Well-dressing preparations underway

Petallers are preparing to put the final touches to their designs, as the ancient custom of well-dressing returns to the town next week.

This year there are set to be more than 30 wells on show in three locations – River Gardens, Central Methodist Church and Christ Church.

Wells will be created in the River Gardens between July 9 and July 13 with the dedication sset for July 15 at 2pm.

The tradition of well dressings are thought to have originated in Tissington, in Derbyshire, in 1349.

It was revived in the 1920s and is now carried out in numerous villages and small towns in Derbyshire, Staffordshire, South Yorkshire, Cheshire,Much Wenlock in Shropshire and Malvern in Worcester.

In Belper it is thought that the practice was started in the 1830s when nail makers decorated wells and there are reports that fights broke out over who had produced the best well.

It was revived in the 1950s by a Mrs Robson, who began decorating her own well in The Fleet.

However, it only enjoyed a real re-surgence during the 1990s.

Chairman of Belper Well Dressing Group, Trevor Griffin, said: “This weekend we will start our preparations in earnest.

“The clay-ing up will begin on Saturday, with decoration being carried out on Sunday. Petalling begins a week on Thursday.

“Among the themes that people are thinking about this year - and there is plenty to go at – are the Olympics, the Titanic and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

“We’re just hoping the weather will be kind.

“It would help if it rained during the preparations to help the flowers and was then sunny when it comes to the viewings!”