John Smitheman

When I was researching the soldiers of WW1 I came across John Smitheman John died in March 1916, but sadly his young daughter Ellen pre-deceased him in February 1916, she was just 4 years old. Whether he would know he had lost his daughter I have no idea, but I was contacted this week by Johns grandson and he sent me a picture of this memorial plaque for both his grandfather and his aunt. They were both obviously greatly missed.


For anyone interested in the history of the Revolution House –

Chesterfield and District Local History Society are having their first talk since before Covid. This will be held at St Thomas’s Church , Brampton , on Monday September 20th at 7- 30pm, and the talk is “The Revolution House “, by Charlotte Mitchell , from Chesterfield Museum.

Visitors are welcome. Parking is free.

It will be in one of the rooms near to the cafe.


I was sorting through some papers and found these postcard copies of paintings by Joseph Syddall (b1864 d 1942). These two paintings were painted between 1890 and 1914, at this time Syddall was dividing his time between Whittington and London. The first called ‘Ploughing’ and the second ‘Beach Scene’. The third image is my favourite. The lady looks deep in thought and she is wearing a lovely big hat, which indicates the drawing may have been done 1890-1910, when big hats were more in fashion.Joseph Syddall was best known in Whittington for his designs of the war memorials at Old Whittington and Dronfield.The last image is the original drawing Syddall did for Old Whittington war memorial. I was lucky enough to be able to photograph it, by kind permission of Chesterfield Museum.Syddall was best known for his pencil drawings and it was pencil drawings that saw him elected to become a member of the Royal Academy.

May be art of horse and outdoors

May be art

May be a drawing

No photo description available.

1841 Occupations

Having just transcribed the 1841 census for Whittington I thought I would check which occupations were most popular.

I imagined it would be more rural trades but was surprised when I checked that even in 1841 Coal mining just came out on top !

The chart only shows the main employment categories the other occupations were the normal rural trades, miller, blacksmith etc.

There were several collieries in the area some coming later than 1841, but Marrs Whittington Colliery was already in existence at that time as the following newspaper report the Derbyshire Courier 12 February 1842 would confirm.

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Whittington Colliery receipt


I have been transcribing the 1841 census for Whittington for a few weeks and finally I have managed to add it to the website.

I must apologise to anyone trying to view it on a mobile phone as I don’t think the transcript will be very easy to read. I will try and amend that later!

Hope everyone who reads it finds it interesting and perhaps recognises an ancestor!.

The link for the census is CENSUS – Old Whittington One Place Study (


This photo of the Mary Swanwick football team from 1901-1902 was posted on Facebook by Andrew Johnson who kindly gave me permission to reproduce it. On the front row proudly sitting behind the shield is A Carlile.

Sadly Sgt. Alexander Carlile was to die in France on 12th October 1916 and his obituary noted that he was a very keen and well known local footballer. His story can be read at

CWGC On Your Street

Thought this may be of interest to some.

Its interesting (if not sad at the same time ) to find people in the area who are not listed on the war memorials for whatever reason, and to realise how many people did die in the two World Wars in the Whittington area.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is today pleased to launch a new campaign inviting the public to discover the individuals in their local area who died in the two World Wars.As part of our War Graves Week activities we’re enabling you to remember those who lived on your street, and bring them back to your street, here: