Thursday, 12 March 2015

Travels down the Staveley Corridor

As someone who grew up in Calow, North East Derbyshire and lived there until relatively recently, I've always had reasons to go to Staveley - to visit the gym, visit the inn (!) or walk my dogs down the canal path. And on my journeys, I've often passed the beautiful brick of Staveley Library and thought it looked like an inviting place to stop for a while. Yesterday, I finally got chance to take it in as part of Staveley Wellbeing Day.

It was a real treat working with people from Staveley, Mastin Moor and beyond who use the Home Libraries Service. Inspired by the bookcases around us, we talked about the different 'chapters' of Staveley history, from pit ponies to hardware shops and turned these memories into a group poem.

Afterwards, everyone got chance to talk to playwright Kevin Fagan about a new community play he is writing for performance at Barrow Hill Roundhouse. Kevin has called the area he's writing about the 'Staveley Corridor' and I thought that was a really neat phrase. If you're from that area and would be interested in being interviewed by Kevin, do get in touch. 

Thanks to all at Staveley for a great day.

The Book of Memories
A poem for Staveley Wellbeing Day

The first page is steel works, noise and smoke,
the sheds at Barrow Hill, solid as oak.
There’s a chapter of families, moving for jobs,
feeding the pit ponies, keeping them shod.
Shire horses paraded proud at the shows –
one met the Queen! – they stood tall in rows.

The story moves on, fast as open top cars,
the first on the road, fast-forwarding hours.
(Here’s a footnote for the Regal, the Staveley Pictures,
the dance hall in Chesterfield – twirling at Jimmy’s,
the stationers and Sonky Sales
where they traded in hardware, hammers and nails
and anything they didn’t have they’d find.
There were shoe shops and milliners, neat in line.)

There’s a new chapter now, the streets are fresher
and we chatter round books in the library at leisure.
There are more names to learn and we lock our doors
but we’ve shared the same story, through labour and wars.
We’ve written a book you can’t judge by its cover
and when this chapter finishes, we’ll start another.

By Mary Davison, Jean Hamson, Mary White, Dave Walker, Beryl Liavsley, Margaret Pattison, David Wheatley, Jean Pendleton, Margaret Webster, Beryl Adams, Olive Owen, with a bit of help from Derbyshire Poet Laureate Helen Mort.

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