Local writer Val Scully has spent ten years researching the history of the Gibside estate, at the heart of the Land of Oak & Iron and will be hosting this fascinating evening talk and launch of the new book ‘ A People’s History of Gibside’.
George ‘Glory’ Bowes erected his golden statue to British Liberty in 1757, at the height of his power and influence, the family’s wealth having been built on coal. He collected fine art, bred the finest racehorses and brought world-famous musicians, architects and landscape designers to his estate.
Gibside, once one of the finest landscape gardens of the Georgian era, is a lasting testament to hard graft: the miners who gouged the coal out of the ground, the workmen who moved huge weights of earth, the carpenters, stonemasons, gardeners, servants, the men and women, the skilled and the unskilled, the craftsmen and the labourers. And their families, generations of whom lived and worked on the estate.
This book ‘A People’s History of Gibside’ is about them, but it’s also about the history of the Derwent Valley and all the settlements around the edges of Gibside. It’s about the way the geology shaped our history – the mining, the transport systems developed to get the coal to market, the coming of the Crowley ironworks, the influxes people from elsewhere, the navvies who built the Derwent valley railway.
The story of Gibside is a very human one, and part of the collective memory of the people who grew up in the area, for whom the derelict and overgrown estate was an adventure playground, a spooky ruin, a place of thrilling danger from falling masonry, abandoned mines and huntsmen’s guns. This book began as an investigation into the gap in the records: what happened between the death of the last Bowes owner in 1885, and the coming of the National Trust almost a hundred years later?
No need for tea, your ticket includes nibbles and a glass of wine.
Photograph copyright and thanks to Digi-Fin.
(Thursday) 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Land of Oak & Iron Heritage Centre
Spa Well Road, Winlaton Mill
Land of Oak & Iron