Local History

The Local History group meets on the 2nd Thursday of every month in The Sun Inn from 10.30-12.00.  The contact for the group is Eileen Benton on 01773 770 346.

Only two members are local so we are all learning together.  We have discussed social history as much as local: our families, occupations and memories of this area and the ones we grew up in.  We’ve discussed local dialect and completed a quiz on dialect compiled by David Keeling.  Books, memorabilia and curios have been brought in by members.

We had a fascinating talk by Sheila Bowerman on Bess of Hardwick.  She wore a beautiful handmade period costume, (photo here).

We’ve discussed holidays, Lord Byron and D H  Lawrence, William Booth and the formation of the Salvation Army; it was the 150th Anniversary in June.  William Booth was of course born in Nottingham and the Salvation Army is still, today, the second largest provider of social care outside government. We have researched Byron with a visit to Newstead Abbey and visited Durban House, prior to closure.

We have looked at ‘Weddings’ and shared photos, artefacts and personal memories. We also looked at a local pit owners wedding and examined the list of wedding presents, which enviably included ‘a car’.

Another topic was ‘Schools and school life’, which produced so much discussion and information that it continued into the next session.


The Local History Group have been investigating the origin of some of Eastwood’s street  names. We walk and drive along these roads every day without any thought as to whom they commemorate.

A few, such as Barber Street, Walker Street & Lawrence Avenue are obvious but what about Pickering Avenue?   This was named after William Alexander Pickering, born in Eastwood in 1840, who had a distinguished career in the civil service.  After spending ten years in the  Hong Kong Customs Service he moved to Singapore, where in 1877, he was appointed as the first Chinese Protector of the colony. In the Birthday Honours of 1884 he was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George. He was injured in an attack in 1887 which led to his early retirement in 1889. He died in 1907.

Robey Drive might strike a chord with some members, as for many years Dr Robey practiced medicine and was the town’s Mayor in 1943/44.

The origin of Fryar Road might not be so well known.  This is in recognition of John William Fryar, Manager at Moorgreen Colliery from 1905 who lived at The Grange. He was apparently well respected by the miners and hundreds of the men attended his funeral, after his sudden death from appendicitis in 1915.

Finally, Beardsall Road. Who would have envisaged sixty years ago, at the height of the ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ trial, that Eastwood would eventually pay homage to the mother of its most famous son?     Carol Mills


Mansfield Museum – In August there was a visit to the Mansfield Museum where the exhibition was entitled “A day in the life of a Miner”. Eileen Benton

Visit to Derby 2017

In July  the Local History Group went to visit The Silk Mill in Derby where they saw the Poppies Weeping Window by Paul Cummins, artist and Tom Piper, designer. They also enjoyed a guided tour of the Anglican Cathedral before crossing the bridge to visit the Catholic Church designed by the architect Pugin. They ended a very full day with a meal at the “Standing Order”.

Weeping window at Derby Silk Mill

Weeping window at Derby Silk Mill

On 10th August they will visit the Mansfield Museum where the exhibition is entitled “A day in the life of a Miner”.  Eileen Benton

D H Lawrence Museum visit.

Thirteen members of the Local History group enjoyed a memorable tour of the D H Lawrence birthplace museum. The guide gave an excellent picture of the family life and the community Lawrence wrote about. The furniture and fixings complete with original gas lighting were very evocative of the time. Some of his paintings were also exhibited and a video was shown that was very interesting. One member said it reminded her of her childhood in a mining area of Durham. The museum is a great asset to our town and we highly recommend it to other members.

There is also a video tour for anyone unable to climb the stairs. The tour takes 1 hour 15 mins and costs £5.

Some of us followed the tour with a meal at the White Peacock opposite.