Community History Day at Milford School 1st July

The poster above was for Milford Community History Day, which took place on Saturday 1st July 11:00am – 4pm at Milford Primary School, Chevin Road. Entry was free, but donations were gratefully received towards the renovation of the school playground wall, since repairing a historic wall to the requirements of the conservation area is very expensive. Derbyshire County Council will match fund the money raised by the school. Belper Town Council gave a grant towards the event, which was organised by the school, Belper Historical Society and volunteers from the Belper North Mill education team.  Refreshments were provided by the school governors.
These were the activities throughout the day:
The event started with Adrian Farmer of Derwent Valley Mills unveiling one of the  new interpretation boards outside the school (see here for more about the initiative placing these boards throughout Milford).

Unveiling of the new Derwent Valley Mills plaque outside school.

In the school hall with the Belper North Mill education team, people were able to experience what is was like to be a ‘half timer’ mill worker child and at 12:30, people were able to join former school pupils, Christine, Marjorie and Enid, to find out what it was like to be a pupil in times gone by.

Belper North Mill volunteer, Gary Johnston, showing children how the early school was run.

Milford School is one of the oldest continuously used school buildings in Derbyshire, and tours inside and out were given by the current head teacher, Emma Roberts. Tours were every hour on the hour and those on the tour got a good view over the recently demolished Milford Mills site and were able explore the extent of the school building.
As part of the planning permission for the development of the adjacent Milford Mills site, an archaeological inspection of the site had to be undertaken (see here for background).  Dan Waterfall of CFA Archaeology, which undertook the survey, was on hand in the school to explain what artefacts were found and what else the archaeologists uncovered.

Dan the archaeologist showing some of the finds uncovered during the recent excavation of the Milford Mills site.

A slideshow of old Milford photographs was given by Adrian Farmer and there was
“A Family Tale” showing what life was like living in Milford from the Great War to the 1960s. This included one family’s story told through the eyes of three generations, with a display by Rachel Hodgkinson.
In the playground local community artist, Tan Draig created a fun “human knit” during the afternoon to celebrate the importance of knitting in the area.
People were able to take their local history queries or share their research with local historian, Heather Eaton. Heather also gave a spinning display.

Heather demonstrating spinning

Answering Milford queries

There was a display of original Milford school log books and other original materials relating to Milford.

Viewing the old documents.

At 1:30, former Milford mill workers, David Gentle and John Mellor, shared their memories of what it was like to work for English Sewing Cotton Company and how they were involved in the decommissioning of the mill.
It was a very popular event, enjoyed by people of all ages. It was filled with lots of reminiscing, learning  and above all, fun. Thanks to Emma, the head teacher, Adrian Farmer and his growing collection of old photos of Milford, volunteers from Belper North Mill and several others who made it a success.
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