30 June 2016

Explore a virtual 19th century Nottingham textile factory at Sneinton on 9 July

Image courtesy of the Backlit Gallery
The Backlit Gallery in Sneinton is hosting a 'immersive Virtual Reality experience' on 9 July. By wearing a VR headset visitors will be able to explore the sights and sounds of the textile factory of I&R Morley as it looked in the late 19th century.

The VR experience is part of a day of events at Backlit on 9 July, from 12 noon to 5pm, which will be devoted to Sneinton and the life and legacy of Samuel Morley (1809-1886), a Nottingham MP, textile manufacturer, social reformer and philanthropist.

The Backlit Gallery is at Alfred House, Ashley Street, Sneinton, Nottingham NG3 1JG.

27 June 2016

Remembering Victoria Station exhibitions (August-September 2016)

It has been 50 years since the closure and subsequent demolition of Nottingham's Victoria Railway Station. To mark the anniversary, Nottingham's Railways Remembered is holding exhibitions at Nottingham Industrial Museum (6 & 7, 13 & 14 and 20 & 21 August), GCR Ruddington (27 & 28 August) and Intu Victoria Centre (29 August to 4 September).

The 3rd Nottinghamshire Local History and Archaeology Day, 9 July 2016

The event is designed to showcase 'the wide and varied work taking place throughout Nottinghamshire by local history and archaeology societies, archaeological units, museums and other regional archaeological organisations.' It will take place in The University of Nottingham Museum, Angear Visitor Centre, Djanogly Gallery and Rehearsal Hall on Saturday, 9 July.

Highlights of the day:
  • short talks on local archaeology and history projects
  • stalls and exhibitions
  • a hands-on session with archaeological material from Nottinghamshire
  • meet the Finds Liaison Officer for Nottinghamshire and Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Pastfest ('Highfields Park will be taken over by archaeological and historically themed characters, giving you the chance to meet some of our ancestors who will tell you about their life and times and demonstrate skills and crafts from the past. There will also be the chance to take part in crafts and games.')

See the Lakeside Arts website for further details.

19 May 2016

Transactions of the Thoroton Society for 2015 published

The latest issue of the Transactions of the Thoroton Society : the Journal for Nottinghamshire History and Archaeology is now available.

Articles include reports of three major archaeological projects in the county: the Time Team evaluation at King John's Palace, Kings Clipstone, Iron Age and Romano-British sites discovered while widening the A453 and the Ice Age Journeys project at Farndon Fields, Newark.

Other articles cover such diverse subjects as the receipt (recipe) books of the Countess of Oxford, the Stretton and Lowe families who worked as Sir Richard Arkwright's builders and millwrights, how the village of Edwinstowe became associated with the Robin Hood legend in the 19th century, changes to Rufford Abbey in the Victorian and Edwardian periods and the importance of cigarette marketing at John Player & Sons.

Further details and ordering information is available on the Thoroton Society website.

1 May 2016

The Great Nottinghamshire Local History Fair, 8 May 2016

The Great Nottinghamshire Local History Fair 2016 will take place on Sunday, 8 May at Mansfield Library (11.00am - 3.00pm).

  • Local history displays from across the county
  • Old photographs
  • Craft demonstrations
  • Old films of Notts
  • Mining Heritage
  • FREE activities for children 
  • Costumed Characters
  • Aviation history
  • Archaeology
  • Bookstalls - new and second hand 
  • Refreshments Available
More information on the Our Nottinghamshire website.

Nottinghamshire Coalfields Project

The second phase of a Historic England funded project, 'The Physical Landscape Legacy: An Assessment of the Nottinghamshire Coalfield', has just been launched.

ArcHeritage, who are managing the project have organised six community-based workshops 'to identify public perceptions of the coalfields landscape and to identify potential community-based initiatives that can be undertaken to enhance public understanding and appreciation of the Nottinghamshire coalfields landscape.'
Further information is available on the Nottinghamshire Coalfields Project website.

9 April 2016

From Here We Changed The World - a new book from Adrian Gray

Bookworm of Retford have recently published a book on the religious history of North Nottinghamshire (and west Lincolnshire) by local author, Adrian Gray. Subtitled 'Amazing Stories of Pilgrims and Rebels from North Nottinghamshire and West Lincolnshire' this well illustrated book reminds us what a huge impact this small area of the English midlands has had on the development of the Christian faith.

As the promotional literature says, 'from this area have come of the great martyrs of the English Reformation, the leading puritans of Elizabethan England, the "Separatists" who became the "Mayflower" Pilgrims, and the founders of the Baptist, Quaker and Methodist denominations.'

Further information is available on the Bookworm website: www.bookwormretford.co.uk/publications.html

Nottinghamshire Historic Environment Record now online

The Nottinghamshire Historic Environment Record (HER) is now online courtesy of Historic England's Heritage Gateway website. This is excellent news for researchers interested in archaeology and the built environment in Nottinghamshire. Please note the HER does not, regrettably, include the City of Nottingham itself.

The HER (formerly known as the Sites and Monuments Record) is a database of information on archaeological sites and finds, historic buildings and historic landscapes in Nottinghamshire. According to the county council website 'there are currently over 15,000 data entries in the Nottinghamshire HER. They refer to features ranging in size from single chance finds, such as Roman coins, to WWII airfields.'

Results from a search on the small village of Winkburn in central Notts are shown below:

Details of the record on the church of St John of Jerusalem are shown below:
Interestingly, there is no mention in the Heritage section of the Notts CC website that the HER has gone online. I found out today thanks to a posting by Emily Gillott on the East Midlands History and Heritage Facebook page.

Is this an example of what they call a system 'soft launch'?!

26 January 2016

New book: 'Lost Nottingham in colour' by Ian D. Rotherham

Another attractive and lavishly illustrated book from Amberley Publishing has arrived for review. Lost Nottingham in Colour by Ian D. Rotherham (Professor of Environmental Geography and Reader in Tourism and Environmental Change at Sheffield Hallam University) includes a wide range of images showing the city and its environs in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The illustrations are sensibly organized into themed chapters, each with a brief introduction on such topics as industry and commerce, parks and gardens, education and health etc. Many of the images are from early postcards but there are also a large number of sepia-toned engravings presumably taken from The Illustrated London News and The Builder.

The book is printed on good quality paper and the illustrations are well reproduced. However, the captions contain a few minor errors and at least one 'howler': the house on page 29 was known as 'Thurland Hall' not 'Thirland Hall'; the Plumptre not the Pumptre family had a house on the site of the Flying Horse Hotel (p67); the engraving of the Guildhall on page 76 clearly dates from 1888 rather than 1988; the picture of a young lady by the River Trent cannot have been near Kimberley as it is 7 miles from the Trent!

However, that said it is a very attractive book with many delightful and interesting illustrations of Nottingham in the past.

13 November 2015

Death & Demons season at Nottinghamshire Archives

Nottinghamshire Archives is running a series of talks this month under the banner of 'Death & Demons Season'. They promise 'stories of murder and dastardly deeds from letters and diaries held at [the] Archives, with tales of the macabre inspired by the county’s history.' The next talk is at 2.30pm on the 17 November and the third in the season is about John Darrell, the Mansfield-born 16th century exorcist and takes place on 25 November.

Further details are here: www.exploreyourarchive.org/category/east-midlands/

6 October 2015

New book: Secret Newark by Jillian Campbell and Mike Cox

The authors are members of Newark Archaeological and Local History Society which offers guided tours of the town for a wide range of groups: the book is based on information assembled for these tours. The book is 'is an attempt to set down and explain many of the little-known aspects' of  the town, is illustrated with many good colour photographs of its built heritage and is structured around several walks of Newark's interesting streets.

I grew up near Newark and know it well but I have learnt much from this book. I particularly liked the story about the stone ledge in a side passage next to a pub that was probably added to deter customers from urinating against the neighbour's wall! It was also interesting to read that a North American Phippeway Indian is buried in the parish church graveyard but no one knows why!

There are a couple of errors (the architect Fothergill Watson was born in Mansfield so can't be described as a native of Nottingham; the Moot Hall in the Market Square was completely rebuilt in the late 1960s rather than 'heavily restored') and I was surprised how little reference was made to Newark's brewing heritage and the lack of a mention of the large Anglo-Saxon cemetery in Millgate. I also think that a few maps showing the layout of the town and location of major landmarks would help visitors follow the walks.

Minor criticisms aside this is a useful and entertaining book and should help people appreciate the heritage of one of our most historic and attractive towns.

18 September 2015

Local History Seminars at Nottingham University

The Department of History has organised another series of local history seminars which will be held on the second Saturday of each month between October 2015 and March 2016, at Lenton Grove on the Nottingham University campus.

The first seminar on the 10 October includes two sessions: the first will discuss the £24m Heritage Lottery Fund redevelopment of Nottingham Castle; in the second session Dr Judith Mills will reflect on her recent research into Robin Hood.

Download the flier for further information.

25 August 2015

Heritage Open Days in Nottinghamshire, 10-13 September 2015

There's just over a fortnight until the launch of this year's Heritage Open Days.

As the website explains: "Heritage Open Days is England's biggest heritage festival involving 40,000 volunteers. It celebrates our fantastic history, architecture and culture; offering people the chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences - all of which are FREE to explore."

There is a wide range of things to see in Nottinghamshire from St Anns Allotments (apparently 'the oldest and largest detached town gardens in Britain, possibly the world'!) to the Majestic Theatre in Retford.

Full details are available on the Heritage Open Days website.

13 August 2015

Sherwood Forest Historic Bus Tours

Mercian Archaeological Services CIC have added further heritage tours of Sherwood Forest Historic Bus Tours for September:

Nottingham: 4th September
Mansfield and Worksop: 24th September
Nottingham: 2nd October
Nottingham: 30th October

The tour includes Rufford Abbey, Sherwood Forest Nature Reserve, the Major Oak, King John's Palace and Newstead Abbey.

According to the press release the tour 'combines unrivalled local knowledge of historic Sherwood Forest with an opportunity to ride on board a vintage RouteMaster bus.'

Further information is available at www.sherwoodbustours.com