Hyson Green: My Trips to the Green…

by Frank E Earp 

An abiding memory from my childhood is shopping expeditions to Hyson Green, with my mother and grandmother. ‘The Green’ was – and still is – one of the best shopping areas in Nottingham. “We are going down ‘The Green’!” my mother would say, – a chance to spend my 6d pocket money on a toy soldier from Woolworths. A fascination for a young boy was a visit to one of the famous Staddens shops. Here, they employed a ‘mysterious’ purchasing system, where your cash was placed into a ball by the shop assistant. The ball was then placed into a tube where it would ‘shoot off’, only to return what seemed like moments later, with the change or a receipt. I always wanted to put one of my soldiers into the ball to see where it went. A real treat was the bakers. This shop had a ‘counter’ with glass barrels filled with biscuits.

There never was an ancient village called Hyson Green. The area covered by what we now call ‘The Green’ was a part of the parishes of Lenton and Radford. It did not become a parish in its own right until 1844, with the completion of St. Paul’s church. Largely a sandy wasteland covered with heather and gorse, it was a part of the ancient Sherwood Forest. The earliest reference to the district comes from 1488, where it is called the Linges, – (ling is an old word for heather) – “….the Outgoings of Radford and Lenton leading toward the Linges on the north side.” – The area was also known as the Outgang and Radford Road was formerly known as Outgang Lane.

A mystery surrounds the origin of the name Hyson Green. In 1814 Captain Barker refers to the area as the High Sands, – as opposed to the Low Sands at Radford. It is easy to see how, in popular speech, High Sands could be corrupted to Hyson. The Rev. George Oliver in his book Shadows Departed, suggest that an ancient monolith known as the High Stone, once stood somewhere around the junction of Mount Hooton Road and Bentinck Road, – High Stone (Green) becoming Hyson (Green). A more simple explanation says that an old shop in the area had on its gable wall a faded, painted sign, advertising ‘Hyson’s Green Tea’, – a popular brand of Chinese Green Tea.

The history of the ‘Green’ as we now know it today does not begin until after the Inclosure Act of 1798, when the Linges began to be cultivated with fields and gardens. At this time, an old house existed somewhere in the vicinity of Pepper St, but it was a joiner, Mr Elliot, who built the first modern house around 1802. A few years later, John Ison built two more houses. It is said that on completion he painted the name ‘Ison Green’ above their doors, – another explanation for the origin of the name Hyson Green.

Perhaps one of the most influential developers of the area was John Pepper, – hence Pepper Street. In 1824 Pepper established a ‘Tea Garden’ and a Bowling Green at his public house, the Cricket Players. Hyson Green became a popular and fashionable resort for Nottingham folk.

In the early 19th century the city of Nottingham began to expand rapidly into the surrounding countryside. As more land came up for sale, more houses were built and the former sheep tracks of the Linges became roads and streets. The building of the first fashionable houses gave way to more practical dwellings. In 1820, The Society of Workmen, Stocking Makers, and Warp Hands, built the houses on Pleasant Row, Lenton St., Savile Row, Lindsay St., and Pepper St. These houses, for which Society members paid £70 by subscription, had workshops on the second floor.

More and more commercial properties were built to service the needs of the growing community and by the beginning of the 19th century Hyson Green had established itself as Nottingham’s premier – and first – ‘out of town shopping centre’.

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Radford Road, Hyson Green, 1966
Credit: Picture The Past

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Radford Road, Hyson Green, Nottingham, 1975
Credit: Picture The Past

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Looking along the road towards Beaconsfield Street and Lloyd’s Bank.
Credit: Picture The Past

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Looking along Radford Road from No. 231 to Randall Street.
Credit: Picture The Past

Article By Frank E Earp.  Originally Published in The Topper, November 23, 2011.

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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.
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11 Responses to Hyson Green: My Trips to the Green…

  1. jasmine says:

    Oh thanks for the upload am very happy to see how hyson green looked then i remember my dad was bought up in the area around about that time, later he got married we came in the earely 1993 i was jus 5 years of age beind were we lived was a emty waste land with huge trees in between i miss my childhood and school along with mates….

  2. ayaz says:

    449 alfreton road was hyson green only house where mr john pepper lived the house was originally Radford manor and spilt into two house time late 1700 the house has caves and well

  3. Terry Coging says:

    One of the finer houses was The Rev Cannon Leper’s house on the corner of Mt Hooton Rd and Bentick Rd., opposite the old Forest gates. I was brought up on Peveril St 1938/1957, so knew Hyson Green area very well. My grand parents lived on Alfreton Rd., next to the Spread Eagle pub.

  4. Park Drive says:

    I lived at 5 Bentinck Road and I remember as a child how long and full of shops it was back in mid-late 1950 and early 1960s. Because both my mum and dad worked full-time my grandmother, Gladys Hindley looked after me all day during the summer holidays. It was a treat to go onto the Forest ‘reck’ (recreational area with swings for kids to play). My grandmother’s house on Bentinck Road had an outside toilet across the rear enclosed yard which backed onto the Alfreton Road School – I remember the sheets of newspaper for toilet use and the whitewashed walls inside the toilet. People today would say these houses were slums but to me everyone kept them clean and even washed and painted red the front door steps. It was never a slum to me or to those who lived in them, they were working class people and looking back they showed me a lot of love as a child. I remember a cafe on Bentinck Road which had the nickname of ‘Dirty Dick’s’ and the man who lived there had a fancy for my mum who worked in his cafe for a time. There was also a corner shop that had one of those spinning wheels that neatly sliced off bacon rashers from a joint of meat. I used to buy Lucky Bags which contained sweets and novelties and you never knew what was inside untl you opened it! Hope my recollections will prompt someone to post their recollections as a child living in this particular road…

  5. alan summers says:

    I lived at 11 kennington terrace,gadd st,off southy st.from 1950 till it was demolished in 1971,no bathroom,outside toilet,cellar for a fidge,and coal,only one cold tap inside,what a wonderfull childhood!,i really mean that, Round ortsan st to denman st on to ‘brassey st wreck’,near to the ‘bomb buildings’.mam said ‘make sure you come back when it gets dark’.no watch or mobile then!Friday night,pocket money time,two bob,round to grammas shop[just what we all called her] four salad chews for a penny,my fave,black jacks four for a penny,[fourty eight for a shilling]. everything everybody wanted was on the streets around us, a pub on every corner,shop on every corner,no money? just get it on tick till friday payday! this was the life for the workers—- pay every friday,so pub fri-sat night,sunday dinner a must,back to work on monday,only four more days till pay day again! Ihave worked for the last fifty years,and these i spent at kennington terrace was and always have been the best years of my life

  6. martyn sharman says:

    hi hyson green what a place to be brought up in 1960s 1970s and early 80s does any body remeber the bombies this was the waste land behind tescos now the dental practise we built the best bonfires ever they never made bonfire night some one allways lit them .sophie rd gang and the family from bentick rd salt of the earth ;te highlight of the year was sunday 12noon last sunday in september and iff your a true hyson greener you can post your reply ???clue toffee apples.brandysnap expo on the forest came twice in the 1970s but can any one rembember the royal helicopter landing ?and the whale turning up on a trailer that smelt rotten what was the about ;; or walking the train tunel to victorier centre from the end of the forest

    • alan summers says:

      can you remember getting all of your clothes from Machines[top of peveral st],and all your toys from skills,petlol too!

    • Ditta says:

      I was there when the Royal Helicopter landed on the Forest, it was princess Anna, I was at Beridge School before moving to Peveril. Machines on Saturday was always packed. I lived on Brown Street of Bridlington Street, does anyone have photos.

  7. Margaret Diment was Melnichenko says:

    I was born on Kirkstead Street Hyson Green our house used to be a shop on the walls outside you could see where the adverts were loved playing on the Forest Saturday mornings going shopping with my Sister and my dad loved the clock shop always waited for the cuckoo.I always celebrated my Birthday on the first Sunday in May going to the Forest having a ride with the May Queen and dancing round the maypole remember seeing the Whale on a trailer.I went to Berridge Road school and Peveril School lovely memories

  8. alan summers says:

    Goose fair,on the forest,first week in sept,wed night before the opening was called ‘rape night’,dont know why,as i was proberly too young,can remenber collecting bust chalk ornaments when the fair was packing up,sun morn,plus small change that fell out of peoples pockets whilst on upside down rides during the fair,how brill.

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