Sunday, 26 June 2016

Red and green houses abandoned in favour of a picnic!

Been quite a momentous week, one way or another, and Saturday saw me spending the afternoon at the Picnic In The Park, an annual event showcasing local talent, encouraging local folk to take part in local branches of national organisations, being green and many other things. To be more precise about my role, I was helping out in the Ludd Hub, handing out leaflets, talking to folk and watching with fascination as the ladies in the tent moved left-over-right as they showed off the traditional hand craft of lace-making. The hub was created to help explain the events of 1816, and to commemorate the long walk that many Loughborough people made to take up employment in Tiverton. 

When I arrived in the park just before 12, the heavens opened and the rain came down in stair-rods, and it took me about 15 minutes to walk from the Carillon to our patch, on the grass just in front of the museum. Appropriate really, as we were there to commemorate the 1816 attack by a group of Luddites on Heathcoat and Boden's lace-making factory, which was situated where Iceland now is, a couple of streets behind where our hub was positioned.

As well as the ladies making lace, we also had an information leaflet and walking trail leaflet, which was a revised version of the one produced to accompany the exhibition in the museum in about 2007. As if that weren't enough, we had live music from the time from the Sherwood Lads, we had people in period costume, and Lord Byron delivering his maiden speech to the House of Lords, in which he argues against the death penalty for the perpetrators of frame-breaking. 

In between showers, I got out and about, accosting people and trying to give them leaflets. Well, I didn't actually accost anyone, I was very polite about it, and found the reactions of people I approached to be quite interesting. I've never been in this position before, but I was amazed at how many people were interested in the Luddites, knew something about the local events, and wanted to spend time talking to me! I met some great people, renewed some acquaintances, and generally learned quite a lot!

What you might not know is that some of the visitors at the event were actually from Tiverton, and had planned to walk back to Tiverton after the event! This is going to take about 15 days!! We believe the original workers would have walked along the Fosse Way, but today's group are walking along the canal into Somerset, then across country, I believe. I also believe a number of local folk joined them on the first leg of their journey, and some people are going to join them somewhere along the route. 

So, around three o'clock in the afternoon, I was honoured to be able to go to a reception to officially greet the Tiverton visitors, and wish them well on their journey. All-in-all, there were about eight of them, and we were also joined by descendants of John Heathcoat - Sir Ian Heathcoat-Amory and David Heathcoat-Amory - who each gave a short speech. This was followed by Lord Byron delivering his speech again, and an announcement from one of the descendants of one of Heathcoat's lace-makers, Tony Jarram, that a new local street would be named after John Heathcoat's partner, John Boden. Then we waved off the Tiverton visitors on the first leg of their journey!

If you didn't manage to get hold of a walking trail, pop over to my virtual walk, and follow that to see all the places with a connection to John Heathcoat and the Luddite raid on his factory in 1816, including Heathcoat's former house, complete with secret tunnels!

Although I spent time in the Ludd Hub, I did manage to get out and about a bit and see a little of the other things that were going on. Here's some pics of what I saw: 
The Ludd Hub
Inside the Hub
Lace-making in action  
In costume
In costume
Lord Byron delivering his speech in the rain
The Sherwood Lads
Entertainment around the Carillon
Entertainment around the Carillon
Band warming up
Band from one of our twin towns
Dancers from one of our twin towns
Band from one of our twin towns
Tommy - or is that Billy - Atkins Band, with Bill Brookman, Jan and Madeleine
Local handmade company (visit their shop on Ashby Road!)
Entertainment in the bandstand
The official event photographer!
The big send off!
The Heathcoat-Amorys at the send-off!

You are welcome to quote passages from any of my posts, with appropriate credit. The correct citation for this looks as follow:

[Dyer, Lynne (2016). Red and green houses abandoned in favour of a picnic! [Online] Available from: [Accessed 26 June 2016]

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