Launch of the Bonsall History Trails! Sunday May 19th 2pm, Bonsall Village Hall

The Pig of Lead Pub, Bonsall

The Pig of Lead Pub, Bonsall

Telling our story: Bonsall History Project celebrates £9,300 Heritage Lottery Fund Grant with the launch of 6 history walk leaflets around Bonsall

Bonsall History Project is one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) ‘All Our Stories’ grant.

After months of research and preparation the 6 walk leaflets are now complete and will be officially launched at Bonsall Village Hall on Sunday May 19th at 2pm.

To help the village tell its own story and find out more about the heritage of Bonsall the project has included research trips to Ruddington Framework Knitting Museum, the Black Country Living museum, Matlock Mining Museum, a landscape photography workshop, a social media workshop and lots and lots of walking!

On Sunday May 19th at 2pm villagers are invited to come along to a celebration and launch afternoon where they can collect their Bonsall History Trail leaflets.

There will be a display of photos and historic images of Bonsall and refreshments.

Peter Fellows of Bonsall History Group said:

“We will use the event to give a free set of six leaflets to each household in the village. The illustrated leaflets cover the historical development of Shops and Pubs; Lead Mining; Framework Knitting and Other Trades; Schools and Churches; Bonsall’s Landscape and Historic Routes through the village. They each include a walking map to guide users around each route. Everyone is welcome to the launch and we hope to give you the opportunity to find out something of why Bonsall has developed in the way that it has.”


Bonsall History Blog: A walk through history

Bonsall History Website

Bonsall Village newsletter Mutterings

Heritage Lottery Fund

Emma Sayer, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said:

“Clearly the success of All Our Stories has reinforced the fact that we are indeed a nation of story tellers and that we want to explore and dig deeper into our past and discover more about what really matters to us. This is exactly what the grant will do for the The Bonsall History Trails and Leaflets Project as the Bonsall History Project embark on a real journey of discovery.”

Heritage Lottery Fund All Our Stories funding stream is now replaced by Sharing Heritage


Framework knitters of the world unite…

Knit your socks off with a Komet Knitter

Knit your socks off with a Komet Knitter

Machinery silhouetted within the museum

Machinery silhouetted within the museum

This is what we had in Bonsall

This is what we had in Bonsall

Photo for cover of Bonsall History Project LP

Photo for cover of Bonsall History Project LP

This machine makes socks!

This machine makes socks!

Subliminal message

Subliminal message

You have nothing to lose but your 13 hour day and your Komet Knitters (see pic).

The Bonsall History Project set out on another freezing (but sunny) morning having set the controls (and our trusty coach driver Peter Fox) for the heart of Ruddington near Nottingham. Quite a few of our number had already been to the Ruddington Frameknitting Museum – but such is the lure of the characterful buildings, old framework knitting machines and charming museum staff – they couldn’t wait to return.

Parts of Bonsall once rattled to the sound of 143 knitting machines as scarves, smoking caps, ties, shirts, stockings and underwear were produced. But then Arkwright  started the Industrial Revolution and they ended up in factories in Cromford!

It’s a really interesting visit to Ruddington and the combination of a welcoming brew on arrival, a booked guided tour and a demonstration of framework knitting (it’s complicated!) meant that we all came away buzzing in a historical kind of way.

One of the guides mentioned that Ned Ludd (of Luddite fame) was a myth. What next – Santa doesn’t exist?! We’re not sure about Ned – what do you know? Is he a made-up smasher of machinery?

Thanks to the Ruddington Framework Knitters Museum.

Great welcome, excellent tour and demonstration by Andy Bone (see video here)

Plough the fields and scatter – The Landscape of Bonsall Walk number 5

Ridge and Furrow field in Bonsall

Ridge and Furrow field in Bonsall – a remnant of medieval farming practice

In walk number 5, The Landscape of Bonsall, you can see examples of different archaeological features on view, some made through medieval farming practices.
One landscape feature to look out for is the ‘corrugated’ look on some fields, created because of the ridge and furrow method of farming.  There are a few of fields with a corrugated look dotted around the village. “Each field was divided into furlongs (long furrows), which in turn were split into strips. An individual’s strip was not in one parcel but scattered throughout the open fields to include both good and less-desirable land.” Ridge&Furrow2
 “As oxen, and later horses, trudged up and down pulling a plough, earth was banked up forming characteristic ridges and furrows.”.  Bonsall – A Village and its History
Horse ploughing - courtesy of Pegtop Farm, Woodeaton

Horse ploughing – courtesy of Pegtop Farm, Woodeaton

For further information on Ridge and Furrow in the UK see:
Plough Plays, mummers plays and the like were performed in January for entertainment:  “Twelve Night was the period of celebration between the Winter Solstice and the New Year until the Reformation. Farm work traditionally resumed in England on the first Monday after Twelfth Night (January 6th), which was the end of the Christmas season. This was the time of year when plowing began for the spring grains. This isn’t really the most appropriate time to plow in England, where the winter rains are likely to make the ground too wet, or even worse, it may be frozen. Still this was the custom”. For more information see
Here’s a lovely performance of an old Plough song…….

Stephen Poliakoff’s Dancing on the Edge Monday nights BBC2 9pm

Dancing on the Edge filmed at the Black Country Living Museum, Dudley

Dancing on the Edge filmed at the Black Country Living Museum, Dudley

The Black Country Living Museum steps into the spotlight in Stephen Poliakoff’s Dancing on the Edge (BBC2, 9pm).  During January 2012 the Museum was transformed into a film set as Hollywood stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew Goode, John Goodman and Jacqueline Bisset joined British TV legends Mel Smith, Anthony Head, Caroline Quentin and Jane Asher in Dudley to film scenes in the Museum’s 1930s bedroom, the Darby Hand chapel and the 1900s village.

Monday 4 & Tuesday 5 February, 9pm, BBC2 and every Monday thereafter

Visit to the Black Country Museum : A trip down memory lane….

Karen and Slack's Coach driver welcome us on board

Karen and Slack’s Coach driver welcome us on board

As part of the Bonsall History Trails Project a busload of Bonsallites got the Slack’s charabang to The Black Country Museum of Living last Saturday. It was a cold but fascinating experience. Some went down the mine, some straight to the charming ‘sawdust on the floor boozer’, and some flitted from coal fire to coal fire. It seemed that every little corner of the many brick built houses had a lovely range or fire to warm yourself by.

Fish and Chips fried in beef dripping..ummmm

Fish and Chips fried in beef dripping..ummmm in the 80 year old fryer

And you got the chat – Dudley style. It was great to meet the various characters who inhabit the 26 acre site and listen to their descriptions of how tough life was between the 30’s and 50’s but also see how characterful and interesting the various the shops were. We’ve lost so much over the last 50 years – the shops here justify the phrase ‘shopping experience’.  The perfect antidote to the nippy weather was either Mushy Peas and Faggots or Fish and Chips (fried in beef dripping!).

 A welcome coal fire awaits in the wartime house

A welcome coal fire awaits in the wartime house – rationing was in force

Many of the shops and workshops (including the chippy) could have been on Yeoman Street or High Street anytime between the 40’s and 60’s. For anyone over 50 it was pure nostalgia. Many of the small forges, shoemakers and leather working shops again could have been around in Bonsall within living memory.

The charming 1930s kitchen

The charming 1930s kitchen

We left at 3.15pm but could have seen more. A great day out, highly recommended both for young and old – and a interesting look at what Bonsall shops, pubs and workplaces had to offer in days gone by. Thanks to Slacks Coaches for the excellent driving

Saturday 2nd February visit to the Black Country Museum

Help us explore and understand Bonsall’s history by joining us on this outing to the famous Black Country Open-Air Museum, Dudley, Birmingham. You’ll not only learn more about the trades and businesses that once thrived in Bonsall but also discover the history of the Midlands area. The coach will be leaving from Bonsall for a whole day out there.

Black Country Museum of Living

Black Country Museum of Living

Black Country Living Museum is a remarkable place to explore .Set in a landscape of 26 acres, it is one of the most extraordinary open-air museums in the UK; offering a glimpse into 200 years of history.

Over fifty authentic shops, houses and workshops have been carefully reconstructed to preserve the character of the region when its manufacturers bought worldwide fame to Black Country Towns.

Take a trip on the tram to explore the canalside village, where you can meet and chat to the costumed characters. Explore the underground mine and experience the authentic sights, sounds, smells and tastes from the past.

There is a changing programme of demonstrations and events from metal working and glass cutting to sweetmaking ensures something to suit all tastes. Watch the silver screen flicker to life in the Limelight Cinema with silent films from the 1920s. Marvel over vehicles from the golden age of motoring and experience a real spit and sawdust Inn.