Sunday, 11 June 2017

Picnic in the Park

So sorry for not posting last week: I'm in the midst of completing a final assignment for my course, and it's taking a lot longer than I anticipated! Still, when it's all finished I'll be able to blog more authoritatively about trade in Loughborough during the 19th century!

In the meantime, this week I've been out and about in Queen's Park. I say this week, but of course I don't mean all week, only Saturday! The event taking place was Picnic in the Park, an annual event that's been going for 36 years, making this the 37th event. The focus is on music, dance, street theatre, art, and stalls featuring arts and crafts and local groups. 

As part of the festivities, last year the Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers set up an information camp - the Ludd Hub - in commemoration of the Luddite attacks on John Heathcoat and John Boden's lace making factory on Market Street in 1816. Alongside the stall, they also had a reading - in full costume - of Lord Byron's maiden speech to the House of Lords. Visitors were invited from Tiverton Museum - Tiverton being the place that Heathcoat moved to after the attacks - and the long, nearly 200 mile journey from Loughborough to Tiverton that Heathcoat's Loughborough workers made in 1816, was re-enacted by the "Tivertonioians", accompanied by one of the LLLSVs. I believe it took them two weeks to reach their destination!

So, this year the LLLSVs information camp focused on Lord Hastings and the Civil War - hte Hastings Hub - in and around Loughborough. Looking back at my blog posts this time last year, I see there is a Civil War connection between Loughborough and Tiverton: 

"Both towns were affected by the Civil War of 1642-1651. Royalist Tiverton Castle was under siege from Parliamentarians in 1645, and in December of that year Oliver Cromwell paid it a brief visit. On 17 March 1644 there was a minor battle at Cotes Bridge, just outside Loughborough, when Parliamentarians occupied the bridge. "

Anyway, this year's LLLSV stall told the story of the Civil War in and around Loughborough, and a brief history of the Hastings family, the Lords of the Manor. 

They also had a visiting 17th century family, complete with dining table, woollen fleeces awaiting spinning, and two strapping sons, one with a pike, the other with a musket. They had some very interesting information to impart to me on the subject of dyers, and pinfolds!

During the early part of the afternoon, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a debate between parliamentarians and royalists, and with the levellers, diggers and ranters (for a better explanation of what these groups were about pop over to the Oxford Scholarship Online webpage) presenting a completely different view. The case for the beheading of Charles I was ably put by local MP, Nicky Morgan, whilst that for the case against the beheading was engagingly presented by Dr Robert Knight of Loughborough University. The case for the levellers was put by Professor Martin Bennett of Nottingham Trent University. Following the debate, questions from the floor and the rebuttals, a vote was taken, and sadly, it was agreed that Charles I would lose his head.

This was a truly exciting day, made even better as the rain held off, and the sun tried to shine a little! Of course, as well as the buzz of the picnic and stalls, it was business as usual for Loughborough Queen's Park Bowlers:

Here are some pics of the day:

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Dyer, Lynne (2017). Picnic in the Park. Available from: [Accessed 28 May 2017]

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