THE HISTORY OF THE CHESTERFIELD CANAL was the subject of the talk at our January meeting by JOHN LOWER who has been a volunteer with the Chesterfield Canal Trust since 1981. The Trust owns 32 miles of the canal from the Trent at West Stockwith to Kiveton

The Canal was designed by James Brindley and work started in 1771, completed in 1777, carrying mainly coal but also stone, corn, lime, lead, timber and iron. The stone that was used to rebuild the Houses of Parliament after the 1834 fire was quarried at North Anston and taken by canal from West Stockwith to the Trent and from there to the Humber down the east coast to the Thames.

Our members were amazed at the work the Trust has done since the Chesterfield Canal Society was formed to promote restoration in 1976. In 1989 20 miles of canal from Worksop to Chesterfield were derelict and since then 12 miles have been restored along with 37 locks, 11 major road bridges and 2 marinas, one at Shireoaks. A new terminal basin is under construction at the Chesterfield Waterside complex. Other future restoration work is threatened by the proposed route of HS2 so that promised funding is withheld until that is determined.

Members were amazed to learn about all the work hat has been done by enthusiastic volunteers and see the before and after photographs. It was an excellent power point presentation by John Lower which was very much enjoyed by members and visitors.

The next meeting is on Wednesday 13th February when Michael Harrison will speak about the History of Coal Mining in Nottinghamshire. As usual the venue is the Lower Hall of Farnsfield Village Centre, New Hill at 7.30. Visitors always welcome £3.

Our A.G.M. will be on the 13th March when new members will be welcome to join. After the A.G.M. Graham Hayes’ talk will be on the Lost Houses of Nottinghamshire


We have books “A History of Farnsfield” (5.00) and Memories of Farnsfield (3.00) as well as our Chairman Philip Marsh’s book on  Farnsfield’s own pioneer and explorer Augustus Gregory whose family emigrated to Australia in the nineteenth century. Farnsfield to Rainworth – Journey of a Lifetime” (7.00) It is selling very well and can be obtained from Farnsfield library, the Bookcase in Lowdham and Five Leaves bookshop off Long Row, Nottingham. We also have copies of all these and also Philip Marsh’s book on the Farnsfield Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. (Please see separate heading and photographs.)

Many thanks to those who have let us have photographs in response to our appeal. We now have plenty of photographs of pram races. There must be photographs of events organised by village Societies and clubs over the years. If you can let us have any then please contact us through the website or telephone. We hope to be able to add pictures from the Horticultural Shows before long, thanks to photographs lent to us by Alf Hall.

For more information telephone David and Judith Milnes on 01623 882454



Many local historians and History Societies (including Farnsfield Local History Society) are getting increasingly concerned by the loss and destruction of old title deeds and documents.
This has recently accelerated with the introduction of compulsory land registration.

Registration of Title means that once registration has been completed the old deeds and documents are no longer required. Before compulsory registration the title deeds were essential and were most commonly held by Building Societies or other lenders. Now they do not wish to clutter their storage space and are returning old deeds to the property owners where they are in danger of loss or destruction.

Old title deeds are very useful in establishing how a community grew and developed. They also give a snapshot of how our predecessors lived.

Farnsfield Local History Society want to try and build up such a picture by obtaining and storing unwanted old deeds and documents, or just borrowing them. So it is asking anyone who holds such items relating to Farnsfield and its immediate neighbourhood to pass them on to the Society so that they can be studied and any useful information recorded.

If you are willing to pass on old deeds to the Society please contact David and Judith Milnes at Long Acre, Main St., Farnsfield, telephone no. 01623 882454 or email to

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New Album Page Added – Farnsfield Photographs

Please take a look at the new photo album page.  We are experimenting with different ways of displaying the hundreds of Farnsfield Photographs, pictures and images we have gathered that portray Farnsfield’s history.  In time each image will appear in the appropriate page of the web site.  This page will remain though to allow you to browse the images at your leisure. Please take a moment to let us know what you think.

Also, if you have any photographs to add to the collection please let us know, whether it is your village society or one of the many events where Farnsfield  “celebrated” such as the Millennium, the Queen’s coronation or jubilee celebrations


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