George Dawson worked in the shoe factory all his life, and in the censuses was described as a Cordwainer (a shoemaker who makes new shoes from new leather). Out of working hours, however he was a very talented amateur musician. I don’t know how he had the time to learn music, or from whom. His mother was from the Slack family of Tideswell, whose relative was Samuel Slack, the famous bass singer, and perhaps there was a musical connection there.

Throughout the area, George taught singing and conducted choirs and glee clubs. Often he composed his own tunes to hymns and carols – his version of Hark the Herald Angels sing was still being used relatively recently.

George’s gravestone, in Eyam churchyard shows this snippet of music in recognition of his musical talent. Does anyone recognise the music carved on the headstone?

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