Old Draycott website… is back!

Lots of people have asked us: whatever happened to the old Draycott website?
Constructed around 1998, on the ‘geocities’ server, it had lots of great old photos and brilliant summaries of periods in the village’s history.  However, it seemed to disappear off the web a few years ago.

Well… we can tell you that, thanks to the miracle of web-archiving search-‘crawlers’, it has been re-found; and is back!  It is not quite what it was, but, in essentials, it’s there.
What appears to have happened is that a web-archiving process searched back into the internet’s past to look for lost sites and lost pages, and managed to revive the text and shape of the old site.

Matt & Barry

If you can’t wait to take a look, click here for the old ‘Draycott-en-le-Moors Official Website’.

English: Draycott-in-the-Moors Post Office. (n...

Draycott Post Office, before it closed

The authors of the website were two guys who are still well-known in the village: Matt Pointon (who also wrote the book of the history of this parish); and Barry Phillips (who also wrote the book about how World War Two affected this area).   They clearly were helped by a lot of local people including Eve Robinson, the then postmistress.

A lot of the history facts on this old Draycott website are included in Matt’s book (which came later and updates & revises some of the facts).   However, here on this website, the facts are more in the form of easy-to-grasp lists, whereas the book is a proper, full history account.
You might say that the website is a good way to learn about Draycott – if you haven’t time to read the book!

The sad thing is that most of the wonderful old photos that were on the site when it was first constructed have been removed.  This may be due to copyright reasons.

Draycott history – at a glance

There are over thirty pages on the old website, including a ‘timeline’ of Draycott’s history, which goes back (says the website) to 900 AD, when the site now occupied by St. Margaret’s Church may have been a site of heathen worship.
There are other amazing facts too – did you know that in 1801 the population of the parish was 491, which is MORE than it was in 1931, when it had gone down to 481…

We are also glad to be informed on where the ‘lost pub’, The Royal Oak, was situated.

And for those of you doing projects for school, there are neat short summaries of the local histories of coal mining, tape-weaving (Draycott’s main industry in the nineteenth century apart from agriculture), education and the railways.
You would be better off reading Matt’s book for the deep history of the area, but this website is a nice start; and frankly there is so much stuff on it, you could still spend all day reading the articles here!

And for those of you who think you know everything there is to know about Draycott, why not try the ‘Draycott Quiz’?  However, you have to beware: you won’t know how well you’ve done, as, frustratingly, the answers page has not been archived.
Maybe someone can persuade Matt & Barry to go back through their old notes and re-find the answers for us all…


As we’ve mentioned, what is really disappointing is that the photos have been removed from the site.

Many of the photos were from the Joe Thorley Collection.  Joe farmed at Totmonslow Farm (where his family still reside), but he was fascinated by this local area, and, even as a young man, experimented with photography, so his collection was truly remarkable.
After Joe’s death in 1987, the originals were taken over and cared for by his sister Pat Whitfield.  Does anyone know where they are now?

There is a nice tribute by Matt to Joe on this webpage.

But, despite the hole left by the missing photos (and some missing pages), it’s nice to see the old website back, even in its truncated form.

And… a little bit on web-archiving

Internet Archive

Internet Archive HQ (credit: bigoteetoe)

You may have been surprised as we were to know that there are international organisations out there archiving the web.  Just in the same way as libraries archive old newspapers, these organisations are trying to save the best bits of the internet for posterity before they totally disappear.
There is a good summary of what’s going on on Wikipedia.

Interestingly, the organisation that seems to be behind the specific rescue of the ‘Draycott-en-le-Moors Official Website’ appears to be an American one – the Internet Archive, a not-for-profit digital library.

The idea of web-archiving is becoming more popular in Britain too, as The British Library is now planning to archive the whole world-wide web (!).
Even Staffordshire County Council is working alongside the UK National Archives Office to start preserving the best of the web hereabouts. See Staffordshire Web-Archiving Project

To comment on this story, or suggest new leads,  just use the comments box below.
You do not have to leave your email address (which is always kept private anyway), but, if you don’t, that means you might miss any feedback on what you say.

2 responses to “Old Draycott website… is back!

  1. Glad to hear the old Draycott website from the late 1990’s is still out there…
    I still have lots of photos too.

    Barry Phillips


  2. Glad to see this extensive history content back available again. Thank you and well done.


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