Meet You by the Lions!

Nottingham Hidden History Team

by Joe Earp

Two large stone lions guard the Council House steps. These lions have become a famous meeting point for many decades for thousands of Nottingham residents.The ‘Left Lion’ in particular has long since been adopted by locals as a meeting place.

Nottingham’s Market Place or Old Market Square as it is now known has been at the centre of Nottingham life for nearly one thousand years. Throughout history, it has been a meeting place for people of Nottingham as well as the location for local events. For hundreds of years the square played host to the market.

In the late 1920s Nottingham Corporation made the decision to move the market and the 18th century Exchange building was demolished. The square was redeveloped and the Exchange building replaced by the Nottingham Council House. The Council House with its 200 foot high dome and ten and a half ton bell called Little…

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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.

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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

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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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Beeston’s Changing Times

Nottingham Hidden History Team

by Joe Earp

“The times they are a changing”; so goes the words of the Bob Dylan song, – words which are certainly true for Beeston. As I write this, one of the biggest changes in the town’s history is taking place. Beeston is awaiting the arrival of the extension to the Nottingham Tram system.  High Road is now closed off and around half of the shops in the Square are empty awaiting their fate. One of these is the ever popular Wilkinson’s store (Wilko’s), a shop whose loss will be much lamented.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA The Now Gone Wilkinson’s
Credit: Nottingham Hidden History Team

Changes, to the places where people live are inevitable. Sometimes change is a slow evolution and is hardly noticed. At other time, – as with the Trams, – the change is sudden and dramatic and has a huge impact. There are those who will remember the building of…

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The Match Commander

Taking inspiration from the poem If by Rudyard Kipling. Here’s a version that is right up to date.

The Match Commander

“If you can read all about your new job, when others are rubber-stamping an operational order from the previous year.

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, or consider you to be unworthy of your rank and only wanting to enhance your career.

If you can familiarise yourself with the layout of the ground, asking vital questions of those at the clubs involved.

Whether previous concerns had been raised, lessons learnt or even problems solved.

 

If you can stay on task, but still find time to observe, looking out the control room window’s vision;

To see the obvious and think ‘that needs a decision’, seeking advice and not fearing derision.

Then keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and listen to the colleagues that you respect.

If you know the truth but cannot yet speak it, then wait and give yourself time to reflect.

 

If you can deal with crowds and keep your virtue, then neither foes nor the national press can hurt you.

If you can wait before blaming those turning up late, or in a state of inebriation.

With Mrs Thatcher and Mr Murdoch hungry for a story; accept the complicated truth and avoid the temptation to lie too!

If you can do these things, then one day you’ll be a Match Commander, my son.”

The Pretty Windows murder part 2: Theories and speculation.

A well researched article about the Pretteh Winduz case

nottinghasm

In the last post I described the basic facts concerning the unsolved murder of Nottingham pub landlord George Wilson in September 1963. This time I’m going to delve deeper into the crime, reflect on the facts in more depth, look at contemporary newspapers of the period, and put forward some ideas & theories. The newspapers I believe can shed some light on matters.

For those of us who didn’t experience the 1960s first hand, it’s tempting to define the period using easy pop culture references such as mini-skirts, Merseybeat and the football World Cup. Those who did live during that era would doubtless find this a short-sighted view. Flick through newspapers of the 1960s and you’ll find stories of armed robberies, knife attacks, muggings, suicide gassings, burglary and vandalism. Crime in the 1960s was not dissimilar to crime now.

I mention this to contextualise the stabbing of George Wilson. There…

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Adams Restaurant – Back to the Future

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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!

Enjoy!