Allport's Eye

The Earl and the Gas Fitter

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Billy Fitzwilliam, The 7th Earl, born in 1872

Catherine bailey, in her Book “Black Diamonds” gives an account of the notorious Denaby strike in 1903 when 3000 families were evicted from their homes, most of them with nowhere to go and no shelter provided except for a few tents in a nearby field. In this case the owner of the mine was a ruthless and oppressive company, allowing its workers no strike pay, no sick pay and very often not a penny in compensation for accidental death down the pit. the Fitzwilliam by contrast were exemplary employers and much loved by their workers both in the mines and on their vast estate.

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Thomas Henry Sykes 1851-1941

Thomas was a plumber, glazier and gas fitter, who resided at 21 Wentworth Road. He installed gas lighting at St Thomas Church, Kilnhurst, and went on to build one of the first bungalows seen in the area, for his own occupation.

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The Soldier and the Airman

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Ben Parkinson MBE

Ben suffered 40 wounds in a landmine blast in Afghanistan, Later, back home he carried the Olympic Torch through Doncaster for thirty minutes on prosthetic legs flanked by hundreds of people. we salute his courage, bravery and determination to keep going. No one was ever more deserving of an MBE

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Roy Machin

Former Mexborough landlord, Roy Machin served as an air gunner on Lancaster Bombers during the second world war.

In an early operation he displayed such bravery and cool in his burning bomber that his heroism was recognised immediately and he was awarded the Distinguished flying medal.

Roy was involved in many high profile missions including the sinking of the Tirpitz, the pride of Hitler’s fleet. He eventually joined the 617 squadron – the Dambusters

Roy was on active duty until the end of the war and despite the incredible odds he survived.

Roy died in 2006. His operational photographs and records of his airtime career ensure that he will not be forgotten

 

Lectures

Eric Brooke: From Mexborough to Maine Road

The next in the society’s series of lectures, on Wednesday April 25th will be the story of Mexborough’s most accomplished footballer, Eric Brooke, who’s blue plaque is soon to be unveiled at the Athletic ground in in the town. Brooke made 493 appearances for Manchester City between 1928 and 1939, scoring 177 goals, a record that has only recently been elipsed by Sergio Aguero.  He also scored 18 goals in 78 appearances for Barnsley and 10 in 18 for England. Bill Lawrence will be looking at the life of the man behind the statistics. The meeting is, as usual, at the Concertina Band Club on Dolcliffe Road, at 7.15.

 

Forthcoming Events

John Fisher Tribute Night

Mexborough St John the Baptist Church plays host to a memorial tribute to the inspirational Mexborough Grammar school english Teacher John Fisher on Tuesday 24th April (7.00pm). John counted the future poet laureate Ted Hughes amongst his pupils, and inspired many more to a lifelong love of literature and poetry.

people are invited to bring their own stories, photographs and memories along to the event, which has been organised by the Ted Hughes Project'He could teach me anything

 

Allport's Eye

The Footballer and the School Inspector

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Winger Eric Brook who started out with Wath Athletic when he was 16, scored 177 goals for Manchester City between the wars. This remained a record for almost 80 years.

His career began at Barnsley where he scored‘1‘8 goals between 1925 and 1928.

Eric also played 18 times for England between 1929 and 1937 scoring 10 goals.

Historian Bill Lawrence said ‘ Many of us are familiar with some of Mexborough’s famous names such as Ted Hughes, Brian Blessed, Keith Barron and iron Hague but we don’t have much knowledge of Eric, a forgotten hero’.

Anyone with further information about Eric is asked to contact Bill at billwlawrence@hotmail.com or call Margaret Roper at Mexborough library on 01709 582037

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Author of the hilarious Dales school inspector books, Gervaise Phinn was born in Rotherham in 1948. He has had a distinguished career in education, both as a teacher and visiting Prof of education. Same would describe him as the James Herriot of the school inspector world. This is hard to avoid because his books are both hilarious and perceptive.

Derek Allport