Although the holiday was about making charcoal we did other stuff, I even went up a couple of days early and visited Bill and Liz Fargent (I shared a room with Bill in my first year at university, 1968 – 9).
Had to see the twisted spire of Chesterfield church, but had not expected to find George Stephenson there. Apparently he went to survey a railway tunnel, found coal and stayed to set up a mine.
The George Stephenson Memorial Hall houses the town’s museum, which contains a large painting commissioned by son Robert Stephenson, after his father’s death, and shows George, his parents, both his wives and Robert gathered together some way in front of the house young Robert was brought up in. It was called Sundial Cottage because of the dial attached to it that was designed and built by George and his son. That’s all the proof I need that we are clearly related.
Went walking in Dovedale with Bill and saw a Dipper.
Hardwick New Hall is not only ‘more glass than wall’ but also a good example of profligate consumption – Bess already had a fine hall just yards away, but came into a lot of money when her 4th husband died, and decided to show off.
We got permission to go onto the roof. A bit special that is. Not eveybody can do it. Got home to discover that a dinner guest, as part of a museum study tour, had also been on the roof. But she missed the thousands of flies, both living and dead that fill the roof rooms.
But may well have seen the face in the design above the door into the stairway room.
Nobody is saying it’s for certain, but there is one portrait which might be a young Bess of Hardwick. I thought you might like to see it. Her ability to marry well and often is similar to the young woman seen at Firle Place a year or so ago.
Must list some beers tasted at either the Hardwick Inn, adjacent to our accomodation just outside the Hall and its estate, or at the rather better provisioned Shoulder, just a mile west, and the other side of the M1. Bess Bitter, brewed for the Hardwick by Bakewell Brewery, rather malty traditional bitter. In the Shoulder had several pale hoppy beers – Wild Swan and Jaipur from Thornbridge Brewery, Riders on the Storm from Kelham Island, Ay Up from Dancing Duck Brewery, Derby and Sanctuary by Abbeydale of Sheffield.
I should possibly explain that I went to the Shoulder on three separate occassions.