7. Local and Regional Events

An Airship Passes Over

Although the fighting in World War 1 was relatively distant, there were a number of things which happened locally and regionally which reflected the conflict that was going on. For example, on a day in November 1917, grandad noted that an airship passed over at around 1pm.  

A Royal Visit

However, most of the events that occurred related to patriotism, recruiting and fundraising. Grandad had noted that the King and Queen had visited on 25 June 1914, before the onset of war. The King and Queen visited Nottingham on the 24th and they went to Hucknall, Mansfield and Shirebrook on the 25th.

Postcard showing the King and Queen on their visit to Nottingham on 24 June 1914
Photograph of visit of the King and Queen to Mansfield on 25 June 1914 – Image licenced for re-use from Inspire. There are additional photos of this visit in the book “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs” by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee (p20)

Military Recruitment

Grandad documented a number of recruiting events for the military. In May 1915, he noted that a Sherwood Forester came to Kirkby to encourage recruiting and, in June the same year, a military band came recruiting. In October, he noted that 15 soldiers from Clipstone barracks  came recruiting.

In the early months of 1915, a large army camp was erected on moorland at Clipstone near Mansfield. This consisted of hundreds of wooden huts which served as a place for soldiers to live and train before leaving to participate in the war. The first men posted there were five thousand Royal Fusiliers. It was them who gave Clipstone the nickname “Land of Chaos”. This was partly because they had to march four miles in deep mud to reach the camp and partly because it was still under construction. The camp featured frequently in the local press. Articles documented the constant influx of soldiers and the problems they faced, e.g. through lack of huts etc. At any one time there might have been 30,000 soldiers or more at Clipstone. Soldiers both training and marching were a regular sight around the camp. Now, the area is covered with housing estates, schools and other local amenities. Virtually nothing of the camp remains.

Patriotic Fair

Grandad also recorded details of a fundraising patriotic fair opened by the Duchess of Portland in July 1917. This event was described in more detail by Edith Searson in her book(let) “I Remember” (pp25-26). She noted that there was a decorated dray from Bourne chapel with the theme of “Roses”. This fair may have been linked to a larger patriotic fair held in Titchfield Park in Mansfield somewhat earlier in June 1917. The Mansfield fair was attended by around 15,000 local residents and raised around £8,000. A similar fair in Nottingham had raised over £30,000. Grandad recorded that the Kirkby fair raised £1,200. He also noted that there was also a Patriotic Fair in Sutton in July 1917.

Postcard of Titchfield Park, Mansfield
News cutting of what appears to be a postcard showing a tank in Titchfield Park in Mansfield in 1919. The reference to Water Meadows is interesting. Grandad referred to this park as Mansfield Meadows (see Chapter 44)

Other Fundraising

The Parkin family were also involved in other smaller fundraising events. For example, in December 1914, grandad noted that Olive gave a concert in Pinxton in aid of “the Belgians” and that the concert tea raised just over £6. In November 1915, another concert was held that raised £3-4. The family also provided hospitality for military personnel periodically.