“Understanding yesterday, for the benefit of today and tomorrow”
The Annual General Meeting of the Society took place on Thursday 3rd September at the Methodist Church. The Chairman, Norman Harrison, welcomed the 24 members present, 7 apologies had been received. The report of the Management Committee was accepted and the Chairman thanked the Committee for all their endeavours, also members who had helped in various ways. The Society had had a busy year with a variety of interesting speakers and had won the skittles match for the second year. The major project -
The next meeting on Thursday 1st October will be held in St. Wilfrid's Church at 7.30 p.m., when Michael Smith will give a talk entitled 'What the Papers said' -
Michael Smith was the first external speaker of the season. He gave members an informative and amusing talk on a number of incidents that had caught his eye while searching though copies of The Leicester Chronicle during the period between 1790 and 1840. The talk provided an insight into a number of social aspects of life at that time. Some illustrated how much life has changed in the last 200 years; others, such as the introduction of a national lottery and complaints about the level of taxation showed that many things were of as much concern to citizens then as they are us today.
The speaker at our November meeting was Mr Ken Day who has written the history of ‘Bosworth & Inkersole; the Harborough Bank’. The bank was founded in 1791 by Thomas Inkersole, an ironmonger in the town and George Bosworth, whose family were graziers in Brampton Ash. The bank prospered because it offered a safe place to deposit cash. Apart from individual customers, it played a role in holding funds for the canal and turnpike trust. On market day, it stayed open late to serve the needs of farmers.
George Bosworth resigned in 1794, leaving Inkersole in sole charge until 1807 when his nephews joined and the bank’s name was changed to Inkersole, Godard and Godard. Like most private banks, it issued its own cheques and seems to have operated profitably until 1843 when unexpected panic brought a run on funds to such an extent that it could not satisfy all who demanded their money. The bank was forced to close. At the time of its closure, some 500 of the town’s 2000 inhabitants had an account with the bank.
The meeting took the form of the annual Christmas Social, which was, as usual, well attended. The Chairman, Norman Harrison, welcomed members and their friends, inviting them to begin the evening by partaking of a buffet supper prepared by Heather Pickering, to be followed by entertainment.
After an excellent supper Pat Harrison read a hilarious poem based on the twelve days of Christmas. This was followed by a quiz prepared by Jean Chapman and Pat Thomas, last year’s quiz winners, and was based on anniversaries in 2009, Christmas carols, locations within Kibworth, and news items reported in the Kibworth Chronicle during the past year. The quiz was won by Wayne Coleman who was presented with a small prize.
The evening was closed by the Chairman wishing everybody a Happy Christmas and New Year. He reminded members that there would be no meeting in January, the next meeting is on February 4th 2010, and the speaker will be Brian Johnson talking about the ‘History of Leicester’s Cinemas’.
The meeting will be held in the Methodist Church and starts at 7.30p.m. Members new and old are always welcome. The Kibworth History Society wishes everyone a very Happy Christmas and a healthy New Year for 2010.
On display were some of the items which Bert Aggas and George Yates had recovered on various archaeological digs in the Kibworth area. These had been kindly donated to the Society by the widow and family of Mr Aggas, and include pottery from the site of the windmill off West Field next the A6.
The speaker for the evening was Brian Johnson who gave a most interesting talk on the “History of the Cinemas of Leicester”. There were about 34 cinemas overall in the City, the largest number being in the 1930s when there were 26. He traced the history and development of moving film, and the screening of the early silent films, mostly in theatres. The first one began in 1896 in Belgrave Gate. 1910 saw the arrival of the Silver Street Electric Palace. Former roller-
The Coronation of 1953 was the breakthrough for television and the steady decline of the cinemas; there was a revival in the 1870s when Asian cinema arrived. However, the cost of a family visit to the cinema had to be measured against the cost, and convenience, of hiring a vide and watching as a family in the comfort of your own home. The arrival of the multiplex cinemas has proved popular. It was sad to see the sorry state of the facades of those which are still standing, some have become bingo halls, others were used as supermarkets by Kwiksave etc., but many have been destroyed.
There have been two cinemas in Kibworth, the first was in what is now the Scout and Guide hut and the second in the Village Hall and many members had memories of them. Joan Spain gave the vote of thanks and told of her father’s involvement as the first projectionist at the Village Hall.
The next meeting will be on Thursday 4th March when Jess Jenkins will speak about “The plight of the Leicestershire framework knitters”.
Jess Jenkins, from the Leicestershire Record Office in Wigston, gave a most interesting talk on the framework knitting industry in Leicestershire.
The knitting frame was originally invented by William Lee of Calverton, Nottinghamshire in 1589. Because of resistance to the machine, Lee went to France where it was readily accepted. Fifty years passed until the first machine was installed in England, in Hinckley. The frame was used to produce long stockings, or hose, from the wool of Leicestershire sheep. By 1750, over half of the frames in the country were working in Leicestershire homes and factories.
The nineteenth century saw a serious decline in the standard of living of framework knitters and their families. After 1815, piece rates fell and much of the industry was controlled by bagmen, who allocated work to families working at home. Some men owned their own frame while others rented from an employer or bagman and some were only allocated work if they sold their machine and rented one. Added to this was the problem of the Truck Act that allowed employers to pay workers in goods rather than money. Unscrupulous employers and bagmen only gave work to those who accepted payment in tokens, which had to be used in the employers shop. Though the Truck Act was repealed in 1831, the system was still in use until the 1870s. The extent of the poverty was graphically described by Joseph Dare, who was missioner to the Great Meeting in Leicester and wrote a series of reports between 1845 and 1870 on his visits to the poor and the degrading conditions in which they lived.
The level of poverty among framework knitters had reached such depths in the 1840s that a Royal Commission was established to study the industry. Information was taken from employers and workers throughout the county, including three from Kibworth and Smeeton Westerby. As a result of the Commission’s report in 1845, some of the worst abuses were removed though frame rents were not abolished until 1867. Prosperity began to return to the industry in the 1870s.
Our speaker this month was Doctor Vivian Anthony, who gave a very interesting talk on the history and survival of Allexton Village.
There is evidence of life there in prehistoric and bronze age times. Roman remains were also found in the area and the village is mentioned in the Domesday book.
The following Saxons and Danes had a feudal system working even before the Normans arrived. There were then about 35 homesteads with 100 population.
William the Conqueror caused devastation and lands of opponents were confiscated. Allexton was given to William's sister Judith and Grimwald, Lord of Allexton, was her under tenant. Because of local dissent, William took 20% tax from Leicestershire whilst the rest of the country only paid 10%!
The church of St. Peter's was built around 1170 . The Bakepuiz were rectors, and at this time the forests were cleared for field and strip farming.
Life for the peasants was very hard and they depended on the Lord of the Manor to survive. During the time of the Black Death one third of the population died.
Henry I loved hunting and so the wardens of the forest became very powerful. One named Hackluth married into the Neville family, living in a large moated house but he was dishonest and we were told he met an abrupt end!
The Blount family family purchased the Allexton in 1375 and this was the time of the Peasant's Revolt. The Blounts created the Lord Mountjoys who became close to the throne. They fought with Henry VII in France, in the battle of the Armada and had close connections with the Essex and Boleyn families.
71 villages in Leicestershire disappeared but Allexton survived with about 17 dwellings mid 16th Century. The Lords of the Manor cared for their tenants and workers but they also had to raise taxes for the King. The Mountjoys were Royalists and Allexton was sold to pay debts relating to the Civil War.
It is surprising that Allexton survived when so many larger, wealthier villages became deserted. However, because the village was so well supported by large, caring and wealthy Lords of the Manor, it did survive.
The speaker for this May meeting was Robin Jenkins who gave a most interesting talk on ‘Tigers Caged -
It was apparent from the photographs that our soldiers were very under nourished before joining the army, the average weight was just over 8 stone; army rations soon improved this. By 1890 joining the army had become a respectable career with soldiers receiving a wage, one shilling a day (5p), wives got 4d and children one and a half old pence. Of the 77,600 who applied, the army eventually took 33,000.
When war was declared in 1899, on the Boers in the Transvaal and Orange Free States, 1,152 men and 18 officers of the Leicestershire Regiment travelled out to South Africa under the command of Sir William Penn Seymour. They eventually arrived at the rail head at Ladysmith, a vast camp on the plain surrounded by hills. On the 20th October the Boers attacked from the hills using 2 large guns. After 7 hours the Boers were put to rout but the many dead included the British commander. Sir George White was appointed to take over and on the 30th October the army attacked the Boers but their intelligence was faulty and the siege of Ladysmith began. By this time the troops were demoralised and confused. Food became scarce, eventually the animals had to be slaughtered, first the oxen, then the donkeys and finally the horses. Very few died from their injuries, but very many more died from dysentery and starvation. On the 28th February General Buller and his force managed to break through and relieve the garrison.
The final meeting of the season was held in St Wilfrid's Church when we were joined by members of St Wilfrid's Fellowship group. The speaker was Dr Kevin Feltham, who described the history of the church and some of the things in it. Only 42 churches are dedicated to St Wilfrid and most of these are in the north for the reason that he was a man of the north who became bishop of Ripon before becoming Archbishop of York. A small statue of St Wilfrid can be seen in a niche above the south door. Above the west door can be seen a statue of Edward de Merton who, through Merton College, Oxford, has played such an important role in the history of Kibworth.
Kevin described how the earliest parts of the church date back to the early 13th century and probably replaced an earlier building on the same site. He explained how the church has been altered many times over the centuries. For example, the church did not originally have pews; the church was an open space where people stood while services were taking place. The first pews were installed during the 17th century; these were purchased by families and used only by members of the family. During the 19th century, box pews were replaced by open pews, which could be used by anyone. During the last ten years, the open pews have been replaced by chairs, which can be moved out of the way to allow activities to take place in the centre of the church, in much the same way as it was originally used. One 19th century pew has been retained for future generations to see.
One of the most visually important changes took place when the tower and spire fell down in 1825 while it was being repaired. There were many delays until sufficient funds were available to rebuild the tower in 1832; unfortunately there was not enough money to rebuild the spire so the building remains the same as we see it today.
This was a most interesting and entertaining talk. Coffee was served afterwards in the church hall.