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Mini ‘rebellion’ as museum marks last armed uprising

PEOPLE across Erewash are being invited to stage a mini “revolution” at the borough’s museum as part of an arts project to mark the last armed uprising in England – which authorities tried to airbrush from history.

The Ilkeston cultural hub is issuing drawings showing the outlines of figures holding placards which residents are being invited to customise in answer to the question: What matters to you and what would you march for?

These will be put on display on Saturday 21 October when a current exhibition about the little-known revolt hosts a visit from a group dedicated to keeping its memory alive.

An arts workshop will be held from 11am to 1pm. People are being asked to fill in the outline drawings beforehand and get them to the museum by Wednesday 18 October.

The museum’s busy Saturday on what will be the last day of Ilkeston Charter Fair will see members of the Pentrich Revolution Group stage a commemorative walk in the town starting at 10.30am in the Market Place. They will stop off at the nearby museum at 11am. Mayor of Erewash Councillor Frank Phillips will be paying a civic visit.

Erewash was caught up in the 1817 rebellion by more than 300 Derbyshire villagers who grabbed pitchforks and muskets to march towards Nottingham from their homes around Pentrich.

The jobless weavers and miners – enraged by bread shortages amid a cost-of-living crisis – had wrongly been told they would be joined by thousands of other rebels heading towards London to overthrow the government of the day. It was all a pipe dream.

They reached the edge of the borough before being routed by soldiers of the 15th Regiment of Light Dragoons. The three ringleaders were later hanged. Others were transported to Australia. Their families were evicted and their homes demolished.

The exhibition about the uprising features works by local artists depicting what happened. It has been organised by Jo Brown, who is Community Curator of the Erewash Past, Present and Future Project – an initiative funded by Arts Council England.

The museum’s activities on the last day of the fair will include “dancing entertainment” in the garden and a penny slot machine giving ten plays for £1.

Entry to the award-winning museum is free. It is open Thursdays to Saturdays from 11am to 4pm.

Erewash’s Deputy Leader Councillor Becca Everett, who is Lead Member for Community Engagement, said:

     “There are always fascinating things to see and do at Erewash Museum so it is well worth a visit – plus it has a fantastic tea room.

     “The Pentrich Rising was the last time England experienced an armed rebellion but thanks to the efforts of the ruling class to play down what happened it is barely ever mentioned.”

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