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. 

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