How a 1950s typewriter led a trail back to Brimington

Local history isn’t just about Roman remains, grand houses, schools, churches and the like – it’s also (and perhaps primarily) about people.  So, we’ve been pleased to assist in one of our more unusual stories – how a 1950s typewriter was reunited (metaphorically speaking), with its original owner – a well-known former Brimington resident.

The typewriter belonged to Joan Cheesley. Many local residents will remember her. She lived on Manor Road, later Well Spring Close and did much work in the village, particularly with the Ashgate Hospice appeal. Joan is still alive and must have been somewhat surprised when a collector – Emma Simmonds – having purchased her Olympia typewriter contacted her.

With Brimington’s Ashgate Hospice appeal secretary Joan Cheesley to the extreme right, Glenda Cooper is handing over a cheque to the Hospice appeal’s president – the Duke of Devonshire. Looking on (to the right of Glenda) is Bill Annable – we do not know who the woman is standing next to Bill. Standing next to the Duke is Councillor Joyce Platts, Chairman of the County Council. To the right of her is treasurer Joyce Hull. The photograph probably dates from 1986 and was taken at County Hall, Matlock.
Lovingly cared for. Joan Cheesley’s 1950s Olympia SM3 typewriter, now owned by Emma Simmonds, who traced the ownership back to Joan. (Photograph: Emma Simmonds)

Joan had first bought the typewriter in the mid- 1950s, from Harrods and had used it in her work in the city of London and later in her voluntary work in the village. We will not tell the story here, but suffice to say that we were able to assist the collector, after she found that Joan had written her war-time memories, which were published in our Brimington and Tapton Miscellany 7. Others had been able to answer further questions when Emma posted an appeal on a local Facebook page.

For a full (it lasts around 48 minutes) explanation of the story, Emma has produced a video on YouTube.

Joan Cheesley also contributed heavily to an article ‘Brimington’s contribution to the Ashgate Hospice appeal’, in our Miscellany 6, which is where the black and white photograph on this page is taken from. The appeal contributed just over £34,000 to the hospice and is remembered in three windows installed in the chapel there.

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