Mapperley Village

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Newspapers Derbyshire Life Parish Magazine

Newspapers - 1960s - Page 1

For Royal Charter Celebrations 1967

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The Mapperley Story - Ilkeston Advertiser

September 19th 1969

Mapperley village of about 370 inhabitants is still very much a family community.  And who could blame past generations, and their successors, for not wishing to leave this little gem of a hamlet, set up high in the midst of lush green fields and typical undulating Derbyshire countryside.  Many phrases have been used to describe Mapperley, including 'off the map' by the facetious.  Lying well off any main road, it is approached by Mapperley Lane from the West Hallam High Lane St Wilfrid's Road crossroads. Another approach, by a rather tortuous lane from the Station Road, West Hallam, crossroads, leads through Park Hall, tiny 'suburb' of Mapperley. From the Heanor side, a private road through Shipley Hall Estate converges with the other two roads in the centre of the village, and Slack Lane, after leaving its small group of houses, reduces to a narrow track leading to Mapperley's other small group of cottages, known as Mapperley Brook, at the rear of the Newdigate Arms, West Hallam.

Following the closure of Mapperley Colliery in 1966, the miners were transferred to pits in other districts.  Many of these men, with others now retired, still live with their families in the village, forming the nucleus around which village life revolves.


No. 10

Take Mr Ernest Hobson, for instance.  A natural countryman, at 74 he is still an enthusiastic gardener, his wife, Dorothy, doing the lighter jobs.  He retired from Mapperley Colliery in 1960. His home since birth has been at No. 10 The Village, the same cottage in which his father lived his entire life. 

Mr Ernest Hobson

There is some doubt as to whether his grandfather was actually born there, but most of his life certainly was spent there, thus making the total Hobson family occupation of No. 10 considerably more than 100 years.

Also living at No. 10 is Sally, the family cat, the first of whose proverbial nine lives was undoubtedly saved by one of Mr Hobson's ten grandchildren, who arrived, breathless, and clutching a tiny scrap of a kitten to his bosom, with the earnest request to Grandpa and Grandma "Please look after it.They were going to drown it at the farm!" 

That was seven years ago and Puss never fails to purr her grateful thanks.

As a young man, Mr Hobson played cricket and football for the village clubs. 

Although never a practising angler, he has spent many happy hours beside nearby Mapperley Pond watching the antics of the fishermen, whose patience he never ceases to admire. 

Mrs Hobson came to live in Mapperley as a young girl.  Both she and Ernest attended the village school, which he left at the age of 13 to take up work two days later at the colliery, for a daily wage of 1s 8d. 

Mr & Mrs Hobson celebrating their Golden Wedding at the Old Black Horse

Mrs. Hobson continued her studies of the three Rs until reaching 14, when she left in favour of needlework for a household in Marlpool.

Timber Homes

Another well known lifelong villager is Mrs. F. Cooke.  With her husband Harry, she has lived at No. 3 The Limes, one of a small group of Swedish timber houses built 23 years ago for the council in an attempt to combat mining subsidence so prevalent in this area.  Although constructed on concrete rafts, several of the homes have suffered cracks through settlement below ground and have been successfully repaired by the Coal Board.

The tenants enjoy life in these picturesque, dormer-windowed homes, with their long sloping roofs and timbered exteriors, which have proved beyond doubt the claims for their inventors to be cosy and warm in winter and cool and airy during the heat of summer.

Mrs Cooke is a lady of many interests.  In May 1939, just before the outbreak of World War Two she became a member of the parish council, on which she has served ever since, with two periods in the office of Chairman. For 25 years, she has been a school manager.  A trustee for many years of the Methodist chapel, which closed in August this year, she will continue to serve the new chapel in West Hallam, shortly to be built in the same capacity and as a member of the Women's Own.  She was a founder-member of the Women's Institute when it was first formed in 1932, and rejoined on its re-formation four years ago.

An organiser of the village National Savings Group, Mrs Cooke attended the first post-war Royal Garden Party held by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, at Buckingham Palace on June 6th 1946.  With Mrs J East, Mrs Cooke assists with the annual house-to-house collection for the N.S.P.C.C. in Mapperley.

Parish Clerk

During researches prior to writing this story, many questions were asked of different people, and almost invariably the reply was:

"I should ask Joe Wood, he'll tell you".  But Mr. Joseph Wood took a little tracking down, as he was away on holiday.  On his return, all the answers were quickly forthcoming from this quiet modest man, a great deal of whose leisure time was spent for many years in local government.

With his wife Mary, Mr Wood has spent 30 years in Mapperley, the last 20 of which they have lived at No. 1 Coachways.  A former member of the parish council, and now its clerk, Mr Wood is the parish representative on Belper Rural District Council. 

He also performs the duties of Registration Officer in the village.

Now in his middle sixties, he retired three years ago as colliery fire officer at Mapperley Pit.

He has another talent which is perhaps not quite so widely known as his undoubted ability in public affairs.  He writes poetry the fluent, euphonious, rhyming kind and, once the inspiration is there, he can whip his verses off in a matter of minutes.  In 1946 he was the winner of a poetry competition organised by the Ministry of Fuel and Power for the East Midlands Region.

Another colourful local personality, who bears the name of one of the oldest families in Mapperley, is Mr Percy Hawley.  He lives with his sister, Miss Winifred Hawley, at no. 37 The Village, one of several houses built about seventy years ago from bricks made at Nutbrook brickyard and costing only 17s 6d per 1,000!

Mr Hawley, who has a keen, if dry, sense of humour, still has vivid recollections of Mapperley during World War Two.  Perhaps his luckiest escape was the night he was awakened by the local Special Constable with the news that a fire was burning brightly in his garden during an air-raid.  That fire was not the result of an incendiary bomb, however, but the rekindled embers of daytime rubbish which he thought he had extinguished during the day.  To an ordinary resident a fire at such a time would have been serious indeed, but as Percy was a member of the Fire Service, he was more than relieved to be let off with a friendly reprimand.

Early Warning

The people of Mapperley learned to know, through the pheasants in Shipley Wood, when an air-raid was imminent.  Minutes before the sirens were sounded, these birds gave vent to what seemed to be an inbuilt early warning system by raising a great hullaballoo, possibly intended to warn their furred and feathered friends of imminent danger.

One particular bomb, according to Mr Hawley, was never accounted for.  It whizzed over the village and seemed to drop with a heavy thud in the direction of Shipley Wood, yet there was no explosion, and it may still be embedded somewhere in the vast acres of the estate.

He remembers the days of his childhood when the village had its own resident 'Bobby' who often gave chase to youngsters of whose actions he frequently disapproved.  On one occasion, young Percy and a few of his pals were playing football in the street, when the constable seemed as usual to appear from nowhere.  Percy, in his haste, had to leave behind a nearly-new jacket he had hung in the hedge while engrossed in the game, and it was not without fears of parental punishment, and tears in case he had lost the garment, that the precious jacket was safely retrieved later when the coast was clear.

Discipline at home was very strict and Mr Hawley attributes his great love of gardening, his main pastime, to the early training he received (not always too willingly) from his father.

Sixth Generation

Miss Pauline Czypak, 19 year old student of Hallcroft School Ilkeston, who lives with her parents Mr & Mrs. Czypak at No. 40 The Village, comprises the sixth generation of her family, on her grandmother's side, who have spent their lives in Mapperley.  Nora, her mother, is the daughter of Mr and Mrs Bedford (nee Howitt) who now live at No 35.

Pauline's great-grandmother, Mrs Rosella Howitt (nee Birken) is still remembered for her great kindness to everybody in the village.  She was equally at home when assisting at the birth of a new baby as when helping to prepare the deceased. Memories of great-great-grandmother, Mrs Harriet Hawley, are not quite so vivid and little is known of her mother, usually referred to in the family as Nana. 

From Harriet comes the relationship, through her marriage to the other old-established family, the Hawleys.  It is quite possible that both families date back even further, but there is no actual evidence available to prove this.  Throughout the years to the present day, Mapperley has had its share of sporting facilities and personalities.  Cricket was played there until the end of World War One and the village has had a football club almost continuously for more years than its residents can remember. 

In 1968, the former Mapperley Miners Welfare Football Club was re-titled Mapperley F.C; the reason for the change being that as a result of the closure of the colliery, the connection in this respect had ceased.  Headquarters of the club have always been at the Old Black Horse Inn, whose host, Mr Ron Richardson, is president and one of their keenest enthusiasts.  Treasurer and a former secretary is Mr Bill Skinner and the secretary from 1962 to 1965 was Mr Robert Mellors (pictured).

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