When Harry met Tiggi: the Draycott Diaries podcast on the Strawberry Line

Harry Mottram met Tiggi and was featured on the Draycott Diaries Podcast chatting about The Strawberry Line. Visit https://www.draycottdiaries.com/

Tiggi Trethowan and the Draycott Diaries

Tiggi had an exciting career in television and was living the dream until recently when her life changed. She was diagnosed with an incurable eye condition which will lead eventually to total blindness. Things had looked pretty bleak for Tiggi until Jackie her guide dog arrived in April 2018.

The Strawberry Line

The romance of an historic steam train, puffing along through the gorgeous Somerset countryside. Children waving as passengers disembark at Draycott Station. Watched from the windows of the Railway Inn opposite.  This was the Cheddar Valley Line, later re-named The Strawberry Line due to its delicious cargo of rich, red, ripe and juicy strawberries heading for the dainty plates of royalty and top restaurants. From late Victorian period to the early 60’s as transport needs were ever changing.

As Tiggi chats to local journalist and train enthusiast Harry Mottram, we learn about this iconic section of railway line, sadly stopped on its tracks in the mid 60’s, impacting on the local community.  Espionage or a need for modernity?  Only time will tell.

 Where the tracks once lay and with some tunnels still standing firm, the environment may yet re invent itself as a pathway for nature. Both Tiggi and Harry hope this is the case.

Railway workers of Cheddar

This article appeared in the Strawberry Line Times Magazine in 2013 following a meeting with Shirley Hudd of Cheddar who spoke about some family photographs back in the day. Harry Mottram reported at the time.

They are the faces that never fade. Those of the railwaymen who once peopled The Strawberry Line. Standing in their working clothes for the camera they reveal young men in the prime – now all dead – for these were the workers of the Edwardian railway. The images are from a collection of family photos owned by Shirley Hudd of Cheddar who approached the Strawberry Line Times after reading the first issue of the magazine.

With shunting pole in hand Bert is in front of steam engine 2302

In the first of the images we see her father Bert Adams and three of his work colleagues at the shunting yard at Cheddar Railway Station. With shunting pole in hand Bert is in front of steam engine 2302. He sits on his haunches sporting a Palermo hat, waistcoat and pocket watch on a chain. He looks in charge, at the height of youth – a man happy at work with his mates taken in the 1920s when the memories of the First War were still all around while the fears of another were yet to sink in.

Shirley said: “He used to earn about six shillings a week then. The trains would back up to the station to collect stone and rock from the Batscombe – and they’d tip the stones into a hopper. There was a square area there by Lower New Road where the lime was brought down from the kiln by steam lorry.”

Uncle Bert with another railway man in front of what Shirley believes were barrels containing blackberries – once harvested along the valley for jam makers and transported to the factories by rail

A second photo from the same inter-war years reveals Bert with some more colleagues. He has the uniform of a railway man complete with peak cap, buttoned collar and neat tie. Shirley said he worked for a time as a van boy as they were called – delivering parcels. His workmates wear the clothing of their tasks – with boots and heavy jackets – and note how their trousers are all short in length so they don’t trip over the hems while working. Perhaps you might be able to name the chaps standing in the light of a bright sunlight at Cheddar some time in the late 1920s or early 1930s.

Bert with some more colleagues in the 1930

A third photo in the collection shows Bert with another railway man in front of what Shirley believes were barrels containing blackberries – once harvested along the valley for jam makers and transported to the factories by rail. If the nation’s taste for blackberry jam had taken off – then rather than the Strawberry Line it could have become the Blackberry Line instead!

Uncle Bert at Cheddar Station

The fourth image is of Bert in his uniform standing on the platform in Cheddar with the station in the background with a neat white picket fence running along the side of the down side of the platform. He appears again in a more formal study – this time of a station staff in the village grouped on the platform near the Booking Office and Waiting Room. A poster concerning coal and Victory in the First World War help to date the image as does the prevalence of moustaches – clearly in fashion in era when all working men appeared to require a hat to complete their wardrobe. The lady in the photograph is thought to be an office worker – and she doesn’t feel at all coy about revealing her ankles in the shot – another sign of the times. One of the striking aspects is nobody appears to be over weight – there was rationing of some food in the 1914-18 war but life was generally more frugal in those days – plus of course everyone walked or cycled much more.

It interesting to see there’s sweet and chocolate vending machine on the wall behind the group – and in the foreground to the right a milk churn awaits the attention of the workers. We would like to hear from anyone who can shed further light on these images – perhaps they can give some names to the faces – or any more background to the photos from the time when steam trains still ran along the Strawberry Line. Contact harryfmottram@gmail.com

For more visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

Follow Harry on twitter as @harrythespiv also on FaceBook, LinkedIn, YouTube and on Instagram

AGENDA WEST BUSINESS NEWS: As economies dip heralding a bear market the cryptocurrency bubble bursts as values slide in virtual currencies

Pic: Deseret News

What has tipped cryptocurrencies into a dramatic drop in value is almost certainly a mixture of reasons as experts scratch their heads over the collapse.

The Ukraine war, rising inflation in the UK, an increase in interest rates, oil prices over $100 a barrel, fears of a recession in the USA, the British economy hitting the rocks in the final month of the last quarter and the Chinese economy stalling due to the Shanghai Covid shutdown are all possible factors.

The most well-known one is Bitcoin and that is down in value by more than 10% with Ethereum down 20%, Luna 90% and Coinbase possibly worthless. Meanwhile on traditional markets the FTSE 100 is down 2.5% today (Thursday 12 May) while every major market from Europe to the USA and India and Japan were down by around the same figure.

The jitters suggest global fears of an economic slump with the first casualties being the so-called alternative investment market in cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is the largest one with its value sliding from $25,400 to  $13,000, a drop of 45% so far this year.

Another factor behind the downward trends is a drop in household spending as inflation and rising oil and power prices begin to bite. Ebay, Amazon and Etsy are sharply down in value heralding fears of a return to the 1970s of stagflation: inflation, a cut in wages and an economic slump.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

BATH VOICE HISTORY: when two armies met at Bath in a desperate struggle for supremacy in the English Civil War – and it ended as a ‘score draw’

Pic: the Sealed Knot in action recreating the battles of the Civil War

By Harry Mottram. If the Duke of Wellington described the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 as a ‘near run thing’ then Sir William Waller could certainly refer to the Battle of Lansdown in the same terms.
Historians are divided in announcing who won the battle in 1643 so perhaps it is best to describe it as a score draw.

Essentially the army of Lord Hopton who represented King Charles I for the crown held the ground at the end of the battle while the army of Parliament and Waller left the field to regroup in Bath when the guns fell silent.
However such were the losses inflicted on the Royalist forces that day that they effectively retreated to Devizes and Oxford to recover.

It was thus a rare non-victory victory for the forces of Parliament in the area as Bristol and much of the South West were in Royalist hands. It would be two years before Parliament’s armies eventually took control and finally defeated the cavalier armies. The background to the battle was the outbreak of hostilities between the King and Parliament. Charles I believed he was the ruler due to God’s Will known as the divine right. Previously the Kings and Queens of this country enjoyed this idea that they ruled with the backing of the Almighty – until of course they were overthrown by rival claimants who said they were the chosen ones.

However by the 17th century there was a growing middle class of merchants, doctors, lawyers and skilled workers. The country as a result began to break down into towns and cities who supported Parliament and demanded more democracy and religious freedom for the non-conformists, Puritans and Protestants.
While in the countryside where the landed gentry supported the King there was more support for the Crown. At the time the King was married to the Catholic Queen Henrietta Maria. Parliament’s supporters feared her influence would push England and Wales back to Catholicism and potentially foreign influence from Rome.

War broke out in 1642 after the King failed to arrest members of parliament leading to MPs taking control of London and the King leaving for Oxford to set up a rival capital.
A number of battles took place that year as the two sides tried to gain the upper hand resulting in Parliament holding most of the south and south east along with London and most larger cities and towns while the King held the north, Wales and the Southwest.

The Battle of Lansdown was the high watermark of the King’s attempt to win the war as after that his forces faced a losing war of attrition as parliament’s more well funded New Model Army gained the ascendency with victory two years later.
Sir William Waller held Bath for Parliament while all around the King’s forces were gaining ground in the west where they enjoyed stronger support.

Lord Hopton had his eyes on taking the city which then was far smaller than the one we see today and little larger than its medieval size with much of the buildings confined inside the city walls.

Waller took his forces out of the city and rebuffed the initial advances to the east while Hopton’s army were forced around to the north. To block their advance Waller dug in his army on Lansdown Hill above the city .

The Royalist army had around 6,500 troops including 2,000 cavalry and 16 cannons while Waller had fewer troops with 2,500 cavalry who proved valuable. There had been initial skirmishes to the east of the city as Hopton attempted to gain advantage with the hope of taking the city. The Royalist official commander was Prince Maurice who was in charge of the bulk of the cavalry but Hopton generally directed operations in the field. Despite taking Bradford on Avon Hopton was forced to fall back to Marshfield as the skirmishes continued.

Hopton’s troops attacked from the direction of Cold Ashton and in an action that continued from dawn to dusk his army drove back that of Parliament forcing them to take cover behind a wall. However much of the Royalist cavalry left the field of battle convinced they had lost during the push to Parliament’s lines.

Hopton’s Cornish pikemen proved decisive in forcing back the defending Parliament troops who had dug in on the hill while Waller used his fewer troops to good effect as the battle raged around nearby woods, lanes and hedges. It seemed that victory was close as the Royalists pushed up the hill but in the confusion the remains of their cavalry panicked and retreated with Hopton’s right hand man Sir Bevil Grenville slain.
Finally as night fell Waller’s troops fell back into Bath expecting an attack the following day. It was not to be as although Hopton’s forces secured Lansdown Hill they were in no fit state to assault Bath. There was then another blow to the Royalists when the bulk of their ammunition blew up – temporarily blinding Hopton, killing several soldiers and destroying most of their gun powder. At this point despite taking the field Hopton thought it best to retreat to Wiltshire to recover. Despite the small armies involved the numbers killed ran into several hundred with far more dying from wounds in the days to follow. Yes a close run thing for Bath but the city was held and Parliament eventually achieved victory.

For more on Bath visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/bath-voice/bath-news/

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Bath Voice Theatre Reviews: after a two-year absence due to the Covid crisis the Theatre Royal audience goes crazy for the Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society’s latest production: Crazy For You

Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society performing Crazy For You. Photo credit: Ken Abbott

Crazy For You – Review

At last: chorus girls, cowboys, tap dancing and some big song and dance routines in a show to lift the spirits.  The Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society returned triumphantly to the Theatre Royal Bath after a two-year Covid related absence with George and Ira Gershwin’s big song and dance show Crazy for You.

Rosie May Cook as Polly Baker in Crazy For You

A near full house lapped up classic numbers like I Got Rhythm, K-ra-zy For You, Nice Work If You Can Get It and They Can’t Take That Away From Me, in a foot tapping finger clicking production based on a 1930s show put together in the early 1990s on Broadway. Directed by Steve Blackmore, choreographed by Annette Wilsher and music direction by Peter Blackwood this is a production that does justice to the smash hit musical revival. Crazy For You has an impressive set, superb lighting and sound plus authentic costumes including fabulous chorus girl outfits and enough feathers to clothe several birds of paradise and it’s a show that sends the audience home with a song in their heart. I can vouch for that as several people were humming I Got Rhythm as I crossed Saw Close after the show.

Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society performing Crazy For You. Photo credit: Ken Abbott

Arnie Richardson as protagonist Bobby Child, the banker who wants to be a stage star held the key role with aplomb, strong vocals, unbounded energy and a winning personality. He was ably supported by an exceptional Rosie May Cook as Polly Baker his love interest in Deadrock. She has the voice and personality required to knock ‘em dead – and a huge role to carry through the two-hour long show.

The story follows the fortunes of Bobby who is sent to foreclose on a theatre in the far west – only to see it as a chance to revive the establishment with a hit show. And the rest is as you might expect as the story is one of mistaken identities, unlikely romances and above all song and dance that whirls the narrative from a lively start to a rousing finale – all laced with knockabout humour.

Crazy For You – Rosie May Cook as Polly Baker and Arnie Richardson as Bobby Child – BODS at TRB – Credit Ken Abbott

Annabel Latham as Irene Roth was great value in her pursuit of wedding bells finally settling for Pip Knowles who enjoyed himself as Lank Hawkins and Grant McCotter as impresario Bela Zangler was also on top form. So many strong performances such as Jane Morgan as Tess, Chris Born and Julia Padfield as the travel writers checking out Deadrock’s attractions, and Huw Morgan as Everett Baker the town’s saloon keeper keen to take over the theatre for himself.

Crazy For You – Arnie Richardson as Bobby Child – BODS at TRB – Credit Ken Abbott

Eye catching Dave Key-Pugh’s hillbilly-esque Moose gave another big performance as did Lottie Child played by Barbara Ingeldew, with support from Finn Cunningham-Tickel as Mingo (and understudy for the lead) and Ashley Viner as Sam.

Crazy For You – Rosie May Cook as Polly Baker – BODS at TRB – Credit Ken Abbott

Crazy For You is essentially a revival of the spirit of those big Ziegfeld Follies productions of the 1920s and 1930s with their cast of chorus girls known as the Follies – and this production delivers those deftly choreographed sequences brilliantly using the wide stage to great effect. With several changes of costumes, great dancing and strong stage presence these big song and dance numbers make this show so memorable. The Follies are complemented by the Cowboys in Deadrock whose humour and languid body language is transformed at the mention of girls into over excited teenage boys desperate to touch a certain part of the female anatomy. An ensemble cast also included an eight strong Ensemble to complete the show and give Bath a much-needed shot of glamour, romance, comedy and showbiz. Yes, one to lift the spirits.

Harry Mottram

The show runs from 3-7 May, 2022

Tickets and info at https://www.theatreroyal.org.uk/event/crazy-for-you/

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

More news of Bath’s chic community in Bath Voice magazine – now out – or read online at https://issuu.com/bathvoice

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.

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Warnings were ignored by the Government over Covid bank loans as The Times reveals billions lost in fraud

While viable businesses were shut down by the Government’s extreme covid shut downs in 2020 and 2021 fraudsters were setting up shell companies to claim Covid cash writes Harry Mottram.

ICSM has repeatedly highlighted the injustices of how legitimate firms were forced to close as their markets were taken away by the Government’s Covid policies. Millions were spent on PPE for hospitals which turned out to be useless to firms that had no history of supplying medical protective clothing while traditional suppliers were ignored. But the scandal of the Government granting loans and grants to companies to get them through the Covid Crisis has cost the nation’s tax payers eye-watering amounts of cash – now revealed in full by The Times.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said: “We have warned from the start that telling the banks they would not be liable if the loans were not repaid was a mistake. Anecdotally we have heard countless stories of companies being set up simply to claim the cash and then once the money is in their bank accounts they spend it on anything but maintaining their business. Cars, holidays, home improvements – we’ve heard it all. While long standing businesses have stuck to the rules and continued to battle through the lock downs crooks have been allowed to get away with day light robbery.”

George Greenwood and James Hurley of The Times have exposed some of the worst crimes committed by fraudsters who took advantage of the Government’s lax regulations. In an article published today by the newspaper the journalists wrote: “Border force officials have stopped people at airports across Britain ‘carrying large amounts of money suspected from coronavirus bounce-back loans’, a Home Office source said. Other recipients of financial support during the pandemic used the money to fund gambling sprees, home improvements, cars and watches, it has emerged.

“They are among dozens of company directors who have been disqualified after misusing the loans scheme that was set up to support businesses during the pandemic. In many cases the individuals took out the loans before immediately transferring the funds into personal bank accounts and spending the money on themselves instead of their companies.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM – the group dedicated to exposing potential company insolvencies and late payers so their members can avoid bad businesses – said the newspaper estimated £17 billion of the Government’s £47 billion bounce back loans would never be repaid. “An eye-watering £4.7 billion was lost to fraud,” he said, “according to The Times. Clearly fraud is something that potentially happens with Government contracts – it’s a fact of life – but this is on an industrial scale. £4.7 billion would pay for four new state of the art hospitals – with plenty of cash left over to help fund Action Fraud.”

The Times reported:

  • A gambler used a £50,000 bounce-back loan to fund poker games after claiming his company turned over £200,000, even though he only had £2.72 in his account.
  • One businessman breached scheme rules by securing more than ten pandemic loans for companies in the same corporate group.
  • A sandwich shop owner received a £35,000 loan for his business before using it to fund the refurbishment of his garden, gambling losses and a new business that went bust within six months.
  • A pub landlord paid himself £30,000 after claiming one of the business loans in “consultancy fees”.
  • A soft drink company owner inflated his firm’s turnover by 100 times on his application to get a maximum £50,000 loan.
  • A restaurant owner was able to get a loan after having already been evicted from his premises for not paying rent.

For the full article visit https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/suitcases-of-covid-loan-cash-seized-at-uks-borders-wcnnjd7r8

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

AGENDA WEST: Beware of that invoice that arrives by email – it might be a scam

The bogus invoice

An email arrives on the family computer for a small amount of money from a DIY store requesting payment. Nothing unusual in that – in a busy life invoices come in for all manner of expenses and it’s always best to pay them promptly. Except this one, writes Harry Mottram.

The invoice in question is from Screwfix for £2.49. It looked genuine enough except I hadn’t ordered or bought anything from the firm nor had anyone else in my household. But I could so easily of paid it thinking I had a memory lapse or that it was such a small amount that it wouldn’t be a problem if a friend or relative had ordered whatever it was under my name and email.

But there was something odd about it so I checked with Screwfix and they said: “We are aware of a fraudulent email sent to both customers and non-customers stating it is an invoice from Screwfix.”

The fraudsters send out hundreds of thousands of emails in the hope that if only one or two percent of those that receive them pay up they will be quids in. But it is a fraud and totally illegal and once they have hooked a victim they will target them with more scams.

Action Fraud of the Police said: “Fake invoice scams happen when fraudsters send an invoice or bill to a company, requesting payment for goods or services. The invoice might say that the due date for the payment has passed, or threaten that non-payment will affect credit rating. In fact, the invoice is fake and is for goods and services that haven’t been ordered or received. If fraud has been committed, report it to Action Fraud.”

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BRISTOL VOICE FEATURE: From quarry to fishery: the strange and unusual history of Henleaze Lake in north Bristol

1947 Skating on the lake. Pic: from Henleaze Swimming Club

It may seem strange today as you walk down Henleaze Road towards Southmead that instead of the comfortable houses and well-kept front gardens you see now, in another era this was a scene of industrial quarrying.

Limestone was being extracted from quarries to feed into five kilns in the area to produce lime for use in construction, agriculture and for chemical and industrial uses in Victorian Britain.

However, as the limestone began to run out and newer sources were found, and industrial processes changed the two quarries at Southmead and Eastfield closed leaving large scars in the landscape. Today there is little sign of Eastfield Quarry which was filled in and features a playground as part of Old Quarry Park at the bottom of Henleaze Road. The last remaining buildings associated with the quarry have been replaced by Amelia Lodge on the junction of Southmead and Eastfield Roads.

Henleaze Lake members in the 1920s. Pic: from Henleaze Swimming Club

Southmead Quarry was much larger and deeper than Eastfield and is very much still a feature although no longer a quarry and no longer called Southmead. That changed in 1912 when quarrying ended and natural springs began to fill it with water forming a lake. Major Stanley Badock leased the lake and stocked it with trout so it could be used for fishing and it was even used for swimming although this ceased after a young man drowned as reported in The Henleaze Book by Veronica Bowerman.

Following the end of World War 1 a swimming club was established in the summer of 1919 which abided by the rules of the Amateur Swimming Association. The club initially leased the lake but later bought it from Badock in 1933 heralding a flourishing period for the club with new diving boards, changing rooms and projecting rocks were removed along with the remains of the kiln.

During the freezing winter of 1947 the lake froze over allowing for skating on the surface. The 1940s and 1950s saw the lake’s popularity reach a peak – sadly it was not to last as in the 1960s membership fell away with diving competitions and water polo phased out as numbers dropped. By 1986 membership was at an all-time low of just 307 compared to today with the numbers over 2,000.

Henleaze Lake in 2022

In 1988 the lake was drained completely to remove any rubbish, to check on fish stocks and to clear away pond weed heralding a new era as the lake refilled naturally and membership increased. Today the club has a waiting list for new members such is its popularity, and many residents not only go swimming but to relax, picnic on the lawns and sun-bathe.

Since its inception the lake has become surrounded by development with Lake Road eventually linking up with Doncaster Road on one side and the development of Lakewood Road on the other side. It is a long way from more than a century ago when the lake was a quarry and rang to the sounds of machinery and Edwardian workmen working the cliff faces that still overlook one side of the lake.

For details of the lake and how to join the club visit www.henleazeswimmingclub.org

Harry Mottram

Harry Mottram writes features for the Voice publications in Bristol and Bath and is a freelance journalist. Visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/

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BATH VOICE: Georgian Bath was smelly, dangerous and dirty – so unlike the friendly characters in the Jane Austen Centre

From left: Mr Darcy, Mrs Bennet and George Knightley at the Jane Austen Centre

By Harry Mottram: Like many people I’ve passed the Jane Austen Centre many times without having visited.
Since I’m midway through the Jane Austen novel Northanger Abbey I decided to pop in one wet March afternoon to see if I could meet the great author.
Sadly the writer of a string of classic novels had a day off but I did catch up with Jackie Herring who is Mrs Bennet to the visitors.
“Catherine Moreland in Northanger Abbey would have noticed that the traffic today is just as bad as it was in her day,” she said, “but the centre of Bath was also like a building site in Jane Austen’s time with speculative building go up everywhere.
“It would also have been very dirty and dangerous with animals making a mess. That was one of the reasons why sedan chairs were used so the well heeled wealthy didn’t have to put their feet down in the muck or allow their dresses to pick up mud.”
The former director of the Jane Austen Festival spends one day a week with her work husband Mr Bennet at the centre following retirement and clearly enjoys her role as the sufferer of palpitations and agent for her daughters’ marriage prospects.
Another character who enjoys welcoming visitors – this time from the novel Emma – was my tour guide George Knightley (Martin Williamson in real life).
His talk on the Austen family and the various relatives is worth the ticket money alone which for someone of my advanced age is £11.50.
I mentioned I was reading Northanger Abbey.
“It was a send up of popular Gothic novels,” he exclaimed, “although it was written in 1803 it was published after Jane’s death in 1817.”
Following his talk I took in the huge amount of information available as videos, exhibits, paintings and prints, ending up via the tea rooms in the gift shop.
But not before meeting Fitzwilliam Darcy who it is fair to say, it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of good looks and a good job at the Jane Austen Centre, must be in want of a wife.

The play is on tour until April – see https://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/an-hour-and-a-half-late

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.

More news of Bath’s chic community in Bath Voice magazine – now out – or read online at https://issuu.com/bathvoice

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk and follow him on all social media sites.

See:  https://www.facebook.com/bathvoice)
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AGENDA WEST: YM Collapse: workers left unpaid, anger at directors, calls for an investigation – and Printweek praised for keeping industry informed

YM collapse

The demise of three of YM Group’s print factories has been charted by the trade website and magazine Printweek with the comments from readers giving an added insight into the thoughts of those in the industry, writes Harry Mottram.

The publications reporter Jo Francis has kept readers informed during the slow car crash of the company from its securing of the Daily Mail contract last year to its collapse this spring. ICSM has echoed the news of the decline and fall due to having a large number of print and allied trades as members. The reasons for their joining the credit intelligence group is to avoid the fate of some of the suppliers of YM who have been left unpaid.

There is considerable anger across the industry in the way the YM Group was managed or rather mismanaged and in particular the manner of the collapse leaving workers unpaid and there was praise for Printweek’s coverage of the story.

Jo Francis reported: “FRP was appointed at YM Chantry, York Mailing, and Pindar Scarborough today (31 March). Around 600 jobs are on the line at the factories, based on YM’s most recent accounts, for the year ending 31 May 2020.”

The trade publication explained that YM’s backer Pricoa had refrained from bailing out the group resulting in workers left high and dry and a string of suppliers left unpaid. There was considerable anger over the way the workforce and suppliers were left in the dark about the potential collapse with suppliers receiving orders for goods when the company was insolvent.

One commentator under the name of johannesgutenberg on Printweek’s website said: “Strictly speaking, if the company is insolvent and it can be proved, the company should not be trading. Criminal charges can be brought.” The same writer noted: “In all honesty, like with so many other company groups in the past, the management were never there to make a go of the business. Only there to make a killing on large salaries, expense accounts and pilfer whatever they can before the game is up.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said there were similarities to the collapse of Polestar where the collapsed group left huge debts. He said suppliers must be cautious when receiving orders from a firm that is rumoured to be in trouble with evidence of County Court Judgements registered against a company. Another give away he said was taking a careful look at a firm’s published accounts where a long term trend can be spotted such as a year on year fall in profits and turn-over.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

BATH VOICE MONTHLY NEWS MAGAZINE: the sport they’ve been playing on the Recreation Ground since Victorian times – and a sport you can play into your 90s

The members gather for a winter meeting – it’s a 12 months of the year sport

They’ve been playing croquet on the Rec in Bath since the 1860s when there was a craze for the sport.

Ball and mallet games date back centuries but in the mid 19th century the rules of croquet become formalised and the game flourished. The reasons were many but it was a sport women could play in long skirts without getting hot and sweaty and they could play men on even terms.

Also lawns were kept in good condition and well trimmed with advent of hand pushed lawn mowers and rollers.

And there was a growing fashion for croquet parties for the fashionable and wealthy.

The middle classes and less wealthy took up the sport in public places like Bath’s Recreation Ground where anyone could play the sport.

The current club at the Rec dates to only 1976 when enthusiasts restored the sport which now has around 100 members.

The club house is an attractive and modern home for the players complete with cuttings from previous decades, photos of past players from the 1920s and a prized cup dating back to the sport’s glory days.

Lynne Passfield is the club’s Chairman and clearly loves hitting balls through hoops.

“My neighbour in Bristol was always nagging me to play, so when I retired as a primary school teacher I thought I’d have a go,” she said, “I love it here, I love the setting and when you are playing on a summer’s evening and the sun goes down over the Abbey in the distance it is such a wonderful place to be.

”The sport has been dogged by the cliche of only being played on the lawns of rectories by genteel folk but in reality it is a fiercely competitive and highly skilled sport. It is played across the country under the rules of The Croquet Association UK with Bath playing under the SW Federation pitched against teams from South Wales, Worcestershire, and Gloucestershire. This season (which lasts 12 months) will feature free taster sessions for those interested.

The first one is on Saturday, April 23rd, details at https://www.bathcroquet.com/

The latest issue of Bath Voice Monthly News Magazine is out now. Free to thousands of Bath residents it can also be read online: https://issuu.com/bathvoice

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park & wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets.

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Or email him at harryfmottram@gmail.com