Bonsall is a village of 1000 inhabitants in the Derbyshire Dales on the edge of the Peak District. It is five miles from Matlock and 18 miles from Derby.
Bonsall has a long history of lead mining, possibly going back to Roman times, and is mentioned in the Domesday Book. Bonsall inhabitants have been involved in the textile industry, pre- and post-Arkwright. In early modern times it was on an important salters' route, and was a staging post on the road between Derby and Manchester. Bonsall is still a working village, involved in agriculture, heavy goods transport and home to approximately 70 small businesses of different types.
The Map Project
The Map Project began early in 1996. A core group of around 30 villagers were involved in raising funds for printing, researching and putting together information. The map was completed in 1997, but f</span></a>, but ar more information was collected than could ever fit on the map - so this was the start of an ongoing project.
The History Project
The project published a series of six booklets and a book Bonsall: A Village and its History. An expanded second edition of this book was published in 2013 which has been revised and reprinted in 2018.
This ambitious project began in July 2002 with 26 members whose aim was to produce a written comprehensive history of the village. A wide range of topics was covered:
Archaeology and geology
Domesday to 1660
Censusses 1841 to 1901
Roads and transport
Schooling and Education
The 'Within Living Memory' Project
The research during TheHistory Project highlighted a considerable amount of unpublished information, held in the memories of people who grew up in the village and in their family photographs and heirlooms. It was therefore decided to gather and document these memories by a series of interviews, held over several years, with 42 older residents. Members of the History Group then transcribed the interviews and grouped the information into a series of topics that form the seven chapters of this book. Bonsall Within Living Memory is a record of the memories of people who grew up in Bonsall from the 1920s, when the oldest contributors remembered their childhoods, over 50 years to the 1970s. Topics covered are: How we lived; School; Leisure and entertainment; Church and chapels; Earning a living; Accidents and court cases; and World War II. With nearly 150 photographs and 180 pages, the book is a detailed and compelling record for anyone interested in the daily lives and concerns of the people in this small village during the middle of the 20th Century.
Bonsall History Trails and Leaflets Project
Bonsall History was one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund 'All Our Stories' grant. All Our Stories
was launched in 2012 in support of BBC 2's The Great British Story
, and was designed to create opportunities for everyone in the village to get involved in their heritage. The award of just over £9,000 was used to fund Bonsall History Trails and Leaflets
to tell stories about the heritage of the village. The project involved researching and creating the six trails; exhibitions of villagers' photographs and the Bonsall History Project's archive; a landscape photography workshop; a talk given by a wildlife expert; training in social media (to keep a record of the project - see the blog at https://bonsallhistory.wordpress.com); outings to educational and heritage-based destinations; film shows (archive footage of Derbyshire); and getting the people of Bonsall involved in researching the village's history. This was an opportunity for older members of the community to record their knowledge of past days in Bonsall and for newer members of the community to learn about Bonsall and its heritage. The project culminated in a series of six illustrated leaflets that guide walkers along trails in and around the village that cover the history of:
Schools and religion
Old shops and pubs
Framework knitting and other trades
Lead mining and other minerals
The History Group keep people informed of developments in its projects through the village newsletter T'Owd Man's Mutterings www.bonsallvillage.org/mutterings a
nd on this website.
If anyone has images, documents or any memories of the village history we would really love to hear from you.
Bonsall within living memory project
Part of the All Our Stories project involved interviewing residents to record their memories of growing up and living in Bonsall. The changes in the village over the last 80+ years were recorded, transcribed and collated, to produce a book Bonsall within living memory. This is expected to be published in 2018.