Visitors Books 1995
“I rang a peal of Grandsire Triples here.” “9th March 1881, it was”
An unlikely conversation these days, but just about possible on 27th February 1949, when it was faithfully recorded in the Ranmoor Visitors Book. “G Holmes, Cairnhome Crosspool”, it says, with the comment about the 1881 peal. In a scratchy dip-in pen too, with the ubiquitious blue-black that filled many an inkwell before the biro and felt-tip took over. Not the mention the odd ink-blot here and there.
6th May 1939 A. E. Chilton, Southwell
25th May 1943 Margaret Hurd, 2 Woodvale Road, Sheffield,
appear on adjacent lines, so leaving to the imagination most of the intervening story. Actually we are not quite sure of ‘Hurd’, which is under one of those blots from the opposite page and a list of the ‘St. John’s 1944.
28th March Gordon Chaddock, 18 Seagrave Crescent Gleadless; while the name is in a young hand (which had matured by the time of his next entry on 21st Sept 1954), the address is the same as that of 2nd November 1943, H. Chaddock.
Underneath that is a visit on 7th December 1943, one ‘John Gilbert’. He first signed in on 15th May 1934 as ‘John J. L. Gilbert’ (three entries after 24th April 1934 K. W. H. Felstead of Beighton), and most recently on 2nd March 1991, we do not need a handwriting expert to recognise a constant style across those sixty years.
Those are some of the highlights of a book “Presented by Mr. Charles Haynes to the Ranmoor Company on the Dedication of the New Peal of Ten Bells, March 31st 1934”. As a working book it was showing its age, with a lost spine, threadbare covers, a few dogeared pages, and little remaining space.
So we considered the alternatives: an honorable retirement in the archive at the back of the cupboard, and a new exercise book for current visitors, perhaps?
Better, we thought, is rejuvenation and new life in a new set of covers, allowing current visitors to share the delights of picking an odd few pages in the 1950s and spotting the famous and the soon-to-befamous.
Let us continue to browse our visitors books, let us seek them out to sign when we visit (lest we are destined to be famous), and let us collect a few pounds together every half-century or so to add more blank pages:
Bookbinders of the Exercise Unite:
Save our History.
PETER SCOTT Ranmoor, Sheffield.
(from Sheffield Branch Newsletter).