Being stuck at home, many of us have probably spent a lot of time online this year and hopefully learnt a thing or two. We challenged Isobel with writing a New Year quiz but seeing as we did a huge quiz earlier in the year and you’ve probably had enough, she came up with something slightly less quizzical:

Instead of a quiz, I am going to put forward a few suggestions of places and things together with links you might find interesting. You might be revisiting things you already know something about or learn something new – if you get a thrill from getting something right on Mastermind, you might enjoy some of these!

You might even like to take a step back and consider the age of some of the following suggestions and wonder at the technology we use today to research them.

1: A true, and tragic, lockdown love story about Emmott Sydall and Rowland Torre. Perhaps you could visit the brachiopod formation at Cucklett Delph, and look at the 2020 studies into DNA of plague survivors – www.bbc.com, Coronavirus: what can the plague village of Eyam teach us?

View of Eyam Village by F.L. Chantrey print collection BMAG

2: Have a look for the painting Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer, dated 1665, and find out the origin of the white pigment used in the painting. The date of this painting and the events of Eyam in 1665 are purely coincidental.

3: When our museum reopened in 2017 after the refurbishment, a Blue John chalice was made and is on display today. This is the Ridley Chalice – who was it named for and how was the vein discovered? How many different veins of Blue John are there?

Blue John collection BMAG

4: If you google the word Bullring, links to Birmingham and Liverpool are among the first to show up. If you add Dove Holes to the search, a little gem will be revealed – somewhere that many people will pass often by car or bus and not even realise is there at all. While waiting for our car to have its MOT one time, we had a walk round the back of the cricket ground – and there it is, a Neolithic henge and nearby barrow. It isn’t pretending to be Stonehenge, but here it is on our doorstep. 

5: There are many stone circles and the like in Derbyshire – the link to stone-circles.org.uk lists counties in alphabetical order, giving the information about each one.

Flint arrowhead found at Arbor Low archaeology collection BMAG

6: You might also enjoy megalithic.co.uk, the Megalithic Portal – and of course, these links cover places other than Derbyshire – you might use something like this on holiday, for example (once we can enjoy holidays again).

7: peakdistrictonline.co.uk gives a menu option of Villages – this will open up an alphabetical list with lots of information.

8: St. Helen’s church at Darley Dale has so many interesting features – a brass polyglot (this is a Mastermind question if ever there was one), an ancient yew – well, that is a bit of an understatement, the grave of Joseph Whitworth & family who in 1841 devised the British Standard Whitworth system for screw threads. Who knew such a thing existed? After his death, part of his bequest was used to establish the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. There is also a stained glass window depicting the Song of Songs by Edward Burne – Jones (he definitely features on Mastermind) ….the church has a lovely guide pamphlet because there is more!

View of Church in Darley Dale by J. Connop 1809 print collection BMAG

9: And finally…..2021 will mark the centenary of the discovery of insulin. One of the people involved in its co-discovery was Dr. Frederick Banting – as a Canadian soldier, wounded during World War 1, he came to Buxton to convalesce. There is a plaque on Buxton Railway Station to mark the station’s importance at that time, especially when The Granville Canadian Red Cross Special Hospital opened in Buxton in 1917.

If you’re hungry for more knowledge of Buxton and the rest of Derbyshire, there are many more bits and bobs on this website or on wondersofthepeak. Our colleagues at the Derbyshire Record Office have completed countless research of their own and the best resource for the town of Buxton is found at Explore Buxton.

Happy New Year!