NEWS: VJ bells / down a mine / ‘automatic’ planning / dance is back!

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early August 2020
In this post we have news of…: bells will ring for VJ Day / development in Draycott to speed up? / Cresswell dance studios open again / exploring Draycott Cross mine…

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Seventy-five sounds for VJ Day

The coronavirus situation has put paid too many public events this summer.
In Draycott, the July summer fayre and the Sausage & Cider Festival have been cancelled, and now, most of the official VJ Day Anniversary event marking the end of World War Two back in August 1945. St Margaret’s Church had plans for a peal of its ancient bells, a bagpipe salute, and even cream teas – but it won’t happen now.

But John Clarke, the organiser of the event, is a never-say-die sort of fellow, so he has come up with a solution. Though the whole bell-ringing team cannot be present, a lone bell-ringer can be – so John has volunteered to be that lone ringer, and he will ring one of the bells seventy-five times, as a solemn tribute.

John will ring one of the main tenor bells, both of which date back nearly 400 years.

Painted frame in St Margaret bell-chamber

A mighty heavy St Margaret’s Church bell, in its frame

The tenors are the heaviest bells in the set (of eight) – each weighing around an amazing hundred stone each – so John will be pretty tired by the time he’s finished!
We wish him the best.

The event takes place this Saturday (15th August) just after 11am.

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Down the mine

It seems like another bunch of ‘explorers’ have been able to access the old, now abandoned, Draycott Cross Mine. They have just posted a 30-min video of themselves, climbing down inside the entrance and walking along some of the passage-ways.
It’s not clear if they had permission. And, even if they had permission, it was an incredibly foolhardy thing to do; they don’t seem to have had proper breathing apparatus.

The colliery at the Draycott Cross location was spectacularly unsuccessful.  First dug in the 1860s, it’s quite likely that not an ounce of coal was ever drawn from it. The owners only seemed to maintain it because it was next to the southern end of the Draycott Cross Railway Tunnel (which was a short length of track cut through the hillside, carrying coal from New Haden Colliery to Cresswell – and thence to the main line to Stoke) – and the tunnel itself was closed and blocked off in 1933.

Railway Tunnel - Draycott End

Cheadle to Cresswell Railway tunnel – Draycott end

In fact, only two shafts were ever sunk at Draycott Cross; though one of those was developed as a borehole after the war and now forms part of a water pumping station.

One strange story told by older folks is that, when the Draycott collieries complex (including New Haden) were finally abandoned in 1942, a lot of old radios were dumped down the shafts. No-one who tells this story can explain why though.
We can tell you though that these recent ‘explorers’ found no radios where they went…

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More building to come

People in this district will have watched carefully the latest announcements about the major relaxation of the planning laws by this government.
As the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said: “On land designated for growth… new homes, hospitals, schools, shops and offices will be allowed automatically.”  What’s more, the prime minister has come up with £12 billion to spend on building houses over the next eight years.
Also householders will more easily be able to build extensions.

As we’ve pointed out more than once, developers already have their eyes on the possibilities of the high ridge above Draycott overlooking Uttoxeter Road. Well, these government proposals will make it much easier for them to be processed.

Naturally a lot of people are very worried that rogue developers will take the announcement as a green light for them, especially as local objections might now count for less and less. If it worries you, a national petition has now been established – click here for details.

The other patch of land which might now come back into play for development is the field between St Margaret’s Church and the sheltered housing complex. This ‘glebe-land’  was under discussion in 2013, but negotiations did not proceed. It will be interesting to see what effect the new pronouncements have.

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Quick Quick … back!

We’d like to be among those to congratulate the Quick Quick Slow Dance Studios on recently re-opening.

The Cresswell dance-hall had to close during lockdown and faced a struggle to survive during the months – but the two owners, Hannah & Duncan, responded really imaginatively, and kept the business going in various ways.
They put out a regular podcast full of dance music plus reading out requests from listeners, many of whom of course had been attending dances before lockdown.
They launched a fund-raising drive to keep the business alive – and clients responded wonderfully, more than doubling the target that had been set.
And, just as important, they kept in constant touch with their clients – and kept their spirits up – with a regular flow of news and fun on their social media outlets .
All in all, they did brilliantly.

QQS Studios

The QQS dance-floor in happier times

But…. how do you re-open a dance-hall? All that exercise (i.e. all that breathing-out) in an enclosed space is still prohibited.
In fact… at the moment QQS is really only open for private lessons (for ‘households’ or bubbles’), but also – believe it or not – if you’re really missing dancing, you can hire the whole dance-hall for a reasonable price, and then you and your ‘household/bubble’ can have your own private dance!
If you want to know more about lessons etc, phone Hannah on 07975 914 649.

Though it’s not clear when public dances will happen again in Cresswell, there is at last a date for public classes at QQS: these will re-commence next month.

Hopefully, the classes will bring a little more normality to our lives… it will certainly be very welcome.

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