“It looks a bit black over Bill’s Mothers”

by Joe Earp


The origin of the saying: “It looks a bit black over Bill’s mothers”

Many years ago, a farm by the side of the river Trent in Nottingham (near Clifton Bridge) was owned by a royal named George who at that time was Prince of Wales.

The farm is still called Prince of Wales Farm, although there is no record that he stayed there. However his Mother would often stay for odd days over a period of time, and it was after one of these visits that the saying originated.

At a local Inn named the Cremorne (close by the “Half Penny Bridge” to Wilford), a group of miners, who after doing the early shift had gone to the Cremorne for a drink. As they were coming out one pointed towards Clifton and jokingly commented that due to the grey nature of the clouds, it looked like they would be in for some ‘inclement Weather’.

Another in their party realising that his mate had tried to make a posh statement, modified the long winded statement to make it more down to earth. Not knowing or remembering the name of the Royal who owned the farm, the miner just suddenly announced “It looks a bit black over Bill’s mothers”. 


About nottinghamhiddenhistoryteam

Originally formed in 1965 to try to save or at least record before destruction the cave sites continually discovered during the major redevelopment of the City that took place in Nottingham in the 1960′s. Almost every day new sites were unearthed and destroyed before anyone was notified; last thing they wanted was someone telling them to stop what they were doing; TIME is MONEY. The word HIDDEN in the Team’s title is because a lot of what was being invisibly lost in the redevelopment was our early history in the caves, they are under most, if now all, of Nottingham. In the 80’s and 90’s the Team conducted with the help of Dr Robert Morrell and Syd Henley, research and work on Nottingham’s history, folklore and local archaeology. The Team published quarterly magazines on their findings. The Team lapsed for a few years after the death of Paul Nix who was the team leader for thirty plus years. The Team has reformed and is now back working on Nottingham local history. On this blog you will find a series of history, folklore and archaeological related articles and information. Most of the material published will be specifically related to Nottingham/shire local history.
This entry was posted in Nottingham Sayings and Dialect. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to “It looks a bit black over Bill’s Mothers”

  1. Howard Broughton says:

    My Dad was always saying “It’s a bit black over Bill’s mothers” when I was a kid; trouble was that across the alley from us lived a man called Bill; it was very confusing as I thought that Bill’s mother must keep moving house!!

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