When she died in 1982, Margery Crawford left us a wonderful legacy. Since 1920 until she died in 1982 she had snipped out and saved any article in the Newark Advertiser or national papers that mentioned Elston.
Margery was the youngest of the eleven children of William and Elizabeth Merrin and was born in 1909 at Hall Farm and lived there until 1932, when she married Ernest Crawford. Their first home was Croft Cottage in Toad Lane. She qualified as a teacher around 1928 and taught at East Stoke Primary School with Mrs E.H. Wright, who later became Head at Elston School. When Margery married she was obliged to give up teaching because married women weren't allowed to teach then. In 1939 when the Second World War started, she was asked to return to teaching but she told the education authorities that as she wasn't wanted in 1932 she was declining their offer of a post.
Aside from one item dated in October 1917, her collection started in 1920 when she began to cut out all published references to Elston and to people associated with Elston from the Newark Advertiser, and also when they occasionally appeared in any of the national dailies. When she and Ernest moved to Stubton in 1971 she started to collect cuttings about her new village but she continued to save Elston items. By this time it had become a hobby. She could never be idle and even while watching TV she would be knitting or sewing.
The hundreds of items, varying from a couple of lines to double page spreads, include not only the normal births, engagements, marriages, deaths and funerals but also occasional special features or accounts of events, as well as stories about the people who lived here -- their experiences, their achievements, their tragedies, and their scandals. In publishing the articles we apologise to friends and relatives if they awaken sad memories. They are included for the sake of completeness and no editing has taken place.
In the intervening 26 years since Margery’s death the cuttings had lain in a box awaiting this opportunity to be republished. Her son, Chris, kindly loaned them to the Project, and Christine Hanby has painstakingly scanned every one of them so that they can be made available for everyone to read. Margery’s labour of love had been continued since the 1980s by her daughter-in-law Ruth, who wanted to maintain the family tradition. And now Christine’s father, George White, another avid and thorough reader of the Newark Advertiser, is setting aside Elston-related items from current editions as they appear each week so that what we have now called The Crawford Newsfile can be continued into the future. And as other people provide older cuttings they are added into the archive.
In the summer of 2009, Chris Blackamore, co-author with Fred Thomas of The Elston Index, kindly donated to the Project a large number of files of the research he had carried out over a period of 12 years from 1989 to 2001 into the history of Elston. Among these papers was a file of newspaper cuttings dating from 1791 and covering the period just prior to the start of the Margery Crawford collection as well as many items of a later date.
The cuttings were photocopied at the Nottingham Central Library and the Newark Library from microfilms, which had been heavily used over the years, and in addition the photocopiers were poorly maintained. The result is that many of the cuttings are heavily lined. Chris had also transcribed many other articles, including the least legible of the photocopied items, and typed them up in most cases. The result is that, together with the cuttings collected by Ruth Crawford and latterly by George White, this provides an almost continuous record of news items about the village from just after the French Revolution to the present day.
The items can be dated either because the top of the page bearing the date of the edition has survived in the cutting or, in most cases, because Margery wrote the date in ink on cuttings she took from the middle of pages. Where there is no date on the cutting, a little research into a reference in the article has enabled at least an approximate date to be placed on several of them, leaving us with a few items that can’t be accurately dated.
As far as possible the articles have been arranged in approximately chronological order except where, due to their size and shape, they have been placed out of sequence to avoid leaving large gaps on the pages. The print on the earliest items has faded, the paper has become discoloured and degraded, and the font size was smaller than we are used to today. These articles have therefore been enhanced and enlarged wherever necessary so that they should be readable, though perhaps still with the aid of a magnifier. The later cuttings become easier to read.
The Crawford Newsfile is available on CD and can be purchased from the Pentagon Society. Please see "Merchandising" for details. The following are examples of some of the more recent articles.
6th October 1938
22nd April 1972
16th March 1979
1983 Precise date unknown
8th November 1985
16th June 1995
28th August 1998
19th January 2001
19th April 2002