A couple of weeks ago I bought an old book from the Oxfam shop. It's called "Across The Derbyshire Moors" and it was printed in Sheffield in 1931 - that's eighty eight years ago. Written by a local Justice of the Peace and newspaper editor called John Derry, it is essentially a guide to twelve country walks in the Sheffield region. Needless to say, all of John Derry's recommended walks are very familiar to me.
The little book also contains several advertisements for local businesses.. For example on the back cover there's an advert for "Sugg's" - a sports and outdoors shop located on Angel Street. It claims to provide "Everything for THE RAMBLER" including a 14 inch x 14 inch rucksack "with outside pocket". This retailed at two shillings and sixpence which is twelve and a half new pence in our decimal money or sixteen American cents.
Sugg's also advertised a portable tent for two or three people - retailing at seventeen shillings and sixpence - well under one British pound.
In the introduction John Derry urges ramblers to be respectful of the countryside. He says - "Remember that to smoke on a heath-covered grouse moor in summer is as rank treason as to smoke in a friend's stackyard seated on the straw."
Each of the twelve chapters contains a folded reproduction of a carefully hand drawn map. It's not clear who first made these maps. Perhaps it was John Derry himself.
As I read through "Across the Derbyshire Moors" I sensed the author's passion for the great outdoors. He is aware of geology, plant life, history and, the way paths bend and rise and he celebrates beautiful views, sometimes bemoaning modern changes to the landscape. It is a guide book - yes but it's driven by the writer's personality and his love of walking. Of course, I felt a strong connection with him.
John Derry died in 1937 and therefore did not witness World War II or its legacy. He speaks from a more innocent and simpler time. When Ladybower Reservoir had not yet been constructed, when tramcars carried ramblers to the edge of the city and when Harrop's sold something called "Solvit". I have no idea what it was but I very much doubt that it had anything to do with crosswords.
The local Op Shops here are benefiting greatly from me of late. I've been doing a lot of de-cluttering...lightening the load...my load...but with each offload I feel I'm parting with a piece of me...and, more often than not...a feeling of sadness envelops me.ReplyDelete
One such emotional moment came over me this morning when I dropped off a bag of possessions that hold/held many memories...many stories...my stories. Hopefully...they will become part of memories made by another, or others.
It must be the time of year for it Lee as I have been busy decluttering too. A couple of loads to Vinnies and just as much to the bin I'm afraid.Delete
I hope you have not got rid of Big Tony Helen! I know that he often clutters up the house. And as for Lee- I have often thought about what life is like for people whose homes burn down - losing everything.Delete
Me too: it obviously is That Time of Year.Delete
Interesting find in the bookshop. What I like about the situation is that we have active people promoting walking. You are also very fortunate to be able to walk through private land.ReplyDelete
That is one of the benefits of our very long history, Many country paths not only pre-date motor cars, they also pre-date roads!Delete
I so agree with Red about walking on private land, you are so lucky ! Next time we come to England we are planning on staying in the Peak District as well as returning to Grassington. Such beautiful countryside there too.ReplyDelete
If I am not on holiday (or dead!) I hope to meet up with you in The Peak District next time you are over here. Don't worry - you can always say No!Delete
Look forward to it YP !Delete
What an interesting find. I love old books and publications. When you read such books you get a sense of the ones that have come before us. Are all twelve walks still suitable for walking or have some areas been overtaken by urbanization? How fitting that you, of all people, should run across this book. Perhaps you were John Derry in another life and your book is now being properly returned to you!ReplyDelete
I did a bit of checking and it seems that Mr. Derry also published another book: The Story of SheffieldDelete
Yes. I have that book Bonnie. Most of the walks are still do-able exactly as Derry planned but there are a few reservoirs that did not exist in Derry's time.Delete
Books are magic, especially the old ones. The language seems more literate and the mind can wander on a time when everything was simpler, especially wandering around in plus fours and colourful socks ;)ReplyDelete
That's true. The language is generally more "proper". By the way, when walking I always dress like the fellow on the front of the guide book.Delete
Excellent. I'll know you if I see you then.Delete
The Dark Peak - one of my favourite wild places: Kinder Scout (which I've blogged about because walking up there is pretty much like a metaphor for life), Alport Castles, Bleak Low. Did any of the walks go into the now drowned Ladybower / Howden / Derwent areas?ReplyDelete
Yes. One of the walks precedes the construction of Lagybower Reservoir.Delete
That book has found just the right home.ReplyDelete
If I come across an old copy of "Foolish Donkey" I will send you it. It's a "moral story for kids".Delete
I became curious as to what Solvit was and eventually after some ferreting discovered a photo which I can't place in a comment so I have emailed it to you. The text with it was "C This is it" Hand and Foot Solvit obviously a miraculous product, prepared by Harrops at Grindleford near Sheffield.ReplyDelete
I looked for "Solvit" in our local pharmacy but couldn't find any.Delete