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.
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 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.
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.
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.