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  Repton - historic capital of Mercia


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We had an excellent evening’s entertainment when David Guest brought along his Magic Lantern and slides together with some old cameras and equipment. He always gives us an interesting and enjoyable evening and this was no exception. He told us briefly about the Lantern and the slides and that it was the very same machine which Arthur Todd used when giving slide shows in the Congregational Chapel school room many years ago.

He asked Ivor Sandars for his reminiscences of those days when Arthur Todd, who did so much for the village, ran the Repton Film Society shows on Saturday afternoons and evenings. These ran from 1940 to 1953 and Ivor told us about the excitement created for both children and adults by “going to the pictures in Repton”.

David showed us a selection of excellent slides and it was hard to realize that many of them were around 100 years old and the Lantern was not much younger. The subjects covered included street scenes from Europe, England and America as well as animals and even a few of Repton itself.

Our members and vistors thoroughly enjoyed the evening and look forward to a future repeat.


As there was a very strict limit on numbers that could be accommodated, this event at the end of November had to be for paid-up members only. We were taken round Repton School Library by Paul Stevens the Librarian, We were shown the very historic building and a selection of its contents of historic books many of which were several hundred year old. Everyone enjoyed an excellent evening and were surprised at the amount of local history that we had seen in such a short visit. Many thanks must go to Paul Stevens and to Repton School for making this evening possible.


The Landshapes Project, a unique three year project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, aims to draw together and record the history of the National Forest and surrounding area. Its focus is based on community involvement and aims to develop local heritage projects, oral and written histories about the area and educational initiatives. It will provide new sources of information to add to the area’s historical records.

Our Group have contributed to their records by producing the information to go onto a CD which will be available for study in local libraries and similar establishments. The CD is in two parts: the first is an audio recording of a village walk led by David Guest which took in the majority of the oldest part of the village and the second is a similar recording but is dedicated to the history of St Wystan’s Parish Church. This was led by Colin Kitching. Both David and Colin have extensive knowledge of their subjects and have put them on record for posterity.

In return for this archive material our group has been awarded a grant of £1,000 specifically to purchase professional display panels for use with our extensive photographic and documentary archives. We took delivery of these in early January. 


We had our best attendance yet at this meeting when David Stanier talked about the history of the well remembered Blue Bus Services of Tailby and George Limited. With the aid of a magnificent set of slides, he traced the history of this local company and its fleet of excellent vehicles from the beginnings in the early 1920’s until the company was sold to Derby Corporation Transport in December 1973. It is pleasing to note that, even now, there are several old Blue Buses existing in preservation.

In the audience was one of our founder members, Bunty Marshall (nee Tailby). Her father, Percy Tailby, was one of the early partners in the business and Bunty and her late husband ran the company for many years.

Also on display was a selection of Blue Bus photos from our archives. These were displayed on some of our new display panels obtained with the grant mentioned above.


On 21st February we have a talk by Jim Willder “Ticknall Paper Boy” in which he describes his paper round in the early 1940’s. It was a long and arduous journey along well known local lanes. It should be very interesting and will feature our local area.


On 21st March we have another of our popular “Display Evenings”. The topic will be “1950’s Memorabilia”. On show will be a selection of items which would have been commonplace in most homes in those days but are rarely seen now. This is an opportunity for members and visitors to bring along items to show us. Things like old cameras, comics, annuals, old records, petrol coupons, ration books and many more.


On Saturday and Sunday 1st and 2nd April we will be staging a Local History Weekend in the Village Hall from 10am to 5pm each day. On display will be hundreds of old photographs and an extensive selection of our documentary archives. There will also be a continuous slide show and some oral reminiscences. This is going to be a big event so put it in your Diaries now. If anyone is able to give some time on these days to assist, please contact Alan Kimber on 01283 704042.


As most of you will know by now, we launched a new publication in November. This is “Notices and Jottings from St Wystan’s Parish Magazine 1889-1937”. As its name implies it is a collection of snippets from the Parish Magazines of those years which have been selected and transcribed by Gill Hiley. The book is priced at £4.95 and has proved very popular. It is available at our monthly meetings.


The Annual General Meeting will take place in Repton Village Hall on Tuesday 16th May at 7.30 pm. It will be followed by a talk, “The History of Burton Abbey” by Robin Trotter.



A.K.  21.1.06

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