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.

Treasure 5: volume of criminal portraits

This treasure is part of the Derbyshire Constabulary collection (the full list for the collection can be downloaded from our catalogue). It shows photographs of people who had been apprehended by the police, taken shortly after their arrest. The photographs alone contain masses of social history. The volume was chosen as a treasure by Elissa, a longstanding volunteer here at Derbyshire Record Office. She remarks: ‘I particularly like the fact that it’s the same police officer who keeps appearing in the criminal portraits!’

The volume of criminal portraits, chosen by our volunteer Elissa

The volume of criminal portraits (D3376/OS/7/1), chosen by our volunteer Elissa

The Derbyshire Constabulary was formed on 17 March 1857 Continue reading

On This Day: ‘Man Killed In A Lead Mine’; ‘A Candidate For Transportation’

From the Derby Mercury, 16th December 1857:

Man Killed In A Lead Mine

On Friday last, a poor man named Thos. Thorpe, went from his cottage at Bonsall, to Mr. Greaves’, Cliff-house, Matlock, to beg a handful of mint, and not returning on that night or the next, his wife and family became seriously alarmed for his safety.  On Sunday morning some neighbours went in search, and ascertained that Thorpe had left Cliff-house with a quantity of mint, about six in the evening of Friday.  They then tracked his course homewards by leaves and sprigs of mint, to a mine shaft on Masson, then recently run in, but there the traces of the mint ceased.  On removing the rubbish in the hole the poor fellow was discovered about six feet from the surface, of course quite dead, and the body was removed to a farmhouse near to await a coroner’s inquest.

A Candidate For Transportation

Police Office, Derby  George Marshall, a youth of 14, was charged as follows:- Police-constable Davis stated: Prisoner came to me this morning and said, “Mr. Davis, I shall find you a job to-day.”  I replied, “What shall you do?”  He said, “I shall commit a robbery.”  I endeavoured to persuade him to go home, but he would not, and said, “I shall go to the first watchmaker’s shop I can, break a window, steal a watch and run my chance, as I mean to have seven years.”  I knew that prisoner had been twice convicted at the sessions, and also that he had been twice summarily committed, and therefore I thought it best to lock him up.  Prisoner, in reply to questions from the Mayor, said that he would rather be transported than live in Derby; that he had a comfortable home and neither his father nor his mother-in-law behaved ill to him, but he did not like to stay at home.  The Mayor doubted whether sending prisoner to gaol again would be productive of any good, as it was evident he had a propensity for stealing and leading an idle life; but on the mother-in-law saying they had done all they could for him, and that if he did not return home (and he said he would not) something worse was sure to happen to him, the Bench committed him, as a rogue and vagabond, for three months with hard labour.

We hold the Derby Mercury on microfilm  – just ring to book a microfilm reader.

On This Day: ‘A Struggle with a Thief’

From the Derbyshire Times, 30th April 1881:

UNSTONE

A STRUGGLE WITH A THIEF

On Monday noon an impudent till robbery was committed by a tramp, at the shop of Jabez H. Walker, grocer, Unstone.  Whilst Mr Walker was at dinner the tramp entered the shop without ringing the door bell, and took from the till its contents, amounting to £1 6s. 6d.  But on going out of the shop he accidentally rang the bell, and Mr Walker entered the shop as he was going out at the door.  He was asked what he wanted, and replied half an ounce of tobacco.  This was supplied, for which he tendered sixpence in payment and Mr Walker going to the till for change discovered the robbery, which he charged the prisoner with committing.

The prisoner went away to the Fleur de Lis Inn, where he was followed by Mr Walker.  He acknowledged taking the money, which he gave to Mr Walker,  but on being informed that he would not be allowed to leave the place he took out a large clasp knife, and made a violent attempt to force his way out of the room.  The door of the room was, however, secured, and finding his escape cut off, he attempted, after doing some damage in the room, to jump through the window, one or two of the panes of which he first destroyed.  Whilst attempting to jump out, a man on the road threw a cinder, which struck him on the head, knocking him down insensible.  He was then secured, his hands being tied with a rope, until the arrival of Inspector Spencer, of Dronfield, who took him to the Dronfield Police Station.  He gave the name of George Jones, but refused to give his address.

He had an accomplice, who stood outside Mr Walker’s shop at the time Jones went in and committed the robbery, and who it is said went to the Fleur de Lis Inn and asked to be admitted to the room where Jones had been secured.  Inspector Spencer, with praiseworthy promptitude, went in search for him, and ultimately apprehended him in Dronfield.  He gave the name of Jack Curtis, said he was an Irishman, but refused to say where he hailed from.  On being searched a large knife with long blade and sharp point, similar to the one taken from Jones, was found upon him.  He professed to have no knowledge of Jones.       

We hold the Derbyshire Times on microfilm; Chesterfield edition from 1854, all editions from 1963 – just ring to book a microfilm reader.

On This Day: ‘Spitfire in Court’

From the Alfreton and Belper Journal, 3rd December 1909:

SPITFIRE IN COURT

A CHESTERFIELD PRISONER’S ECCENTRICITIES

An extraordinary statement was made by a prisoner at the Chesterfield Borough Police Court, on Monday, the person in question giving the name of Luke Spitfire, of no fixed address, who was something of a “spitfire” by nature.

The man was charged with stealing a Bible, valued at 50s., from the Chesterfield Parish Church, on Saturday, and evidence was given that prisoner was seen to emerge from the building with the book underneath his coat.  Benjamin Gascoigne, a young man living in Durrant road, Chesterfield, asked Spitfire what he was doing with the Bible, and he replied that he was going to sit down and read it, although it was too dark to do so.  Police-constable Kee arrested the man, who made no answer to the charge.

Spitfire loudly requested the attendance of the priests to identify the Bible as the property of the church.  Having entered a plea of guilty, the accused went on to make the following amazing statement: “I have been a ratepayer for 20 years, and of course every ratepayer helps to keep the Bishops and the priests and everybody else between, and supposing I was stealing the Bible, I was only stealing part of my own property.  (Laughter).  It is no earthly use to me, because what is in the book I have swallowed.  I claim to be tried by my peers.  I am a B.A. and an educated man, and I am the same as Lord Byron, when he committed murder, he claimed to be tried by the Lords, and he got off.  I claim to be tried by my equals and not by ‘vagabones’.”  (Laughter).

Sentence of 28 days’ hard labour was passed.

The County Local Studies Library holds the Alfreton (and Belper) Journal, 1870-1935 – just ring to book a microfilm reader.

On This Day: ‘Local News’

From the Derby Mercury, 23rd July 1851:

THE DERBY POLICE FORCE – The members of this force have received leave of absence, in detachments, for a week to visit the Great Exhibition, and the Watch Committee has presented 1l. to each man, from the police fund.  The first detachment, consisting of Sergeant Hill  and seven men, left Derby on Saturday last, to return next Saturday.

LATTER-DAY SAINTS – On Sunday last, a party of the above sect visited Belper.  They selected a spot on the outside of the town, and many of the curious visited the place of meeting, but were greatly disappointed.  Instead of a sermon it was a lecture.  The orator professed to be a chemist, and spoke more upon art and science than religion.

PILSLEY WAKES AND TAP-DRESSING – The romantic little Peak village of Pilsley exhibited an unusually gay and animated appearance last week, in consequence of the inhabitants having provided unusual attractions for their friends.  The custom of well-flowering, as practised at Tissington, had been adopted, and the floral decorations exhibited were of a most ingenious, effective, and pleasing character, and reflected great credit on the parties by whom they had been designed and executed.  A party of bell-ringers from Mottram, with no fewer than 42 hand-bells, contributed to enliven the proceedings in the intervals of the dancing and rustic sports…One little singular and rather amusing incident we cannot refrain from noticing.  A large common grass snake had been caught and apparently killed, and the ingenious villagers had formed the reptile body into “the Duke’s crest”, and placed it, attached by damp clay, to an ornamental device composed of flowers, crystals, &c.  It turned out, however, that “The snake was only scotch’d, Not killed-” and on the sun shining out inconveniently warm, his snakeship, not exactly comprehending his elevated position, nor entirely enjoying his novel and incomprehensible lodgings – watched his opportunity, and glided off, displacing some of the delicately-arranged finery, by which he was surrounded.      

The County Local Studies Library holds the Derby Mercury – just ring to book a microfilm reader.  If you have a Derbyshire library card you can also view 19th century issues of the newspaper here.