Volunteer blog – ‘Work Outing’

This is one of my favourite Winter’s stories. Imagine everyone in their Victorian clothes trecking around Dovedale!

A trip to Dovedale.

I thought readers would be interested in this time of lockdown and limited travel to read about Winter’s annual employees’ outing to Dovedale. I have found two references to these in local newspapers, 1884 and 1885, the years after the fire that I wrote about last week. The outings both took place on Whit Monday which falls in the second half of May, and traditionally was a day for outings. As well as a description of the day the reports name three of the employees and we learn that there was a manager, senior artist and a manager of the fine art department.

The day began early, the staff and a few friends leaving Midland Road soon after 7 o’clock in three brakes provided by Mr Freeman cab proprietor of Curzon Street. Brakes were wagonettes drawn by 4 horses in this case, the passengers sitting facing each other. The party numbered over 30. The party stopped at Ashbourne to visit the church, and arrived at their destination just before midday. It is known that Mr Winter regularly visited Ashbourne before the studio was built. An advertisement dated 1864 shows that he visited the town weekly on Tuesdays and on Saturdays by appointment. He rented a room in St John Street for the purpose of the photography. Prints and plates in the collection show that he photographed scenes in Ashbourne and Dovedale.

On arrival at the Peveril Hotel in Thorpe, the party sat down to lunch. The newspaper article reports ‘a capital repast’ provided by Mr Poyser the owner. Mr Poyser was the local vet in Ashbourne in the years when Mr Winter was working regularly in the town. After the meal there were speeches and thanks from Mr Jarvis, Mr Wills and Mr Bowland. It was mentioned that Mr Winter had paid all costs of the 1885 trip in thanks to the staff for their commitment and hard work.  Mr Winter replied that he was indebted to them and spoke of the medals they had won for the firm in the past year and hoping for further success in the future.

After the meal some of the party visited Dovedale and Ilam Hall. After a ‘meat tea’ games including football were played before the return journey was made. The party arrived back in Derby between 9 and 10 pm ‘having spent a very enjoyable day’.

It is not known for how many years the annual outings continued at Winter’s. To date only these two accounts have been found.

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