This was to be put on the week before and after this date, and we started in March to collect photo's and other relevant information on the topic.
The newsletter this month covered "The Disbandment of Mexborough Local Board 1894", which was taken from an article in The Mexborough and Swinton Times. It covered a lengthy speech given by Mr. J.H. Watson, who had sat on Mexborough Local Board for eighteen years, and was therefore able to tell of the great accomplishments achieved by the Board in its twenty eight years of life.
This year we had our A.G.M. in March instead of the usual April, after which an illustrated talk was given by Peter Gordon Smith to update us on the situation at Brodsworth Hall and Conisbrough Castle. By March the latter had its new roof and floors installed and was preparing for its forthcoming re-opening.
This month also saw the death of a lady who became very well known to us for her untiring work during the war with the French Resistance Movement. She was known to us simply as Odette. It seems such a shame that she was not able to see the celebrations for fifty years of peace which were to follow in the May of the same year. A peace which she worked so hard to bring about.
APRIL This month started with the re-opening of Conisbrough Castle with local groups being the first to be taken around to witness the new "Keep Experience". A hi-tech tour where they were able to relive, with the aid of computer effects, the events of 1317 when an army laid siege to the castle.
Our talk this month was on the subject of "Enclosure in Mexborough" It was given by John Goodchild who informed us that the change over from the open field system of farming to the enclosed was more complicated in Mexborough than at first it seems. Bell String Flatts ( now part of the Manor Est.,) was enclosed in the 17th century, but it was 1864 before Edward Kater ( then Lord of the Manor) made arrangements to have the commons here enclosed.
As our meeting was only a few days away from the V.E. Day celebrations our newsletter covered "The Day That Marked the End Of The War" which was V. Day (Victory Day) 8th June 1946 and touched on the illuminations, parades, street parties, special day excursions to the sea side, bonfires with firework displays, and dances which went on all night through.
Again in connection with the war it was fifty years since British Troops liberated Belsen Concentration Camp ( 27th April 1945 ) and a service was held in the chapel there to remember this. It was also fifty years since Adolf Hitler shot himself (30th April 1945) in his underground H. Q. in Berlin.
Two outstanding people died in April, these being Burl Ives (14th April 1995. Good Friday) who was well known to many of us for his distinctive voice, and Ginger Rodgers (25th April 1995) famous dance partner of Fred Astair.
It was also this month that Barry Chambers released his new book "A Mexborough Scrap Book" which is still to be obtained from Mexborough Branch Library.
MAY was the start of that long hot summer with temperatures which broke all known records, and the need to preserve water was at a premium. I remember how walking with my son in the wood close to High Melton College how we heard the first cuckoo of the year. I also remember, all too vividly, seeing on T.V. the millions who came to London for the celebrations of V.E. Day.
The 20th May 1995 saw our first excursion of the year which was to Chester.
Our meeting this month was a visit to "Mr. Straw's House" at Worksop. When visiting National Trust property we automatically think of stately homes with extensive grounds. Mr. Straw's house is not like this as No. 7. Blythe Grove is none other than one half of a semi-detached house built in 1905. From the outside it looks like many other houses of the time, but it is when we are within that we find what a gem it really is as we are transported back into the home of a typical well - to - do tradesman's house of the beginning of the century, complete down to the articles to be found inside the food cupboards.
Our newsletter told what Mexborough was like at the end of the war, certainly a very different world to the one we see today.
JUNE - I find only one thing of note to mention from my diary, and it was that on the 14th June 1995 the last of the canaries to be used in the collieries of the U.K. were made redundant.
Our meeting consisted of a guided tour of Adwick Church by Marion Martin and Glenys Harrison, but unfortunately, due to illness, I was unable to attend and also for the same reason I was unable to write a newsletter this month
JULY began with our excursion to Ripon and Ripley Castle which I was unable to attend.
5th July Brodsworth Hall was opened by Princess Margaret and re-opened to the general public the following day.
This was followed on the 12th July by the death from leukemia of the well known naturalist Mr. Michael Clegg, who was particularly well known for his wildlife programme "Clegg's People". It was he who, among others, helped my father to raise funds in order to create Denaby Ings Nature Reserve.
This months meeting was a visit to Brodsworth Hall, now owned by English Heritage and re-opened to the general public earlier in the month We were given a guided tour and shown all the hard work done on it by the team of dedicated conservationists since we were last there in July 1993. (details of this can be found in our Sept. newsletter).
AUGUST is a time when many of us are busy in some way so there isn't a meeting or newsletter this month
It was fifty years since the end of the war with Japan, and on Friday 11th August 1995 their Prime Minister officially apologised for the conduct of his country's soldiers to prisoners of war during the Second World War. The former having applied to the Japanese Government for compensation for injuries incurred while P.O.W. under the care of the Japanese authorities. They are still waiting!
It was fifty years too since the first atomic bombs were dropped. The first being on the 6th August 1945 on the Japanese industrial town of Hiroshima. This was followed on the 10th August 1945 by the second, which was again dropped by the American Airforce, this time on the ship - building centre of Nagasaki, both causing massive destruction and loss of life.
14th August saw the anniversary of the day fifty years earlier when Emperor Hirohito of Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender, and the Second World War was officially at an end. V.J. Day (Victory over Japan), as this became known, was again celebrated in many parts of the county as we had earlier celebrated the anniversary of V.E. Day.
Other things which happened this month included the centenary of Rugby League, which started on the 26th August 1895 and England staged the world championships to celebrate this. The demolition of the Hope Club on Milton Road to make way for new housing occurred on the 18th August, and the sad death of an old friend of our society, Jim Rownsley, followed on the 31st. August..
SEPTEMBER the traditional start to our winter season was heralded in by Eric Holder who gave us an escorted tour of Hadrian's Wall (10th Sept. 1995), he was, as usual, on top form and this, together with the good weather and beautiful scenery, made for an exceedingly good day out.
The 22nd Sept. saw the fortieth anniversary of the start of commercial television in this country. Their first advertisement being for Gibbs S.R. Toothpaste. Bird's Eye held fortieth celebrations themselves on the 23rd when the Fish Finger was forty years old.
Our talk this month was by Eric Holder who gave us a fascinating history of windmills and watermills from all over England beginning in mediaeval times until they were overtaken by steam power.
The newsletter covered "The Conservation of Brodsworth Hall" and deals with some of the history of the house, and the problems faced and overcome by the team of conservationists. Problems such as insect infestation, water damage, both inside and out, mining subsidence, acid rain, and erosion of the stonework, are to name but a few.
OCTOBER the fifth of this month saw the end of an era. The Fell Pony was used for hundreds of years as a pack animal, carrying goods from the Pennines to many parts of the country, until the advent of better transportation brought its redundancy and it was used in the pits. On the 5th Oct. the last farm to bred these hardy animals for commercial use was forced to close and sell its surviving one hundred ponies. The owner of the farm could no longer run it unaided. He and his family had owned the farm in Cumbria and bred Fell Ponies there for the past two hundred years.
On the 6th October The Post Office Tower in London was thirty years old.
On the 18th October 1995 the most famous race horse in the world died. Red Rum then aged thirty years was buried on Aintree Race Course next to the winning post with his head facing it. He had accomplished what no other horse in history had by winning the Grand National three times and coming second once. This at a time before the course and jumps were lowered and simplified.
20th October saw a memorial service held at York Minster for Dr. Alf White ( James Herriot) and a measure of the love held by people towards him was shown by the numbers attending; these being 2,500.
Our newsletter covered books now available on the history of Mexborough. "Notes on the Early History of Mexborough's Electrical Supply", and "The Hope Club".
At the meeting this month a talk was given by Carol Hill of the Local History Dept. of Doncaster Central Library, on the subject of "High Days and Holidays" which was illustrated by slides of fairs,Whit Day Parades, and day excursions to local beauty spots.
NOVEMBER started for us on the 5th Nov. with an excursion to Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, and was also the day on which Marti Caine died of cancer.
16th Nov. the Queen Mother had a hip replacement operation done.
21st Nov. a peace agreement was signed in America between the warring parties in Bosnia.
22nd Nov. Rosemary West, who, with her husband Fred West, tortured and killed thirteen girls, was jailed for the rest of her natural life.
22nd Nov. The Red Arrows left R.A.F. Scampton for the last time. It is now closed and on their return from their tour of India they will occupy their new base which is to be R.A.F. Cranwell.
28th Nov. was our last meeting of the year and the talk was by Ray Porthouse on the subject of mining in our area.
DECEMBER 2nd. Dec. for the first time, instead of our usual Christmas Social, we had a Christmas Excursion to Skipton and Grassington with great success. We first went to Skipton Market, and later paid a visit to the picturesque village of Grassington, where the clock had been turned back to the middle of the last century. A newsletter was written to accompany this excursion entitled "The Origins of the Modern Christmas".
3rd Dec. another Sheffield comedian died, this time Jimmy Jewel who, with his father, came to the Hippodrome in Mexborough.
8th Dec. Coronation Street was thirty five years old.
8th Dec. Dr. David Hope was enthroned as the new Archbishop of York.
12th Dec. Arthur Mallard the cockney comedian died.
14th Dec. Bosnian Peace Treaty was signed in Paris.
15th Dec. The Euro was chosen as the official title of the new currency to be used all over Europe at some date in the future.
21st. Dec. The Queen ordered Prince Charles and Princess Diane to divorce.
24th Dec. The cold winter weather started with areas of Scotland and North Yorkshire cut off by snow.
28th Dec. Freezing temperatures, Glasgow -17C, Avimore -24C, Scarborough -17C, and South Yorkshire -7C.
30th Dec. Malcolm Jevons heard officially that he was to be awarded the
M.B.E.


Your Archivist
J. R. Ashby