Worksop

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Worksop is the largest town in the Bassetlaw district of Nottinghamshire, England, on the River Ryton at the northern edge of Sherwood Forest. It is about 15 miles (24 km) east-south-east of the City of Sheffield and its population is estimated (mid-2004) to be 39,800.

Worksop is close to Creswell Crags, which has been proposed as a World Heritage Site.

Worksop is included in the Sheffield City Region of England. It is also twinned with the German town Garbsen. Worksop is known as the “Gateway to the Dukeries”, so called for the number of ducal residences in the area.

Evidence that Worksop existed before the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 is provided by the Domesday Book of 1086:

“In Werchesope, (Worksop) Elsi (son of Caschin) had three carucates of land to be taxed. Land to eight ploughs. Roger has one plough in the demesne there, and twenty-two sokemen who hold twelve oxgangs of this land, and twenty-four villanes and eight bordars having twenty-two ploughs, and seven acres of meadow. Wood pasture two miles long, and three quarentens broad.”

This early period of the town’s history was humorously depicted in the children’s television show, Maid Marian and her Merry Men, where it was largely portrayed as a mass of mud. This is where the phrase “Worksop Mud People” comes from.

After the conquest, in about 1103, William de Lovetot established a castle and Augustinian priory at Worksop. Subsequently Worksop grew into a market town.

A small skirmish occurred around Worksop during the Wars of the Roses on 16 December 1460, commonly known as the Battle of Worksop.

The building of the Chesterfield Canal in 1777, and the subsequent construction of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway in 1849, both of which passed through the settlement, led to a degree of growth. Discovery of sizeable coal seams further increased interest in the area.

The area is becoming increasingly popular with commuters owing to its relative proximity to the nearby cities of Sheffield, Lincoln and Nottingham.

The nearby Welbeck Estate has recently announced the launch of the School of Artisan Food, an independent not-for-profit organisation offering diplomas in artisan food production.

coal mining provided thousands of jobs in and around Worksop for most of the 19th and 20th centuries, but by the 1990s the pits had closed, resulting in high local unemployment. Drug abuse in the area also soared.

Unemployment levels in the area are now lower than the national average, due to large number of distribution and local manufacturing companies, including Premier Foods and Wilkinsons Wilkinson RDS Transport, GD Engineering and Laing O’Rourke.

Worksop lies on the A57 with close connections to the A1 and the M1 as well as the A60, this allowing goods to be easily transported into and out of the area, explaining why Wilkinson and B&Q both have distribution centres in the area.

The rail links in the area are also good, Worksop lies on the Sheffield-Lincoln line, this takes travellers to places such as Sheffield, Doncaster, Meadowhall, Lincoln, Retford, Gainsborough and Shireoaks. This service is run by Northern Rail. Worksop is also the end point of the Robin Hood line, this takes travellers to areas such as Nottingham and Mansfield. This service is run by East Midlands trains. On weekends trains also run to Cleethorpes and Bridlington from Worksop, these services are run by Northern Rail.

Worksop is served by the Bassetlaw District General Hospital, part of the Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Foundation Trust. It is a large hospital, treating 33,000 people in year in addition to 38,000 emergencies at the A&E department. It is also used as a Teaching hospital by the University of Sheffield Medical School.

Since the collapse of the coal mining industry in the 1980s, the local economy has been through difficult times as it re-orientates to service industries and manufacturing.

Local unemployment is high, and since the early 1990s there has been a widespread problem in the area with heroin abuse. In early 2004, MP John Mann revealed that some 1,200 (more than 1%) of the 104,000-strong population in the area were drug addicts.

An important manufacturer in the town is Premier Foods UK, which produces products such as Batchelor’s Soups and Super Noodles and Oxo. Oxo is solely produced in Worksop. Greencore Sandwiches also have a production facility. The Wilkinson UK headquarters is at JK House, Manton Wood, south of the town on the A57. Their distribution centre is an important employer. RDS Transport(known as the Flying Fridge) based at claylands avenue is a major employer of HGV/Van Drivers. There is also a B&Q distribution centre and a liquid chocolate manufacturing plant owned by OCG Cacao, part of Cargill.

Worksop has benefited from a large amount of new housing recently with a similar increase in businesses locating to the Worksop area, increasing the nomber of jobs in the local economy.

Officially titled The Priory Church of Saint Mary and Saint Cuthbert, Worksop is today a Church of England parish church usually known as Worksop Priory. It commenced life as an Augustinian Priory founded in 1103. Services are held daily throughout the year. The church has a magnifcent nave and detached gatehouse.Monks at the Priory made the Tickhill Psalter, one of the finest British illuminated manuscripts of the medieval period, now held in New York Public Library. After the dissolution of the Monasteries the East end of the church fell into disrepair, but the local townspeople were granted the nave as a parish church. The eastern parts of the building have been restored in several phases, the most recent being in the 1970s when the architect Lawrence King rebuilt the crossing.

Clumber Park, just south of Worksop is a country park owned by the National Trust and is open to the public.

Worksop is home to Mr Straw’s House, the family home of the Straw family, which was left by the Straw brothers, William and Walter Straw when their parents died in the 1930s. The house remained unaltered until the National Trust acquired the house in the 1990s and opened it to the public.

The Acorn Theatre is a 200 seat performing arts venue in Worksop town centre, providing a full programme of professional and amateur live theatre and folk music. It is a registered charity managed and run by volunteers,and the building has become the home of several community performing groups and a youth theatre.

Young Potential have taken over the former Circle Arts and provide theatre and recording studio facilities in the heart of Worksop including professional live music and arts performances and a range of arts training courses and social support services. It is managed and run mainly by volunteers who believe that involvement with the arts is vital for individual and community health.

The Savoy Cinema in Worksop was opened on the 23rd of March 2012. The cinema features full digital technology with digital 3D presentation and Dolby 7.1 surround sound across six auditoriums.

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