Category Archives: Chesterfield & Area

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 →

The Good Times , Some Memories of the Vic’s ‘Top Rank’ Days ..


by Eileen Marriott


victoria 002

Every Saturday I would wake up excited by the prospect of going to the “Vic” Saturday and Sunday.  First I had to do my Saturday job at the Co-op for the money to go out with as I was still in the 6th form at St. Helena school!

Home to get ready – didn’t have many outfits so I suppose we wore the same things week in week out.  I do remember a green cord mini skirt with yellow skinny rib polo neck jumper and cheap white boots (my friend had red skirt and white jumper) .
Veronica Sanderson was my main dance ‘partner’ always there until she moved to London to be a nanny!  Another good friend was lovely Liz Meakin who sadly died aged 22 from lung cancer. I still carried on going to the Vic and was soon dancing with friends Maureen Edwards, Pat Horton and Sandra Robson!… 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 Lathkill Dale to Woodstock – ‘With a Little Help From His Friends’


From two articles in ‘My Kind of Town’  issue 16; one by David McPhie,  and one by John Firminger and Martin Lilleker ..


Joe Cocker


I was saving this contribution,”From Lathkill Dale to Woodstock – With a Little Help From His Friends”, along with John Firminger’s “Farewell Joe, Up Where He Belongs” for (chronological) inclusion later in the sequence of my story, but as we have recently heard the sad news  of Joe’s untimely passing I have updated this for publication in ‘My Kind of Town’ ; and here are the two articles as they appear in Issue No. 16.             DMcP.

From Lathkill Dale to Woodstock – with a little help from his friends

Every successful performer can look back at turning points in their careers… and David McPhie recalls one such moment for Joe Cocker when a room above a street corner barbershop in Chesterfield was converted into a makeshift recording studio

I first came across Joe Cocker – but then known as Vance Arnold (and The Avengers) – in 1960/61, when he appeared at the Lathkill Dale Hotel at Over Haddon, near Bakewell.… Continue Reading →

The Chesterfield Cowboy


By Tom Bates





Artwork by Ian Lee 


He rode across the centre pages of the Daily Mirror on his horse Startrix in June 1958 in the company of Duncan Renaldo -otherwise known as `The Cisco Kid’.

He was pictured in newspapers around the country wearing a white stetson and toting a pair of pearl-handled six-guns, and he rode the ranges of England – from Horse Guards Parade, past Buckingham Palace in the south – to the cinema aisles of Manchester in the north.
He was “Dave Darby – the Authentic Singing Cowboy direct from Ontario, Canada – Star of Stage, Screen and Television”, and the story went on to tell how the lonesome cowboy had just been re-united with his faithful horse following it’s release from quarantine restrictions after the two had arrived in Britain from Dave’s ranch in Canada!

In actual fact the horse had been hired from stables near Rotherham – and the `authentic singing cowboy from Canada’ was really a milkman from Chesterfield who had never been out of this country in his life!… Continue Reading →

The Bestwicks of Brampton


This story has been contributed by Alec ‘Jock’ Turner, from his numerous copies of ‘The Link’ (the Robinsons ‘in house’ magazine’) and he will soon be bringing us more of his memories and recollections of Brampton’s past history, He also has a ‘fund’ of stories and information drawn from the memories of his parents and grandparents; plus his recollections of working as Senior Graphics Designer at Robinsons from where he retired after 22 years. He was also editor of the ‘in house’ magazine for a number of years.

81 year old Jock was born in the ‘Chain Bar’ property on the corner of Chatsworth Road and School Board Lane (pictured below) in 1933, and lived there with his large family up to the latter part of the Second World War.

Jock made contact with me as a result of seeing the extract from my Joe Cocker article in Chesterfield’s ‘Twist’ publication (taken from the full length feature in Sheffield’s ‘My Kind Of Town’ quarterly magazine), after noting my mention of the ‘flat’ over the shop on the right hand side of this building ( on the corner of Chatsworth Road and School Board Lane) as the site of the production of the Joe Cocker demo recording that I took to London to secure his recording contract; and where we lived for a few years during the late 1960s.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 →

National Westminster Bank

 by Janet Murphy

This article first appeared in the Chesterfield and District Local History Society Newsletter ..

image ..

The National Westminster Bank at the junction of Glumangate and the High Street is the latest in the line of banks to exist on this site. The first was Crompton, Newton & Co., also known as the Scarsdale & High Peak Bank. In 1877 the name changed to Crompton & Evans Union Bank. This firm was absorbed into Parr’s Bank in 1914 and then into the London, County & Westminster Bank in 1918 before becoming the Westminster Bank in 1923 and the National Westminster Bank in 1968.

The original Crompton & Union Bank building and the adjacent Star Inn were demolished to make way for a new building which was opened in 1894. The description in the Derbyshire Times was euphoric.

Those who have been absent from Chesterfield for any extended period of time will notice the vast improvement which has taken place during the last couple or three years in the region of the Market Square.… Continue Reading →