Review of ‘The Spirit of Youlgreave’, by Bridget Ardley & Mary Bartlett

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on 17th November 2003, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

by Bridget Ardley & Mary Bartlett
Published in hardback by Landmark of Ashbourne
ISBN 1-84306-083-3 (2003)

The Spirit of Youlgrave & Alport, The 20th Century in Photographs, is brought to life by authors Bridget Ardley and Mary Bartlett. They admit to being overwhelmed by the generosity and interest of the many local people who lent their precious and often rare photographs, over 400 in all. This probably has much to do with the strong sense of community prevailing in Youlgrave and Alport.

Togetherness could almost be the theme of this book, evident in everything from 'cross-dressers' and maypole dancing to the famous Youlgrave pantomimes. Groups play croquet and bowls on one page, long lost shops come back to life on another, and elsewhere we see the Prince of Wales on his way to using the Gents in one of the village pubs. Not every village could give pigeons a section to themselves but here we see a Youlgrave bird which hitched a lift on the QE2 and reached New York. Chapters on farming and industry are packed with nostalgia and illustrated with scenes of haymaking with horses, a corn mill, cattle strolling through Alport and pictures telling the tragic story of the Mawstone Mine disaster. And wherefore Knocking Alley, Pretoria, Wembley or Valparaiso? All is explained.

Photographs of old buildings and their former residents will interest anyone who has ever set foot in Youlgrave or Alport but today's visitors will search in vain for the fisherman's cottage by the Bradford, or the farmhouse tea garden with its tufa arches, or even the imposing hotel that once plied for business in little Alport.

Countless present-day villagers have also entered into the spirit of being recorded for posterity and authors Bridget Ardley and Mary Bartlett have done them proud.

Review by Julie Bunting

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