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Beeston Local History Website

Local History Website

Beeston Local History - Old Street Scene

Beeston.biz are pleased to highlight another local resource, a website with the title 'Exploring Beeston's History'.

David Hallam uses this web site to provide information about Beeston in Nottinghamshire, in particular its interesting industrial and cultural history - from its origins as a village in pre-Saxon times.

The resource will be of interest to today's local people, or those who have ancestors from the Beeston area, and anyone looking to research their family history.

Please see www.beeston-notts.co.uk for further information.

History of the Pollard Lace Business in Beeston

Anyone who lived in Beeston before the mid-1980s will remember Swiss Mills, the large factory building which stood on Wollaton Road, on the corner of Cross Street, opposite the Commercial Inn.

For those who were interested enough to look up at its gable, the inscription provided details of both the building's year of construction and the initials of the man who caused it to be built - 18 JP 86.

Some may also recall that John Pollard [J P in the inscription] represented the second generation of four in a family that contributed greatly to the lace making industry in Beeston, near Nottingham.

A booklet has been produced that tells the story of these four generations of Pollards, lace makers in Beeston, and their factory, Swiss Mills. The book is a co-operative effort by the five surviving children of John Pollard, the last of the family to make lace in Beeston, with Ernest Pollard the nominal author.

Historical Booklet Available: Proceeds To Be Donated To Charity

The booklet is based on family and factory papers, photographs, wages books, lace pattern books and ledgers.

All those who have family who worked in the industry may well be interested in the booklet - modestly priced, well illustrated and referenced, it gives many insights into the working of a family lace business and the life of the people who worked there.

The proceeds of sales, excluding costs of postage and packing, are being donated to Ataxia UK.

Read more details, and information on how to obtain a copy of the booklet, at www.beeston-notts.co.uk


90 Year Old Letters From A WWI Soldier To Beeston Found!

John, who now lives in Guisborough in the north east, wrote in to me [Editor of www.beeston.biz] to tell me:

'I was wondering if you would be interested in the [below] news item relating to the finding of World War One letters from my father Captain Lindley to his family in Beeston, Nottingham. My father was a very informative ind interesting writer and sent regular letters from active service in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia. I have incorporated the letters in a book which has been published at an appropriate time as later this year will be the 90th Anniversary of Armistice Day.'

Here is the news item, which we [the team at Beeston.biz] are pleased to publicise:

Beeston Local History - John Lindley

When his mother died several years ago, John Lindley, resident of Guisborough, North Yorks and his wife found bundles of letters and photograph albums on clearing the house. John's mother had mentioned his father's letters but he had assumed they were letters to her from the time [in the late 1930's] when they were courting. On examination, they turned out to be letters from the First World War from his father on active duty to his mother, father, sister and brother at their home in Nottingham and written some 20 years before his mother and father had actually met. John's father - John Cyril Lindley - died when John was only 3 and he has little memory of him.

On the death of his father, John and his mother moved back to Oldham where she was brought up and then to Saddleworth. John went to the local Church of England school and then to Manchester Grammar School and on to Birmingham University. John's mother went back to teaching and taught at Alexandra Park Junior School in Oldham for many years.

Some time after her retirement from teaching John's mother moved to Guisborough to be close to her family. John's wife, Mary, started the task of writing out the letters in long-hand and then to put them on a word processor. The letters were written in pencil on flimsy paper and some were barely legible. The idea was initially to reproduce the letters for family interest but on discussion with the Imperial War Museum in London, who suggested the letters could be of wider interest, a book was started. John took over the project after he had retired from ICI when Mary started writing children's stories.

John's father was a very interesting and descriptive writer and his letters start with his journey by troop ship from Devonport to Gallipoli, dodging the German submarines. The ship, RMS Scotian, called at Valletta in Malta and Alexandria for supplies. Cyril took some shore leave at both these places, posted his letters and sent several postcards. His letters describe life in the trenches in Gallipoli as he saw it; what they ate and drank, military routines, snipers, shell fire, what they talked about, letters and parcels from home. His letters start with optimism that the campaign would soon be over but turned to pessimism as the war dragged on into the winter culminating in the evacuation when he was the last subaltern to leave the beaches. He provides a graphic account of the operation.

His service continued in Mesopotamia where he was wounded and writes several letters from hospital, one in particular to his pupils and friends at his church Sunday school where he was a teacher. He was later promoted to Captain and was awarded the MC for his part in a reconnaissance operation when he was trapped behind enemy lines and several of his men were wounded but they managed to return to base with the casualties.

The book also contains letters from his friends in France during the war and a letter from Clement Attlee who was in the same Regiment, The South Lancs, who later became Prime Minister.

The book is available at the Guisborough Bookshop or directly from the author, see web site www.lindleybooks.co.uk for details.