Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Greenwood's Factory, Old Basford

Greenwood's Factory and the River Leen

The following research by Andy Greenwood is rather interesting. It is about Greenwood's Factory on Mill Close, Old Basford. The image from picture the past shows the factory in the distance. The photograph was taken roughly from Nottingham Road and shows how different the area was just before the Leen was embanked in the 1960s as part of a flood protection scheme, however this gave the Leen the stark appearance we know today. Recently Nottingham City Council have approved a planning application to change this area once again in order to improve the wildlife and natural attraction of this location.

1946 - the winding Leen

Nottingham Road: The remains of the old bridge over the Leen - the little wall on the right. 

Today - the contemporary concrete channel

The new plan - bringing the water course back and creating habitats for wildlife

Andy's article is a reminder of how Basford's history is so complex: this has been an industrial and heavily populated area for centuries which has witnessed numerous changes – a fascinating puzzle for historians struggling to piece it back together. Anyway, over to Andy ...

Greenwood and Company Limited

Greenwood and Company [Nottingham] Limited was started by Albert Henry Greenwood, classed as perambulator manufacturers.

His son Albert Greenwood [known as Jim] joined his father in 1921 in a builders yard off Birkin Avenue, Hyson Green then aged just 12. Two moves followed in quick sucession before they settled in the firms present premises in Lincoln Street, Old Basford in 1927. The building they occupied was previously a water mill used to grind corn, powered by the River Leen until a fire ?/?? brought the use to a halt.

The River Leen emerged from under a railway bridge near the Basford Library and went in the first instance towards the watermill, running completely under it through a tunnel and continuing towards Nottingham Road. The area was always flooding from the river, the worst being in march 1947 when all of Lincoln Street was flooded. Action was taken in 1962 when the river's path was altered away from Lincoln Street and it no longer flowed beneath the mill.

The mill was chosen for its space (a two storey building), close to a popular resident community for workstaff and a prime location for its deliveries. Its been quoted that the coach built prams were in fashion at the time, the best seller being the FETHERLITE [Fetha-lite] range and that local youngsters would carry each pram swathed in protective cardboard across the muddy Billy Bacons field to the nearby Basford railway station for distribution around the country.

Basford wakes took place straight after Nottingham Goose Fair on land on the corner of Valley Road and Nottingham Road. When a labour exchange was built on the site in 1930 [later to become the St Johns Ambulance H.Q.] and adjoing houses it moved to Billy Bacons field where the entrance was of Lincoln Street, right past the Greenwoods factory. This again made a good sales point to the passing trade as they visited the fair and many side shows and stalls.

After the second world war [1939 - 1945] a large amount of properties and businesses around Basford Town were cleared, the last being in 1962. This led the area quite of families and sales were notably dropped. Some businesses stayed on Lincoln Street but the are never did pick up again. Basford flats were built in 1971, 822 wall framed homes built by Bison but as the last were built problems started to occur and once again the area was cleared by1985.

Albert Henry Greenwood, the founder of the business was married in 1906 to Louisa Jackson. In the 1911 census his occupation is given as commercial traveller baby carriages living at 22 Bushfield Street, Hyson Green. At some point he must have decided that he could build first class items and use his trade knowledge to sell these sought after carriages all over the country.

A fire is reported in the Nottingham Evening Post Friday 7/9/34 edition - fire being at night 6/9/34pm - 7/9/34am

The companies act of 1929 under the records filed from solicitors Browne, Jacobson and Hallam of 44 Friar Lane, Nottingham show that on 10/12/34 Albert Henry and Louisa Greenwood were the only two shareholders, manufacturing baby carriages. They lived at 479 Valley Road, Basford.

By 7/1/35 Albert Henry and Louisa were still at 479 Valley Road but Albert had moved to 487 Valley Road and was now listed as one of the directors. Shares shown were Albert Henry having 1916, Louisa and Albert each having 20 a piece. At 1956 in total its not clear where the rest were.

The companies act of 1943 show that record filed on 21/7/48 and 29/6/50 there were no directors only a secretary by the name of William Cornelius Lappin of 12 Caythorpe Rise, Sherwood.

Records filed on 16/6/55 show that the only director now was a George Frederick Greenwood of 479 Valley Road, Basford, no mention of anyone else, the accounts now being handled by HG Ellis, Kennewell and company, Imperial Buildings, Victoria Street, Nottingham.

On 1/6/59 Alan Robert Greenwood of 53 Rufford Road, Sherwood was an additional director of the company.

Further records filed 8/7/73 show that the majority shareholder was still Albert Greenwood with 1956, and that his son Alan Robert Greenwood had 40 shares. Again the total is 1996 with no mention of any other parties involved but Alan Robert Greenwood is living at 53 Rufford Avenue, Sherwood and not Rufford Road as previously stated.

Andy Greenwood, 2014


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