The Turnpike Milepost
Mark's story is about the restoration of a turnpike milepost.
It’s history as well as people that makes a community. There I was minding my own business pulling up weeds in the front garden, it must’ve been 1987 or so, this was my first house and I was just pottering about I suppose when an old bloke from round the corner greeted me with ‘hey up son do you know what this is?’ he indicated the low post in front of the wall. No, no idea. ‘It’s a mile post, there’s another one or there was when I were a lad along the way there’. ‘Oh’ I said. ‘They were put there after waterloo, there were so many French canon captured that they used them as mile posts’. As it turned out the post was much older than that, years later I’d moved on and the house had changed hands a few times. Then one evening I had a call from my old neighbour to say that the new owner was widening the drive and had pulled out the milepost and chucked it in a skip. I rushed over and we made an eleventh hour rescue. The skip was due to be collected the next morning. But what do you do with a hundred pounds of cast iron. Well I put it in my shed and made a plan, we’d restore it and put it back. There was one remaining milepost on the old turnpike road so we made careful measurements and photographs and with help of the parish council found the money to pay for a new casting to be made. An old family business still casting iron in the Black Country helped us out there. It was a devil of a job persuading the overworked man at the county council of what it actually was, it took all my powers of persuasion, but once we got him on board he made it his life mission to help. Do stories have beginnings? I came in part way through to help restore something that had been there for 200 years and now when I pass that milepost I wonder where its story will go. It’s a small part of the history of the village I live in, a small part of the glue that binds us, its history as well as people that makes a community.
Train the trainer at Ashby-de-la-Zouch Museum
A group of museum and heritage professionals from across the Midlands came together for a three day training session at Ashby Museum, learning how to run digital storytelling workshops. Each person made their own digital story.