The Alan Turner Opera Company’s eye-catching archives

Last month, Derbyshire Record Office was delighted to accept the donation of five rather extraordinary albums of photographs and news-cuttings (D8089) assembled by Alan Turner (1904-1967).  Turner was Managing Director of the Ernest Turner group, which included the Spa Lane Mills in Derby.  However, the principal focus of the collection is not textile production, but theatrical productions.  Alan Turner’s eponymous Opera Society/Company put on numerous performances in London in the 1920s and 1930s, before relocating to Derby in later years.  Here is a sample of some of the fantastic photographs and ephemera in the first volume:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It wasn’t just opera, though Continue reading

PC & the Pedal Crankers ‘flying the flag for Great British Cycling’

Whilst researching for our forthcoming ‘Have bike, will travel’ exhibition, I came across a reference to an ‘audio disc’ featuring a song by ‘PC & the Pedal Crankers’ which turned out to be a 7inch single featuring the songs ‘Ride Your Bicycle’ and ‘The Bike Ride Song.’

The only information we have is that it was for a Derby Police charity bike ride event in 1987, and that  PC & the Pedal Crankers were Kevin Jackson, Keith Jackson, Carole Jackson and Trevor Coakley.  It was produced by Mick Vaughan and recorded at Network Studios, Nottingham.

It would be fantastic to find out more, and having had a listen, it’s upbeat, catchy and clever enough to be due a re-release – it’s certainly music to put a smile on your face! In the light of the increase in cycling and events like Eroica Britannia, the Aviva Women’s Tour and the Tour of Britain visiting Derbyshire, it’d probably be a very well received ditty…as the tagline on the record says it’s “Flying the Flag for Great British Cycling.”

If anyone knows anything about the single, or the event it was made for, please get in touch!

‘Have bike, will travel’ starts on Thursday 5th May, simply turn up and you can view our cycling related Local Studies and Archive items in our Reception area.

30 Years ago this week in the Derbyshire Times

Here’s a selection of news and events from this week in 1986 as featured in the Derbyshire Times:

It was election time in West Derbyshire and the candidates were:

CandidatesBill Moore- Labour

Patrick McLoughlin – Conservative

Robert Goodall – Independent

Christopher Sidwell – Rainbow Alliance (Loony Crocodile Tears)

Mr Sidwell was from Coventry, but had set up his campaign headquarters at 15 Jackson Road, Matlock. Does anyone remember this party? The main issue overshadowing the election was the bombing of Libya by American planes from British bases.

There was also a visit by Divine at Chesterfield’s Moulin Rouge nightclub, who the interviewing journalist found to be quiet and reserved…Divine, born in the small town of Marilyn in the States also added that “it took a long time before people accepted his outlandish act, especially the conservative British.” Does anyone have any memories of this apparently very popular Chesterfield club in the 80s?

Divine Derbyshire Times May 1986

The Top Ten that week was an interesting mix, with a song you not wish to remember at number 5 in the charts – ‘The Chicken Song’ by Spitting Image…at 4 was Janet Jackson with ‘What have you done for me lately,’ 3 was Madonna with ‘Live to Tell’, at 2 ‘Rock me Amadeus’ by Falco, and George Michael was top of the charts with ‘Different Corner’.

The eagerly awaited film ‘Absolute Beginners’, starring Patsy Kensit and David Bowie was showing at the ABC in Chesterfield and the Ritz in Matlock. And local heavy metal band ‘Coldsteel’ were offering music lessons in return for being their roadie!  I wonder what became of them…

Top Ten

Football wise, Derby appeared to be in the Third division but on the verge of promotion to the Second if they beat Rotherham at the Baseball Ground.  Apparently the support from fans was “remarkable” despite “a series of unconvincing and jittery performances raised serious doubts about promotion.” Sound familiar to anyone..?!

Rams

Our Local Studies library has lots of Derbyshire newspapers available to look at on microfilm if you want to search for a particular article or just feel like a trip down memory lane!

50 years ago: this week’s Hit Parade, from the Derbyshire Times

A New Year, and a new resolution…to highlight the number of newspapers we hold on Microfilm in the Record Office. This week, we bring you our most popular, The Derbyshire Times, dated Friday 7th January 1966.

In addition to the usual newsworthy stories (many, sadly, about road traffic accidents over the New Year period), there was a full page spread advertising holiday getaways, bookable in local travel agents, some weather statistics for December, showing not much change in our current January outlook!

Interestingly, there was also a music column written by Peter Murray, reviewing the previous year’s releases, as well as showing the Top Twenty for that week.

TopTwenty

Who remembers any of these?  An attempt to find consensus among eleven members of Record Office staff has failed – but we generally like The Beatles, Peter Sellers and The Who.  But who doesn’t?