Mr Frank Leeming
are pleased to be able to include the recollections of Mr
Frank Leeming of his days spent working in the Ranger
Service at Elvaston Castle. Our (Lady) Administration
Officer, who edits most of our ever growing postbag said
the following about this item;
Frank's piece - I liked it as it comes from the heart, I
can hear his voice when I read it."
read it for yourself!
earliest recollection of Elvaston Castle is standing in
one of the stable doorways watching the gentry partaking
of the stirrup cup, prior to riding out on the hunt. This
would be the mid 1930's. Years later, 1973 to 1978, I had
the privilege of working here as a Derbyshire County
Council Countryside Ranger.
my service at the castle started, rain water was running
down the inside of the walls in the upper levels and
seeping into the ceilings and walls of the rooms below.
It was still leaking when I left the service in 1978.
Although it was reported on a regular level to the
planning office at Matlock, nothing was done to stop it
and I am witness to this fact. The Planning Office was
the department in charge of Elvaston Castle during my
Victorian ladies Promenade on the top level was also
ignored, falling into disrepair, leaks, rust and pigeon
mess. Most of the rooms in the top level were left in a
state of disrepair and a deaf eye and a blind ear ruled
outbuildings were put to good use as a Heritage Display
and was enjoyed by thousands of children and adults. It's
a pity that they did not put the same enthusiasm into the
castle. Unfortunately these were also run down and then
my considered opinion that even before my time there,
they had a plan to sell the castle. However, try they did
whilst I was there, but a movement was organised to
oppose this sale and I was part of it. We were
successful. The plan was shelved, waiting for a better
time to bring it out again.
they are at it again and their website proposal is a
masterpiece of PR. Glossy, full of promises and a glowing
picture of the general public enjoying the benevolence
they will provide for them. It is nothing more than
cheese in the trap and when you tap it, it rings loud and
clear like an empty drum.
Castle was this country's first country park, and
here in the south of the county we had something to be
proud of. To hold and to cherish. It belongs to the
people and we will not give it up or give it away for
developers and their friends to rape and plunder it's
were given this land by their friends in the Derby City
Council for a pittance, less than £5, what they call 'a
token' and they have abused it ever since. The greed in
their eye tells you that this is more valuable than the
Crown Jewels and when you and I are long dead and gone,
no matter what they say and promise now, it will be
priceless building land for them that hold it.
we have here is an 'Aladdin's Cave' and we know who the
robbers are, but who will come to the rescue?
Frank Leeming, Independent
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