Category Archives: News

Parliament Day at the St. Thomas’ Centre , Brampton – Chairman’s Report

Members and guests who attended Chesterfield and District Civic Society’s meeting at St Thomas’s church centre on Saturday November 18 heard four outstanding presentations on ‘Democracy at Work: a View from Inside’. The event was the society’s contribution to UK Parliament Week.

Te first speaker was Natascha Engels, until recently Labour MP for North East Derbyshire and one of only two women to serve as a Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons. Ms Engels, putting over important points in a clear and witty way, explained how the reform of procedure since the turn of the century has given backbench Members more influence over the Government and Opposition front benches.

She was followed by Lee Rowley, the newly elected Conservative MP for the division, who shared some first impressions of the Commons, as someone entering the House from a business background. He wished to see more issues approached on a non-partisan basis, for example the improvement of public transport in the North of England, which he argued was hardly a party matter.

The third speaker, Toby Perkins, Labour MP for Chesterfield since 2010, by contrast took the view that politics was always bound to be partisan. He explained how an effective Opposition could put pressure on the Government and sometimes force it to abandon or change its policies. He too succeeded in explaining very well some technical details of Commons business.

Finally, Paul Holmes, the Liberal Democrat MP for Chesterfield between 2001 and 2010, made an impressive case for proportional representation, giving numerous examples of the unfairness of the current first-past-the-post system, and arguing that coalition government in Europe did not, as the British often believe, always mean weak government. He pointed out that the Coalition Government of 2010–15 had, despite gloomy forecasts to the contrary, lasted its full term and achieved a measure of economic recovery.

All the presentations attracted a lively discussion, including valuable comments from Mr Harry Barnes, the former Labour MP for North East Derbyshire , and everyone agreed afterwards that the meeting had been both enjoyable and instructive.

Philip Riden


Elder Way Co-op Redevelopment – A talk by Adam Hearld

Wed 2 Nov   :   Elder Way Co-op Redevelopment

 A talk by Adam Hearld of Jomast Properties Ltd, the site developers

Jomast Properties Ltd – Website


In the Suite at the St Thomas’ Centre at 7.30pm.

There will also be an update on our involvement in current and recent local issues such as The Shrubberies, Thornfield House and Hurst House.

Free to members, guests £2.

St Thomas’ Centre
For location details and directions , please click on the picture .

Pete Lawton: “The English Longbow” – Monday 11 September 2017, 7.30


We’re going a little further back in time than usual for our first indoor meeting of the new season – and it promises to be a fascinating evening.

Behind every battle in history was a highly supportive industry. They not only produced the arms and armour for use in the field, they followed the army working behind the battlefront, replacing weapons, building and repairing armour, replacing shafts and blades. They included blacksmiths, sheet metalworkers, sawyers, leatherworkers, and many other trades. Not least they produced the latest weapons, of which the English longbow was a devastating example. See the equipment, hear the history, think again about the massive industry that was behind every army in history – sometimes numbering more than the number of fighters.

St. Thomas’ Church Centre, Chatsworth Road, Chesterfield
Visitors welcome, £2 on the door, more details on our website