Formed in 1983 to record and promote interest in the history of the Derbyshire village of Sawley
The People Of Sawley
John Clifford was born on October 1836 in a house in Back Street (now 52 Wilne Road),
Sawley, into a family long-established in the village. The house now carries a plaque
recording the fact. The Clifford family moved to Beeston when John was only four
years old, but already he had attended the Sawley Baptist School (his uncle, John
Stenson, was then the schoolmaster). At 11 years of age John started work as a jacker-off
in the lace industry, splicing the cotton on the bobbins in order to maintain an
unbroken thread. He never forgot the long hours and drudgery, and campaigned all
his life for better conditions for the working man. He was baptised (in the Baptist
Church baptism is not bestowed in childhood but only on recipients observed to have
attained a state of religious conviction) on June 18, 1851, and shortly afterwards
began preaching. He made such an impression that he was recommended to the Baptist
Academy for training as a minister. Even before he had finished his training he was
offered the post as minister for the Praed Street Baptist Chapel in London. He agreed
on condition that he could also study for a university degree.
He took up the post the day after his 22nd birthday, and with his oratory and energy
he soon revived a congregation that had been in decline. He remained its minister
for the next 57 years. His university studies prospered, and he acquired a clutch
of degrees, BA, MA, MSc and LlB. His doctorate was an honorary one awarded by an
In 1862 John Clifford married Rebecca Carter, of Newbury in Berkshire. They were
to have seven children.
The activities which Clifford pursued through the Praed Street church were varied,
reflecting the social consciousness that was ever a strong thread in his personality
- these included a benefits society, sickness benefit, a savings scheme, job vacancy
information, and adult eduction. The Praed Street church buildings became too small,
and in 1870 the work was transferred to a new church in Westbourne Park.
In the Baptist Church itself Clifford rose to the highest positions, including presidency
of the National Baptist Union and the Baptist World Alliance. He travelled widely,
and was received by the prime ministers of South Africa and Australia, and by President
Taft in the United States.
Bill Camm was a popular and highly regarded local politician who represented Sawley
on the district/borough tier of government for just a few weeks short of half a century.
Bill was a joiner by trade and and worked at Stanton Ironworks before becoming self-employed,
and remaining so for many years.
He was elected to the Long Eaton Urban District Council on behalf of the Labour Party
in 1961. Several disagreements between Bill and the party eventually led to his subsequently
sitting as an independent for most of his long political career. When the LEUDC became
part of the new Erewash Borough Council Bill retained his seat, and indeed kept it,
with increasing majorities, until his death in 2011. He also represented Sawley on
the Derbyshire County Council and in 1983 stood as an independent for the parliamentary
constituency then known as South-east Derbyshire. He was not elected but, his poll
of 4158 was not matched by that of any other independent at that election.
Always an intensely local man Bill Camm was associated with, or a patron of, too
many local organisations to list. He was particular involved with the Sawley Community
Association and Sawley and Long Eaton Cricket Club. He was president of both, and
his name is commemorated by the latter in their Bill Camm Pavilion.
He was a friend to the Sawley and District Historical Society, one of his donations
making it possible for us to launch this website.
When Bill Camm died in early 2011 the attendance at his funeral in All Saints Church
was such that a link had to be provided to an overflow congregation in the church
Samuel Clegg was the son of Alexander Clegg, who came to Sawley in 1882 to take up
the position of master of the Baptist School, then a fully operational day school.
It is not surprising, therefore, that Samuel himself became a teacher. He started
in 1884, at the age of 13, as a pupil-teacher in his father's school, before doing
another two years at Radford. He then went on to acquire a teacher's certificate
at Owens College, Manchester (Owens College would later become Manchester University)
followed by two years as a teacher in Derby, before being appointed a teacher in
Long Eaton. By 1897 he was in charge of the Long Eaton Pupil Teachers' Centre. Under
his leadership this gradually expanded. When the Derbyshire County Council, as the
local education authority, decided to establish a secondary school in Long Eaton
in accordance with the requirements of the Education Act of 1902, they commissioned
a noted educationalist, Professor Michael Sadler, to produce a feasibility study.
Sadler was impressed by the flourishing Pupil Teacher Centre and by Samuel Clegg,
and he recommended that both institution and personality be the basis of the new
school. The Long Eaton County School and Pupil Teacher Centre was opened in 1910,
and Samuel Clegg served as its headmaster until his death in 1930. But Samuel Clegg
was also active in other spheres. He was secretary of the committee which was able
to establish a public library in Long Eaton. Samuel Clegg was a leading member of
the local Liberal Association, and of the Long Eaton Co-operative Society, taking
classes in 'The Principles of Co-operation', and producing the first history of the
society, Co-operation in Long Eaton, in 1901.
Samuel Clegg's daughter Mary married Frederick Attenborough, who had been at one
time a teacher at the Long Eaton County School, and their children include Lord Attenborough
(Richard Attenborough) the film director and David Attenborough the presenter of
television natural history programmes. Samuel Clegg's son became Sir Alec Clegg,
one of the country's most important educationalists, and Alec's son Peter Clegg is
today a leading architect.
Samuel Hey was the longest-serving incumbent in charge of Sawley church in all its
recorded history. He took up the position of what was then called Perpetual Curate
of Sawley in 1845. In 1866 the financial arrangements governing the parish were changed,
and the prebend was returned from Lichfield cathedral to the parish itself. The title
of Perpetual Curate was then changed to Rector. Samuel Hey continued to serve as
the first rector of Sawley until he died in 1893. He was also the rural dean. After
this death the clergy and lay representatives of the deanery contributed to one of
the church's stained glass windows, while another was dedicated by Samuel Hey's relatives.
Hey Street is named after Samuel Hey.
Arthur Kingscott, front left, with the England football team in Italy in 1933 Born
in Sawley in 1864, Arthur Kingscott became prominent as a football administrator.
He played football as a young man for Sawley Rangers, but then took up refereeing.
He was the referee for the FA Cup Final in 1900, and again for the 1901 Cup Final
(the last time the same man has refereed more than one final). He had become a member
of the FA Council in 1894, and in 1918 he became treasurer of the Football Association.
His son Harry Kingscott (also from Sawley) refereed the 1931 Cup Final, the only
instance of two members of the same family officiating at this event. In 1933 Arthur
Kingscott resigned from the FA Council and the position of treasurer as a result
of a dispute with other members, which blew up into a major controversy. A tablet
to the memory of Arthur Kingscott, who died in 1937, was erected in Sawley Parish
Church by the Midland Counties Football League.
Geoffrey Kingscott All members of the Sawley and District Historical Society were
shocked and saddened by the death, after a short and devastating illness, of Geoffrey
Geoff died in early March 2011 in the house in Shaftesbury Avenue, Sawley, that had
been his home for almost the whole of his seventy-four years. He was born into a
family celebrated for producing top-flight football referees, but he himself spent
his life working in journalism, translation, editing and writing historical non-fiction.
Geoff's first job, following a degree in French at UCL, was at Ericsson's at Beeston,
but he soon left this to tour Europe by bicycle, earning his keep by farm work. Back
in the UK he became a reporter for the Pontypridd Observer until his father's death
brought him back to Sawley. Here he started work for the sorely missed Long Eaton
Advertiser in 1959.
After some months he left to start his own news gathering and distribution agency
which, after a few years, he contrived to run at the same time as being proprietor
of a music shop.
In 1964 Geoff was Labour's second-youngest candidate standing, without success, in
Sheffield Hallam, the constituency now represented by Deputy Prime-Minister Nick
Clegg. By the end of the decade he was also editor of Stock Car magazine.
In 1969 he sold his businesses and became a full-time, free-lance translator, based
in both Long Eaton and Leeds. Some time after in turn selling that original translation
business Geoffrey started up Praetorius Limited, a company that eventually opened
offices in Nottingham, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Mulhouse and Chicago. He also
founded and published the magazine Language Monthly. Experience of the European Commission
later made Geoffrey modify his political opinions to the extent that he became General
Secretary of UKIP.
After many years as an academic and commercial translator and editor Geoffrey retired;
up to a point that is. He continued free-lance work and wrote several books on disused
railways and a learned but entertaining monograph Last Train from Trent Station,
about the unique railway interchange that once stood near the DSL warehouse behind
Fields Farm Road.
Geoffrey was a stalwart committee member of the Sawley and District Historical Society.
He was a very well-read man with deep knowledge in many areas. It is a matter of
great disappointment that the onset of his illness prevented him taking up the place
that he had won as a competitor on BBC Radio 4's Brain of Britain last winter. He
was a devoted family man and is survived by his wife Judy, to whom he was married
for 48 years, three children and five grandchildren.
Always unconventional Geoffrey was buried in a woodland site to which the funeral
party was transported in a narrow-guage train. The cortege was led by a New Orleans
style marching jazz band.