Park Nottingham

Local history

Leader, Stephen Hyde
Meets, 10am, Second Friday of month
Venue-Nottm Squash Club
Full? NO

Henry Ford thought history was "more or less bunk". The philosopher George Santayana said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it".

We believe that the history of Nottingham and its county is a fascinating and far-ranging subject. It has a world-renowned legend in Robin Hood, a huge castle rock and mysterious caves. The Royal Standard was raised at the Castle at the start of the English Civil War. The Industrial Revolution created enormous wealth for a privileged few and grinding poverty for many. Local transport in the form of canals, railways and roads helped change the landscape and economy of the region.

The Group aims to learn more about how such history was made and the impact on all of us, using the many resources available locally. We want members to raise topics to explore and pass their own knowledge onto the rest of the group.

We have a list of visits and talks planned, but would welcome further suggestions. Maybe you have some family history that you are willing to share, or some artefacts to show us?

We meet on the second Friday of the month at 10am, at the Nottingham Squash Rackets Club in The Park, unless otherwise indicated.

In December, eighteen members participated in a seasonal tour of Nottingham Playhouse during panto time. We heard about the history of the theatre and then went on a tour of the stage and surrounding areas. After that, we went upstairs and saw stage painting, prop making, the costume area and the make-up room – so much to see and so many doors! And altogether most enjoyable.
Our next meeting, on Friday 10th January at 10am, will be to St Barnabas Cathedral and Cloister.

Our visit in November was to Green’s Mill; the windmill in Sneinton famous for its association with George Green, a mathematical genius whose work led to the invention of MRI scanning machines. On a bright sunny morning our tour took us up to the top of the mill, up four steep flights of stairs, which our doughty group took in their stride. The views were tremendous. We then descended through the different processes involved in producing the various types of flour. While we were at the mill the wind speed rose and the sails began to turn which was quite exciting.
The next meeting, on Friday 20th December at 10am, will be at Nottingham Playhouse.
Contact the convenor by using the BLUE BIRD logo (or at .

In October a dedicated group took the tram to visit St Mary Magdalene Church in Hucknall. Dating back to the 10th century, it has evolved over the years and contains much of interest, including the crypt of Lord Byron and his daughter, Ada Lovelace. The visual highlight was the stained glass windows by C E Kempe. This is the largest collection in any Parish church in England and is well worth seeing.
After a welcome cup of tea, the group returned to Nottingham in an absolute downpour!


A beautiful autumn day in September saw 20 members of the Local History Group enjoying a tour of some of the architectural highlights of the Park. Guided by Karl Hatton, chair of the Civic Society, we explored the buildings of Peter Frederick Robinson, the prolific Thomas Chambers Hine, who was responsible for than 200 of the Park’s 19th century houses, and of course Fothergill Watson with his more flamboyant style. The journey through the tunnel from the Derby Road entrance was particularly spectacular.
Altogether we covered 3 miles with another Park architecture walk promised on a future occasion.
The next meeting is on Friday 11th October -venue to be announced.. Contact Stephen for more information

On 12th July we visited Nottingham Contemporary for a talk on the history and architecture of the gallery. After my initial worries there was a record attendance - thank you to all who came.
London practice, Caruso St John Architects designed the art gallery,as the chosen architects after an international competition in 2004.
The exterior of the building takes its inspiration from 19th century buildings in Nottingham. The concrete facade incorporates an antique cherry blossom lace pattern. This was taken from a glass time capsule found in 1847 buried under the foundation stone of the Water Corporation offices.
Our speaker, John, has worked at the Contemporary since it opened in 2009. He is passionate and enthusiastic about the gallery. However, he twice mentioned that the displays are sometimes controversial, as is the nature of art.
In some instances, the architects had put design ahead of practicality .... eg width of doorways and unusual and difficult to clean surfaces. Considering the small and unusual shape of the building's footprint, I think they have designed an interesting cultural space in the centre of a busy city, which is free to use and attracts world renowned artists. Worth visiting again and again.
Angela Little

On Friday 14th June we had an enjoyable and educational visit to Laxton village to hear about the medieval 'open fields' system of
farming. This was followed in the afternoon by an informative and sobering visit to the nearby National Holocaust Centre and Museum.
Many thanks to Sheila Owen for organising this splendid visit.
On Friday the weather improved slightly for our visit to Laxton, where we had a talk at Laxton fields by the knowledgeable and informative farmer, Mr Stuart Rose, who then took us on a stroll around the village.
From the grounds of St Michael's church, Mr Rose pointed out the vast distances the farmers had to walk to access their pockets of land in this very unusual, mediaeval system of farming.Although the village is now recognised as an important heritage site, it is still home toworking farmers. What a lot we learnt about this charming and unusual village. After lunch we heard a very moving and emotional talk by Holocaust survivor Ruth David. Ruth is now 90yrs old and regularly travels to the museum, from Leicester, to share her memories of growing up in Frankisch-Crumbach in Germany. Ruth came to England on the Kindertransport in 1939. She never saw her parents again. As have other Holocaust survivors, Ruth has donated many documents, photographs and objects to the museum. This will enable their story to be told to future generations.

In May ten members made their way through wet & dreary central Nottinghamshire to visit Mr Straw's House in Worksop that is a time warp of early 20th Centenary. In a semidetached house with rooms on three floors reached by steep stairs, the rooms were full of items that Mr Straw and his sons kept from both world wars and from the grocery shop they owned and ran in Worksop. Mrs Straw added ‘modern’ features to her sitting room and the bathroom. The visit reminded some of us of our grand-parents’ homes and tried to show the effects of both world wars on the members of the family at home and suffering the blockades of food from abroad.
It was a very good and thought-provoking vis April we visited the William Booth Museum in Sneinton On a lovely bright morning we started our visit at St Stephen's Church opposite the Museum. The Church isGrade 2 listed and the rather plain exterior does not give any indication of the richness of its interior. After refreshments in the Goodwill Centre, we continued with a visit to the Salvation Army Museum at No. 12 Notintone Place, housed in a Georgian building, set in a pleasant and quiet courtyard, in Sneinton.
William Booth was born in this house in 1829. The Salvation Army acquired the property in the late 1930s and it was soon opened as an emergency refuge for women. Thereafter, the house was used as a training centre. During WW11 it provided emergency accommodation for Servicewomen who found themselves stranded in the city. In December 1963 it was spared in a slum clearance scheme and transferred to the care of the Army. The adjacent site was offered for the Goodwill Centre and the William Booth Memorial Complex was opened on 1st October 1971. When William Booth died in 1912, at the age of 83yrs, the Salvation Army was established in 58
countries. It is now established in 126 countries across the world.

The February 2018 trip was a visit to The Malt Cross pub on St James’ St, Nottingham for a fascinating guided tour of this venerable institution. In existence since the 1870s (although the building is much older), it is one of the few surviving music halls in the country. It has been lovingly restored to its former glory and provides a sense of what Victorian entertainment venues were like. We descended below street
level to enter the cave complex dug to store supplies. It is possible that it is connected to other nearby cave complexes but further work is needed to explore this. We got an excellent feel for the social life in Victorian times from our knowledgeable volunteer guide who also took us through the 20th century history of the site.
Ian Henderson

March 2018 -Tour of The Council House
About 10 of us met to tour the Council House on Friday March 9th, led by Sarah Waites. The Council House is a very attractive building completed in 1929 and opened by Edward the Eighth on a hot June Day. The group appreciated seeing the three floors of what is the Registry Office, Coroner’s Court, wedding, general events and training venue. Councillors are now based at Loxley house. As it is a working building, some rooms, like the dining room, were out of bounds. We still managed to get a good flavour of the art deco style and the detail designed by Cecil Howitt who was the architect of other very important buildings in Nottingham such as the University Portland building as well as an estate in Wollaton. A school party in the Council Chamber allowed us in to see this magnificent space, the climax of the tour. Although anyone can visit the council House, few bother. I hope members of the group will return to see more detail.
Sarah Waites

Our April session was a planning meeting for the next six months outings.  Suggestions came thick and fast and a programme was quickly compiled.  

In May Harvey Goodman, a qualified blue badge guide took us on a tour, starting at the Castle and finishing at the Lace Market. It was fascinating, with new fresh information, delivered with warmth and humour. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. City walks will never be quite the same again.

In June we visited Newstead Abbey. An excellent guide gave us a good background account of the abbey in its monastic years, followed by lots of detail of Byron’s ancestors and his hectic life in a very interesting tour of the museum exhibits.
Joan Bailey

August saw us visit Melbourne Hall for a guided tour of the Grade 2 listed building. 14 members enjoyed hearing of its historical connections with Lord Melbourne, Queen Victoria's PM and confidente (played by Rufus Sewell in the TV series "Victoria", and the origin of the name of the Australian city), Lady Caroline Lamb (and Lord Byron) and Lord Palmerston, who all inherited the property at one time.The current owners Lord and Lady Kerr still live there and all of the rooms we saw were still part of their daily lives. A stroll through the delightful gardens and a stop for tea and cake (naturally!) on a gorgeous day rounded off a great trip. Thanks to Yvonne for organising.
Ian Henderson

Our first visit for 2019 was to the Galleries of Justice in Nottingham in January, and a sizeable group of us wandered the fascinating displays picking up interesting facts on the maintenance of law and order through the ages.
Angela Little

Early in March we had an excellent conducted tour of Wollaton Hall. Our guide was very knowledgeable and his enthusiasm for the building was obvious. We were shown the seldom-used Grand Prospect Room at the
top of the Hall and down to the Tudor kitchens below.
It is a building constructed to make a grand impression.
Angela Little

Our members are enthusiastic and knowledgable about their local area and have lots of interesting suggestions for visits
Contact Stephen Hyde using the BLUE BIRD logo.

More Group Pages
Book Club Computer Help Contemporary Eastern Dance Early Doors
Film Club Fine Dining Club Flower Arranging Gardening
Language and Culture Local history Long Walks Mah Jongg
Photography Poetry Short Walks Singing for Fun
TED Talks
More Group Pages
Book Club Computer Help
Contemporary Eastern Dance Early Doors
Film Club Fine Dining Club
Flower Arranging Gardening
Language and Culture Local history
Long Walks Mah Jongg
Photography Poetry
Short Walks Singing for Fun
TED Talks