Memories of the M1 Motorway.

The iconic photo of Superintendent Bert Jarvis with his story of the M1. Bert is believed to be still going strong in Australia.

As the M1 progressed North in 1965-66 Nottinghamshire Constabulary was given the responsibility of policing junction 24 at Lockington to junction 27 at Annesley. The traffic Chief Inspector Fred Corah decided to form a Motorway section and train them accordingly. Ten men were selected, 8 patrol drivers and two motorcyclists/relief drivers. They were, Roger Storey, Maurice Jackson, Harry Wilce, Bob Sheil, Roy Sentence, Wally Harper, Trevor Wootton, Tony Slater, with John Halliday and Dave Brown as the two motorcyclists. The patrol cars were Ford Zephyrs and the motor cycle was a Norton 750 Atlas. Their training included visiting Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Lancashire to see how they did things. As soon as the stretch from junction 24 to junction 25 at Sandiacre opened, all 8 miles of it. Fred Corah made the officers patrol it 24 hours a day, with strict instructions that they were on no account to leave the motorway except for refeshments at Stapleford Police Station.The cars all operated from West Bridgford Garage under the supervision of the traffic Sergeants Fred Pepper and Geoff Goodwin with Lol Ogden as the traffic Inspector.

A former officer recalls “Patrolling that first eight miles was a bit soul destroying as the traffic was very light at first. However it soon started to build up and it wasn’t long before we had our first fatal. None of this first stretch was in Notts. The first part was in Leicestershire and the second part in Derbyshire with the result that we spent a fair amount of time in Loughborough and Long Eaton Magistrates Courts. Light relief was at the start of the 1966 World Cup when the first match was between Germany and Switzerland at Hillsborough in Sheffield. Hundreds of Swiss and German supporters came up the motorway which they thought went to Sheffield when to all extent and purposes it finished in a field outside Nottingham. We had some real fun and games trying to direct them to Sheffield. Eventually the motorway extended up to Nuthall and Trowell services station was built complete with the Police post. Finally Notts section up to Annesley was completed.”


The”Handy” Map and Street Guide to Nottingham

Whilst sorting through some Ordnance Survey maps that belonged to my late father, I came across a tatty looking Handy Map and Street Guide to Nottingham.

Handy Map and Street Plan of Nottingham

The Handy Map and Street Guide


Measuring 90 x 64cm. The Street Plan in the centre is surrounded by several advertisers, with an alphabetical index to the street names in columns down the side. It looks as though it was produced to be placed on a wall but had been folded up.

The map is not dated but there are various aspects of it that with a bit of research suggest it is almost certainly from the 1920’s. My father was born in 1923 and it is likely to have belonged to my grandfather who lived in St Anns and The Meadows where he worked at Victoria Baths and Portland Baths. Maybe it had once been displayed in the reception at one of these places.

Tram routes are indicated by a red line down the centre of the road.

Map Porchester Gardens

Porchester Gardens showing tram route to the top of Westdale Lane

For instance there is a tram route marked along Woodborough Road to the junction with Westdale Lane. I have previously posted about the history of Plains Road Mapperley which makes reference to the demise of the tram in 1936.

In 1931 the Nattriss family started their car sales and servicing on Porchester Road. The family raced vintage sports cars and would expand onto Woodborough Road. Our obsession with the motor car was under way and unsurprisingly, the tramcar (which had extended to Westdale Lane) ceased operating 1936.

The other term used on the map is Lunatic Hospital to indicate the Coppice Hospital in what is now known as Ransom Road Mapperley. Mapperley Hospital on Porchester Road is referred to as Lunatic Asylum. Both these terms ceased to be used officially in 1930

Map Mapperley 1940s

Lunatic Hospital off Coppice Road (now Ransom Road)

Prior to the building of Mapperley Hospital the mentally ill were kept at The General Lunatic Asylum that was on Carlton Road in Sneinton where King Edward park is now.

When you look for our hospitals as we know them now, the area where the Queens Medical Centre is barely recognisable. We now have the Ring-Road and the industrial area of Lenton. There is a road called Trent Lane that goes from Leen Gate directly to the river. This appears to be the line that the ring road takes to Clifton Bridge. There is no river crossing here and the nearest option would have been Wilford (toll) Bridge. Ironically this is now on the new tram route.


Old Lenton – Leen Gate and the River Leen shows where the Queens Medical Centre now stands.

The City Hospital is marked by a rather different title; The Bagthorpe Workhouse. The area between Hucknall Road, Sherwood and Nottingham Road, New Basford appears undeveloped. The Prison at Perry Road is titled His Majesty’s Prison.

Map Bagthorpe Workhouse

Bagthorpe Workhouse


Valley Road in Basford now forming part of the ring road. The area undeveloped by housing.

Here are some of the businesses advertising on the map.

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Adams Restaurant – Back to the Future


A few days ago I went to a fundraising dinner at the Adams Restaurant and Brasserie.  The event was to raise money for the Stroke Association.

Set in the heart of Nottingham’s Lace Market area; the restaurant is within The Adams Building, a former lace showroom and warehouse. It must be the finest example in the country and is Grade II listed.

Despite being 160 years old, it is the building’s recent history that makes it really special.

Go back 20 years and the building was in a serious state of decline due to rising repair costs. Many floors were structurally unsound.

In 1996, the building was acquired, restored and converted by New College Nottingham. Costing £16.5 million, the project was assisted by the Heritage Lottery Fund and European Regional Development Fund. With its future secured, even Prince Charles attended the official opening in 1999.

The college offers a variety of post 16 courses, with the Adams Restaurant providing a visible showcase for the students in the catering and hospitality sector.

The best way to access Adams Restaurant is a 1 minute walk from the Lace Market Tram-stop. Walking though the new buildings at the end of Warser Gate, a paved square opens up and the entrance to Adams is though the archway straight ahead. Go through a cobbled courtyard and into the building itself.

We were greeted by the students and our coats taken to the cloakroom. Having purchased a drink from the licensed bar, we were made very welcome with a selection of canapes. Individual fried quails egg on crostini providing something different.

The dining area is spacious, light and airy. We had pre ordered from the menu and the meal was served to a good restaurant standard. Our fellow diners seemed to have ordered everything from the menu, which had the following highlights:

Starter: Crispy pork belly, honey and soy dressing, oriental vegetables and toasted sesame seed.

Main: Grilled hake, tomato, fennel, chick pea and tomato stew with an olive gremolata.

Dessert: Passion fruit and vanilla panna cotta.

All in all; a great meal in a great location, and raising money for a great cause.

Adams Restaurant is open to the public at lunch-time during the week and also a couple of evenings. Such is the success of the catering courses that many of the students will go on to a career in the industry. Apparently top chefs Sat Bains and Marco Pierre White keep an eye on the place!




Looking at Wilford’s Old Buildings

I am surprised no mention is made of the unusual building in the church grounds and next to the river. Used as a temporary mortuary when bodies were recovered from the river.

Nottingham Hidden History Team

Wilford, April 12th 1960:

On talking to George Garment the Strelley estate woodsman, we discussed where he was born and where he walked every morning. He describes Wilford as “a little village that seemed to just sit on the border of the city; on the river flood plain”. Here many poets used to come and write their poetry and verse. The Ferry Inn used to be a coffee house and before that a Farmstead. It sits facing the river near to where the ferry crossing was before the construction of the bridge. 

oldcotb The Old Cottages- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

This village in its delightful settings sits on the bank of the River Trent. It  is about 1.5 miles to the south of Nottingham by the ferry route and about 3 miles by road.  At one time quite a few of the dwellings that belonged to some of the opulent…

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Nottingham – For those of you that……..

For those of you that live, have lived in or know Nottingham;  you will know:
That Trent Bridge is a significant location for the city.
That in 1902  Boots the Chemist built a dispensary on the Meadows side of it.
That the building later became the Boots Company Social Club.
That it was then renamed The Embankment.
That in recent years it had served its purpose and looked tired.
That it has been fully renovated to a very high standard retaining its original character.
That Castle Rock Brewery supply the beer.
That it is now renamed as The Dispensary
That it has  an excellent Beetroot Risotto on the specials board (okay maybe you were unaware of that small detail).


Wall of The Dispensary dining area. Photo dated 1910

Wartime Memories of a Sneinton gal.

Trent Lane Sneinton

Bomb crater at Trent Lane Sneinton

Raising a child can be a complex and confusing. Much of this chaos and confusion is brought about by those with parental responsibility, where too much is done with or provided for the child. A child in fact just needs to feel safe and cared for. Good examples of this ‘less is more’ attitude are provided in times of war and hardship. Mary’s story encapsulates this.


Mary was born in 1940 and lived in a two bedroomed house on Hutton Street, off Colwick Road in Sneinton, Nottingham. Britain was already at war with Germany and her father Eric had signed up to join the army. His brothers were already serving their country and he could not “stand by and let them fight the war for me”.

So with Eric serving in the Desert Rats, it was left to Mary’s mother Rose to provide for her young family. Sneinton was (and still is) a close community with a strong work ethic. Rose, as a young mother did her bit. She worked for the post office delivering mail. Trusted neighbours and family helped to care for Mary.

Sneinton and Colwick was the hand that fed Nottingham. The railways brought in the fuel and food; with the traders and merchants distributing it. The wholesale market was the hub for this but there was always the ‘black market’ and a country at war created opportunities for those on the home front. Sneinton’s ‘wheeler dealers’ continued to trade.

Despite being a child during the war years, Mary has some clear memories of the times. She was a happy child and it was “only the sirens made me cry”.

In 1941, the sirens were followed by bombing on a scale that Nottingham had never experienced before. Hutton Street (a short residential street that lead to the railway line and a recycling business named Tricketts) suffered a direct hit. Mary’s home at number 22 was unscathed, but several houses across the road were destroyed. St Christopher’s Church (directly opposite Hutton Street) was hit by an oil-filled bomb which burst through the roof before exploding and spraying its contents throughout the building; providing fuel for the subsequent fire. By the morning of the 9th of May, St Christopher’s was a smouldering roofless shell of a building.

Hutton Street

Despite the death and destruction, life carried on. As Mary grew up, the people around her continued to provide the safety and care that all children need to thrive.

The bomb site on Hutton Street was used to build a large water tank. Water to help in putting out the fires of any subsequent bombing.

By 1944, Mary’s significant memory of the sirens and planes in the sky meant running across the road to a brick built shelter. On entering the darkness, she recalls someone asking “Who’s that?”

Another voice said “It’s little Mary”

Mary was moved along to be sat on a woman’s knee. She cannot remember whether her mother had joined them or not.

Another aspect to the war was the presence of soldiers and Mary heard talk of a Prisoner of War camp in Colwick Woods. On one occasion there was a soldier waiting at the bus stop near her home. The soldier wore an unusually big pair of boots that Mary and her friends had never seen before. Mary became nervous when one of her group said,

“ ’Ee int wonnuv ours, ‘eez wonnuh them!”

The war must have been a daily topic of conversation as everyone got on with life as best they could.

Only ten days after St Christopher’s Church was reduced to rubble, Mr Fred and Mrs Marion Smith walked down the central aisle to be married in the roofless ruin. The service was regarded as an indication that St Christopher’s would rise again. Shortly after the bombing a parishioner nailed a hand written sign above the door. It said ‘Resurgam‘ meaning ‘I shall rise again’. Resurgam became the post-war title of the Parish Magazine.

The residents of Hutton Street did not take it personally as other places were hit too. Mary heard that a house on Sandringham Road has shrapnel holes in the bricks.

Mary waited 5 years before her first meeting with her father and equally, he had to wait until he could resume his role in the family. Mary recalls the first meeting with this unknown man in uniform arriving at Hutton Street. She and her mother had coped but Mary had not prepared herself for his return.

“This is mine and me mam’s ‘ouse, not yours!” was her immediate reaction.

With their typical family reunited, the job of rebuilding relationships (as well as the buildings) had started.

Eric resumed his job as a mechanic for the Corporation Buses on Manvers Street.

Infants School at Sneinton Boulevard and then to The Dale Girls School on Edale Road. The family shopped within a small area, there was Clarkies Fish shop on the corner of Kingsley Road and Marriotts ‘tuck’ shop on Sneinton Boulevard where the children bought a ‘penny kayli’. Life was hard but these were good times.

Trent Lane next to Hutton Street went down to the river where there was a pleasure park run by the Courtrey family. There was a beach on the riverbank created with imported sand, a basic fair with dodgems, slot machines and swing boats. There was a rowing boat ‘ferry’ that would take people over to Trent Bridge. The park also staged dog racing. On another piece of land off Trent Lane there were open air boxing matches so that the young men could channel their energy into sport.

The children would run errands that included “tekkin a barrer to get coke for fires” This was collected from Manvers Street from land owned by Jackie Pownall. Jackie Pownall and the other Sneinton businessmen lived within the community and ‘did a lot for the kids’.

Once the bills were paid, Mary’s parents would socialise in the Dale Pub and the Wembley Club. The Wembley Club was a private members club at the junction of Sneinton Dale and Lichfield Road. It was frequented by the Sneinton traders including the ‘black marketeers’. With rationing still around and things like bananas no longer imported at pre-war levels, the opportunity to treat family to such luxuries was what made Sneinton a place that looked after its own. Rationing was all about survival. Mary does not eat bananas as she never had one as a child!

Mary can remember how important such things were. When the school heating failed, the children were still sent in order to get their bottle of milk.

The Wembley Club was out of bounds to children and had a mystique about it. The business owners and traders paid for the annual Christmas party for the children of the members.

The number 44 bus serviced Colwick Road and (at that time) also went as far as Bulwell and the outdoor swimming lido. At the time public transport was crucial to cities like Nottingham; and Mary recalls sitting on a wall waiting for her father to return from work so that she could walk home with him. As a teenager, the sight of the 44 bus caused her a different emotion. In the 1950’s Mary and her friends would use The Arena Café on Sneinton Hermitage. Previously a fishmongers, it now provided a place for the teenagers to meet and hear the first records of the emerging rock and roll scene. The possibility of her father passing on the 44 caused Mary to duck down to avoid being seen.

The late 1950’s was the time for teenage rebellion and the first generation of a defined ‘youth culture’

The place to go was on St Anns Well Road to either The Empress Picture House or the Locarno dance-hall next door. The Rock ‘n Roll nights lead to Mary meeting her husband at the age of 17. She had already been working for 2 years as an office clerk at Radio Rentals on Friar Lane in Nottingham.

Post war rebuilding for Nottingham families was an optimistic time.

As Mary says:

“These were good times, we didn’t think about the hard times, we felt safe”


Wartime Banana shortage

The Banana shortage during WWII


Photographs all courtesy of Nottingham at War a Nottingham Evening Post publication from 1986




Nottinghamshire History -Mapperley

Brickmaking. Brickmaking has for centuries been the staple industry of Mapperley, for in 1682-3 several persons were charged with digging clay upon “the Playnes,” and the Council ordered that their kills (kilns) and hovels should be pulled down, and although in 1688 Thos. Elliott supplied bricks to the Corporation, yet the year following he was fined 5/- “for a brick kilne upon the Plaines.” These kilns were probably on the south-eastern side of the road. It is usually thought that the lost art of brickmaking became considerably developed through the great fire of London in 1666 showing the danger of timbered buildings, but it had been used locally earlier than this. In any case for centuries bricks have been made at Mapperley, justifying the saying that “Nottingham once stood on Mapperley Hills,” and from that range of hills more than a thousand million bricks have been made, and many millions have gone to London, to build among other places St. Pancras Station. The bricks in the olden time were made of top clay only, trodden by children, or beaten with clubs by men; then came a grinding between rollers, turned by a horse going round a mill-race; then followed steam power, and revolving pan, and iron grinding mills, mixers, pug mills, wire cutting machines, heated floors, continuous kilns, etc. The Suburban Railway (1877) has been helpful to the trade.


Nottingham’s Goose Fair

My latest feature in the Nottingham Post.

Any tradition that continues for 700 years must retain links to its history whilst adapting to the future. The Nottingham Goose Fair is our finest example.


The entrance to The Forest from Mansfield Road

The entrance to The Forest from Mansfield Road

Nottinghamshire’s residents rely on The Goose Fair to signal the start of autumn and the longer nights. It is a time when all generations meet up and enjoy the colour, noise and smells that create such a special atmosphere. It is time when we are reminded of things like coconut and brandy snap; only to then forget about them until next year.

Fairs are exciting places for children, and childhood memories of them stay with us for our lifetime.

Even though the Goose Fair has changed over time, we like to retain our personal connection to it. We can then pass on our own experience and offer advice such as; to use the highest ride first in order to get your bearings, which waltzer is the fastest, or which caterer does the better ‘pale green’ mushy peas.

In my childhood, I always approached the fair along Gregory Boulevard from Mansfield Road. Never being a fan of burgers or hotdogs, we would save ourselves for mushy peas from the Boys Brigade stall as we left.

The coconut would rarely make it home; usually smashed open on the corner of a wall and eaten in the street.

My traditional form of ‘street food’ still exists but the fair is much more cosmopolitan. This year I walked from Mansfield Road down the slope passing the pavilion. This allows for a good view of the fair and also offers many food outlets to consider. For those that prefer to sit down and eat the pavilion is now open all year as the Homemade Café. They were offering a “Goosey Special” of fish and chips with a glass of Prosecco.

Homemade café at The Pavilion

Homemade café at The Pavilion

Continuing into fair itself and there were American, German, Dutch, Jamaican and Oriental caterers. These were interspersed with a ‘traditional’ mushy pea stall that even has an appreciation group on Facebook!


As I reached the Noel Street entrance there was a roasted chestnut vendor and a scout hut that offered another chance to sit and eat.

I chose to stand and eat.This way I could reflect on the fair’s continued fascination to the thousands of visitors. I could also reflect on the demise of the sideshow type of attraction. I was sure that where I was stood there used to be a woman that lived in a bottle!

Without revealing what I ate (and having checked this for spelling mistakes) I will say that it was not from the stall that was selling “potato’s” or food with no “addatives”!

Traditional fairground fare

Traditional fairground fare

Nottingham Forest’s Glory Years

From 1975 I was a juvenile season ticket holder at Nottingham Forest Football Club. Initially in the Main Stand, then the Trent End, and ending up in the East Stand. I followed them away several times during their incredible 1st Division title winning season. Apart from a few programmes the only thing I have is memories. These were the days when photographs were rarely taken. At the precise time that Forest secured the title at Coventry, I was a paper boy delivering the Evening Post on Breckhill Road in Woodthorpe. I delivered to a house and the occupant was cleaning his car and had the radio on. We sat on his wall and listened to it. We commented on how Bob Wilson the BBC reporter had been so wrong and so negative about our club.
My memory of the league cup final win against Liverpool is also as vivid. The replay was on a Tuesday evening. I was in France near Lyon with a school exchange. I stayed in a farmhouse and had a transistor radio in my room. I’m not sure how but I managed to receive the commentary. The reception  was so faint and crackly, I lay on the bed with the radio next to my ear on the pillow in the dark. This was the only way to concentrate. John Robertson scoring the penalty came through the airwaves and created the same adrenaline that every other supporter was experiencing.
I have no personal photographs of these precious moments. Very few of us have. For that reason I will be enjoying this weekend’s display at Nottingham Contemporary.

Forest and their European exploits

Forest and their European exploits

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