Review of ‘Darleys in the Dale’, by Lewis R. Jackson

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on 25th January 2002, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

DARLEYS IN THE DALE
Lewis R Jackson

Somehow local bookshops were receiving enquiries about this book even before it hit the shelves.

Author Lewis Jackson is of course well known on the local scene, not only for his business interests but for his keen interest in local history and the communities of Darley.

The sub-title of this new 320-page book is 'Echoes from the Valley, People, Places, Industries, History and Memories'. Without knowing anything about the author you might wonder at the attention to detail behind his writing. It is doubtful whether anything in and around Darley has escaped his eye over the years, from names scratched into a window pane to relics of the old Darley Water Works. He even goes underground to retell the story of Derbyshire's forgotten canal.

An inventor himself, it comes as no surprise that the author's local hero is Sir Joseph Whitworth, whose own name is inseparable from Darley Dale. Two of the most important buildings here are the Whitworth Institute (now Whitworth Centre) and the Whitworth Hospital.

Incidentally, we learn that the hospital rules of 1888 include: 'No infectious cases may be admitted. Patients can be visited by their Friends on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 2:30 to 4 p.m.' Such titbits bring a book to life.

Naturally Lewis Jackson takes a good look at Sir Joseph but the book is also a tribute to people with no claim to fame, unless you count the man who burst into flames. Go back far enough and there are inhabitants who died of smallpox and in the lead mines. Move forwards and here are the names of quarry men, school teachers, shopkeepers, millers and hauliers - described as 'men with wheels in their blood'.

Family tree enthusiasts are going to love Darleys in the Dale.

Published by Country Books of Little Longstone the book contains more than 250 photographs and two fully detailed walking trails with maps. In stock at local shops or to order, ISBN number 1-898941-69-6, priced £7.50.

Review by Julie Bunting


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