Meetings 2004 

There was a good turn out in March to hear local speaker, Roy Greatorex, describe some aspects of life – and death – as a coal miner, with special reference to the Miners’ Strike  of 1984/5.  His talk, filled with amusing anecdotes, was followed by three short films he’d made during the strike – one of miners ‘prospecting’ for coal, another of a rally in Barnsley and the third of the miners return to work – only to be turned away.

Of added interest was a display of mining memorabilia, in particular the Nostell Colliery “Signing In” book from 1923 to 1967 containing names, addresses and county of origin of all miners as they started work at the pit during those years.  Many from the audience spent time looking for details of their family members. There was also a display of miners’ checks from just about every pit in the country as well as a couple of safety lamps, photographs and newspaper articles. 



In February The publicised speaker, George Hubbard, was unable to attend the meeting but the chairman was pleased to welcome Joyce and Cassie who talked about the history of Wragby Church .  Cassie described the foundings of the church and was able to link it historically with the beginnings of Nostell Priory and Whitby Abbey, much of her story being taken from the writings of the Venerable Bede.  Joyce then described the church and many of its most interesting features, including the font, the carved pew-ends and the stained glass windows.

On Monday 18th October there was an excellent turnout at the Crofton Health Centre for Doctor Leading’s talk on the History of Medical Care in Crofton & Sharlston.

  He started by describing how the research was done, using a variety of sources such as Medical Committee and General Medical Council records, Censuses, County Registers, newspaper articles and by talking to older members of the two villages.This was followed by a brief history of medicine and the development of medical practices from the Middle Ages to recent times.


He listed the Physicians and Apothecaries  living in the locality from the 17th to 19th centuries (including Joshua Wilson of Crofton Hall) and mentioned a few of the treatments administered.

From there he looked at local doctors in more detail, starting in 1901 with Dr George Gilbert Clarke (generally known as Old Doctor Tom) followed by his son – young Doctor Tom.  Then there was Dr Munroe, Dr Ashwell and Dr Colomosse.  There were some photographs of these 20th century doctors plus plenty of interesting anecdotes as well as factual information.  Finally he paid tribute to a well-known and well-respected doctor who died earlier this year, Dr Richard Smith.

All who attended made a voluntary contribution of £1 which will be sent to Dr Leading’s chosen charity – World Vision – for its work with the poorest people of the ‘third’ world.



On Monday 17th May 2004, twenty people turned up at the Waterton Discovery Centre to hear Dave Mee, Senior Countryside Ranger, give an illustrated talk about Charles Waterton.   

He started with a slide show of present day Walton Hall and surrounding area - the golf course, the woods, the boundary wall and a 200 year old stone built bird hide - all features of the life and work of explorer, naturalist and conservationist, the Squire of Walton.

He then spoke of the life and times of Charles Waterton, his trips to  South America (showing us a photocopy of the original ‘Wanderings' notebook), Europe and North America , his discovery of an anaesthetic still used today and his skill as a taxidermist.   We heard of his generosity towards the working classes, his love of wildlife and something of his ‘odd’ behaviour that earned him the nickname “The Eccentric Squire”.   


Slides of Waterton's grave by the side of the lake, a spot he had chosen between two great oak trees, brought the talk to its close. 

The stimulating discussion that followed could easily have continued for hours and we were disappointed that we had to leave.  Luckily Dave has invited us back in July for a Waterton Walk, more details of that later.


On Monday evening, 19th January 2004 we welcomed Ms Jo Vickers who works as House Steward for the National Trust at Nostell Priory. 

Jo is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the property and its contents and talked to the group about cleaning and conservation techniques. She had brought examples of her work and demonstrated how silver and metal items must be cared for and explained how furniture and paintings are cleaned and protected. Photographs and pieces of textile showed the damage which can be caused by sunlight, all of which prompted many interesting questions. Jo also told us that the B.B.C. had been filming at Nostell to produce a programme on the collection of Chippendale items in the Priory. This will be shown in the Spring (with Jo dressed as a footman.)