Lead Mining Guided Walk on a dry, beautiful Sunday afternoon 28th April

The group meet outside The Barley Mow

The group meet outside The Barley Mow pub Bonsall

What a good turnout for the guided walk on Sunday! About 20 local residents turned up to try out the first of the guided walks to promote the local history trails around Bonsall. After a quick pint in the Barley Mow http://www.barleymowbonsall.co.uk we were ready to face the hills and dales…….

Walking past the site of the Calamine Mine near Puddle Hill

Walking past the site of the Calamine Mine near Puddle Hill just up hill from the Barley Mow

 One of the many capped lead mine shafts on Bonsall Moor

One of the many capped lead mine shafts on Bonsall Moor – using railway sleepers from the disused railway line nearby, closed as a result of the Beeching Act. D.H. Lawrence wrote about the lead mining landscape in his short story ‘The Virgin and the Gypsy’.

Peering down the shaft - this one is about 80ft deep with a corner at the bottom

Peering down the shaft – this one is about 80ft deep with a corner at the bottom

Mike reads a poem written for the (mostly) illiterate lead miners to help them remember the lead mining laws

Mike reads a poem written for the (mostly) illiterate lead miners to help them remember the lead mining laws, customs and liberties – he only read a short section from this very long poem.

Mike Lynch of the Bonsall History Society reads the lead miners poem by Edward Manlove.
 Titled: The Liberties and Customs of the Lead-Mines within the Wapentake of Wirksworth in the County of Derby.
London: 1653.

To find out more about Edward Manlove, a lawyer residing in Ashbourne and the full text of the poem visit https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Manlove,_Edward_(DNB00)

The dogs were engrossed

The dogs were engrossed

A picnic by the restored Lime Kiln near Hollowchurch Way

A picnic by the restored Lime Kiln near Hollowchurch Way

The official launch of the 6 History walks around Bonsall will be on Sunday afternoon 19th May – all welcome!

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 enquiries@slackscoaches.co.uk

Landscape Photography in Bonsall

“Histograms, f stops, white balance, exposure compensation, coffee and hobnobs….”

Choosing the right 'f' stop

Choosing the right ‘f’ stop

It was bitterly cold last Sunday but the Bonsall Heritage Trails ‘Landscape Photography Workshop’ – lead by professional photographers Ian Daisley and Alex Hyde was a resounding success.

Stepping Lane, Bonsall

Stepping Lane, Bonsall

We met in Ian’s studio at the Via Gellia Mills and after coffee we were straight into a brief slide presentation on picture composition, followed by the professionals helping everyone get to know their digital SLRs. Nobody’s camera was left on ‘automatic’! For many of us it was a revelation – discovering the meanings of Exposure Compensation or Live View.

Reviewing photos

Reviewing photos

With a view to getting images suitable for use in the 6 Bonsall Heritage Trail Leaflets we set off for the most photogenic quarter of Bonsall – around the Cross, St. James Church and Stepping Lane.  Here we were able to put into practice the theory we’d been given in the morning. The weather had other ideas. But horizontal hail and a very icy Stepping Lane didn’t deter the dedicated photographers from getting some excellent architectural shots.

Checking composition

Checking composition

The group were then taken up the lane beyond Brumlea Farm to take pictures of stone barn typical of the Bonsall area. The light got better and everyone had oceans of space to combine the technical aspects of the course with the creative elements which the sunlit snow, fields and barn gave us.

Ian and Alex - photographers extraordiaire

Ian and Alex – our professional photographer leaders

Then back down to Ian’s studio for very welcome tea and a fascinating review of everyone’s captures from the day’s shoot and a very interesting introduction to image manipulation.  We all came away buzzing with new information and a lot more knowledgable about our respective cameras.

Thank you Ian and Alex for making the workshop so enjoyable and for sharing your skills.  To view all the best photos taken on the workshop visit our Flickr site http://www.flickr.com/photos/bonsallhistory/

Thanks for reading this post – please send the link on to anyone else who may be interested…..