On Monday 23rd. November 1987 the inaugural meeting of Mexborough Heritage Society took place at Doncaster Road Junior School. Mr. Norman Watson now our Hon. President was invited to be our first chairman and Marion Broadhurst (now Marion Allen) volunteered to be our secretary. Since those early days our society has come a long way. A new venue for our meetings
had to be found and we were rescued by the landlord of "The New Masons' Arms" Public House who offered one of his rooms. It was also at this time that the date of our meetings was changed from the first Tuesday to the last Tuesday of the month. The decision was taken after a couple of years that we should not just be studying the area of our town confined within its boundaries, but our studies should be extended to the boundary of our old parish which included the villages of Swinton, Denaby, Adwick, etc. and so our name was changed to Mexborough And District Heritage Society.
In 1991 the need for an Archivist was felt and Julia Ashby was appointed. It was soon after this that our first exhibition took place during Mexborough's Carnival. On the 29th. Sept. 1992 our first tentative steps were taken in respect of written publications when our first
monthly newsletter was released. This first attempt was much different to the one we see today and consisted briefly of a list of items to be found within our Archives. This consisted of 8 cuttings from the Mexborough and Swinton Times, 11 photographs of old Mexborough, 2 booklets, and the Tithe Award minus map. Much different from the lists of items to be found within our Archives today as the list of cuttings from the Mexborough and Swinton Times is 8 pages in length, the Maps Archival List is 2 pages long, and the Photographic Archival List is 9 pages in length. How different from those early days when the whole Archives could fit into two cardboard boxes.
In 1993 fund raising began with a Treasure Hunt on the 19th. September organised by Joyce Thompson our present Chairman and then came our first excursion on the 9th. October to York.23rd. July 1994 brought the release of our first small book which was "An Everyday Story of Mexborough Folk". It was launched at Mexborough Carnival and was the first book for nearly one hundred years to be written about the history of Mexborough and told the stories of Thomas Barron and the Phoenix Glassworks, Mexborough, Jim Rownsley - the Horse Marine, Mr. Jolly - the Postman, and Walter Ashby - the Joiner.
To celebrate this Tenth Anniversary a larger than average exhibition was staged in the reference department of Mexborough Branch Library to show the general public what we had learned about the history of our town and its district over the ten years of our existence. Six glass cabinets were obtained by the library services into which were placed displays of items from our industrial past. One held glassware made by Barron's, Waddington's, and Kilner Bros. Another concentrated on the different preserving jars which were designed and made by Kilner Bros. of Denaby, whilst in another could be seen wares made by the Mexborough Pottery firms of Alfred and Isaac Baguley, Robert Sowter, and John Reed. Another of the cabinets held items made by the brickyards of Mexborough. These consisted of Mexborough Bricks plus Coalfield Bricks, and ornamental roof decorations. There were also items used by their employees such as the dishes which had been discarded by them which once had carried stew for their lunch brought there by their children. There were also flagons of mineral water brought by those same children and used to quench the thirst of those working in the overbearing heat of the kilns.
At the end of March the last "Trackless" Stop was pulled down. This was situated on Adwick Road at a point known as "The Clock". The fascia board of the old Trackless Stop still bore the logo of Mexborough and Swinton Tramways beneath the recently applied blue paint. The fascia board was rescued and was lovingly restored by The Yorkshire Traction Co. Ltd. and was put in pride of place at the top of the stairs leading to the reference library. A glass cabinet beneath it contained memorabilia from the Mexborough & Swinton Traction Co. Ltd. The library staff were so pleased to have this item on display that we are to be allowed to leave it there on semi - permanent !oar, for the benefit of the general pubic.
There were also exhibition boards showing photographs of the old public houses of Mexborough, The Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigational Canal, the Ferry, Well Known Old buildings, Names of Old Areas of Mexborough and their location, Public Transport, Famous People of Mexborough and District, The Potteries, etc. etc. The walls of the reference
library were completely covered in them.
Two booklets were written for the tenth anniversary which were to be launched at the exhibition. One had been requested by schools for a number of years, it had to be simple enough for teachers of junior school children to use, but concise enough for students, plus the main stipulation which was that it had to be cheap so even those studying for their G.C.S.E.'s could afford to buy it with their pocket money, and I think I have succeeded with the small booklet entitled "A Short History of Mexborough". As we were fighting to prevent the demolition of the last "Trackless Stop" a number of documents were loaned to me concerning the history of public transport in our area, so using this
information I wrote another small booklet this time entitled "Trams, Tracklesses, and Buses" and both are now available from Mexborough Branch Library priced at 1.50 each.
The exhibition was an immense success so much so that the time of showing had to be extended from three days to ten and only then was it removed because of the need of library services for the glass cabinets.
Everyone involved with the exhibition put in a great deal of hard work arid you all deserve to give yourselves a big pat on the back.
We have two new acquisitions for the society. One being a glass cabinet which is owned by the library services
and will be kept within the reference dept. of Mexborough Branch Library and will be at our disposal. In it we will be able to show different items from Mexborough's illustrious past. Another also to be kept in the reference library is a Microfiche Reader which was purchased by us a few weeks ago. This is similar to a small T.V. which when glass plates having microscopic Census Returns on them are placed underneath the enlargement may then be viewed upon the screen. When the glass plates have been purchased for the Microfiche Reader this will be available for you all to use at the library.
Over the past ten years your society has come a long way from those first meetings at Doncaster Road Junior School where maybe we were lucky to get two dozen people to attend. Our membership over the years has increased ten fold from its original small nucleus of loyal followers until the present day when our membership totals an amazing three figures. We have both interesting and informative talks during the winter months, whilst during the summer we go to local points of
historical interest, regular excursions take place, and over the past couple of years weekend breaks have been organised by our excellent excursions committee. The society seems to be going from strength to strength and with your help it will continue to do so, who knows where we will be in another ten years.
Researcher seeks any information at all with regards to the following names, all of whom were associated with the Denaby Prims Football Team, (Lowfield Methodist Chapel), especially during the years 1948 to 1950 when they 'topped' the Mexborough Intermediate League of under 18's. Memories also wanted of Lowfield Methodist Chapel. Perhaps you know these 'names' personally, or friends or relatives of the same? Any
relevant information would be most gratefully received, please contact Barrie Chambers, 21, Bonet Lane, Brinsworth, Rotherham. S60 5NE.
Don Watkins, Colin Hughes, Jimmy Taylor, George Duffty, Reg Hinkles, Johnny Doran, Eric Heathcote, Johnny Earp, Ron Sapey, Johnny Lovell and Cyril Skinner.
Other names associated with the PRIME were A. Davies, Teasdale, Stones, Christian, Anderson, Madden, Guest, Walker, Mr. F. Clough (patron), Mr. J. Langdale (chairman), Moxon, R. King, Worsley, Cassidy, Hollings, Cunningham, Slater, F. Davies, Jones, and Freeman.
During our Tenth Anniversary Exhibition an Australian gentleman came to the library and asked if we could obtain information on his family, which live locally. The names he is particularly interested in are:- Severn, Hoult, Foster, Scholey,Waugh, Addy, Venables,Pendlebury, Dixon, Marshall, and Morgan.
The gentleman is also interested in news of the United Methodists in Mexborough. One of his ancestors Joseph Seven who was born in Hirstgate on 18th. December 1894 was a member of the United Methodist Chapel which is now the Lindsey Centre, Doncaster Road, Mexborough. Mr. Seven became disheartened with this chapel and began a "Mission" which he ran from his home. Information about the above should be sent to:-Christopher J A Dixon, PO Box 1939, Katherine, NT 0851, Australia.
For our Christmas Excursion this year your society is to go to Nottingham and we are to meet at The New Masons' Arms at 9a.m. on Saturday 29th. November 1997 and the fee will be 6 per person plus entry into the caves. Nearly all the seats by now have been sold but a few are still available on request, so please hurry to book your seat and prevent disappointment, get in contact with our Chair Mrs. Joyce Thompson as soon as possible.