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Elmton with Creswell Local History Group

Creswell Church, built by the Duke of Portland

St Mary Magdalene Church in Creswell, built by the Duke of Portland

The Elmton with Creswell Local History Group was formed in 1990. We meet twice a month and have open meetings with speakers. We collect, collate and conserve photographs, memorabilia and artefacts relating to people, groups and life in the two villages. These are displayed on a changing basis at Limestone House in Creswell, and are therefore on display to all.

There is no age barrier to joining the group. We aim to show and involve people, especially the younger ones, the history of our area. Our exhibitions are free and we have found that the people who visit want to talk about life in the villages. We are encouraged by their interest and enjoy listening to their memories.

The history of our area spans centuries, from the Ice Age etchings and caves around Creswell Crags and the surrounding area, through the centuries of Viking, Roman, Anglo Saxon, Middle Ages, Tudors and Victorians, to the present day.

The last hundred years has really defined the village of Creswell, with the opening of Creswell Colliery, whose owners developed the village from a tiny rural place. In particular, they developed the Model Village, which provided modern housing facilities for the miners in the 1890s, designed by renowned architect Percy Houfton.

Creswell Colliery Band, 1925

Creswell Colliery Band, 1925

The pit owners, the Bolsover Colliery Company, supplied all the modern facilities to the miners, from schooling to the local shop, sports facilities to allotments and the Miners’ Institute with its library and leisure facilities. You had to work at the pit to live in one of the houses, but if you were a good brass player and joined the famous band, you were guaranteed a job for life.

The mine closed in 1991, and the heart went out of the village for a while. The colliery had always supported local people and activities, so it was more than the colliery that closed down. Local jobs for miles around were decimated, especially for the young, and the shops shut. Many families moved way to look for work, while others had no choice and had to stay. The model village, once the pride and joy of Creswell, fell into disrepair.

Satellite Image of the Model Village

Satellite Image of the Model Village

Regeneration of the village started in the beginning of the 21st Century, when various community groups and Bolsover District Council applied for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to restore the model village, and the restoration was completed in 2006. The neglected houses were brought up to a modern standard, with new roofs, wiring, bathrooms and kitchens and are now providing modern, affordable housing for local people.

One of the things that the Elmton with Creswell Local History Group has done is to write a history of the Model Village, the infant and junior schools, the centenary of the doctor’s surgery and life in the villages in World War Two.

Creswell War Memorial

Creswell War Memorial

Our latest project, a history of the soliders from Elmton and Creswell who fought in World War One has just been completed, and the book is available for research in Creswell Library. There will be a forthcoming exhibition about the Battle of the Somme in Limestone House.

From such a small mining village, we understand that around 700 men enlisted in the army, both volunteers and conscripts. And of these, almost 100 men were killed, 22 of these in the battle of the Somme.

A local heritage history day is to be held on 8th October 2016 from 10am-5pm at the Social Centre, Creswell, and will feature various local groups as well as our own. This will be free, and everyone is welcome. Refreshments available.

For more details, contact Enid Hibbert on 01909 720943, or Pamela Finch on 01909 721695 (joint secretaries) or email:





Thanks to Enid Hibbert, Pamela Finch and Bob Glassey from Elmton with Creswell History Group and Rosemary MacLennan, Programme Development Worker at Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service, for this month’s blog.


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