Saturday, 29 December 2012

Echoes of our Past NEWS....... 29th December 1877

Read all about it……. Echoes of our past NEWS

What was in the local news this weekend in 1877?


*Christmas celebrations in 1877 –

The carol singers had been out in great numbers this year, although the quality of their musical talent was somewhat varied all were cheerfully received.  St Marys and All Saints Church in the centre of Chesterfield held a service in the morning and evening on Christmas Day, whilst Trinity Church held just the morning praise.

The evening service at St Marys and All Saints was full and all enjoyed the wonderful decorations which were designed by Mr Walter Stanton a local architect.  Walter sketched the plans and then a party of volunteers put the plan into action.  On entering the church at the west end two large scrolls were to be seen if one looked upwards, bearing the words “He came not to do his own will but the will of him that sent him” and “God of Gods. Light of light, very God of very God”.   Many varied crimson scrolls were placed around the church, evergreens, dried flowers, holly and berries, white wool and crimson cloth were also used to decorate. 

In the afternoon of Christmas day the Chesterfield Volunteers performed an open air concert in the Market Place for the public of Chesterfield poor and rich could all attend and enjoy the joyful sight. There was a true Christmas scene here as during the performance a slight fall of snow was to add sparkle and festivity to the proceedings, however some found the lure of the fireside to appealing and retired to their homes. 

Chesterfield Hospital was made as cheery as possible, decorations were strewn and in the entrance hall visitors were reminded “it is more blessed to give than to receive” alongside the collection box.  Within the operating room read the words “regain hope all ye that enter here” and another corridor held a banner reading “God bless our honorary surgeons for their labour of love”.  Those unlucky enough to be an inpatient in the hospital that Christmas were treated to special Christmas food and the carols and melodies were sung by the choir from the school of the Wingerworth Iron Company.  Plants were donated to add cheer by Mr Beard of Stonegravels and Mr Gosling of Brampton.  Some of the foliage used to decorate the hospital was donated by Chatsworth House. 

What about the Workhouse inmates how was their Christmas?

Well according to the Derbyshire Times “Christmas amongst the workhouse poor was very pleasant”.  They were treated to roast beef and plum pudding, in fact 25 stones of beef was said to have been consumed that day.  There were 296 inmates in the workhouse at Christmas 1877.  The adults were also given beer and tobacco and snuff as a luxury they would not be so lucky to have every day.  Apples and oranges were supplied by Mr Peter Warner and Mrs Cowdell gave buns which the inmates enjoyed.  For those who were lucky enough to be able to read then Mr Henry Slack of Low Pavement sent some magazines and periodicals for use in the workhouse.  After lunch the inmates were entertained by the Master Mr Shaw who read some “humorous sketches”.

All ages were given special treats to celebrate Christmas; the children who attended Barrow Hill Church Sunday School were given presents of bibles, prayer and hymn books and instructive story books.  The £5 used to purchase these treats had been collected from the church and local friends.  The elderly of Baslow around 100 of them were given tea by Mr Eades at the Wheatsheaf Hotel.  At Buxton the skating rink was opened from 2pm till 5pm and was a huge hit with the revellers “most of whom seemed as if they had never had skates on before”.


*Accident at the Malt Kiln –

John Langton a miner at Grassmoor Colliery had accompanied his father to work at the Malt Kiln on Sheffield Road as he had no work in the Christmas week.  That night he had gone to help his father in his work and had thrown some water on to the fire, when the flames grew and bounced back hitting John in the face.  His arms and face were badly burnt and he was sent straight away to Chesterfield Hospital for treatment.

*Child smothered –

A 20 day old baby girl was accidentally smothered to death when her mother had laid on her.  An inquest held at the Boot and Shoe Inn, Grassmoor heard how baby Rosanna Mellor daughter of George Mellor a coal miner of Grassmoor had been born on 5th December 1877. 

*Christmas Charity –

Messrs Lucas and son of Dronfield Foundry had kindly given out tickets to 30 poor widows to enable them to purchase groceries to the value of 5s.  This is a long standing custom which the company has carried out for many years now.

*Soldier missing his family –

A soldier named Thomas Foy, who was a native of Chesterfield, was brought before the bench after being charged with desertion.  Thomas was a private with the 65th Regiment of Foot and was stationed at Sheffield.  He deserted his post on 22nd December after he decided that he wanted to spend Christmas with his family and friends in Chesterfield. 

Thomas went on to celebrate his freedom and became drunk after which he gave himself up at the local police office.  He repented and asked if he could be set free to return to Sheffield, but this was not granted and Thomas was retained in custody until an escort could be found.


Christmas weddings at the Crooked Spire Chesterfield –

*George Flint to Fanny Shaw on 24th December

*Joseph Milward to Edith Rodgers on 24th December

*George Kemp to Mary Emma Wheatcroft on 25th December

*William Wheatcroft to Elizabeth Slack on 25th December

*Joseph Mitchell to Hannah Hays on 25th December

*Joseph Crabtree to Mary Brown on 26th December

At the Parish Church Staveley –

*Robert Waldren to Martha Elizabeth Carr on 24th December

*Joseph Berresford to Eliza Bradshaw on 24th December

*Joseph Drabble to Sarah Maude Mary Baldie on 25th December

*Henry Parker farmer of Upper Newbold, died suddenly on 23rd December aged 54 years
*Fanny Bertha Young aged 20 years, daughter of William Young of Calver

*Robert Frost aged 78 on 15th December at Bakewell
*Jabez Machin aged 83 years on 21st December at South Wingfield
*Harriett Elliot aged 23 years on 21st December at New Whittington
*George Todd aged 7 months at Grassmoor
*William Thompson aged 60 of Queen Street, Whittington on 20th December
*Leonard Harrison aged 1 years and 6 months on 25th December at Newbold Moor
*Football –
Heavy snow caused disruption at the game played on Wednesday 26th December between Chesterfield and Kimberworth.  The weather was so bad that many of the spectators were unable to get to the match.  The snow did not deter the Chesterfield players though and they won easily scoring 5 goals to none.  The goal scorers were – Bishop x2, Teesdale x2 and Evans x1.  The players on both teams were commended for their ability to play in such weather; “at half past two o’clock, the time announced for the beginning of the match, the snow fell with almost blinding density, ploughing their way through it very manfully until the game finished”.

Father Christmas does exist –
The Vicar of Youlgrave wrote to the Derbyshire Times to thank an unknown donor after the children had told him of a sack of oatmeal that had been left at the Church door by “old Father Xmas”.  The sack contained a note reading “this is to be given to fifteen of the most needy in the village”. 


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