1960, April, 12th: Looking Around at Wilford’s Old Buildings

Wilford, April 12th 1960:

On talking to George Garment the Strelley estate woodsman, we discussed where he was born and where he walked every morning. He describes Wilford as “a little village that seemed to just sit on the border of the city; on the river flood plain”. Here many poets used to come and write their poetry and verse. The Ferry Inn used to be a coffee house and before that a Farmstead. It sits facing the river near to where the ferry crossing was before the construction of the bridge. 


The Old Cottages- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

This village in its delightful settings sits on the bank of the River Trent. It  is about 1.5 miles to the south of Nottingham by the ferry route and about 3 miles by road.  At one time quite a few of the dwellings that belonged to some of the opulent families of Nottingham that had their trades in the center of the town.


The Poets House- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

The name Wilford possibly derives from Willas’s Ford, as there was both a ford and a ferry close by. The church tower is low, but the nave and the two side aisles are very spacious, the chancel has a altarpiece of a handsome proportion. The living is a rectory, valued in the King’s books at £18 7s 6d, and received at the enclosure, in 1766, an allotment of 227 acres in lieu of tithes.


Farmstead- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

Sir J. G. J. Clifton, Bart was lord of the manor and owner.  There was also Mr Henry Smith Esq, of Wilford House, the seat of Henry Smith Esq. They owned a large handsome brick mansion, with extensive pleasure grounds tastefully laid out.

The Free School was built in 1736. The village regularly suffered from flooding until experts from Holland built the “B” bank at the rivers edge. It is said by some that the name “B” bank was gained from the many bees that could be seen on the wild flowers that grew on the top of the bank.


The Village Green- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

Many people from Nottingham, in the summer months, would come to Wilford village, as a day out. Wilford had four tea rooms/gardens, where visitors could obtain pots of tea and light snacks. Some visitors would bring a ‘vacuum flask’ which the tea rooms would fill with boiling water. Many of the visitors would walk through Wilford to Clifton grove and the village. The more energetic walkers would continue on to Barton-in-Fabis (Barton in the Beans) where a ferry across the Trent to Beeston would return home.


Article originally published by Peter Woodward of My Broxtowe Hundred Journal Website. 

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Raymond Charles Booty: The ‘Flying’ Boot

by Frank E Earp

No one can have failed to have noticed the sudden rise in popularity of cycling in all its forms, as both a sport and leisure activity. It cannot be a coincidence that this ‘rise’ began shortly after Bradley Wiggins stunning win of the 2012 Tour De France. But, as they say, for cycling in Britain, ‘the best was yet to come!’

The 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, saw the greatest ever success for Team G.B. Who can forget Sir Christopher (Chris) Hoy’s dominance in the Velodrome? The names of the medal winners, both male and female have rightly passed into history and their golden legacy is to be treasured.

In all sports the success of current athletes can only be built upon the generations who have gone before! For cycling, there is one man’s name that should be written large across the page: Raymond (Ray) Charles Booty, a.k.a. ‘The Boot’. Sadly, Ray died on the 25th Aug. 2012.

Ray was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, the son of a Ministry of Transport vehicle examiner. The family moved to Peterborough and then, when Ray was 15, to Stapleford. On leaving school the following year, Ray joined Ericsson’s, the electronics firm, whose headquarters were in Beeston. He studied for his higher national diploma. A neighbour got him interested in riding a bike seriously, and it was in the colours of Beeston’s Ericsson Wheelers Cycling Club that he rode to his great time-trial victories.

Ericsson 1905

Ericsson Factory, Beeston, c 1905- Photo Credit: Picture the Past.

It is said that Ray achieved for road cycling what Sir Roger Bannister did for track-running, – as Bannister broke the 4 minute mile record, – Ray broke the 100 miles in 4 hours record.

Ray was a ‘road cyclist,’ who began competing in events for the Army Cycling Union during his time in the army and later for Ericsson’s Wheelers Club. Ray proved himself a ‘born’ road cyclist and endurance rider. He held ‘The Season Long, – Best All-Rounder,’ title three times between 1953 and 1957, given for average speeds of 50 m.p.h. over 100 miles.

In 1954 Ray won the Manx International Road Race and in 1958, a ‘Gold Medal’ in The British and Commonwealth Games, Road Race in Cardiff. However, Ray’s best achievements came in ‘time trials’ and endurance.

Between 1954 and 1958, Ray competed in the 12 Hours Championships, – distance covered in 12 hrs. Ray won the Championship every year and twice set the record, – 1956, = 265.66 miles and 1958, = 266 miles.

Ray competed in the 100 miles National Championship between 1954 -1959 and again was Champion for the whole period. He first set the record in 1955 with a time of 4hrs. 4mins. 30secs., braking this in 1956 with a time of 4hrs. 1min. 52secs.

On a blazing hot August Bank Holiday Monday, – 6th Aug. 1956, – Ray entered The Bath Road event. This was a time trial ‘out and back’ over a distance of 100 miles. The course was from Reading, – through Theale, Pangbourne, Wallingford, Shillingford and Abingdon, returning to Reading via the A4. He had already cycled from Nottingham the day-before to take part in the event. The ‘Boot’ completed the course in an amazing time of 3hrs. 58mins. 28secs., beating the future professional rider Stan Brittain by 12 mins.

With the Bath Road event, Ray had broken the elusive 4 hour barrier. Modern cycling athletes ride purpose built light-weight cycles, – Ray achieved his records ridding a Raleigh bicycle with an 84 inch fixed gear.

On the 3rd Sept. the same year ‘The Flying Boot’ had his chance to beat his 4 hour record. This time he was competing under Road Record Association Rules. This is a ‘straight-out’ 100 mile trial, which allows competitors to take advantage of tail winds and gradient drop. Ray had also changed his cycle for a machine with Sturmly Archer hub gears. Ray completed the course in a time of 3 hrs. 28 mins. 40 secs., – a record which was to stand for 34 years until it was beaten by Ian Cammish.

The next time you peddle down the road, think of the achievements of Raymond Charles Booty, the Flying Boot!


Ray Booty- Photo Credit: : Cycling Weekly

Posted in Beeston, Nottinghamshire People, Nottinghamshire Suburbs | 2 Comments

1935, July, 12th: St Wilfred’s Church and a Walk Around the Parish

Wilford, July 26th 1935

Many poets and artists used to come to this village for its clean pastoral scenery, the lovely low cottages with brier, ivy and all sorts of climbing plants on the walls. One of these writers was DH Lawrence from the parish of Eastwood.


Local Artist impression- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

A romantic setting the lady taking her children a strole through the church yard of St Wilfred’s.


The Ferryboat Inn- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

The Original ferry was 400 years old, when the poet Sutton wrote about the new bridge which replaced the original ferry. He wrote, “an ‘upstart’ toll bridge opened in Wilford today ending 400 hundred years of ferry crossing across the Trent at Wilford”.


Delivering milk around the village- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

Wilford attracted many visitors and walkers before the growth of Nottingham began to whittle away at the picturesque village and its woodlands. One such visitor was the poet Henry Sutton who wrote a poem about the Wilford ferry.


Fishing on the Trent at Wilford- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

The above scene seems to be the same up and down the river bank at one time. This area was where there used to be the outflow from the old power station which was demolished in the 1980s.


North Wilford Power Station, Colliery Road, Wilford, Nottingham, c 1940- Photo Credit: Picture the Past.



Article originally published by Peter Woodward of My Broxtowe Hundred Journal Website. 

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1086, April, 26th: A Glimpse Inside St Wilfred’s

Wilford, September 10th 1086

Entry in the Doomsday Book William Peverels Lands
In Wilford, jurisdiction, 3 c, of land taxable, land for 6 ploughs, 23 freemen have 7 ploughs, A priest: meadow, 18 acres; half a fishery.


Saint Wilfred’s Church- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

Saint Wilfred’s church is of medieval structure with a low tower, a fine chancel which was built in the fifteenth century, the porch and nave were of the fourteenth century with the chancel arch. There are old stairs that climb to the loft and roof, a beautiful chancel screen and screen of the tower. Stained glass windows one with twelve minstrel angels and a vivid window with the wise men. The latter was designed in memory of Henry Kirke White.


Looking through the nave- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

Looking around the church yard we find a railed tomb which is the tomb of John Deane (Captain). He was born in the village and his occupation was a butchers boy. He ended up as British Consul, he spent the last years of his life living in the village where he built two houses which still survive today.


Interior of the church and the font- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

In 1870 the Wilford which Henry Kirke-White would have known changed forever when the meadows and woodlands on the opposite river bank were industrialised by the Clifton Colliery. The area was well known for its cherry orchards and a regular cherry eating competition used to be held.


Saint Wilfords Vicarage- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

In 1846 the poet Spencer Hall wrote ‘Who ever saw Wilford without wishing to become an inmate of one of its peaceful woodbined homes.’

In verse he wrote of Wilford,Wilford! Whichever way to thee
We come from thy surrounding plains;
Wether by Clifton’s wood-walks dim
Or Bridgefords gipsy-haunted lanes,
Or From yon spired and castled town
Over Meadows where flowers in matraids blow,
Thy scenes so beatify the rest,
That all, although thee, most lovely grow


Article originally published by Peter Woodward of My Broxtowe Hundred Journal Website. 

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1899, June, 1st: To Strelley, Used New Camera to Get View of Squire and Hall

Strelley, June 1st 1899

Today, with new camera on-board, have to go over to Spring Wood in Strelley to select the trees for felling for the Squire.


Strelley Hall in 1899, as seen from the South- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

While, there took the opportunity to try my new Henry Clay 4 x 5 Regular Camera and get a fine view of Strelley Hall, built in 1860. The Squire, Thomas L. K. Edge, can be seen in his gig going to Nottingham. Towards the church the Groom and gardener can be seen.


Strelley Church in 1899, as seen from the South- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

Another fine view, taken with the new camera, showing the church and a lad on his fathers cart. Returned home for supper and to develop the rest of my exposed plates, a good day.


Article originally published by Peter Woodward of My Broxtowe Hundred Journal Website. 

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1898, January, 10th: Our Head Woodsman, View of the Cottage and George

Strelley, January 10th 1898

I have just had a story told to me about our head woodsman George Garment. George was born in Wilford in 1860 and used to work on the Strelley Estate. He worked as head Woodsman and while working in Strelley he meet his wife to be May Tyres.


George, Ted Pinchin, Chumy Bradshaw- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

George used to set off every morning to go to work. But the thing about our George was that he used to walk from Wilford to Strelley do his days work then walk back home again.


Mrs Garment Sr, And Mrs Garment Jr- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

George married May Tyres, a Strelley girl that George meet while working for the squire. Working in Strelley, George got to know all the people living in the old cottages. Tom his son can remember his dad pushing him and his brother around in their pram.


Tom and George- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

The above photo was taken in the back of the Woodmans Cottage. Tom (the younger of the two), and George can both be seen holding two of their baby kittens while “patch” looks on.


A secluded place, c 1940- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

Mrs Garment when they lived in the place called “Woodmans Cottage” ran a small shop selling sweets, cigarettes and some groceries. This was one of the only two shops in the village, the other was on the road to Cossall and was ran by Mrs Moss.

Article originally published by Peter Woodward of My Broxtowe Hundred Journal Website. 

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Nottingham Street Tales: Drury Hill

by Joe Earp

Drury Hill if it had existed today would have most certainly rivalled York’s very own Shambles as one of the most important and picturesque examples of a medieval thoroughfare. However Drury Hill was not to be and despite many protests the ancient thoroughfare was demolished in the 1960s to make way for the entrance to the then new Broad Marsh Shopping Centre.

Drury Hill, with its narrowness and congestion, and its curious haphazard buildings, gives us a good impression of what medieval Nottingham would have looked like. Drury Hill was 4ft 10 inches wide at its narrowest point and signs had to be posted to alert traffic to this hazard. Drury Hill was so narrow that it was said that at its narrowest people from the two adjacent buildings could reach over and join hands.


Drury Hill, Nottingham, circa 1906- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.


Drury Hill, Nottingham, circa 1906. This photo shows how really narrow the thoroughfare was in places- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

Drury Hill was part of the town’s old mediaeval business thoroughfare through Nottingham which, came down Narrow Marsh and passed north along Bridlesmith Gate. Although very steep, the gradient of Drury Hill was comparatively slack when compared with either Long Stairs, Malin Hill or the Hollowstone of its day. To get a good impression of how steep Drury Hill was it is worth going through the entrance of the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre (just off Lower Pavement) and going down the escalator. By going down the escalator you really get feeling of how steep and narrow this medieval thoroughfare actually was. It is however, very hard to picture all of the old medieval buildings which were once there compared to the modern shopping centre.

The old name for Drury Hill was Vault Lane, which became Parkyn Lane. It was probably named after some member of the Parkyn family of Bunny who lived there. It eventually changed its name to Drury Hill in about 1620. The Drury to which the name refers was a certain Alderman Drury, who was something of a figure in Nottingham in the days of King Charles I. He bought the house which faced Low Pavement and which occupied the site of numbers 2 and 4 Low Pavement and under which are enormous rock hewn cellars or vaults with a fascinating history, which gave the name of “Vault” to the Lane.

Drury Hill must have been a very important route in its heyday, for when the town was fortified in Henry II’s. time provision for a gateway, which Thoroton refers to as a postern, was made on the summit.. J Holland Walker (1926) comments “I don’t think that this postern is a postern in the ordinary acceptance of the term as just a mere undefended opening in the wall. It is shown in Speed’s map as a little, square tower through which the road passed and it was probably defended by gates and a portcullis. It appears to have been pulled down in 1735, but a portion of it was left standing, for Deering in 1745, refers to it as being partially standing in his day. It was protected by a gatehouse which was on the site later occupied by the Postern Gate Inn, or the Bull’s Head as it was earlier called. In making alterations to this inn in 1875 a portion of the old gatehouse was exposed and when the inn was pulled down in 1910 a sharp look-out was kept and the ground plan of the ancient building was recovered and details of it were published by Mr. Dobson in 1912. It appears to have been a roughly squared building 17ft. by 19ft”.

To show how ‘ancient’ Drury Hill must have been we found a postcard in our collection which is of Drury Hill, Nottingham, G Hodgson, dated 1904. The picture on the postcard shows ‘Old property at the bottom of Drury Hill, Nottingham, c 1890’s’ (see photo attached). The message on the back of the postcard reads: “How do you like the picture on the other side, looks a bit ancient does it not?”. If Drury Hill was described as looking ancient by someone in 1904, it just shows how old some of the buildings along there must have been!


Drury Hill, Nottingham, G Hodgson, dated 1904- Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.


Message on the back of the postcard dated 1904 describing Drury Hill as looking ancient: Photo Credit: The Paul Nix Collection.

We all know what eventually happened to Drury Hill, which was the eventual demolishing of one of Nottingham’s oldest thoroughfares. The demolishing of it caused a lot of anger back in the day, anger which can still be felt today among a lot of local residents and visitors to Nottingham. The only object left today which marks the site of Drury Hill is the original road sign which can still be seen on the wall to the right of the entrance to the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre (see photo). We can only speculate today what Drury Hill would have been like if it was left alone. Perhaps it would have been one of Nottingham’s most popular shopping streets on equal level to the Shambles in York. Or perhaps it could have been incorporated into a living history museum, very similar to something like Beamish in Northumberland?


The only object left today marking where Drury Hill once was- Photo Credit: Joe Earp, Nottingham Hidden History Team.

Posted in Nottingham Street Tales | 7 Comments