Sophie Clapp, the Archivist at the Boots
Company was due to deliver this lecture on the 10th of April but unfortunately
was unable to attend. More fortunately, she was able to ensure that we had the
power point presentation and accompanying notes in time for our Chairman, Pat
Smedley, to step up to the podium and to deliver a fascinating picture of a man
of great character.
Jesse Boot had little in the way of early
advantages except an exceptional father whom he described as “…without wealth, without money,
without any business experience; his only asset was character”. John
Boot moved his family to Nottingham when his health deteriorated and he had to
give up his work as a farm labourer. There, he established the city’s first
herbalist store, preparing and selling remedies and giving consultations, so
preparing the way for a future retail empire.
Captain Geoff Dyer’s presentation on March
13 drew one of the Society’s largest audiences; perhaps unsurprising given the
local importance of the RAF. In fact, those present included other past crew
Given his 10,000 hours of pilot experience
and his studies in aviation history, Captain Dyer was more than qualified to
give a rounded and fascinating view of life behind the scenes in the RAF during
the Cold War.
In 1946 it was understood that any future war
would be nuclear and that the potential enemy would be Russia. Captain Dyer
highlighted the enormous and rapid development during that crucial period;
there were just seven years between the Lancaster and the Vulcan. The World War
ll Lancaster carried around five tonnes of bombs whilst the Vulcan carried two
million tonnes of TNT; and in the event that just one got through to Russia it
could have wiped out Moscow.
Issues around the Vulcan’s design and its
construction , as well as the responsibility of the captain for the rear crew
who didn’t have the safety of ejection seats were also covered as were the
experiences of being a test pilot and demonstration flying.
But this presentation also had its lighter side;
we heard about how the captain’s biggest responsibility was to stop the crew
from misbehaving during stop-overs and how exercises over Canada provided
opportunities to bring back large quantities of whisky – custom officers’
inspections were thwarted by hiding the bottles up the nose in the scanner bay.
This was the intriguing title of Jeremy’s talk which followed the Society’s AGM. He opened with a reminder of just how many traditions and rural events had disappeared over the last 60 years or so. Some of these could be seen in the way village people ‘sorted out their own’. In other words, dispensing justice to local miscreants. We all know about the humiliation of the stocks, but ‘Ran Tan Tan’? Alice Bealby, recording her memories in 1960, remembered a man being punished for abusing his wife with ‘ran-tanning’ or ‘rough music’. This was when a band of villagers assembled outside a house armed with sticks and old tin cans to make a lot of noise and would sing, for example:
‘Ran Tan Tan with an old tin pan, This man’s been beating a good woman’.
The Society organized a formal dinner to remember the Armistice on 17th November 2018 to bring a close to our commemorative events. Over 50 people enjoyed a very good evening and a wonderful meal of roast beef carved at each table. Everyone dressed up for the occasion and following the meal poems on the Great War were read out by Marion Collins, Helena Narracott and Nigel Priestley. Well known favourite songs from the period including ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’ and ‘Mademoiselle from Armentieres’ were sung as a finale, with Anne Speed leading on the piano. Several hundred pounds was raised for Help for Heroes from the raffle and dinner. The final sum will be announced shortly and at our AGM.
[Afterword: the amount sent to Help for Heroes was £535.]
On the 7th of November the Society launched its programme marking the anniversary of the Armistice in 1918, with the story of Lincoln’s role in creating the first military tanks.
A record number of members and visitors came to the Memorial Hall to hear military historian Richard Pullen and filmmaker Andrew Blow recreate the story of the ‘Land ships of Lincoln’ and how the development of these military tanks became a major factor in saving lives in the latter half of the war.
Richard Pullen became interested in the tanks because his grandfather worked at William Foster and Co. of Lincoln from 1916. Fosters (with the help of Major Walter Wilson) were inventors and manufacturers of the world’s first tanks. Andrew Blow’s interest came from the discovery of rare 1918 film of the tanks taken on the Lincoln testing ground.
The second and third editions of ‘The Irregular’ were released together in November 2018 as joint WW1 Armistice editions and to coincide with our 3 day Armistice Exhibition on 9th, 10th, 11th November. As with Irregular 1, we have not limited our authors to writing just about people and happenings within our local parish boundaries, but have linked our local people and area to experiences they would have been through – such as issues prompted by ‘The Defence of the Realm Act’ – which had a direct impact on their lives.
Bringing Irregular 2 & 3 to you together has been a great feat: 2 editions, 8 new writer/researchers, 11 Authors, 24 Articles, 400 pages, 60,000 words. Plus the Trail leaflet and the Exhibition brought to you by the same core team!
Thanks to the generosity of Nottinghamshire Local History Association, it has been possible to produce larger than normal editions of The Irregular.
As usual these editions are well illustrated, mainly by images from the Society’s Archives.
The Great War Trail was devised by the Society as part of the Armistice Commemorative programme over the summer of 2018. It follows a path starting and ending in the Cooperative Car Park and taking the walker on a circular tour of High Street, South Collingham (as far as the church), along Low Street up to the Grey Horse, then back along the High Street to the car park. Along the route shops, schools, buildings of importance such as the Memorial Hall, and houses of the soldiers who left the village to fight in the Great War are pointed out, and a back story given where appropriate. Pictures are included to enrich the walk.
The Trail was sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund via the Collingham Parish Council. It was delivered to every household in Collingham.
While the Village Trail is centred around the Great War, its value as a heritage resource enabling villagers to understand how the village appeared 100 years ago cannot be underestimated.
TRAIL LEAFLETS ARE AVAILABLE IN THE ARCHIVE. PLEASE CONTACT THE ARCHIVIST IF YOU NEED ONE – ALTERNATIVELY A PDF VERSION CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE.
The Society’s meeting of 3rd October was a double bill, telling two very different stories of travels to theatres of war where local soldiers lost their lives. Pat Pennington had a personal mission to follow in the footsteps of her late husband’s uncle, Private Michael Herbert Edmonds Colton who fell at Gallipoli, whilst Jerome Wright visited the graves and monuments commemorating the local men who were lost on the Western Front.
A Stretcher Bearer at the Doomed Campaign of Gallipoli
The name of Private Michael Herbert Edmonds Colton, stretcher bearer in July/August 1915 with the 1st Sherwood Rangers, can be seen on the Helles Memorial. Pvt. Colton was 21 years old when he fell at Chocolate Hill. He may have been particularly suited to caring for the injured due to his first- aid experience gained through his membership of the Scouting movement.