Category Archives: photography

NEWS: HGV lane / balloon drops / photos needed / sad war memorial

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late Feb 2019
In this post we have news of…:  lane approved for HGVs / balloon drops on Cresswell / sad saga of war memorial / appeal for photographers… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a first-aid course…  Check out the Events page)

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Lane approved for construction traffic

As we suspected, the application by the St Modwen developers to use Woodlands Lane (at the furthermost west end of Draycott, by Chandni Cottage) as a ‘haulage road’ for its construction lorries was approved without a hitch by the Moorlands Planning Committee.
The lane will now see dozens of lorries going along it while the building of the new Blythe Vale estate takes place. The building phase will take about two years.
Some residents did their best to oppose the plans, but their concerns were put to one side. (See objections one, two, and three).

St Modwen haulage road application

The lane will take construction traffic while the new main access road to the estate is being built

What is odd is that these objectors got no formal support from Draycott Council. Our councillors publicly said they opposed the plans – but, strangely, these same councillors did not register a formal complaint on the relevant planning-page as they could have.

Why not?
Unbelievably… it turns out that councillors were ‘unaware’ that they could register a comment.
Really, this is not good enough. They should know that they can comment. We have a right to expect more of our council….
The current crop of members on Draycott Council are, we know, good and honest people – but they don’t seem to understand how the modern world works, or how to represent their district properly in this 21st century.

In fact, as it happens, all the current members are standing down at the forthcoming elections, which take place in May… and so it is an ideal time for fresh blood to come in.
Would YOU like to stand for election and take a place on the council? Check out this guide on how to do it.

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Funny thing happened….

A walk in the country is usually a quiet affair… but last week some of us went for a walk along the public track behind Blythe Business Park, when we saw a balloon come drifting down to land in a nearby field.
It landed quite softly and no one was harmed, but obviously it was not a planned landing…

 

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Then slowly, in front of us, just behind the rise in the ground, the balloon just deflated…
You don’t see that too often.

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Calling local photographers

Lydia Hooley, the Staffordshire Police’s Community Engagement Officer, has contacted us to ask if we can put out an alert to friendly photographers.

Lydia is putting together a new ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ website and is looking for photographs that represent Draycott or Cresswell or Totmonslow. These should be pictures of recognisably local features, such as our scenery, monuments or ‘landmarks’.

Send your snaps to nw@staffordshire.pnn.police.uk, and – who knows? – it could be your photo that goes on to represent Draycott and/or surrounding hamlets on the “localities page” of the new website.

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Sorry memorial project

The ongoing saga of Draycott’s WW1 Anniversary project is not a happy one.

Nearly all other parish councils across the country responded to the anniversary of the First World War Armistice 100th Anniversary last year by organising wonderful projects and creating permanent reminders of that fateful day a century ago.

Fulford War Memorial Staffs

Fulford War Memorial

For example, in next-door Fulford, the local council worked with the village community group to ensure the anniversary would be remembered for a long time, by raising over £7000 to renovate the village’s old war memorial. (see pic right)

However, here in Draycott, our council dithered.
Eventually, virtually at the last minute, one councillor got a young yew from his own garden; and the council got permission to plant it in St Margaret’s churchyard.
Unfortunately, not all the families with loved ones resting there in the churchyard had been consulted, and some disliked this ‘intrusion’ – and objected, going to the diocese authorities. (The council also hadn’t got around to ordering a plaque to explain what the plant was doing there).
And, suddenly, a few weeks ago, some vandal uprooted it and chucked it in a bin – from which it had to be rescued.

Yew tree memorial

The yew memorial is now abandoned at the far end of the churchyard

It’s a bit of an undignified tale.

Surely, Draycott councillors simply needed to get their act together well before the anniversary, and plan out a proper and fitting memorial project.
But they didn’t.

No one seems to know quite what will happen next.

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Rail-path group back to action

Things have been a bit quiet for the Friends of The Cheadle-Cresswell Railway Path  over the last six months.
The group formed in July last year, and had a good summer, with the volunteers raising funds, clearing some of the undergrowth from the path and doing some path-laying. However there has been no meeting since November.

But, the group’s secretary Oliver Griffiths, says the return of the good weather will see the resurgence of the group. All, says Oliver, that he is waiting for is some permissions from the leaseholder of the path and from some adjacent landowners.
And then meetings will re-start. All are welcome; just keep an eye on the group’s Facebook page for more info.

For those that have forgotten this story, our old branch rail-line, which went from the centre of Cresswell, via Totmonslow, right up to Cheadle, is now mostly a ‘permissive’ public-path/greenway, available to walkers and horse-riders. The path was nominated as such in 2012 – see our archive report.
Nine-tenths of it is open to the public (see article on the other tenth).

Busy route

This line was once a very busy route.

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A local industrial company headed up by a man called Robert Plant was the first to get the project properly underway in the 1880s – in those days, most railways were built by entrepreneur businesses, not by the government.
The idea was to construct a track which would leave the main Uttoxter-Stoke line at Cresswell, swerve north-eastward to Totmonslow where there was a small station, and then go north to Cheadle. It would carry not just passengers, who could then reach Stoke (or Derby) via Cresswell, but also transport freight – coal from the Draycott Cross pits.

Building started in 1888, when the first sod was cut in the April of that year by Edward Plant, Robert’s son. Within just a month a quarter of a mile had been laid, but, with subscriptions coming in slowly, work kept stopping. It wasn’t until four years later that the first section, from Cresswell to Totmonslow, was completed!
Finally, thirteen years after the commencement, the full line to Cheadle was completed.
Less than seventy years later, in 1963, the line closed to passenger traffic, though it did keep open for freight for a while.
The full story of the railway can be read in the Cheadle Branch Line Wikipedia entry.

Railway to greenway

Very few signs that the line once existed are still there. The rail-tracks themselves were lifted five years ago, making the way easier to use for walkers.

However, the old Totmonslow station building remains in the form of a cottage ‘The Ranch’. You can also still see the ruined station platforms at both Cresswell and Totmonslow.
Cresswell Station House was pulled down around the early sixties, but for a while before that, had been rented out as a home.

The local historian for Tean, Ivy Willetts-Brunt, remembers that, in the 1930s, her cousin Jack used to go daily to collect cold fish delivered to Totmonslow Station (by then also known as Tean Station). It was needed for the Tean Fish & Chip Shop!

Thanks to all those who have sent us photos of the old railway line before the tracks were pulled up. But can anyone help us with more information? Rough dates for the photos we have shown would be a start…
Also, some more anecdotes and stories about the use of the line would be good. For example, we were once told that the station house at Cresswell was once rented out to the well-known sixties pop-group The Marauders. Is that really true?
Please use the comments box below….

NEWS: historian death / nature photos / advertising opp / history walks

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late July 2015
News of…:  death of Father Bailey / Darren’s startling wildlife photos / two local history walks in July / want to advertise your local business? …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including an open mic night. Check out the Events page)

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Cresswell historian

Older residents may well remember Father Philip Bailey (SCJ) who came to Cresswell St Mary’s Catholic church in the 1960s, when he worked alongside Father Meagher.
He had retired to a home in the north of England, where he died only two months ago, aged 87.

Father Philip BaileyFather Bailey (pic right) had a restless mind and, when he arrived here, he set about researching and writing the history of Catholicism in this area.  Cresswell & Painsley has a long history of inhabitants who had never left ‘the old faith’, not to mention having one of the oldest Catholic churches in the country (built 1816), so he had a lot of rich material to work with!
He completed his History of Cresswell’s Roman Catholic Community in 1973 and published it himself.

He was a good friend to this website in the last two years, and helped out with a number of history questions from us, despite being in failing health.  He always wrote in long-hand, and sent his letters by post, saying that email was not for him!

Father Bailey had been a priest for over sixty years, and had hoped to live long enough to see the two-hundredth anniversary celebrations at Cresswell, which take place next year.
Sadly, it was not to be.

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Walk around history

Talking of history, here’s a reminder that next Tuesday (July 7th) sees the first of two local history walks, organised and led by Lev Wood, the secretary of the Blythe Bridge History Society.
The (very short walk) from the church  to the Draycott Arms and Brookside, before returning back to the church, will commence at 7.30pm on both nights, with people asked to gather on the rear church car park at St. Margaret’s. Stout shoes required.
Guests attending the walk will be charged £2.50, and can have a walk handout for an additional £2.  Some of this fee will go as a donation to St Margaret’s Church.  A visit inside the church will be included…

If you can’t make it this Tuesday, there will a repeat experience on Friday 31st July.

Lev tells us: “I intend to cover the history of the village from Saxon to pre-industrial revolution times around 1800.  Some of what I say will be a little controversial – by debunking a few myths that have grown up over the years. For instance, I shall re-examine the story of the Draycotts and their links to Paynsley Hall; and also will be identifying the so called ‘Crusader’ Knight in the side-chapel at the church.

Draycott Chapel

What secrets of the Draycott Chapel will we learn?

Murder, mystery and treason are but a few of the issues I will be discussing!”
Sounds like it could be exciting…

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Nature in its glory

The perfect recent weather has created great conditions for photographers of local fauna and flora.  Local resident Darren Wood is a dab hand with a camera; and, fortunately for us, has been sharing a lot of his photos on the Draycott & Cresswell Facebook page.
His latest, really fantastic photos remind us all just why we live here!

If you too want to join the village Facebook page, it’s easy.  Just go to the page, and click the ‘join’ button (which you will see on the banner photograph).

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Advertising boards

You may have noticed that Blythe Cricket Club has recently put up a lot of new advertising boards along the fence which looks onto Cresswell Lane.   It’s a good way for businesses to advertise themselves, and raises some revenue for the club too.

Well, the Cresswell Martial Arts & Fitness ‘Dojo’ is also latching on to this idea, and is offering a number A1 advertising boards inside the main space, at £10 a month.  However, Tara tells us that she far-and-away would prefer that local companies take up the service, as it keeps that ‘intimate’ feel.
If you are interested, just inbox Tara on the dojo Facebook page.

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