Review of ‘Tansley Remembered’, by Keith Taylor

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on 12th September 2005, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.


by Keith Taylor
Published by Ashridge Press/Country Books
ISBN 1-901214-43-5 (2005)

Author Keith Taylor has somehow found the time and enthusiasm for another fascinating book in the same vein as his earlier titles. This time he tells of a way of life and the events which shaped Tansley throughout the past century.

Chapters on wartime are sandwiched between tales of this hard-working parish at peace, its people earning a living in quarries and textile mills, on farms and nurseries.

Keith individually honours each of the uniformed men and women of Tansley who lost their lives in the two world wars. During the first war, local mills produced khaki tape and webbing for the British army, as well as recycling thousands of foul and maggoty horse blankets returned from the carnage of the battle front.

Lighter anecdotes recall a Spam Gang, Pig Clubs and Tansley lads being stoned out of Youlgrave because they had 'dared to win' a football match. That same village provides a pub yarn about a man fighting a live rat - using only his teeth.

An early 20th-century school log book shows attendances diminished by illnesses and other priorities: scarlet fever, measles, ringworm, haymaking, bilberry picking, a ploughing match and even a wedding.

More recent memories include earth closets, with untreated raw sewage collected by the night soil men and spread in some surprising places. Some Tansley families relied on the nearest brook for washdays and bathdays, water being one thing the village has in abundance. Hence its mills, bleachworks, laundry, hydro, and dams variously used for swimming, skating and ice hockey.

By combining personal recollections with sources such as military history and war diaries, Keith Taylor has produced a valuable record relevant to a wide variety of interests, not least family history.

With over 400 pages and generously illustrated with almost as many photographs, signed copies were available at the book launch in Tansley Village Hall on Saturday 8 October 2005.

Review by Julie Bunting

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