Wingerworth Community Fun Day

A fine but blustery day, I set off,  with my trust assistant, Lisa,  the car loaded with all the bag of mashings required for this kind of event. Putting up the gazebo proved to be a problem, but a nice gentleman came to help, so we got there in the end.

I laid out my models and presentation, pinned down hard to stop everything blowing down the field. It was nice to meet a few people who had previously only existed as emails. By 12.30 pm all the other stalls were set up, a kind of hush fell over the field, was anyone going to come?, the weather was not sparkling. the bouncy castle lay lifeless and flat on the floor.

12.45pm you started to notice more children appearing, some dressed as super heros, bumblebees. The bouncy castle was up, the brass band arrived, the event was off.

I guess it was not obvious what we were up to, cake stands and tombola's they understood but they were a but wary of us, so I took their wary glance as an sign and offered to explain what we were up to.... so it's you is it! Yes it is. We read something about it in the Derbyshire Times, or 'the children have been telling us about  a sculpture'.

I explained where we were using the presentation and how we had got there, about 30 times slightly different each time and handed out my little sheet with this web address printed on it.

I met a few of the children from class 2 at Deer Park Primary. We are going on an adventure together next week to Yorkshire Sculpture Park in preparation for a 'Sculpture Day' in school on the 2nd of June, we are all looking forward to it.

We talked about, tunnels and fishponds, houses built from Wingerworth Hall stone, what it must be like to be a stag, who provided the money for the project, how these projects come about, where I was from, how was I going to make the sculpture, what it will be made from, where the Hall had been.... the afternoon shot by.

I must admit I was very tired at the end of it, even though all I had done was talk,( I think it was the fresh air) the tea and buns were excellent, as an added bonus I learned that female ferrets are half the size of males  and I would love to own a donkey, there were three there on display. 

I think overall it went very well.

Next Thursday is the trip to Yorkshire Sculpture Park with Class 2, the weather looks promising, I am looking forward to some good company.








Progress March 2015, the struggle begins for real.

I visited Dr Edwards and his wife Barbara as arranged, the kettle went on and lots of papers and maps came out , I discovered that my initial theories i.e that  the Hunloke family were just another privileged set of  spendthrifts, squandering their advantages, turned out to be a little harsh.

Dr Edwards explained that their issues resulted from their choice of sides, being on the King's side in the Civil war was not a good move, the King lost. Choosing to remain Catholic at a time when this choice led to severe social and financial punishments, a choice that put catholic believers at a disadvantage.

The size of the family had a bearing on finances, larger families led to multiple bequests in wills which inevitably stretched the family pot in too many ways, weakening the families financial core.

Eventually the family had to let go of the estate as the upkeep became too much of a burden. 

Their longest lasting legacy to Wingerworth is possibly that the prolonged residence of the family allowed the village to avoid the negative effects of the industrial revolution. The holding together of the parklands allowed Wingerworth to remain a small rural community. Wingerworth  still retains a different feel to its neighbours, elsewhere steel and coal were transforming all around into an industrial power house complete with all the pollution and rapid  makeshift development that goes with it.

We looked at a lovely old map that showed the field boundaries. The King's Meadow land is close to the still present 'Monk's Wood' this parcel of land was a present to a Lincoln order of brothers in exchange for praying for the immortal soul of Roger De Wingerworth  and his family.

Abandoned Bell Pit mines and steep slopes made some of the land unfit for farming, instead woods were planted, charcoal production serviced some of the industrial processes close by. The woods still exist.


Next appointments are with the Scout Group and the All Saints Fellowship Group.




new sculpture project for 2015 Kings Meadow Wingerworth Derbyshire

This project came to my notice in January. 

The client, Rippon Homes, is a house builder I have worked with before, so I already know that they appreciate the virtues of community focused art.

We had a chat to see if we could work together and agreed that we could. 

The only givens are:

  • the location - a public open space off Deerlands Road
  • it has to be a freestanding interactive sculpture not made of metal or wood 

otherwise I have a free reign.

I take a copy of the Site Investigation report, containing maps taken at 20 year intervals back to 1899 and the geological surveys. I like to look at the geology as what is underneath always drives what ends up on the surface.

I can see from the maps that there used to be a large estate called Wingerworth Hall, its there in 1899 but has disappeared by 1938. The village remains tiny and rural throughout. Housing development only starts to gather pace in the 1950's which is unusual for North Derbyshire as most town were driven by coal and related industries. How did it escape the fate of the surrounding area?

The next step is onto the internet to search words and images relating to the Wingerworth area.

Wingerworth Hall is easy to find, a large country house and park demolished in the 1920's for building materials, some of the interior was shipped to America, and the land sold off into small bits. 

The Hunloke family lived on the estate from the 1600's through to the 1890's, so what made them give up on Wingerworth?

I make a few phone calls, starting with local councillors and a journalist. I make an appointment to see Dr David Edwards, who has lived no New Road since the 1950's with his wife Janet, I have discovered questions, does he have any answers?


I'll keep you posted.