Friday February 8th 1957
...But Mapperley is a Happy Place
Fresh from its investigations in the Larklands and Nottingham Road areas, ‘Meet Your Neighbour’ went out into the side roads this week to find a most unusual little village on the outskirts of Ilkeston – MAPPERLEY.
Mapperley has no resident policeman, it has to share West Hallam’s vicar and has no resident head teacher, but it has a mystery – a mystery that will never be solved.
But what does Mapperley look like through the eyes of the people who live there? The man who has seen Mapperley for the longest time is Mr Harry Wint of Mapperley village. Harry has lived in Mapperley all his life and come what may, he would not change it for anything. With a faraway look in his eyes he told me about the Mapperley of yesterday. The time when it was a pretty village with thatched cottages and an olde world atmosphere. No coal lorries flashed through then disturbing the quiet lanes and churning them into mud, coal slack and ashes. Woods, and fields surrounded the village, and Squire Mundy, who then owned Mapperley, kept the roads and hedges neat and tidy. The houses were painted regularly and even Mapperley Colliery could not lessen the beauty of the village.
It's All Different
But now, he sighed “it’s all different. Everything is being pulled to pieces. Even the fields and trees are being spoilt by the open-cast mining. Harry was educated in Mapperley and West Hallam. When he left school at the age of ten, he worked for a year on a local farm. It was a grand life and yet he had to leave because of the low wages, after all two shillings a week is not very much, when that is all you have to live on.
Harry went to work down the pit and was full of praise for the high quality of coal that he and his colleagues managed to dig out. They had to hack it out, separate the coal from the dirt and then turn it over to the machine for two shillings and ninepence a ton” he said. “Why we would not even think of sending out some of the stuff they sell us today” he said scornfully. “There was a time when this district mined some of the finest coal in England” he added.
Harry spent 57 years down the pit, yet he still managed to keep his love of the land. On his days off he used to keep his garden in perfect order. Down at the local he used to say “I’ll give anyone a five pound not if they can fill a snuff box with weeds from my garden.
But now he has to watch the weeds grow because his health will not permit him to dig. I wonder how many times a day he thought “if only I could get out with my spade among those weeds I’d show them a thing or two’ passes through his head.
He just consoles himself with the certificates, cups and medals he has won at various horticultural and flower shows in the past. And it is without a doubt that he had some of the ‘greenest fingers in Mapperley.
They Run The Village Shop
His wife Jane, who is now in bed recovering from an illness, has kept the ‘corner shop’ in Mapperley ever since the day she was married in 1901. Now their eldest daughter May manages it.
Mrs Wint was born in Ilkeston and for a time her father kept the Prince of Wales Inn’ and Joe first met her when he called in there for a pint.
When she first came to Mapperley, Jane found it somewhat different from the noise, and bustle of the town, although she soon adapted herself to village life.
Their Own Poet
In 1949 Mr Wood won the Miner’s Poem Competition organised by the Recruitment Branch of the Ministry of Fuel and Power, North Midland Region. There were more than 70 entries, and Mr Wood took for his theme the nationalisation of the industry.
It was Mr Wood who unfolded the history of Mapperley. He has not lived there for very long, but has certainly delved thoroughly into its historical connections.
Feud With West Hallam
Mr Wood went on to explain about the bitter feud which existed between Mapperley and the neighbouring village of West Hallam.
In 1268, the Squire of West Hallam rode to Mapperley with his retainers, and attacked the village, destroying the gallows and pillory, causing damage estimated at 100 shillings, which in those days was a fabulous amount.
In fact Mapperley has stronger connections with Kirk Hallam, and there are a surprising number of Mapperley villagers buried there. The only connection with West Hallam is with the church. The Rev. G. C. C. Spencer is the minister for both parishes.
Social Life Is Difficult
Social organisations in the village include the Women’s Bright Hour, held every Wednesday afternoon, the football club, and the Women’s’ Guild. Little is done for the teenagers, or old age pensioners.
Many villagers sympathise with the lack of facilities for these people but nobody seems able to do anything about it.
If the teenagers want any sort of entertainment beyond watching television or listening to the wireless then they have to go into Ilkeston. That’s all very well but the bus service to Mapperley is some distance from perfection and what mother is going to let her young daughter walk unaccompanied down the long, lonely winding lane that leads to Mapperley, late at night.
One mother told me “My young daughter is continually begging me to let her go to the pictures on Saturday night. She stays in during the week, and though it breaks my heart to do so I have to refuse her permission even to go to the first house because she has to walk home alone”
It is almost impossible for any definite sort of social life to be maintained when most of the male population either work at the colliery or on a farm. In both cases they are at work all hours of the day.
Yet, in spite of this, Mapperley is a friendly village. Everybody knows everybody else, but everybody is an individual, and not just one of a crowd.
A Place To Rest A WhileIn summer hundreds of people walk through Mapperley on Sunday afternoons and many of them call in at the Old Black Horse, which is almost in the centre of the village. The Old Black Horse is run by Mr and Mrs Ronald Richardson. No matter how cold or dismal the weather may be their customers are always sure of a warm welcome and a cheery “Hello” and they have the added attraction of being served by a man who may well be a celebrity in a few months time.
While Ron is at work at Shipley Colliery, Joyce serves behind the bar. She has had plenty of experience, for her mother, Mrs Renshaw, was the licensee of the Jolly Colliers Inn at Awsworth.
Joyce explained that they had only lived in Mapperley for nine years, and yet they felt very much a part of it.
Some time in the not too distant future the Old Black Horse will take on a modern look. Joyce says she looks forward to the time when she will be able to cook in a gleaming kitchen, with all the latest cooking devices.
Hanging up in the larder are some white enamelled saucepans with bright red lids that are crying out to be used, but Joyce has firmly resolved not to use them until the rest of the kitchen matches their appearance.
Panto Trip For Ninety
Looking after all those children, even if it is only for a few hours is a big responsibility, but Joyce and her small band of helpers still managed to look calm, collected and happy as they boarded their bus home.
“We have had a wonderful time, and it’s been worth every minute we spent in planning it” said Joyce still smiling happily.