Completed Montage of Clowne

Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa
After over a month of further work on my painting of the infant school, making it into a montage of scenes of Clowne, I think I’m finally there. I’d eventually like to add some figures to it but have left it for now as it needs to dry out before being exhibited soon.

This painting was originally just of the school, but it had rather a lot of sky and road around it and I’m glad I made it into a montage. I think our village is interesting enough to warrant a painting. Clowne itself has a long history and was even mentioned before the Domesday Book, in Wulfric Spot’s will of 1002, as well as in the Domesday Book itself.

From clockwise top left: St John’s Church – probably the oldest building in Clowne, built between 1135-1154. It has been added to over the years, and has a Norman arch and a miners’ chapel, commemorating the many miners who lost their lives - mining was a particularly hazardous occupation in times gone by. Unusually for a church, it is positioned well out out of the town centre, and is thought to be built on or by the site of an old monastery. It is nearer “The Ridgeway”, an ancient highway. In primitive times, when most of the land was marshy, the only tracks were on the higher ground. Perhaps the monastery was a stopping place for travellers.

The sandstone village cross is grade II listed. Dating from about the 14th century, it was added to in the 17th century. On some old photos of the cross, you can see the village pump next to it and the remains of the village stocks. Until about 100 years ago, the roads around it were just muddy lanes.

The Harlesthorpe Dam – now a fishing lake, but there used to be a mill that produced “bumph”cloth, hence it became known as the Bumpmill.

The headstocks of the coal mine. Southgate Colliery was productive between the mid 1870s and 1929, when it closed after flooding. When it first opened, many new workers moved to the village and the population grew enormously.

Miners’ Welfare – I have not been able to find out much about this building, but it was a pub and social club. Like so many pubs, it suffered from a combination of the recession and the smoking ban, and closed down at the end of last year. Its contents were auctioned in December 2009, and the auction was reported in the Worksop Guardian as being well attended with everything being sold at reasonable prices. The building itself is now being sold. It is a substantial place and I’m interested to see who buys it and what use they put it to.

The grey “Clowne” sign is to be found on the way into Clowne, on Mansfield Road, the main road from Mansfield, Bolsover and surrounding villages. The local council commissioned several pieces of artwork depicting the village name to be placed on the main thoroughfares into the village, from about 2005 onwards. I haven’t been able to find out who made this particular one.

Finally, the old infant school. This was first opened in 1877, and was originally a girls’ school, becoming a mixed infant school in 1956, and continuing as such until about 1983, when a new infant and junior school was built. The building then became part of the Chesterfield College – the white sign I have painted reads “Learning Matters”. It closed again when a new technical college was built – on the site of the old coal mine. About 2-3 years ago, Karen Child, a local lottery winner, bought it, renovated it and made it into a pub (The Village Inn). I managed to photograph it just before this happened. I think it has been sensitively renovated, smartening it up whilst keeping most of the original character of the building.

More next time ...


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