Saturday, 1 March 2014

Stocking knitter ancestors - the journey begins

I'm attempting to follow in the footsteps of my great, great, grandmother (on my mother's side of the family) in the mill town of Belper. Most of the family worked in the stocking industry - the men as stocking-frame knitters, the women as stocking embroideresses.

Today, we visited Strutt's North Mill, a volunteer-run museum and information centre for the Amber Valley.

The car park overlooks the impressive Horseshoe Falls.

Beside the Mill are the lovely River Gardens. There we met a photographer who told us that he (and a couple of others) were waiting for the Kingfisher which had been sighted fishing in the River Gardens' pool.

He told us about the Peregrine Falcon nesting on the Mill Roof and showed us some very impressive shots of said hawk in flight, carrying a pigeon it had just caught. We then heard the bird calling from the somewhere over the mill - good news after the pair the photographer had seen in 2012 died in the cold weather in 2013.

Ron had words with a pair of Canada Geese but was otherwise very well behaved around the multitude of ducks along the river bank and on the garden lawns.

No doubt he'd read the snippet of FW Harvey's poem on the sculpture at the edge of the children's play area.

Ducks by Frederick William Harvey

From troubles of the world I turn to ducks,
Beautiful, comical things
Sleeping or curled
Their heads beneath white wings.