Delve into the regions history with one of Derbyshire's most popular historical societies

Since their first meeting in Chesterfield Library in September 1989, Chesterfield and District’s Local History Society (CADLHS) has become a cornerstone for curating public interest in local history.
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During meetings at St. Thomas Church’s Centre in Brampton, on the third Monday of every month – except for January – society members come together for chats over a hot drink to hear talks about various topics of local history.

Chairman and vice chairman of the CADLHS, David Mcphie and Janet Murphy, born and bred in Chesterfield, believes the society has been doing well in terms of attendance after particularly challenging periods such as the Covid lockdowns and with the club moving to a new venue.

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The number of attendees at the monthly meetings has risen from 20 to 30 people to 50 to 60.

Chesterfield and Districts Local History Society members listening to one of their monthly talksChesterfield and Districts Local History Society members listening to one of their monthly talks
Chesterfield and Districts Local History Society members listening to one of their monthly talks

Janet said: “It’s a nice social thing. People come along and meet new people and perhaps friends they have not seen in a while. We all have a nice chat.”

David, 82, and Janet are hoping to see more and more people attending the society's meetings, which they have at times found to be quite challenging. They said that, like many other local groups and societies, CADLHS has struggled to recruit younger people to join their group.

David said: “I know a lot of younger people through my music connections, and I’ve tried my best. People have said 'Oh, yes, we’ll come along', but I’m afraid it's never really happened.

“We get very few people under the age of 50, really.”

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Although Janet moved away from the area for a time, she has always felt a connection to the town and its history. She has been involved in many societies and even took part in protest marches.

Recently, the society has tried to increase its online profile. Janet has been at the head of a social media push that has seen the society posting into local community groups on Facebook. Though it is early days, Janet hopes this will allow the group to reach people who are not aware of the society. Alongside their social media, the CADLHS also has a website.

One relatively new member is Andy Miles, who joined the society two years ago.

Andy said he finds the lectures very interesting.

He said: “Once you get to know a few people, there's lots of chatting going on while having cups of tea.

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“It must be said that there's mostly older people that attend, but I think in general you don't start to get interested in history until you get to middle age. You're too busy living your life. It would be lovely to see some younger people at the meetings.”

The monthly talks are given by members of the society as well as other guest speakers. Upcoming topics that will be covered include the history of St. Thomas’ church, the industries of Brampton along the River Hipper, and a talk about the zeppelin air raids of Sheffield carried out by Germany in World War One.

The society also produces a monthly newsletter which can be found on their website. They also produce pamphlets and leaflets as well as support local historical exhibitions and research projects.

For more information about the society, visit their website or Facebook page.

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