Thursday, 16 May 2013
This is the magnificent edifice of Bolsover Castle, standing proudly on a ridge, not far from the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border.
Bolsover was where my maternal grandfather was born.... sadly, not in the castle! His family was, as far as I can tell, dirt-poor. According to his birth certificate, he was born in 1899 in 'The Huts, Underhill, Bolsover', which I suspect was a bit of a shanty town, probably situated below the castle. I scouted round to see if I could find any reference to it in the present day street/area names but I couldn't. One day (when I retire!) I will have to do some proper research.
When my grandad was a child, the town of Bolsover was developing fast as a coal-mining area. The Bolsover Colliery Company was set up in 1889 and secured leases to extract coal from land belonging to the Duke of Portland. My grandad himself became a miner. The local mine finally closed in 1993.
The castle itself harks back to a more elegant time .....