Tag Archives: Joe Thorley

NEWS: AGM…not / Joe’s heritage / artwork / cricket on the up

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-May 2017
In this post we have news of…:  When is an AGM not an AGM? / Blythe CC on a roll / Joe Thorley’s heritage / artwork at The Arms …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Grand Prix Dance Festival. Check out the Events page)

For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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You couldn’t make it up

An ‘annual general meeting’ is the high spot of an organisation’s year – with summaries of achievements, and a chance to review the past year and the annual accounts, and more.
So, the AGM of Draycott Parish Council is a big deal – after all, this council spends nearly £10,000 every year of local residents’ money, which they take from us in tax.
This year’s AGM took place on Monday.

Guess what?
There was no Chairman’s Report (the usual look-back at the council’s activities over the last twelve months); the annual accounts hadn’t been audited in time so we didn’t see them; and the reports from our SMDC district councillors didn’t happen either, because, er, they didn’t turn up. So … that is hardly what we call an AGM….!
How can we the public put sensible questions at an AGM if no reports and figures are forthcoming?

It is also the time of year when our local councillors need to be sure that their ‘declarations of interest’ (i.e. the things they do that might affect their role as councillors) are up to date.  So, as you do, we checked each one of them.  You can see them all for yourself, by clicking here.
Well, it turns out that not one of the current councillors (i.e. excluding Pat) has actually filled in the form correctly; and there was no form at all for one councillor – despite the fact that he has been on the council for over ten years!
Even worse was the revelation that hardly any councillor was able to think of anything when asked on the form for their “leading roles in community organisations”.

Some people think that this website is overly critical of the Draycott Council, but, honestly, this is simple stuff.  If, as a councillor, you take on the responsibility of spending ten grand of our money every year, surely you can start with getting the basics right…

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Smashing Blythe!

Blythe Cricket Club First XI has, we are happy to say, got off to a cracking start to their season.  They were unbeaten until last weekend (when they succumbed to an unexpected reverse at Wood Lane).  Their home games, at their Cresswell ground, have been a joy to watch.
And all this without their professional, the Bangladesh international Mosharraf Hossain.  Mosharaf has been unable to take up his place because of the surprising recent success of his Bangladesh side, which has been progressing through international tournaments with ease!  One hopes he will be here soon though.

Meanwhile, work on the new £500,000 pavilion & centre goes on. It’s hoped that everything will be completed on time – i.e. in mid-July.  What a party that will be when it throws its doors open!

PS – don’t let the ongoing work at the ground put you off attending as a spectator.  The bar is (temporarily) in the annexe… and the beer tastes just as good.

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Culture & beer

Sometimes when you want a quiet pint on your own, you might take a newspaper with you.  But what happens if you forget your paper?

Draycott Arms artwork
Well, at The Draycott Arms, they’ve solved that problem.  All you have to do is check out the art on the walls (see pic).  There are a number of interesting paintings on the walls, most of which have been submitted by local artists.  You’ll recognise the names of Jackie Knott and Alan Savage, just for two.  An absorbing 20 minutes can be spent doing it.

The art changes regularly, and much of it is for sale, so, if you are a culture-vulture, you know what to do…

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Joe’s heritage

One of the great characters of this district was Joe Thorley.  Between the 1920s and 1950s, he was often to be seen out with his photography equipment – and his photos are well worth checking out if you ever get the chance.  He also collected paintings of local scenes, and thank goodness he did, or they might have been lost forever.

The View of Tean High Street taken from the Old Roebuck Inn by John Gosling 1832
The ‘View of Tean High Street taken from the Old Roebuck Inn’ – see pic, above – (painted by John Gosling in 1832) was formerly owned by Joe.  Joe, who was a local farmer – at Totmonslow Farm – left it in his will to his sister Pat (Whitfield), who then herself donated to GreatWood Community Hall in Tean, where it can be seen to this day.

The future of Totmonslow Farm – the imposing building on the right as you go past the Totmonslow sign on the way to Tean – was in doubt for a while after Pat died.  However, the good news is that there are plans to adapt the barns into flats, though the actual farmhouse will remain lived in by family members.  It’ll be nice to see the farm buzzing with life again.

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Draycott horse-races

After our posting a few days ago about some of the history mysteries of Draycott, guess what turned up?

Yes, in the collection of the late Joe Thorley was this card from the Draycott Races of 1873…Draycott Races card cover

As you might imagine, the print is pretty faded now, but, with a magnifying glass, it is readable.

Among the names you will recognise are that of W Vavasour and G Vavasour.  The Vavasours were the leading family round here, and the descendants of the original Draycot family.
One of the Vavasours was still the ‘patron’ of St Margaret’s Church right up until the 1980s.
There is also a George Bagnall listed as a clerk of the course, Bagnall being a common name in this district.

What is also fascinating is to see the types of racing that were held at the course.  The steeplechase even drew a first-prize of thirty pounds, which was quite a sum then.

Draycott Races card

Draycott Races card, 1873

Also there was trotting.  This is interesting to know as, these days, you will only find the one trotting venue in the Staffordshire Moorlands – at Longnor.  Meets are held twice a year there.

Roman villa

But – where were the races actually held?

Julia Wood, in an email to us, says she thinks they were probably held along Draycott Level.

She also says she remembers a story as a child about some evidence of a Roman villa at Draycott Cross.  Another mystery!
Do you have a mystery to tell us about – or even a solution to one? All suggestions welcome – no matter how vague!!  Every bit of research starts with a simple question… Email us with your ideas – or put your thoughts into the comments box at the bottom of this page.

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If you too have some old photos or documents about Draycott-in-the-Moors, would you  please get in touch?