Wednesday, 27 May 2015

High jinks and forfeits

List of forfeits
It's very interesting to take a look at the forfeits boards at the Mill. Based on archives, these new interpretation boards in the Gallery take you back to another time. It's easy to imagine that everyone was well behaved in a mill workplace, working too hard and too long a shift to get up to high jinks. Recently I was talking to a lady who had worked at the Mill in her teens,from 1944 until 1952. She remembered the fun she had with work mates, even ending up soaked to the skin in one of the mill races. I have some favourites among these 'forfeits'. There's a story behind them that we may never get to know, but we can all use our imaginations. 'Calling through the window to some soldiers'. We know that there was a local militia formed to protect the Mills in Belper from what we would now call Luddites. The men drilled locally and the bridge over the road that linked the Mills still has windows for gun emplacements.Men in uniform have always had an appeal! There is still a Drill Hall in Belper. I can't help feeling sorry for the person who 'threw a sickie' to go to Heage Feast and got caught out! Why did the dog get into hot water? And whose face was so ugly that they could terrify S Pearson? 'Rubbing their faces with blood and going about the town' makes me think of the current fashion for Zombie films and city centre Fright Nights for Halloween. It would be wonderful to be transported back in time to meet some of these characters. We know about them now because they got into trouble then. I wonder what they would make of that!

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