Trestle tables laid for homemade wine, Jams and jellies, ruby-red and clear, Feather sponges spun to float on air, Mingling wafts of crusty-coated bread; Wheels and looms set ready to display Spinning, weaving cloth and shaping clay; Pillows meshed with s
The wholesale industrialisation of the Peak District fringes, both to east and west, concentrated a massive captive population who were waiting for the chance to break out into the fresh air and sunshine. Now we have great open spaces to explore, and the means to get to them. Some say we have opened a Pandora’s box — the railway brought the first vandals to Peakland, the car brings the multitudes that reduce paths to broad quagmires in popular places, and the cult of the mountain bike threatens ancient tracks. Lucky though, the wanderer who strays into far off country, who still enjoys the quiet hills, distant from car park and gravel path and busy dale. Ghosts of long gone farmers still inhabit curlew moors, and far views to distant lowlands are quite unaltered.
In his lifetime there wasn’t a corner of the Peak District he hadn’t visited or a peak he hadn’t trodden, and even the tourist “honeypots” had received brief glances over the decades. He knew every inch of its varied landscapes and often his only walking companions were the grouse and skylarks of high summer or the sheep and mountain hares of deepest winter as he explored the rich hidden corners and lonely wildernesses that stretched over six counties for almost six decades. He always had his camera with him to record his walk; the unexpected encounter with flora or fauna, the rich colours and dramatic shapes of an unforgettable landscape, or a dazzling winter sunset — all composed with a countryman’s eye for detail.
After his sudden death, aged 76, in 2011 I inherited the entire Redfern Collection of images — thousands of colour and black-and-white images housed in a haphazard and random system of filing cabinets, plastic slide boxes and ring files. I’ve been through all the colour slides and I am now making my way through the equally numerous black-and-white negatives to try and bring some order to a unique body of work. In doing so I’ve unearthed some absolutely stunning images of the British countryside that have been published in a series of three books. The first of these — A Countryside Camera — was published by Whittles Publishing in 2014.
But his images have never received the same recognition as his prose — even though they were composed with the same sensitive skill and creativity. Most of them remained unpublished in his lifetime. Indeed for some of the pictures in this article it will be their first appearance in print, and for others I looked at in the process of selection it was possibly their first exposure to daylight since they were returned from processing and viewed for the only time. His collection has been a treasure trove of timeless images that I’ve been privileged to dip into, and a suitably poignant reminder of Roger Redfern — writer and photographer.
Thissummer marks the centenary of one of the bloodiest battles ever fought — the Battle of the Somme. It began on 1st July 1916 and by the time it had ended in November there had been well over one million casualties (see pages 54–55 for an article about the Somme).
The terrible sacrifice of so many young lives is vividly portrayed in a book of poems entitled When will we ever learn? written by Nick Matthews of Sandwich in Kent (for details contact email@example.com). Two members of his family fought at the Somme — his grandfather Sidney Bushell who won the MM and Bar in the First World War, and his great uncle Albert Bushell who was killed after two days in the line. Beautifully illustrated with photographs, artworks and calligraphy this book is a fine tribute. Here is one of the poems from the book:
go! There was a long delay and I think a policeman escorted him away in the end. The match itself was settled by a great headed goal from Geoff Hurst of West Ham, who had come into the team in place of the injured Greaves. I recall that after the match England’s manager Alf Ramsey refused to let his players swap shirts with their opponents.
England would meet Portugal at Wembley in the semifinals the following Tuesday — there was not much of a break between games in those days. Portugal had found themselves three goals down at one stage in their previous match against the plucky North Koreans, but then Eusebio scored four times to put his side through. Now the question was could the tournament’s leading scorer be the first player to net against England? In fact he did, with a penalty kick some five minutes before the end. By this time, though, England were two goals to the good, both scored by our own hero Bobby Charlton. England managed to hang on and would face our old adversaries West Germany in the World Cup Final on Saturday 30th July. My abiding memory of the semi-final was of the great Eusebio sobbing uncontrollably into his shirt at the final whistle.
By now, of course, I was thoroughly hooked on the game as cup fever gripped the nation. Nearly every shop and office displayed England banners, rosettes and messages of good luck together with images of World Cup Willie, the tournament’s official mascot. My friends and I proudly had Union Jack flags on our bikes as we impatiently rode around counting down the hours to the final.
Come the big day there was rain before kick off but it had stopped by the time the two teams walked out onto the lush Wembley turf. However, as England emerged out of the tunnel there were a couple of surprises in store. First, they were
A song to promote the first World Cup mascot was recorded by Lonnie Donegan and became the England football team’s anthem. There’s a football fellow You all know his name And the papers tell us he’s in the Hall of Fame, Wherever he goes He’ll be all the rage ’Cause he’s the new sensation of the age.
CHORUS Dressed in red, white and blue He’s World Cup Willie, We all love him too World Cup Willie, He’s tough as a lion and never will give up, That’s why Willie is favourite for the Cup. Willie, Willie, He’s everybody’s favourite for the Cup.
Well we’re all football crazy And it’s plain to see That we’re all so happy like one big family, Now we’ve found someone Who makes the rafters ring Welcome to a brand new soccer King. All the fans are waiting How they’ll spur him on And those sixty nations will soon know Willie’s song, Wherever he goes He’ll be all the rage ’Cause he’s the new sensation of the age. One more time: Willie, Willie, He’s everybody’s favourite for the Cup.