England's Past for Everyone Derbyshire


The Derbyshire project was led by Philip Riden and colleagues from the University of Nottingham and the Derbyshire VCH Trust, working with volunteers to research two histories. The first focused on the development of Bolsover Castle, a major English Heritage site, the market town at its gates and the model colliery town. The second put, for the first time, the nearby Hardwick Hall, a National Trust property, into the context of its ancient estate and rural parish of Ault Hucknall. The four year project was formally launched in March 2006 by Dennis Skinner MP, Bolsover.


Two paperback books: Bolsover: Castle, Town and Colliery (ISBN: 978-1-86077-484-3) was published by Phillimore in 2008. Trent and Peak Archaeology produced an architectural survey of the colliery housing and model communities of New Bolsover, Carr Vale and Whaley Thorns as part of the research.

The book launch by the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, John Bather, was attended by over 90 guests, including volunteers from the Bolsover project and supporters of the Derbyshire VCH Trust. The book’s authors, Philip Riden and Dudley Fowkes, thanked the local volunteers for their continued support and stressed how vital it is to the work of the VCH in Derbyshire.

Hardwick: A Great House and its Estate (ISBN: 978-1-86077-544-4) was published by Phillimore in 2009, and the book was launched at Hadwick New Hall  in early December 2009. Trent and Peak Archaeology was contracted further to relate details of expenditure on farm buildings detailed in the accounts of the 6th Duke of Devonshire, held at Chatsworth House, with surviving farm buildings on the Hardwick Estate as part of the research for this project.

Schools Resources

The school project was led by Orlinda Dias, Derbyshire County Council, who also worked closely with a local History Advanced Skills Teacher, Gordon Nisbet. Pupils from both The Bolsover School and New Bolsover Primary School were involved in the project which aimed to explore the life of people in New Bolsover mining community in the 1900s.

The pupils visited the National Coal Mining Museum, and took part in census research sessions with the support of their local librarian. The project also encouraged role-play/interviewing skills training with a freelance professional; this was in preparation for their activity day. The Year 9 pupils (ages 13 – 14), in costume, were placed at relevant houses/interest points around New Bolsover village. They had previously researched the people who had lived at these houses in the early 1900s, and so ‘adopted’ their characters. In small groups, the Year 5 pupils (ages 9 – 10) walked around the village to interview the characters (teacher; priest; quarry-owner; pony-driver; mineworker etc). Through EPE support, the primary school was able to purchase Easi-speak recording microphones for the groups of children. The audio recording were then used in the final stage of the project – through IT training from Derbyshire County Council, the pupils developed their own webpages with information about the local history they had learnt through this project.

The project took place during 2009, and the material received will soon be developed for publication on our Schools Learning Zone: www.EnglandsPastForEveryone.org.uk/schools.