September 2019 – The Park Estate, Nottingham
In September the group explored The Park Estate in Nottingham. Originally parkland for the Castle, by the 19th century it was a green oasis enjoyed by all classes of society. When the 4th Duke of Newcastle owned the land he decided to create a select residential area and the first plans were drawn up in 1827. Although a few houses were built it was not until 1851 that the development really began, under the guidance of T C Hine who was appointed surveyor of the estate. Our walk took us past a variety of residences built for the owners of the lace factories and other businesses by Hine, Fothergill Watson and P F Robinson. Although most of the large houses are today converted into flats, many are grade II listed and retain distinctive features including some impressive stained glass windows. The route passes the Park Steps and is close to the Park Tunnel which could be visited with a slight detour. The Park is a private estate with footpaths, roads and common areas maintained at residents expense. It is a conservation area and is unique due to it having retained its original gas lighting and having its own traffic and parking restrictions.
The walk is longer than some done previously but there are opportunities to rest in the communal gardens. The self-guided information folder is available from the group contact.
20th August 2019 – Nottingham Caves
Nineteen members of the group went to the Nottingham Caves for a guided tour.
As of 2018 more than 800 caves have been catalogued in Nottingham and they have Ancient Monument protection. We toured the caves under the Broadmarsh Centre.
The caves are carved out of sandstone that have been used for various purposes over the years, such as, a tannery, public house cellars, and as air raid shelters.
We had three separate guides one who gave us an overview of the caves then one dressed in character as a tannery worker and another as an air raid warden.
We were told about the life of people who would have worked in the tannery She tried to recruit us into a job, but after her explanations we decided to decline her offer. Working in the tannery must have been very unsavoury employment.
Our guide in the air raid shelter, told us about life during WW II, with period items so we could experience what it would have been like in the caves when Nottingham was being hit by an air raid.
We thoroughly enjoyed this visit to the caves and the guides were excellent.
18th July 2019 – Strelley Hall & Church
Originally built as a castle with a moat about 1200 AD, the majority of Strelley Hall as we see today was built in the 1780s.
There are many original features of the building including The Castle Room, thought to be part of the tower, and The Panelled Room, dating back to Georgian times.
In the 12th Century the Castle came into the hands of Walter de Strelley. The family held it for 500 years until Sir Nicholas Strelley lost it through gambling and it came to a Lawyer, Ralph Edge in 1678. The Edge Family continued to pass the ownership to the male line of the family where possible and the only way the Hall could be inherited by a female member of the family was for any prospective husband to take on the Edge name. The last member of the Edge family to own Strelley Hall was Miss Emily Mary Edge who died in 1978.
Other interesting history of the Strelley Village and Estate is regarding its links to industry as far back as the 16th and 17th centuries. Strelley is one of the earliest areas to be mined for coal. Some of the coal would have been transported to the River Trent by horse and cart then transferred to barges. The journey to the river was not suitable for a horse and cart, so a wooden rail line was constructed at the beginning of the 17th century and the trucks were pulled by pack horse. The line was built between Strelley and Wollaton and was a real boost to the industry.
All Saints Church stands directly in front of The Hall. The church dates back to the 13th Century. Inside this lovely little church can be found a monument to Sampson De Strelley and his wife Elizabeth. Sir Sampson De Strelley died around 1390.
The pulpit contains several oak panels which are possibly 15th century and the back and canopy are Jacobean.
A very enjoyable tour, which was finished off with a lovely afternoon tea in the Mulberry Bush tea room.
June 2019 – Jubilee Campus Visit
Two groups went to visit the Jubilee Campus in June, we were so lucky with the weather. We met our guide who took us on a guided tour and told us all about the Campus.
The Jubilee Campus is a modern purpose built campus which now covers 65 acres and is located only one mile from University Park. Phase one was opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 1999. Built on a site that previously had industrial use (Raleigh), Jubilee Campus is a good example of brownfield regeneration and has impeccable green credentials.
An important feature of the campus is a series of lakes, which as well as being a home to a variety of wildlife, provide cooling for the buildings. Less visible, but important to sustainability and environmental credentials of the campus are the:
• Roofs covered by low-growing alpine plants which help insulate and maintain steady temperatures within the buildings throughout the year
• Heat recovery mechanical ventilation systems
• Lighting sensors to reduce energy consumption
• Photovoltaic cells integrated into the atrium roofs
• Lake sourced heating and cooling systems
• Biomass boiler
• Maximised use of passive ventilation engineering
The environmentally-friendly nature of the campus and its buildings have been a big factor in receiving numerous awards, and has won international praise with the Energy Globe Award.
The campus grounds are there for anyone to wander around and there are one or two places to enjoy a cup of coffee.
Well worth a visit.
Ruddington Framework Knitters April 2019
On the 17th and 25th April we went to the Ruddington Framework Knitters Museum; this is the only place in Britain where you can find a working museum and living accommodation. We had tea and biscuits on arrival and then watched a short introductory video, this was then followed by a guided tour of the frame shop, the cottages and the outbuildings. We all had a go on the vintage Griswold circular socking knitting machines, which was great fun. In 1589, William Lee from Calverton in Nottingham invented the first knitting frame. This made it possible for workers to produce knitted goods around 100 times faster than by hand. William Lee was refused a patent for his invention because it was thought the machine would take work away from hand knitters leaving them in poverty. William went to France to try and make his fortune, but died a penniless man, his brother brought his design back to Britain and the framework knitting trade took off. By the early 1800s, there were around 20,000 frames in use across the East Midlands, with almost half in Nottinghamshire. In time, the frameworkers discovered how to adapt their machines to knit cotton and lace as well as wool, and the Nottingham lace industry was born. It was their own inventiveness that eventually put an end to the framework knitters and their trade. Life as a framework knitter was tough, long hours and cramped working conditions. The framework knitters had to pay to use the knitting machines, even when no work was available, and buy all their own material. The industry was controlled by the Master Hosiers, who also owned the knitters houses. Low wages and high overheads meant the whole family would have to be involved in the knitting process, just to make ends meet. Poor health and malnutrition were rife. A common insult in Victorian Britain was to call someone ‘as poor as a stockinger’ — by which they meant a framework knitter. After years of hardship, the knitters sent a petition to parliament, but didn’t get the help they needed and the Luddite rebellion erupted in 1811. Starting in Nottingham, the Luddites attacked factories, breaking the knitting frames and assaulting the owners. The government responded by sending troops to protect the factories and passing a law to make frame-breaking punishable by death. The uprising was crushed in 1816. We ended our visit, in the former Methodist Chapel, looking at stockings and socks through the ages. On display is a pair of Queen Victoria’s stockings! We all really enjoyed our morning at the museum and would highly recommend at visit. The volunteer staff were so knowledgeable.
29th March 2019 – Beauvale Priory
On Friday 29th March 2019 twenty two members of the group had a guided tour of Beauvale Priory. The Priory was founded in 1343 by Sir Nicholas de Cantilupe. The monks at Beauvale were Carthusians. Only nine of their charter houses ever flourished in this country. The community survived peacefully living a life of worship and work for nearly two centuries until the disruption of the Reformation. Beauvale was distinguished by two of its priors, St. John Houghton and St. Robert Lawrence, who became the first martyrs, of the The cloister area, now the orchard, Sir Nicholas provided twelve cells and at a later date at least two more were added. The geophysical survey of the orchard also indicates a water- tower with pipes leading off. In the Carthusian tradition the cloister was used
Beauvale Priory was founded in 1343 by Sir Nicholas de Cantilupe. The monks at Beauvale were Carthusians. Only nine of their charter houses ever flourished in this country. The community survived peacefully living a life of worship and work for nearly two centuries until the disruption of the Reformation. Beauvale was distinguished by two of its priors, St. John Houghton and St. Robert Lawrence, who became the first martyrs, of the Reformation and were canonised, in 1970. The South wall of the church still stands, with the remains of one of the windows. What little remains of the North wall is in a very precarious state. The high altar was where the Beauvale Society’s stone, commemorating the martyrs, now stands.
The cloister area, now the orchard, Sir Nicholas provided twelve cells and at a later date at least two more were added. The geophysical survey of the orchard also indicates a water- tower with pipes leading off. In the Carthusian tradition the cloister was used as the monks’ burial ground. Carthusians were buried in their robes without a coffin. The Cells were self contained. The ground floor, was divided into three small rooms or areas and there was almost certainly an upper floor used as a workshop. The rooms were sparsely furnished, a bed with a mattress of straw, prayer bench and a table, and chair were sufficient for a monk’s needs. Fragments of a chimney were found during the excavation in 1908 so it is most likely that the cells had fireplaces.
A covered passage extended from the cell into the garden space for exercising during poor weather. There was a fresh water supply and a sanitation system in each cell, managed by the clever diversion of a stream which, at Beauvale, flowed from east of the site. Lead piping found indicates that rain water was possibly collected. The walls of the gardens were built so high that there would be no visible contact with neighbouring cells or any other area of the priory. The Prior’s House is substantial and the best preserved structure of the Beauvale site. Inside can be seen two fire-places and the void left from where a spiral stair-case had been at one time.
Beauvale is in part of D.H.Lawrence’s “Country of my Heart” and features in a couple of his novels as The Abbey and he writes a short story based here called “A Fragment of Stained Glass”
We all stayed and had a lovely lunch in the school house, great day out.