Category Archives: Childhood Reminiscences

A Butterfly Allotment


by David McPhie ..


The ‘trigger’ that reminded me of my ‘gardening days’,  the only time in my life that I have, successfully, embarked upon and ‘seen through’ a practical project of any kind ( as in , working with one’s hands to mend, build or fashion any kind of repair )  was a recent Monty Don gardening programme, where he was tending his vegetable patch. It was in the early years of moving to Riber Terrace, I was possibly seven or eight years old and prior to starting my ‘further afield adventuring’.

We had a concrete yard and outside toilet to the front, facing Minimum Terrace, but at the back was a slightly larger space, possibly about 40 feet by 20 feet, leading to the line of tall poplar trees that separated Riber Terrace from Boythorpe Avenue, and thence to the William Rhodes School and grounds beyond. Planting this patch of ground to my own design became my ‘project’, fired primarily by an early enthusiasm and fascination for butterflies and their caterpillar ‘offspring’, and it was here that I produced my own version of the currently very fashionable ‘Butterfly Garden’; funded in no small part by the sale of muli-coloured mice ( more of elsewhere ) to Morris’s pet shop in the Shambles, the proceeds of which would be immediately invested in packets of seeds and spring bulbs.… Continue Reading →

Trains and a cat called Tessa


60s Memories of the Swanwick Colliery Branch

by Ian Castledine


My earliest memories are about two things, a cat and a train, strange I still love both.

Ian Castledine

The cat Tessa I am told, I should simply not be able to remember but you know what, I do! Yeah yeah mother, I know I was only three nearly four when she died but I do remember her! I remember her soft, smooth fur under my little fingers and how warm she was when I grabbed her, oh and not to forget how loud mum shouted when I did. I also remember that Tessa seemed huge to me, kind of like me meeting a small Tiger today, wow!

I remember being annoyed with Tessa that I couldn’t find her one day, she just disappeared. Now mums are very good at this, apparently Tessa just went away for a while, on a holiday!… Continue Reading →

Musical Opportunities

by Ray Huckle .. 

…in which the theory is tested that the sad decline in musical standards is due to the demise of the annual bus trip to the seaside, once regularly undertaken by the pit villages of North East Derbyshire .. !


I have noticed and been mystified by the fact that in spite of being perpetually plugged into the ‘Cyberverse’ and receiving the latest pop hits from ‘Beyond’ played at Volume Eleven., only a few of today’s young aspiring musicians appear to be capable of making music themselves.

Even singing seems to have gone out of fashion, although having listened to a lot of the modern  music maybe we should be thankful for that small mercy. I don’t think it is lack of access to musical instruments either as I have seen good second hand (Sorry! Preloved)  guitars etc. for less than the price of a rock concert ticket.… Continue Reading →

From the back bedroom window – a Chesterfield childhood

by Simon Holliday

The following is by no means in chronological order. Rather; it is a selection of snapshots seen through a child’s eyes, as he grew up in Chesterfield. An unremarkable childhood, in an unremarkable place, in which nothing remarkable happened. The period is 1968 to 1975. The place was home.

The move from Springbank Road up to Hady Crescent coincided with the closure of Hipper Primary School, and thus I was one of the very first into the Reception Class at the spanking new seat of learning at Hady. There were two routes from 67 Hady Crescent: up Hady Hill, right onto Hady Lane, and down the path that ran alongside the vehicle access, or down to where Mrs Mather and her lollipop guided us across the road and into Spital Park, then out the other side and up the pathways to the main gate at the top, where the vehicle access and car park were.… Continue Reading →

In Front of the Silver Screen

A Personal History of Cinemas in the Chesterfield Area

By Kenneth Bishton

cinema projectors

The text relating specifically to the early history of Chesterfield’s cinemas is largely the work and research of its original author, Brian Hornsey, though it has been extensively re-written and updated where relevant accurate new information has become available. I am indebted to Mr Hornsey, and, by extension, to his sources: Derbyshire County Council Library Service, Mr G. Lennox, Mr. R. Rippingale, Mr L. Greaves, Mr G. Sadler, staff at Chesterfield Library and Local Studies, writers at The Derbyshire Times, W. Beach and staff at THE REGAL and ODEON Cinemas, for providing the groundwork for this section. Full credit must go to Mr Hornsey and his booklet Ninety Years of Cinemas in Chesterfield for opening the door, thus allowing me to follow in his shadow.
“This personal study was first presented to the Local Studies department of Chesterfield Library two years ago.Continue Reading →