Edwinstowe, despite its allusion to being a cultural hive of historic deference, constructed from roughly hewn medieval stone and nestling deep within Sherwood Forest, is a slum.
In earlier ages the village was composed of two parts, the village on the hill, built around the 9th century church and the village by the river. Both half-villages were populated by yokels, none of which were allowed a hand in the construction of the church, the village or indeed the local colliery. Professional tradesmen were hired from Yorkshire to carry out construction work, leaving the Edwinstowe bumkins free to drink themselves into a parochial stupor in any one of the village’s many pubs, or to turn the fields, work the mill. Those lacking ability to perform either task found themselves bereft of gainful employ, whereupon they would create more yokels and tug forelocks on Sundays when the carriages of nobs were drawn through the village on their way to the Dukeries and the tour of the forest and heaths.
When Thoresby colliery’s two shafts were sunk in the 1920’s, a third semi-Edwinstowe was built between the river and the hill and inhabited by the Thoresby colliers; disgruntled Geordies who had been too pissed to take the Jarrow march, or incomprehensible Poles with names such as wick and jick and zik – anything in fact that rhymed with thick. Then came along a number of Welshmen who were eager to sing in the church choir, but were shunned by the uparse hill-dwelling church wardens who held a pathological hatred of the villagers by the river and subsequently the collier chavs of the Edwinstowe mud-flats.
When the burrowing chavs migrated to Edwinstowe and subsequently the population increased, so too changed the village’s ambience, from the once rustic aroma of burning wood and s**t on water, due to the village sewage being fed directly into the water supply, to crackling animal fat and chip shops. Several new outlets opened on the high street, providing the colliery chavulation with meat pies, cheap cigarettes and news print that barely any of them could read, but proved cheaper than soft toilet tissues; and this is why the Thoresby pit head baths often ran blue when the Edwinstowe chavettes, the wicks jiks evans, the marras and the ee by ecks sluiced down their ink stained sphincters at the end of each shift on the coal face.
Wars came and went, and the bustling frump frauleins who partnered the ink arsed wicks, ecks, evans, marras and the occasional wop, huddled into the new Edwinstowe cinema-plex, danced at the Royal Oak or drank themselves stupid at the Jug and Glass. They traded sexual favours for rations and named their children after their favoured Hollywood matinee idol, such as Godzilla, the Blob or Lassie.
Edwinstowe’s fortunes took a nosedive in the 1960’s when the new estate was built in the fields overlooking the church. Suddenly the cloistered, inbred church wardens were no longer closest to their God but downgraded and sneered at by the pseudo-gentrified provincial inhabitants of the estates, who would wrinkle their noses when buying cheap plonk from the new shop on the mud-flat chav estate or when they purchased sexual wares from the frump frauleins, and who’s children were all sixth formers who attended sixth form parties, stole their Dad’s woodbines and told everybody they were on drugs It wasn’t only their parents’ sawdust fags they’d steal but also the cherry brandy and advocaat, quaffing this by the bottle on the Birklands and then faux-staggering down the high street exclaiming to everyone they were soooo drunk, when infact their Fathers had already consumed the spirits the previous night and refilled the bottles with their own piss in an attempt to recycle the alcohol.
Edwinstowe culture changed drastically in the 1970’s and 80’s when three distinct social groups developed independently of each other. Colliers would spend their evenings in the Miners Welfare slaughtering themselves with Mansfield bitter. They would fight their way to their nicotine tar stained homes, beat the wife up, rouse the kids with their drunken bellowing and demands for kipper and sweet tea, before collapsing into their pits, their snores harmonising with the noxious farts and accompanied gradually by the decaying stench of tepid ammonia when they pissed the bed.
Inhabitants of the new estate pursued a similarly diverse existence, making small talk with their wives and children, asking about homework but never quite understanding any of it, feigning sympathetic enthusiasm as the prodigal daughter/son exhibited their English GCSE opus based on the works of Keats or Bronte or William Mcgonagol, their breath corrupt from woodbines or advocaat diluted by Dad’s piss, while their pater gradually lost focus through the haze of cheap whisky from the new shop, and their mother stumbled about the kitchen, soaked to the epidermis with gin and tonic and wondering, as they prepared supper, if tonight they would be allowed an orgasm.
Meanwhile, the inbred church wardens would dominate bible readings with their rendition of Jerusalem or Abide with me, while their wives, like shrews, coalesced into a kitchen shaped aglomeration of hips, fat arses and breasts tucked haphazardly into DVT stockings, covertly touching each other up by the gas cooker, or muttering oaths to their God, purchasing forgiveness for their gothic imaginings of being stripped naked by the church curate, forced to spread themselves across the crypt of Cobham Brewer and rammed remorselessly until their ears popped.
Education in Edwinstowe was as farcical as the efette facade of the provost-gentry on the new estate, or the faux-piety displayed by the inbred, homosexual church officialdom, or indeed the ostensible blood sweat and tears drawn from the living tissue of the eck, wick, boyo and wop of the colliery estate. For a time, secondary education was provided by the Dukeries Comprehensive at New Ollerton, several hours walk through the forest for those terrified of teacher, or who had fofeit their bus pass to the school bully, or who had been emotionally injured for life by the whippings of the games masters, the drama teacher, and not forgetting the few who had survived gastro-enteritis sustained from school meals. The state of play changed in the 1980’s on the construction of Rufford Comprehensive at Edwinstowe, and the eck/wick/boyo/wop spawn were moved unceremoniously from the Dukeries that instilled in them the minimum development of an intellectual and moral nature, to Rufford Comp that offered nil.
Gradually, a demographic reform swept through the strata of Edwinstowe sub-culture, and a disparate lack of skills, attitude and ability drew vital man-resources away from the colliery, the high street centre of Edwinstowe commerce and the offices of Mansfield and Sutton, depositing them upon the doorstep of the dole office and the DHSS.
Matters were made even worse when the Newark and Sherwood District Council erected the council funded nicotine stained anaglypta estates on Henton Road and later the sheltered bungalows on Gaitskell and Merryweather where, to the horror of the the anally retentive church wardens, the retired wicks, jiks, marras, by eks and evans and the occasional wop moved even closer to God, and Edwinstowe’s cholic stench adopted to it’s prevailing waft of burning wood, s**t on water and animal fat, a residue of stillborn piss.