Nailmaking was a job which could involve the whole family.
In 1841 there were 244 Nailmakers in Staincross and Mapplewell and 45 miners as mining was by now also an alternative occupation to farming. In 1861 the number of Nailmakers was 280, the number of miners had increased to 314. Early miners had worked in shallow mines dotted about the village. The sinking of a deep mine at North Gawber was to make mining the main industry of the village for many years to come.
The 1861 census showed that almost 200 of the men working in the mine had not been born in the parish of Darton. Some came from adjacent villages and towns, many from adjoining counties and a substantial number from the south of England and some even from Scotland and Ireland. Many had brought families with them. The census also shows that many families were taking in lodgers and that many houses were greatly overcrowded in spite of the fact that many new houses had built in Spring Gardens and the vicinity of Wentworth Road. There was also some building on what we now call New Road, but here it consisted of small developments in which the immigrant miners were mixed with people already established in the village. It was different in the Wentworth Road area and in the Spring Gardens, where there was a preponderance of incomers , whose lifestyle so perplexed and offended the old residents that the Wentworth Road area became known as "Monkey Park" and Spring Gardens was renamed "Silly-Row" - names which were in common use until both areas were demolished some years after World War II. Later generations were less harsh in their judgements. Pye Avenue was merely converted to "Happy Valley" and is still remembered as such by older members of the community.
There were of course quite a few occupations other than nailmaking, farming and mining. There were masons, carpenters and basket makers. The basket makers were chiefly employed in making baskets for use in the mines. There was a thriving iron works. Some men made their living by gardening, growing and selling their own produce. There was no doctor in the villages until after 1881 but there were herb gatherers, and from the year 1861, an apothecary. In 1871-1881 there were 12 cordwainers or shoemakers some of whom may, in later years, have become clogmakers.
In the middle of the 19th Century, the Turner family from Carr Green were involved in boat-building and repairing at Low Barugh where many barges called regularly. When the canals declined in importance, after the railway network widened, some who had been involved in repairing barges became carpenters in the mines.
Before 1856 there were only private schools. Some of these were Dame Schools, all quite small, run by ladies who were considered to be capable of giving some instruction to young children. These ladies normally worked within their own homes. Two schools were run by school masters, one in the Salem Chapel which eventually became the Institute and the other in the original Primitive Chapel off New Road. These two were operating in 1861 for a period of a few years. In 1856, Mr. Beaumont of Bretton Hall put forward the money for an educational building called a British School and the census of 1861 shows that there were 271 scholars. The number of pupils steadily rose over the years and by 1881 there were 553 pupils. The present school had been built on Blacker Road. An additional school was built, and in more recent times, the Wellgate Infants School has been built.
Until 1800 the Church at Darton was the only place of worship for all the surrounding villages, the only place where baptisms, marriages and burials could be carried out. It is difficult to assess how regular the people of the outlying districts would attend church, especially in the depths of winter.
In 1761, John Wesley preached at Mapplewell. His views were held in high esteem by many throughout the country and Mapplewell was no exception. The first place of worship to be built in the village was the Methodist New Connection Chapel in Peckett's Square in 1800. Foster's Bakery now occupies that site. More building of chapels took place throughout the 19th Century. All of these chapels flourished at that time.
One of the features of all these chapels (and of the church at Darton at that time) was the Sunday School. The early Sunday Schools appear to have been more concerned with teaching children to read and write than to give religious education. This was, of course before the advent of State education.
In 1841, a commission was set up to inquire into the employment of young children in mines in the Yorkshire coalfields and elswhere. Some of the comments about their attendance at Sunday School are very revealing:
"I go to Park School * and they teach me writing, but they don't teach me my letters. I go to chapel every Sunday. I don't know who made the world. I never heard about God."
"I have been to Sunday School . I can read 'Reading made easy' and I learn spelling. I know God made the world, but I don't know who Jesus Christ was
"I go to Sunday School always. I read 'Reading made easy'. I don't know who Christ was. I never heard of him".
"I have been to a Sunday School . I don't know who made the world. I have heard them talk of God Almighty. but I don't know who he is. I don't know whether I ever heard of Jesus Christ. I never pray, I'm not taught how".
"I go to Sunday School every Sunday. am learning my letters but nought e1se".
Most children went to Sunday School until a dramatic decline, beginning in the 1970's and perhaps still declining today. Some chapels and churches no longer have a Sunday School
Much of the social life of children took place in connection with Sunday School ; Whitsuntide walks, tea parties, sports days and anniversaries, where one could show off a talent for singing, reciting or reading biblical text and an occasional outing to a local beauty spot
Teenagers of the 1940's and 5O's also found much of their social life revolved around the church and chapels where there were flourishing youth groups, Saturday socials, football teams, table tennis teams, cricket teams, drama groups and many more activities in which to participate.
There were social centres of another kind, the local taverns. The two public houses in the villages in 1841 had increased to four by 1861 and to eight by 1871. For some these were as much a refuge as the religious establishments were to others.
From 1850 onwards there appears to have been a certain amount of drunkenness, particularly from latecomers to reside in the villages which incensed and outraged the chapel folk and many right-minded people of no particular religious persuasion.
A flourishing Temperance Society was formed by George Hamby and James Casmey. Over the years, many changes have been seen in Staincross and Mapplewell. Mining is no longer a thriving industry. North Gawber closed along with many other mines in the country after the strike of 1984/5. The pithead gear, once a prominent land mark in the village of Mapplewell , has been dismantled; on the site, a super-market, the Co-Operative store now known as Pioneer, has been built, along with a Chinese Restaurant and other industrial and residential buildings.
A decline in attendance at religious establishments has made it necessary for the closure of some chapels in the village.
More houses have been built and large open spaces are diminishing. No doubt, in future years, many more changes will take place.
We live amidst changing scenes; what happens today will be tomorrows history.