Review of ‘After Seth : Bradwell into the Twenty-First Century’, by Bradwell Historical Society

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

Bradwell into the Twenty-first Century

by Bradwell Historical Society
ISBN 978-1-906789-01-5 (2008)

For almost a century now, anyone with an interest in the village of Bradwell (local history writers especially) will have come across the invaluable Bradwell Ancient and Modern, published by Seth Evans in 1912.

But history never stops and the Bradwell story is brought up to date in eloquent style with the publication of After Seth, the result of two years' work by Bradwell Historical Society with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Two hundred and fifty pages of generously illustrated text plus a 20-page index gives some idea of its scope.

A college thesis of 1939 provides useful intermediate material since the gatherings of Seth Evans. In 1939, for instance, Bradwell had 25 shops - there are now nine. There was a time too when the village had a dance hall and a cinema, if one could hear the film over chatterboxes Galloping Gerty and Trotty Lotty. Recollections of schooldays include knuckle-rapping and caning, whereas one teacher found herself faced by a parent who threatened to 'bash her head in'! Within living memory, apparently, outsiders were of the scurrilous opinion that everyone in Bradwell was mad, lived in caves or worse. Not really mad but what price this anecdote in connection with fluorspar extraction: 'Doug's wife used to fetch the dynamite from Alfreton in the boot of her car and kept the Cordex for the detonators on the front passenger seat.'

After Seth records all aspects of village life from pig clubs to water supplies (complete with tadpoles) to present-day group activities. Memories of two World Wars provide the final chapter, not forgetting the great debt that WW1 tommies owed to the local hat making industry. During more recent times, one major engineering employer has supplied equipment 'for every nuclear power station from Dounreay to Dungeness.'

And next time you trudge around Meadowhall, just remember that the flooring was supplied by family business based in Bradwell.

Designed by Country Books/Ashridge Press.

Review by Julie Bunting

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