No monthly meetings during this period due to Covid-19 infection, please be safe and well until we meet again.

Samuel Clarke was a Boot and Shoe maker, born in Blidworth in 1868, lived and worked his whole life in Blidworth, died in 1933 in Blidworth.  Sam wrote a journal, commonly referred to as “Sam Clarke’s Diary” but we soon discovered it is so much more than a diary; it is an interesting account of events in Blidworth during the latter half of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century.  A copy is available from the Society’s library.

Harry Clarke, Sam’ son, also kept a diary between 1933 – 1958 in two notebooks, which are currently being transcribed.  Here is a segment from the period of WW2:

Extract from Harry Clarke’s, resident of Blidworth, diary: 1939

Sept 3 Sun England declared war on Germany at 11. A.M. 

We were in Chapel & Mr F Houldsworth came & told me to keep the children to the end of the service, as we were going out early. We went out at 11.5.  The children were very impressed.  I heard one say, “Wasn’t it solemn”.  One boy wept a bit.  We hurried home to hear Mr Chamberlain at 11.15.  The preacher was Mr Shaw, he should have stopped all day but he went home.  G. Clarke preached at night.

Sep 4 At 3 A.M. the blowers went for an air raid, but we all stopped in bed.  A lot of people got up & went to the top of Rookwood Gardens.  The blowers went again at 6 A.M. for another air raid.  I took my gas mask with me to work.  When C Kirk's bus came to take us to work, we all got inside & then we considered, as there was an air raid we had better get out, so out we came, but the blowers went in about a minute.

Sep 8 The windows on the screens are being painted black on outside.  All corners of buildings painted white.  Sandbags round offices.  Firefighting appliances everywhere.

Sep 9 Gave Mr H Clarke a marrow weight 9lbs.  Gave Mrs C Cragge one 71/2 lbs.  Mr H Clarke showed me how to grow them.

Sep 20 Cut 2 marrows for Harvest Festival, weight 13lbs & 11lbs. 

Oct 13 Fetched a pair of rubber boots from “Tylers”, cost 6/11.

Oct 15 Had service in Lecture Hall at night due to blackout.

Nov 5 Sun A little service given by the children in afternoon. Songs & recitations & a little address read by Eileen Nixon.  The children were trained by Misses P. Houldsworth & I. Clarke.

Nov 13 Eggs are 3d each.

Dec 2   Hilled down potatoes about 45 buckets full. 

Dec 16 Put seed potatoes in separate hills.  Approximate weight in stones Majestic 1. Golden Wonders 1. Great Scots 6. N Banner 2. Gladstones 6.

Dec 24 Sun Went Christmas singing wasn’t many of us.  Mr F Houldsworth left us at Hawthorn Terrace, he had to go to work.  Ronald Brailsford took charge.  There were Ronald, his girl Gladys Toon & her friend, Jack Smith & Joyce Talbot, Rene Clarke, Alice Houldsworth who collected, Walter Houldsworth & his girl Mary Bacon & two more girls of same family, & myself.

Dec 26 Tues Walter Houldsworth married Mary Bacon 2.30 at our Chapel, by the Primitive Minister. The gardening situation for the past year. Potatoes did very well but a very wet season which caused them to go bad especially the earlys! Carrots failure did best against pad where they got trod on most. Onions, leeks, lettuce. All a failure. Peas not very good but for few given me by Mr H. Clarke called “Rentpayers” did better. Beans, did well. Broad beans, Parsnips, Shallots, moderate. Cabbage, Brussels, Kale, Cauliflower, Flowering Broccoli plants did not come up very quick so I bought some from Mr Goddard 2d per score.  Later there was a plague of caterpillars which destroyed a lot of people’s cabbages leaving just the skeleton of the plant.  Ours didn’t suffer & was able to sell some little cabbages 1d each. Brussels 2d lb. Marrows did very well, at one time I had about 30 growing sold a lot of them at 3d & 4d each. Sent two to Harvest Festival 13 & 11 lbs one fetched 1/9 & other 1/3 when auctioned off.

Dec 14 Sat Last week a 25-ton tank came to Blid, it was war weapons week.  It went up the Wesleyan School yard to allow the children to have a look.  On Thursday night 6.45 the sirens went. I was on afternoons.  It was a terrible night; I didn’t go to bed till 2 AM. Mr Talbot was in too.  The A.R.P. wardens came around to see if we were alright.  The explosions shook the windows. In Dec of last year (1939) a concert was given under the Chapel. Pianoforte duets were given by Mrs Blackwell & Miss J Talbott L.T.C.L.  Solos by Mr & Mrs Bairstow & Mrs Levy a monologue by A Sharpe.  Part songs by a Glee party.  The Junior Guild gave a little play.  A sketch by Mrs Fairless & Jean Clarke & another sketch called, “When Auntie’s Away”.  Those taking part were Mrs Fairless, Irene Clarke, Eileen Houldsworth, Phyllis Houldsworth, Dorothy Drabble.  One of the high spots of the evening was a humorous item entitled “The Big Four” now it seems it had only been thought of & put together the night before.  Ewart Smith came on representing France & fixed a line up across the stage, then Albert Sharpe came on with a top hat & umbrella supposed to be Mr Chamberlain, then Jack Smith came on padded till he looked as big as a wreck & with a few medals on, he represented Goering.  The last to come on was Mr Bairstow as Hitler with his hair pulled over his left eye.  While all this was going on Ewart Smith was hanging various garments on the line with labels attached to them such as “Hitler’s pants”. “Mein Shirt”, and so forth.  They finished by saying “We’ll all hang the washing on the Siegfried Line”, a popular song.

Wishing you all well as we work through this war with Covid-19 virus!

Be Safe & hope to see you all again very soon.

Our book, 'Blidworth and the First World War' can be purchased from Blidworth Library or at 'Salon 68' Kirklington Road, Rainworth, or simply email us at: