Beckingham cum Saundby
History Group

Annual Open Event

The theme for Beckingham and Saundby History Groups Annual Open Event for 2018 was “Pastimes Past and Present”. It took place in the Willow Works on a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon in September. There were many stands displaying items of memorabilia on different subjects, either belonging to the history group or kindly loaned for the day by members or village residents.
ART – Organised by Freda Proudley, with many interesting paintings and artwork mainly of the local area done by local artists. Included were two by Alan Robinson, one of All Saint’s Church and one of East Stockwith showing the Church spire which fell down during the 2008 earthquake. Among the others were one of Chesterfield Canal by Sheila Bailey and two by Myra Cunliffe of an owl and a kestrel.
Baking & Cooking
Also on display was a copy of an oil painting by Wilfred Hawdon of the boat MV Eric Hammon of Rostock This shows the boat discharging the last consignment of wood ever to be delivered by river to Brashes & Co., Old Trent Road in 1992, after which all deliveries were made by road.
BAKING & COOKING – organised by Maxine Downes, displayed various items of kitchenware. These included a retro bread bin and flour bin, a fragile decorative glass cake dome and stand, a hand creamer, glass jelly mould, vintage brass scales and cast iron table mincer. Plus several recipe books, two china onion pots and one mustard pot with amusing faces on them, and more

PHOTOGRAPHY – organised by Brian Suart, displayed a wide variety of items old and modern to do with the subject. There were numerous cameras, small and large, of different makes. Including a Box Brownie and two Polaroid I nstamatics both part of a series of popular easy to use cameras originally aimed at the masses. It was estimated that over 50 million Instamatics were sold during 1963 to 1970! Among others were cameras with concertina fixed lenses to more modern compact and digital ones.

Plus a vintage wind up cine camera, a digital camcorder and a 50 year old Sankyo Projector (still working) with reels of film. Other items included a splicer, range finder, different kinds of lenses and much more. Many had been donated by group member and photographer Albert Phillipson, the more modern items belonged to Brian.

A folder containing photographs connected with Miss Julia Tong who lived in the village in c1900, was also on show.
Julia Tong in garden of The Villa

The Tongs were middle class landed gentry who lived in The Spinney on Low Street – then called The Villa - and Julia had a real passion for photography. She took many photos of the village, her family and servants and often included herself in the pictures. Also available for visitors to view was a laptop with a running slide show of various old and new images of the village.

SPORT – organised by Pat Suart and Maxine Downes, had many items of sports memorabilia. For tennis there were three rackets, one modern, one older in a wood press, and one used by Mrs Shirley Brasher (nee Bloomer). Shirley stayed with her aunt Miss Nora Watson in Orchard House, High Street, during the 2nd World War, where she practised tennis and eventually went on to become Grand Slam Tennis Champion in the 1950’s. The racket was used by her during the 1955 Women’s French Championship Tennis Women’s Doubles Final.

She married Chris Brasher who was one of the first four minute milers, co-founder of the London Marathon and the 1956 Melbourne Olympics Steeplechase Gold Medallist. Mrs Brasher reopened the Village Hall after major improvements in 2007 and went on to make a generous donation from the Chris Brasher Fund
Shirley Brasher 2007

Beckingham Bowls Club was represented with a club jumper, several woods, two of which were in a leather case, jacks and club trophies. Other items included a football strip and boots, cricket bat, hockey stick, snooker cue and dominoes. Also on display was a set of Boules and an Archer’s bow, arrows and glove. Archery once used for hunting is now a popular and competitive sport. Bird watching was represented by binoculars old and modern along with bird books and a large telescope on a stand. The largest item on show was a retro 1976 folding bicycle along with some cycling gear.
Information and photos of village sports past and present and the history of different sports were on display. There used to be many sports organisations in the village such as cricket from about 1925 to around 1999 and included Youth and Ladies teams. Village football featured from at least1903 to around 2001. A Ladies Hockey Team played into the early 1950’s. A successful Tennis Club ran two teams for many years in the Gainsborough League playing on the courts in the playing field.

There was once a squash court for hire in the village years ago and there also used to be a table tennis team. Football is still played on the playing field but by teams from outside the village. Beckingham Bowls Club, running since 1948, is the only village sports club surviving and thriving, currently playing in the Gainsborough League and the Isle of Axeholme Pensioners League. Social Billiards, snooker, pool and dominoes are all still available to be played at Beckingham Institute, run by volunteers as a village sports club.
NEEDLECRAFT – organised by Sue Whiting and Christine Jordan, was full of beautiful hand made items to see. Of special interest were two exquisite sets of glove and handkerchief cases, belonging to Christine du Feu, which had been made by both her Great Grandmothers. One made in 1873 and the other made in 1893, for their respective sisters 21st birthdays. There was an obvious difference in the quality of the materials used but both were made with love. What would they have thought of them being on display and much admired today!

Handkershief & Gloves cases
There was some intricate lacework, cross stitch and embroidery and the crochet included a shawl and doyleys. A basket containing some rag rug making items offered visitors the chance to have a go if they wished! Evoking memories were two Crimplene dresses along with some sewing patterns. Attracting much admiration was a fragile and delicate baby’s chemise belonging to Freda Proudley, given to her by her grandmother.
Jones Popular Sewing Machine & Rag Rug Making Kit

It was made of fine lawn cotton and hand stitched probably by candlelight. The stitches were so neat and incredibly tiny, it seemed impossible to imagine them being worked! Other items included a beautiful wooden sewing box and a folding work box. Plus a c65 year old hand crank Jones Popular sewing machine complete with tools and original instructions. There was also a tapestry made by Annie Gray in 1884 when she was just 13 years old, and many more items.
Meccano Cars
TOYS & GAMES – organised by Chris du Feu had a working model railway 00 gauge layout attracting great interest, with which he was ably assisted by Ethan, a young member of 2nd Beckingham Scouts Group. Along side this Chris had some Meccano with which he had constructed a large working dockside crane and some sports racing cars. Meccano was first introduced in 1908 being popular for many years and still has a following today.
00 Gauge Model Railway being run by Ethan

There were also two miniature model steam engines, belonging to John Wharton. The smaller one a British made Mamod with holes in the base plate compatible with Meccano. The Mamod Company founded in 1936 still produces working model traction steam engines today. The larger model was believed German but make unknown. Unfortunately they were not working due to Health & Safety. Traditional Shove Ha’penny and Wooden Table Skittles were also on display along with Dinky cars and vehicles with more information. Card games, a jigsaw and some conkers completed the display.

Family Research Corner
FAMILY RESEARCH CORNER – organised by Freda Proudley, had a great deal of information on the subject. Freda was on hand giving advice to anyone interested in tracing their ancestors and how to research Census Records, Wills, Parish Registers and Births, Deaths and Marriage Registers. Family Tree sheets were also handed out to those requiring them. Freda had her own family history on display including photos and certificates, dating back to 1600’s.
DIY tools

DIY TOOLS – organised by John Wharton with various old hand tools, mainly for carpentry. These included rebate planes, an Augher wood borer, set squares, large wooden mallets, hand drills and more. Strangely, there was also a device to put rings through pigs noses!
GARDENING – organised by Marion and Dick Dickinson, was eye catching and attractively arranged loosely based on a Victorian Kitchen Garden. Among the items were old Garden implements including haystack cutter, hen water trough, dibbers, tin watering can, sieves and more. Plus there were gardening books, plants and flo wers, wellingtons (of course!) and a parasol. Also included were some of the results of garden produce, preserves and Sloe Gin!
Miss Nora Watson

There are currently rented allotments belonging to the Institute, situated behind the building originally provided by the Watson family, major benefactors to the village. Nora Watson in particular loved her plants and was an international flower arranger, a subject on which she wrote books. Nora spent a lot of time preparing for competition at the Chelsea Flower Show and was a judge of flower shows with connections to Kew Gardens. She was well known in the village for her eccentric ways, travelling around on her moped, always wearing her woollen hat no matter what the weather was like. Her generosity was felt by the village every Christmas Eve when she would go round the village leaving presents on doorsteps.

OWLIN' MAD – attended the event complete with a Little Owl “Eric” who was on display at times throughout the afternoon. A beautiful bird with striking markings and piercing eyes and despite being little they are actually ferocious hunters. Anne Mackenzie who runs Owlin' Mad imparted some fascinating facts and details about owls. For example, the reason owls are able to move their heads around at 270 degrees is due to their eye sockets being fixed.

This prevents them from being able to move their eyes. So their necks are constructed in a way to allow such freedom of movement without injury. Owls bob their heads for the same reason enabling them to judge distances. Often their ears are one lower than the other to focus sound, which is also helped by the disc shape of their faces, particularly pronounced in Barn Owls. Various items of owl paraphernalia were available to purchase. Owlin' Mad are available to book for visits and talks to groups and schools with Eric and a Barn Owl called Brillo. Brillo was not brought to the event due to resident Barn Owls nesting in the Willow Works.

2nd BECKINGHAM SCOUTS GROUP – had a selection of their uniforms on display. There was a lot of information about their activities, as well as photos and items to do with scouting. The Group are members of the History Group and some of the scouts attending the event helped out with a few of the stands on the day.

CLASSIC CARS & VEHICLES – classic cars were organised by Robert Markham. Individual cars attending included an Alfa Romeo 916 Spider, a classy Masarati GTA, two fabulous Morgans, and a Mitsubishi Coupe all much loved and well looked after by their owners. They were greatly admired!
Also on display outside was a 1949 Tea 20 Petrol Massey Ferguson Tractor owned by a village resident Terry Stothard. Found in 1999 rusting away in an open barn with flat tyres and many parts missing.
It was repaired and restored over the next two years and reregistered for road use in 2001. It has been used for many road charity runs and just like the cars, is the owners pride and joy!

After a slow start more people visited the event throughout the afternoon. All were able to partake of the delicious array of light refreshments provided and prepared by the History Group. Grateful thanks go to Freda and all who worked hard arranging and organising the event and to all those who attended and supported on the day.

Click here to go to History Group Diary of Events.
Click here to go to History Group History page.
Gallery - Click on any image below to enlarge ...
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