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This book began as a series of notes made during the Local History classes first taken by Mr. Malcolm Dolby and later continued by Mr. Derek Wordley.

Since the present Local History Group was formed in November 1986, interest has grown, membership has increased and the information generated would fill a number of books.  Indeed one member has already drafted a comprehensive history of Whitwell Colliery, while another has prepared a book on the life and works of soldier-poet John William Streets.

This latest history is a successor to the souvenir booklet, 'Whitwell, Past and Present', published by Mr. E.P. Gallagher in l95l, to celebrate the Festival of Britain.  Much of that information has been retained, although expanded into the greater detail made possible by a larger publication.  The size of any book is essentially limited by production costs; this is the only defence we can offer against the reader who may be critical of any particular omissions.  The intention of the Group is that, eventually, all the historical information, which they have collected, will be filed and deposited for future reference in the library at the Whitwell Community Centre.

The history begins with the Anglo-Saxon settlement, although the arrival of the 'Hunter-Gatherers' in Creswell Crags thousands of years earlier could also have been a suitable beginning.  The Crags, however, with Ash Tree Cave and Markland Grips have been the subject of many written works, based on archaeological and geological survey and analysis, and are therefore excluded from a work which is essentially based on documentary evidence.

Any historical work can never be totally complete - there are always new facts waiting to be discovered.  This is no less true of Whitwell than of any other place.  Perhaps you may have interesting documents stored away - old letters, photographs, newspaper cuttings, inventories, title deeds or similar documents; or perhaps when reading this book you will be prompted to say 'I could have told them more than that about Old Whitwell'.  If so, make contact with the Local History Group and maybe you will be sowing the seeds of an even more comprehensive history book for the future.

In historical documents, family names often appear with different spellings.  Where family names in this book have been obtained from such documents, the reader should be aware that no attempt at consistency has been made and the spellings as originally printed have been retained; seemingly 'different' names may well refer to one and the same family.

L.T. Yaw



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