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As well as promoting our heritage within Grantham, the Society establishes links with other towns and is frequently hosted at some of these towns by their own Civic Societies. These links foster good relations and sharing of ideas, so that the Society might further preserve the good in the old and encourage the good in the new in our own town of Grantham.

 

MUCH FOOD FOR THOUGHT.............VISIT TO RETFORD, OCTOBER 2016

On a pleasant Saturday, 8th October, a goodly number of Civic Society members set off on a short coach journey to the small market town of Retford on the River Idle.

On arrival, the market was in full swing as our guide, Derek Turner, greeted us. Not only is Derek a prominent member of the Retford Civic Society, but also the Lord High Steward of the town!

We were entertained with coffee and biscuits in a rather ‘familiar looking’ Town Hall, by the Mayor and his wife along with a number of Retford Civic Society members who had foregone their Market Place shopping to meet and chat with us.

After refreshments and a look at the large ballroom that, on that day, was hosting a beer festival, we were split into two groups and taken on a walking tour of the town. One group was led by Derek and the other by Malcolm, a local historian.

First stop was the Majestic Theatre (built in 1927), one of two surviving theatres, which had seen various celebrity acts including Ken Dodd and Des O’Conner. We were able to go into the balcony area and take a turn sitting close to the action (a rehearsal of a youth event was taking place) in one of the plush boxes.

Not far away we were led through a small alleyway, which opened out onto the side of what was Clark’s Laundry Building. The whole wall was covered in an amazing mural of the workers doing their laundry work that was designed by a local artist, but actually painted by a multitude of contributing groups, so a real Community Project…and not a single piece of graffiti in sight!!

 

We were shown various landmarks as we walked through the town and in particular our attention was drawn to another Civic Society Project, the restored iron railings spanning the entrance to the extensive and beautiful Kings’ Park. The Retford Civic Society was quite rightly proud to have played a major part in securing a grant for this work to be done – a visible sign to the community of it’s commitment to maintaining the town’s heritage.

Another project involved partnerships’ with a couple of businesses to restore the wrought iron balcony to the front, first floor elevation of the shops. The Retford Civic Society secured the grant and encouraged the premises owners to repaint, clean gutters, repoint the front of the building whilst the scaffolding for balcony restoration was erected, thus transforming the whole frontage.

The morning concluded with a visit to St Swithun’s Church, one of three in the town.

This magnificent building had again seen updating to encourage community use through the addition of glass partitions and doors to make the underused and draughty Lady Chapel into a rentable community room.

After a leisurely lunch, taken by some at the Bay Tree Restaurant beside the canal we all met up at Retford Museum – a pure delight made up of small rooms just full of interesting and enlightening objects as well as a barn fitted with all manor of farming and trade equipment from past times. The museum staff saw us leave having enjoyed tea and cakes in their café.

As a society we learnt a great deal about how a market town, not so unlike our own, with an active and dedicated Civic Society has worked alongside the councils, community and businesses to conserve and restore town assets to their former glory. Much food for thought….

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