Monday, 7 July 2014

North Nottingham: Summer Walks & Events



Look out for the above leaflet advertising TravelRight's latest series of history walks and events in North Nottingham. Here's a breakdown of the walks and events – some of which I'm leading. Hope to see you there!

Aspley, Broxtowe and Cinderhill on foot
Using the 'Garden City' history guide as a starting point, historian Chris Matthews will lead you on a leisurely guided group walk.
• Meet at Aspley Library,
Saturday 19th July, 11am

Sheila Russell History and Fun Day
An event for young and old in the enchanting garden of the Sheila Russell Community Centre. The event will feature children’s activities, a guided historical tour of old Bilborough, buffet lunch plus creative activities for guests of all ages to share their memories of the area.
• Monday 28th July, 1-5pm

In search of abandoned canals
Explore the history of the old abandoned Nottingham Canal between Strelley and Trowell using the #35 bus guide. Includes a pub stop before returning. With Robert Howard.
• Saturday 16th August, Meet at Bulwell Bus Station at 11am, or Wigman Rd Top number 35 bus stop at 11:20am

Bulwell History Walk
enowned for its stone quarries, framework knitters, busy shopping streets and “the battle of the bogs”, Bulwell was central to the social and economic changes of the Victorian period. Historian Chris Matthews will lead you through ancient streets stretching from an important river crossing in an industrial valley.
• Meet at Bulwell Library. Saturday 23rd August, 11am

Old Basford Trail
This walk brings to life a close-knit community at the forefront of the industrial revolution in Nottingham: bleachers, millers, hosieriers, brewing, non-conformists and a once busy parade of shops which grew from an old street pattern of sleepy village life. Led by historian Chris Matthews.
• Meet at Basford Library, Saturday 30th August, 11am

Contact us
• To book places or for more info on any of our activities, please call 0115 883 3732
• Email:
travelright@ridewise.org.uk
• Visit our website:
www.travelright.org.uk/nottingham
• Like us on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/travelrightnottingham
• Follow us on Twitter:
@TravelRight1

Sunday, 16 March 2014

New Guide Books: Aspley & Bilborough





This is my latest piece of work:

Two designed and authored historical guides to walking and cycling in Aspley & Bilborough. This project has been commissioned by TravelRight in North Nottingham, who's job it is to encourage sustainable travel and community engagement. Their research has shown that people want to see much more walking and cycling, and that people in Nottingham are mad keen on their local history - so with that in mind Andy Parkinson got in touch with me, because of my previous work for the River Leen Greenway and Big Track.

Launch Event!

Join us in the beautiful setting of Bilborough St John’s church for a talk about the history of the area including specially sourced archive film footage. Refreshments provided.

• Saturday 5th April, 6–8pm 



These new booklets will be freely available from most public libraries and community groups mentioned below. You can also get in touch with TravelRight directly and ask for you own copy.





Also available online:

A New World: Blog & Booklet
Garden City: Blog & Booklet


Thanks goes to:

I would like to acknowledge the following local people and organisations who helped to make these booklets possible - I apologise to them if this was not up to scratch but can assure that I tried my best! If I forgot to mention anyone here you are welcome to collar me at any time!

At the Church of St John the Baptist in Bilborough, Keith Wood (Secretary) and Margaret Wood (Reader) were kind enough to let me wonder around all parts of the building. Reverend Mandy Cartwright was also good enough to engage with the Twentieth Century Society, who visited in February 2013.

Elain Harwood from English Heritage. who arranged a lovely bus tour through Bilborough in 2012, and was very enlightening on the prefabricated schools and housing.

Nearby at St Hugh, Canon Edward Walker was very enthusiastic about the history of not only St Hugh but also the planning of the shops on Bracebridge Drive. I would also like to thank him for finding my camera case (!), and I apologise that images of St Hugh did not make the final booklet - but they are here in this blog.

Canon Edward Walker advised a visit to St Teresa of Aspley, and here Margaret Brown, (Pastoral Assistant) was very kind to arrange a visit and talk about the history of the church. Margaret interestingly pointed out how the church was often a port of call for Irish, Polish and Indian immigrants to the city.

At St Martin’s Church in Bilborough, Hilary Wheat (Churchwarden) and John Day (Reader), were a mine of information and very helpful. Let’s hope they are successful in restoring those Evelyn Gibbs murals. Terry Johnston was  also able to point me in the right direction for those bell pits, and will hopefully be publishing his own detailed histories of the area in the future.

Nearby, Marian Henshell at Strelley Hall and All Saints Church Strelley, kindly granted access to both the church and the hall. If you want to do the same, you are more than welcome, so get in touch.

The staff at Nottingham Central Library dug out all the very useful folders about the suburbs from the stack - all compiled by library staff over the years. What a great service.

Unfortunately The Land Registry did not get round to granting me access to take pictures of the Nuclear Bunker, but they did follow my enquiry for a while - I understand the difficulties involved.

I kept missing the Revd Joan Whysall at Christ Church Cinderhill - my apologies, I will have to arrange a visit some time in the future.

Farmer John Blant of Strelley Village knew everything about Strelley Village and if he didn’t, he knew someone who did.

The East Midlands Collection, The University of Nottingham - always very efficient and brilliantly useful.

I also must have drove the staff at Nottinghamshire Archives round the bend with all my odd requests - such as a record (akin to the Doomesday Book) on the Bilborough Council tenants from the 40s to the 60s. There is a mine of information there for future historians of the Twentieth Century. Chris Weir was also very hepful in my Bulwell requests.

At the Newcastle Arms Pub, Nuthall Road & Aspley Library they kindly allowed me to take photographs.

Nottingham City Council’s Insight and 'Nomad' GIS mapping service is an excellent tool for online historians.

Dora Wood at Portland Primary School was able to agree to my surprise visit, whereupon Dave Hoyles of the Westwick Road Residents Association was an unsurpassed guide to the area.

The Notts & Derbys public service, Picture the Past were able to supply and grant permission to use the archive photographs featured in the booklet. Special thanks here goes to Nick Tomlinson.

Norman Wooton, a Bulwell historian, who though by his own admission not an expert on these areas but was always encouraging about the history of North Nottingham in general.

Andy Parkinson and Juliet Line at TravelRight. I couldn't ask for a better client, both in terms values, and professionalism. 

Andy at Purely Digital of Derby was able see a better way of folding the booklets and advise on sustainable paper. Also Jack, Wayne, Sarah and Steve were very helpful in producing a very finely printed pair of booklets. 

A New World: Beechdale, Bilborough & Strelley


The interior of Bilborough St John

This area continued some of the Garden City ideals of Aspley, but here the outlook was altogether more like a 'New Town'. It was mainly built during late 1940s and early 50s, an era christened as a ‘New World', when innovation and optimism were needed to re-build Britain in the years immediately after the Second World War.


Video about the national thinking behind Bilborough

Many of the schools and council houses were built with the latest technology in pre-fabrication and Bilborough received royalty and cabinet ministers who were keen to see the important changes being made. The church of St John is most characteristic of the post-war period, while the nuclear bunker at Chalfont Drive is a stark reminder of that fading optimism. A part of the old Bilborough village can still be seen today, nestled around the medieval church of St Martin. Nearby, evidence of the preindustrial world of agriculture survives at Strelley Village. It is here where the city ends and the Green Belt begins: a ring of countryside earmarked to contain the city and conserve the countryside. Yet the treasure trove of medieval and Georgian buildings which survive here actually derived their wealth from one of the earliest coalfields in Nottinghamshire, where the seams rise close to the surface and shallow 'bell-pits' have left pock marks on the land.


1. A New World


Harvey Hadden Stadium, first built in the 1950s


Advert for the new Bracebridge Drive Co-op

The council determining the type of shop according to the local needs, as construction of the shops progressed the council invited tenders for the particular shop. The successful tenants being, No.79, Albert Padley Grocer, No. 81 Victor Thompson, shopkeeper with sub post office; No. 83, Henry Kenneth Baxter, hardware; No. 85, Harry Roberts fruiterer; No. 87, Frederick Abel Ltd, butcher; and No. 89, Albert Bambing, Fried Fish. Sites later being allocated to; - No. 59, the Nottingham Trustee Savings Bank; No. 67, J.H. Dewhurst, butcher; No. 69, J.D. Marsden, grocer; No.71, Boots Pharmacist and No. 73, the Nottingham Co-operative Society.
Lawrence Marson, A History of Bilborough (n.d.)


Part of the Glaisdale Drive Industrial Estate - this was originally Farrands, and latterly a printers 

The area of Bilborough, Beechdale and Strelley was planned with its own industries, a sports centre, a grammar school (now a college) and modernist schools and churches. Shops were conveniently planned in centres such as Bracebridge Drive, while Glaisdale Drive became one of the largest industrial estates in the city, with perhaps the most impressive structure originally built by Farrands the retail grocers. Built in 1955 Harvey Hadden quickly became the most important athletics ground in the city. Nearby, the former bus depot was complete only a few years before and is a reminder of the city's ambitions for an expanding bus network. Schools such as Robert Shaw Primary broke with tradition and were built with curved lines and flat roofs.


Bilborough St John, built in the 1950s


Interior - with many original furnishings


Ancient signs, modern murals - the one on the left represents man

The churches however are the most modern, even the old Bilborough St Martin didn't escape the times. This was painted with a mural by the artist Evelyn Gibbs, founder of the acclaimed Midland Group. Bilborough St John The Baptist is perhaps the city's finest example of the 1951 Festival of Britain style, designed by local architects Broadhead & Royle (Frank Broadhead also did the more widely known New Castle House, on Castle Boulevard). It features wonderful mosaics, which were actually early Christian symbols found during research for Coventry Cathedral. The original parish of St John migrated from Narrow Marsh after it was bombed in 1941. In Coventry the Tablets of the Word by the letter carver Ralph Beyer show similar ancient Christian signs. Beyer was influenced by family friend Rudoplh Koch who wrote a book on the subject and the same signs from his book (reprinted in 1955) can be seen at Bilborough St John - great stuff!


Parabolic roof #1 at Bilborough St Hugh


The Evelyn Gibbs murals at Bilborough St Martin - hopefully to be repaired soon


Parabolic roof #2 at Aspley St Teresa

Nearby the Catholic Church of St Hugh features an impressive parabolic (strong curve) roof designed by John Rochford and Partners, who were also responsible for the structurally adventurous St Teresa’s in Aspley. Both were complete during the 1960s. Yet that post-war optimism quickly faded as the cold war developed; the 50s concrete bunker "RSG3" at Chalfont Drive was one of 13 regional government bunkers to be built in case of nuclear fall-out.


2. Pre-fabrication


A currogated steel house in Bilborough - manufacture by BISF

The first BISF houses were let in the late months of 1947 at a rent of twenty one shillings and eleven pence, which included electricity at a concessionary rate since both the electricity and gas were then produced in the city by the Nottingham Corporation. A list of do’s and don’ts was supplied to each householder for strict observation. The first item being that the rent shall be paid promptly every Monday morning to the rent collector. In all there were sixteen items to be observed which included the height of the privet hedgerow not to exceed four feet; that the keeping of fowls, ducks, rabbits and pigeons was strictly forbidden and the attachment of outdoor wireless aerials to chimney stacks also forbidden.
Lawrence Marson, A History of Bilborough (n.d.)


The first bungalows along the western side of Wigman Road
(Courtesy Picture the Past)


The bungalows in their later years (Courtesy Picture the Past)


Some of the earliest aluminium bungalows at Beechdale - since bricked up

In the late 1940s pre-fabrication was necessary because 11,000 people were on the council's waiting list while materials and labour were scarce. So much in fact that prisoners of war were employed on-site for a time. Among the first to be built were the aluminium bungalows on the west side of Wigman Road. These houses could be mass produced at a factory and then erected within a week. Accompanying these came a thousand houses manufactured by the British Iron and Steel Federation, which were all-steel houses with a concrete base. These were being let by late 1947, by which time the order for "No Fines" houses was well underway.


A Terran Newland prefabricated concrete panel house 


Wimpey no-fines poured concrete houses along Bracebridge Drive

These were poured concrete houses made from a special concrete containing no fine aggregates (hence the name) and manufactured by Wimpey, at first on the upper part of Wigman Road. In the far west of the estate around Cockington Road are the Terran Newland houses, a prefabricated concrete panel house made by a firm based at Hull. Today most of these houses have been refaced with brick, but the original proportions (and some features) remain.


The aluminium Portland Primary school - made by an aeroplane company


The Bristol Aeroplane Company's designs from the 40s


The early 1950s traditional brick houses of Strelley estate

Even some of the schools were ready made; Portland School was built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, which specialised in aluminium buildings. Strelley housing estate meanwhile was built of brick in the early 50s and marks the point where materials were no longer as scarce.


3. Old Bilborough


Bilborough Village on the eve of change (Courtesy F W Stevenson and Picture the Past)


A pre-war sign directing the new council tenants to the church


The Old Forge - built of sandstone, quarried nearby

There was even a blacksmith in Bilborough Village, which I had to pass through to get to Strelley. He was a squat, surly malcontent who shouted at the estate kids to “clear off” if we poked our heads round the open door of his forge to watch, awestruck, as he hammered the red-hot shoes for the giant shire horses of Appleyard’s farm. The days past slowly in that first summer, and outside of the house the world had become a fascinating place’.
Derrick Buttress, ‘Broxtowe Boy’, (2004), writing about summer 1939


Old farm buildings nestling beside each other at Bilborough village


St Martin's Cottages, Bilborough

Situated off the beaten track is the original Bilborough village, an important historic reminder of agricultural life before the surrounding council houses were built. A number of buildings are listed, among the earliest being St Martin's Cottages and dating from at least the eighteenth century. Forge Cottages as its name suggests was the local blacksmith's from circa 1800, while the rectory is a somewhat grander building, built in 1842 to house the Rector of St Martin's. The Church of St Martin dates from the late fourteenth century, and houses some historic relics which are important in Nottinghamshire history. The Helwys memorial, dated from the 1590s, commemorates a family which founded the Baptist Church, while the Thomas Barber plaque reminds us of the origins of one of the big coal mining dynasties.



The medieval parish church of St Martin's Bilborough


Possibly mid-late Victorian door fitting at St Martin's Church

The church itself is similar to St Patrick's Nuthall with an impressive porch, gravestones from the eighteenth century and Victorian fittings. Surrounding the village there are further reminders of Bilborough's agricultural past, such as Manor Farm, and the Sheila Russell Community Centre, which both date from the nineteenth century. Spring Bank Cottages also dates from that time, while the site of Grange Farm has much older origins, possibly the middle ages.


4. Strelley & The Green Belt 


One of the finest parish churches in Nottinghamshire - Strelley All Saints

 
Alabaster monument - commisioned by the Strelley family, 1501



Brass of Isabel Strelley, 1487


Medieval townscape - the original site of Strelley Village


The stone slabs of 'Monks Way' more likely a packhorse route for coal, than a pilgrimage path

As the new housing estates spread out from the city in the 1920s and 30s, people became concerned about sprawl and the loss of farming land. In 1947 The Town & Country Planning Act designated areas of land known as a 'green belt', which could not be built on and would limit the spread of British cities. Strelley village marks the point when the Nottingham green belt begins and despite the M1 motorway (built during the 1960s) it is still surrounded by agricultural fields. Yet the ancient buildings and monuments here were also financed through coal mining. From the fourteenth to the seventeenth century the profits gained from mining were managed by the Strelley family, who built the Church of All Saints - one of the finest medieval churches in the county. Strelley was one of the earliest coal fields in Notts with the remains of old bell pits visible from the field gate adjacent Broad Oak Farm House and south of the business park. Supposedly a pilgrimage path, Monks Way was more likely a packhorse route for distributing coal.


Strelley Hall, built by the Edge family in the 1790s


Entrance to Strelley Hall


The grounds Strelley Hall - landscaped during the 1790s


The later site of Strelley Village from the 1790s onwards

From the late seventeenth century the estate was looked after by the Edge family. In the 1790s T. W. Edge built Strelley Hall, which features an excellent cantilever staircase. For the sake of improvement, he also demolished the old village towards the church, built the present one and landscaped the grounds. This was a common practice known as 'emparking'.

Reading

  • Nottingham Local Studies Library, Bilborough Suburb Pack
  • Nottingham Local Studies Library, Strelley Village Pack
  • Lawrence Marson, A history of Bilborough from An Anglo Saxon settlement to a modern community (n.d.)
  • Geoffrey Oldfield, The illustrated history of Nottingham's suburbs, (2009) 
  • John Brunton and Andy Smart, Memories of the estates Aspley, Bilborough, Broxtowe & Strelley, Nottingham Bygones (2002)
  • N. Pevsner, Buildings of England: Nottinghamshire (1979)
  • J. Becket, A Centenary History of Nottingham (1997)
  • D. Kynaston, Austerity Britain 1945-51 (2008)

Garden City: Aspley, Cinderhill & Broxtowe


1930s Council housing design in Aspley, Nottingham: "variation in a formal setting".
(Courtesy Picture the Past)

In the early spring of 1939... we joined the exodus of families, most of them from the old slum areas, to the new estates west of the city. Nottingham had an admirable record of slum clearance and re-housing from 1919 until well into the 20th Century. Broxtowe Estate was an expression of that pioneering energy. It was built of ugly red brick, but designed with good intent, plotted and planned for a new way of life.

Derrick Buttress, Broxtowe Boy, (2004)  

This area is home to Nottingham’s largest example of the Garden City, an urban planning concept that sought to bring together aspects of town, country and industry. Built during the 1920s and 30s, these council houses marked the biggest advance of living standards in Nottingham's history; all were supplied with running water, flushing toilet, gas, gardens and electric fittings - amenities which thousands had previously been deprived of. The fresh air from these hills must have appealed to the council house tenants as they left behind them not only the smokestacks of the city, but also the slums of Narrow Marsh. In the rush to make these improvements little thought was given to preserving evidence of the past, except for Thomas North's collieries and railway lines, many of which were still producing coal at that time.


Aspley Hall Cottages, Aspley Lane

The decline in coal mining during the final decades of the twentieth century has meant that today there are no immediate signs of pit heads, coal stacks or wagons. Yet if we look hard enough we can see the scars and relics that remain a distinctive part of a landscape marked by a complex network of former collieries with Cinderhill pit at the centre. There is little left of Broxtowe Hall or Aspley Hall, homes of the notable Helwys and Birkin families. At Broxtowe Hall Close there survives a perimeter wall, while the cottages which served Aspley Hall stand proud on Aspley Lane. Visible remains of ancient Broxtowe or Aspley, the Roman encampment and Anglo Saxon meeting place are long gone, however it is possible to imagine their ancient geographical importance from their elevated position.


1. Cinderhill Colliery


Cinderhill Colliery 1986 (courtesy Picture the Past)

Cinderhill pit was an enormous industrial complex and one of Nottinghamshire‘s first deep pits, pioneering powerful winding engines, ventilation and lighting. When it closed in 1986 it employed just under 1000 people, produced around ½ million tons of coal per year, and had an underground link to Hucknall colliery in order to reduce road traffic. The only visible reminder of this incredible undertaking is the man-made hill known as Stanton Tip, a slag heap of unwanted earth. Phoenix Park was built on the colliery site during the 90s and there is a plaque in a small roundabout commemorating the colliery.


Former site of Cinderhill Colliery, now Pheonix Park


Detail from the comemorative plaque

Confusingly, Cinderhill pit is also known as Babbington, which is a village of that name nearly 5 miles west of here. This is all down to the nineteenth century mining entrepreneur Thomas North who sank Cinderhill colliery in 1841. When he died his portfolio of collieries, which included Newcastle, Broxtowe, Strelley and Babbington were grouped together and known collectively as 'The Babbington Estate' - Babbington being one of his earliest. It is well known that North died in debt in 1868 as Collieries such as Cinderhill required large investments: engines, timber yards, repair work, brick yards, horses, ropes and drainage. But had he lived just another three years he would have seen the fruits of his labour. At his funeral crowds lined the streets to pay their respects and raise funds for a memorial which still stands in a graveyard off Church St in Basford. Many were thankful that he had provided employment and housing for people who had previously struggled as Framework Knitters.


2. Colliery Lines & Relics 


Site of Broxtowe Colliery - now Broxtowe Country Park


Victorian bridges over a former colliery line at Cinderhill - now a tram stop

If Babbington was one of Thomas North's earliest mines then Cinderhill was certainly his largest, sitting at the centre of a huge network of collieries. One of these collieries was Broxtowe Wood and today the pathways still roughly mark the route of a railway line running southward from Cinderhill and then westward to Babbington. The NET tram from Phoenix Park to Highbury Vale follows the original colliery line which formerly connected with the Nottingham to Mansfield line. The Victorian bridges crossing the line are still in use either side of the Cinderhill tram stop.


Car free route from Aspley Library - Keverne Close - another former colliery line


Former miners cottages from the nineteenth century


The Newcastle Arms pub

At the rear of Aspley Library is a car free route to Keverne Close, the legacy of another railway track from Cinderhill through the medieval Quarry Holes Plantation and then to Melbourne Park where there was a pit known as Newcastle colliery, so called because the Duke of Newcastle was formerly a major landowner here. Also, note the Newcastle Arms pub and miners' cottages nearby on Nuthall Road.


Christ Church Cinderhill, 1858 (courtesy Picture the Past)


Christ Church, Cinderhill, built 1856


Detail from Christ Church Cinderhill


Basford Miners Welfare and formerly Thomas North's house 'Basford Hall'


The Elms, Nuthall Road (a house which formally served Basford Hall)

North also provided housing for his workers along Cinderhill Road but sadly these cottages have all gone, but what does remain is the Grade II listed Christ Church, which was financed by North in 1856. Less than a stone's throw is Basford Hall, North's former residence and later a Miners' Welfare.


3. A Garden City


Narrow Marsh before slum clearance in the 30s


Collecting water from an outside tap in 1920s Narrow Marsh


Pail Closets on Sun Street

In Nottingham after the First World War there were still some 30,000 pail closets (a steel bucket for a toilet), serious overcrowding and houses without water, gas or electricity. The situation was urgent and the city embarked on a slum clearance and council house building programme. Nottingham became known as one of the largest and fastest builders in the country: nearly 17,500 council houses were built in the 1920s and 30s, about quarter of which included Aspley, Bells Lane, Broxtowe, Denewood Crescent and Stockhill. This huge undertaking followed national guidelines for "Garden Cities" which decreed that suburban housing should be based on the traditional countryside cottage with proper sanitation, parks, gardens, wide roads and plenty of space.


The Garden City ideal


The hipped roofs of Aspley - a traditional Garden City design


Melbourne Park and the adjacent allotments were complete during the 1930s

 “Come look at this!” Brenda shouted from another room. I ran to her. This room was smaller, even than the attic I knew so well. Fixed to the wall by the window was a handbasin with two shining chrome taps. Brenda was wrestling with the cold tap, trying to turn it on, but lacking strength. “A sink in the bedroom!” she said awestruck. I knocked her hand away and turned the tap on. We watched the water swirl around the small basin, then gurgle noisily away. After the one tap houses we had lived in before, such a facility in a bedroom seemed a reckless extravagance. I turned the tap off and we scampered, excited, into the third bedroom.”
Derrick Buttress, ‘Broxtowe Boy’, (2004)


Trees, privet hedges and Bulwell Stone walls - Denewood Crescent

Whilst tenants were expected to keep their gardens respectfully neat and tidy at all times, little official advice or assistance appears to have been offered. In these circumstances tenants sought  advice from family, friends and neighbours, sharing tools and swapping plants and cuttings. Garden practice often centred on salvaging and making do with very little, but the results were frequently dazzling and a source of local cohesion.
Miss Georgina Couch, University of Nottingham School of Geography (2002)


Broxtowe Lane


The radial plan of Aspley with William Crane School at the centre (Courtesy Picture the Past)


Garden City schools were keen on the outdoor life (Courtesy Picture the Past)

Stockhill Lane was among the earliest Garden City council estates in Nottingham, complete during the 20s, while Aspley was begun towards the end of that decade. The success of this meant that in 1932 the city was allowed to extend its boundaries and build upon the fields of Bilborough, allowing Broxtowe, Bells Lane and Denewood Crescent to be completed during the 30s. These houses followed designs by T. C. Howitt, who sought to create "variation in a formal setting", with housing planned around radial routes and given differences with facing gables, mansard or hipped roofs.


4. The 1920s & 30s


The city dispersed: the early 30s ring-road, and council house plan by T. Wallis Gordon


Western Boulevard under construction (Courtesy Picture the Past)


The 1930s ring road and cycle route - this is Western Boulevard today


The old route to Nuthall, Nottingham Rd


Miners cottages, Nuthall Road - now a petrol station (Courtesy Picture the Past)

This was a period marked by new roads, branch libraries and a style all of its own. Road building and widening was necessary to accommodate not only rising car ownership, but also new motor and trolley buses, which were then replacing tramlines. Until the 1920s Nuthall Road at Cinderhill had the appearance of an old country lane with miners' cottages nestling beside it; The Nuthall pub and the Elms still preserve part of the original route. But the largest road scheme was the ring road of Middleton Boulevard, Western Boulevard and Valley Road. This was one of the last pieces of work by City Engineer T Wallis Gordon and was designed to follow the example of Nottingham's Victorian ring road (Castle Boulevard - Gregory Boulevard).


The original interior of Aspley Library (Courtesy Picture the Past)


The lantern at Aspley Library, built 1937


Aspley Library in 1937 (Courtesy Picture the Past)

I entered the room and felt like yelling for joy. I had never seen to many books in one place, and all for children. Even the smell was beguiling. It would take me for ever to read them all, and the prospect was wonderful. The room was brightly lit and furnished with round tables the colour of honey. Around them there were child-sized chairs with upholstered seats - the luxury!Derrick Buttress, ‘Broxtowe Boy’, (2004)


Mock tudor shops - Aspley Lane / Strelley Rd


1930s Gothic: St Margaret's Church, Aspley Lane

These two decades were also marked by the building of 6 new branch libraries, which culminated in the art deco Aspley Library of 1937, with a stock of some 10,000 books. Designed by Gordon's successor, R.M. Finch, the library features a remarkable lantern and was described at its opening as "set in a garden at the gate of a Garden City". Along Aspley Lane and Nuthall Road, the shops, pubs and churches tell us more about the prevailing style of the Garden City movement which was imitating the countryside; mock-Tudor timber frames and medieval Gothic; the best examples being the Tudor Lodge, The Beacon pub, St Margaret's Church, the 30s Newcastle Arms pub, the recently demolished John Barleycorn pub, and the row of shops on the junction of Broxtowe Lane and Strelley Road.

Reading

  • Derrick Buttress, Broxtowe Boy, (2004)  
  • Ernie, Scoffham, Vision of the City: The Architecture of T.C. Howitt (1992)
  • Nottingham Local Studies Library, Cinderhill Suburb Pack
  • Nottingham Local Studies Library, Babbington and Cinderhill Colliery: a selection of historical resources
  • Nottingham Local Studies Library, Aspley: a selection of historical sources
  • Nottingham Local Studies Library, Strelley Village Pack
  • Geoffrey Oldfield, The illustrated history of Nottingham's suburbs, (2009) 
  • John Brunton and Andy Smart, Memories of the estates Aspley, Bilborough, Broxtowe & Strelley, Nottingham Bygones (2002)
  • N. Pevsner, Buildings of England: Nottinghamshire (1979)
  • J. Becket, A Centenary History of Nottingham (1997)
  • D. Thompson, England in the Twentieth Century (1965)