2022: hopes, plans and dreams

The organisers of #OnePlaceWednesday on Twitter asked for our 'hopes, plans and dreams' for our studies for 2022. As that is as good a way of organising it as any other, here goes:

1. To finish transcribing and cleaning the 1901 and 1911 census for Springhill and the surrounding area, and (even more hopefully) do some population/employment/migration analysis on the results.
2. To (finally) finish transcribing the will of Joshua Nuttall. This means getting my eye back in for c17 handwriting.
3. To complete an 'in depth' report for Newlands (my other one-place study, which attempts to research a place for free) for the Society for One Place Studies (SOPS)
4. To continue volunteering at the local museum
5. To sort out a tree for the Springhill study, either Ancestry, Wikitree or ?

Virtually nothing which happened in 2021 was planned!
I plan to continue to work with the committee of SOPS to develop the profile of One-Place Studies in the local/family history world.
Despite not particularly wanting to develop a speaking role, I have ended up with three talks to different groups in the first 6 months of next year, plus have somehow ended up leading a session on #HouseHistoryHour on Twitter using Springhill House as a worked example of a house history.
The nearest thing I have to 'plans' however have been filed under 'dreams' so…

These are probably mutually exclusive but there are two main dreams:
1. Finally to undertake the Oxford University Advanced Undergraduate Diploma in Local History. This has been on my wish list for ages.
2. Begin and chip away a little at a potentially huge piece of work about the connections between Springhill and the conscientious objection movement in the area in WW1. One resident was a peace activist after the war, the minister of Sion helped train people to appear before the tribunal and a near-resident was the military representative so nothing to go on there at all!

A non-history project is to take recognisable half decent photographs of 100 British birds in attempt to improve both my photographic and bird identification 'skills'. Coming hopefully soon to a Flickr site (or similar) near you…

The 'plans' should happen, not promising anything about the other two however.

2021 in review.

I didn't make many public resolutions or targets for my study in 2021 but nevertheless there were a number of plans I was hoping to complete over this year. So how did I get on?

Well the unofficial targets I set myself were:

1. Complete transcribing the census for Springhill and immediate area. This is almost finished as I have just completed 1901and hopefully will have 1911 finished soon. I'm aware that 1921 census becomes available next month but will probably hold off whilst it remains on pay per view. Conclusion: significant progress

2. Construct trees for the main families in Springhill. I've done this in Heredis family history software and uploaded the Gedcoms to Ancestry but am not entirely happy with the way they appear there and have had little in terms of relevant 'hints' back. I'm considering looking at Wikitree as an alternative. Conclusion: completed, but not satisfied with the outcome and there are always more families to add…

3. Finish transcribing the Inquisition into the death of Joshua Nuttall, gent, 12 May 1693 who owned property in the area. As 'finish' implies, I have started this but it remains as unfinished as it was in January. Conclusion: erm…

4. Contribute to each of the Society of One-Place Studies monthly blog prompts. I managed to post something relevant on Twitter about each of these, not all accompanied by a full blog on here. Conclusion: completed - sort of.

5. Continue to document the journey of covid, and the building of the bungalow in New Croft Meadow. Conclusion: ongoing but up to date.

What was striking about this year was developments which were completely unanticipated this time last year. The main ones of these are:

1. Recommencing volunteering at the Whitaker, the local museum, working with the curator to help catalogue and research the provenance of some of their objects and documentation. This led to a presentation on 'Sunday School Teas' as part of the December SOPS webinar on #OnePlaceCelebrations, using material from Sion amongst other places.

2. Following asserting boldly that of course it was possible to conduct a one-place study using free resources, I commenced a study of the Newlands Valley in Cumbria with the intention of completing a SOPS in-depth review of a place and a webinar on progress in due course.

3. I took up the roles of Tweetmeister and Insta diva for SOPS following illness of a committee member. This just reiterated what a fabulous job Steve does managing the Society's social media - thanks v much, much appreciated.

4. Perhaps the most unexpected was becoming Chair of the aforementioned Society for One-Place Studies. I'm in that strange mix of eager anticipation and 'how on earth did that happen' which has followed many of my personal and professional decisions. There is a full committee of fabulous, experienced and talented people and I'm looking forward to working with them.

And, finally, a new granddaughter. Totally unexpected this time last year.

#OnePlaceCelebrations: Sion Floral Bazaar 1926.

The second floral bazaar…

Following the success of the first floral bazaar in 1902, Sion Baptist chapel decided to host a second one in 1926. Henry Barnes, whose name was later taken in vain as 'would never have allowed this' (see blog of 8 December) was no longer Sunday School Secretary.

The bazaar was held over four days in October 1926, 'in aid of the work of the Church and Sunday School'. The aim was to raise £800 it install Electric Lighting in the Church and Sunday School, repair and renovate the premises, remove the church organ and clear the existing church debt of £150. It is interesting that the decision to install electric lighting was taken then rather than when the Sunday School was built in 1902 as that building was equipped with electric bells between the various rooms and the main hall. One wonders to what extent they were ever used.

This target of £800 was considerably less than the £1500 it was hoped would be raised by the first bazaar and the scope and scale of the bazaar was reduced as well. There were four main stalls plus a flower stall, compared with five in 1902, tea was available but no choice of plain or meat and no hot supper and no Geisha cafe. A smoking room was available but without the advertising of choice tobacco and cigars for sale. Entertainment was reduced to a range of concerts (secular and church choirs and a 'young men's minstrel troupe') and a magicians parlour.

There were some standards though - smoking was only permitted in the smoke room and there was to be no raffling.

Each day started with an opening ceremony and the hymns were the same as in 1902:
'Oh God our help in ages past.'
'Sing to the Lord a joyful song.'
'When His salvation bringing, to Zion Jesus came.'
'Triumphant Lord, thy goodness reigns.'

Interesting that they were felt to be appropriate 24 years later.

Another thing didn't change - it was still 2d to go to the loo.

#OnePlaceCelebrations: Sion Floral Bazaar 1902

The new Sunday School at Sion was opened in 1902 at a cost of £5000. A floral bazaar was held on four days in October 1902 to help defray costs. It was hoped that over £1500 would be raised by this event, a hefty target at any time but particularly so in 1902.

This four day extravaganza had an opening ceremony each day with hymn, followed by luncheon. The hymns were:
'Oh God our help in ages past'
'Sing to the Lord a joyful song'
'When His salvation bringing, to Zion Jesus came'
'Triumphant Lord, thy goodness reigns'

There were a number of unspecified stalls, two staffed by the ladies of the church and congregation, one by the young ladies, one by the children and one by the young men. In addition there was a flower stall and two refreshment areas:

  • The refreshments and Geisha tea room, serving plain or meat teas and hot suppers. Plain teas were 6d, meat 'extra', presumably depending on availability.
  • The Grand Oriental smoking club with tea, coffee, cocoa and 'tobacco and cigars of the finest quality'
There was a wide range of entertainments provided throughout the event and provide a good insight into what was deemed to be suitable entertainment in a religious setting at the turn of C19.
  • Musical events included orchestra, a range of vocal performances including local soloists, secular and church choirs.
  • A comedietta, 'Trouble at the telephone', the text of which is available here.
  • A cinematograph of coronation pictures (presumably Edward VII), lantern exhibitions
  • Conjurer, thought reader, phrenologist,
  • Talking dolls, ventriloquist, Punch and Judy, Pierrots.
  • 'Thwama, the Egyptian oracle and mystery', whatever that was.
  • Phonograph
  • Fairy well
  • Ping pong tournaments.

Possibly the best is the 'Shooting jungle in the gallery. The prospect of the lads of the church getting to shoot over the gallery onto the assembled throng below doesn't bear thinking about.

The list of permitted entertainments is interesting. It is often thought that religious observance in non-conformist circles at that time was stricter than that seen today but it would be surprising if a Baptist church now allowed thought readers and phrenologists. The head of the School committee at this time was one Henry Barnes. Springhill resident Eileen Taylor, a Sion attender as a child, recalled that the response of the elder folk of the church to virtually any change or modern suggestion was 'Henry Barnes would never have allowed it'. Well it seems Henry Barnes actually allowed quite a bit on his watch. There were some standards though, as the programme stipulates 'no raffling'.

And nobody today would charge to show pictures of the coronation!

The amount raised is unknown but a second Bazaar was held in 1926.

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