My Memories by David Frost
My somewhat short, and half remembered recollections of local history.
I never cease to be surprised by the huge effort that so many local people put into researching our local history for the mutual benefit of all of our local folks. Hence, although I have very little to contribute, I am setting down the little I know in the hope that it may jolt the memories of others to either help solve my particular mysteries, or perhaps make further contributions.
My maternal great grand parents lived in Mapperley which is where my grandmother Lydia Hawley was born, and my grandfather was born somewhere in the locality of Shipley Hall. My father was born at Mapperley Brook and I was born on the High Lane so I think that we can claim to be local.
Unfortunately I know very little of my grandparents as they both died when I was young however the little I do remember from them together with that I recall my father telling me together with my own personal memories of my early days I am setting down in the hope that it may remind others such that it will help to give a greater understanding of our local history.
On leaving school my grandmother went
to work in the kitchen at Shipley Hall,
where she became a cook.
Lydia Hawley my grandmother.
I recall as a boy playing with a large silver coloured container which she told me she used to use to cook the salmon in at Shipley Hall. These were delivered from Scotland by train to Derby station where they were collected by an estate worker in a horse and cart. The salmon were then stored in the ice house until required for use. She said that the ice house was replenished during the winters with ice taken from the lake.
Apparently the Squire also operated a curfew on the estate and all residents had to be indoors by 9.00pm unless they were working or had permission to be out. Anyone caught breaking this rule had to appear before the Squire for a reprimand which usually included a fine. She also said that whenever the Squire or his family were out and about the men and boys had to acknowledge them by touching their caps. (Unfortunately she never disclosed what the girls were supposed to do) However without exception everyone had to open gates and generally toady to them. Although they were considered to be kindly people the rule was avoid them at all cost if you could, then only speak when you were spoken to, and know your place. She also told me that if any of the family went shopping in Ilkeston the shopkeepers, as a sign of respect were expected to stand outside their shops and if they didn’t that shop would not be patronised in the future.
However she used to say that she had some happy times there. One of the highlights of the year was the weeding of the estate. At this time all of the miners from the Shipley Colliery had a day off from the pit and were put to work on the estate, literally crawling across it in a long line from end to end weeding it, and at the end of the day they were given a party including lots of home brewed beer which grandmother brewed. This happened either once or twice annually and the miners really looked forward to the welcome break from the pit.
She said that was also very fortunate working in the kitchen as although no one ever went hungry, the kitchen staff had the luxury of eating all of the leftovers from the Squires table, some dishes which returned completely untouched. She said she particularly liked the tropical fruits which at that time were never available to the working classes.
One of her other great joys was walking to the hall through the Daffodilly from her home in Mapperley in spring time. This apparently was some beautiful area which was full of miniature daffodils. I also remember my father talking about this and I can only guess that it disappeared as a result of the outcropping.
Unfortunately this is all I recall her telling me about her life.
Ernest Frost my grandfather.
On leaving school he did work on the estate and later the squire is supposed to have set him up with some sort of business to do with the Nutbrook canal although I think this to be unlikely as most of the canal would already have been closed only a small portion at the Erewash end still being navigable. However we do know that he went to the colliery where he worked driving an engine. The engine itself had quite a history. It was named Cecil Raikes and was built for use in the Mersey tunnel before being bought second hand to work at the colliery.
Despite our many enquiries we have never found any information concerning the mysterious Miss Hewitt other than the fact that long ago a Mr Johnson who was employed at the Shipley Hall verified that a Miss Hewitt was employed there. Furthermore when the family vacated the hall in the early twenties she was the only family retainer who accompanied the family to their Eaton Square, London home.
In view of the interest that the Miller-Mundy’s took in both Miss Hewitt and my grandfather one can only hazard a guess of their particular relationships.
Mapperley Brook and Wharf Cottages.
Upon closure of the West Hallam colliery both had to revert to paraffin lamps as there was not even a gas supply which was the more usual form of lighting in those days. However after some years Mapperley Brook was again connected to the mains electricity supply, although this was not without its difficulties as the colliery company had provided a DC supply so the houses had to be re-wired to accept the conventional AC supply. Wharf Cottages however were considered too remote to be connected and as a consequence used paraffin lamps until they were finally demolished in about 1960 to make way for an extension to the coal screens.
Although Mapperley Brook had mains electricity it had no mains drainage and relied on the old fashioned pan, or drop toilets which were emptied weekly and these were in use until well into the 1960s.