The Magazine of Lenton Local History Society


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Issue No. 26 April 2008 (£1.20)


The cover of Lenton Times - Issue 26Up, Up and Away! The 1847 Balloon Ascent (2 pages)

In the first half of the nineteenth century the opportunity to watch someone ascend in a balloon in Nottingham didn't happen very often and such an event would attract large numbers of spectators. In 1826 Charles Green had inflated his balloon in the Market Square and found plenty of people willing to pay half a guinea to be taken up into the air and be pulled back down again by means of ropes attached to the basket. He then took a paying passenger for a flight in the balloon eventually coming down in Edwalton. Nottingham then had to wait some twenty years before it got another chance to see a balloonist in action and it was Mr Green again who had returned to the town in 1847. It is this particular balloon ascent that our article focuses on. The starting point Charles Green had chosen was the Nottingham Barracks. These were situated at the edge of the Park Taken at the southern end of Pelham Crescent looking back towards its junction with Barrack Lane our photograph taken by Paul Bexon in 2008 shows where Nottingham Barracks would once have been.close by the parish boundary with Lenton. We reproduce the newspaper report of the balloon's ascent that appeared in the Nottingham Review and also a subsequent account from one of those who went off in the balloon with Mr Green recounting the rather special welcome that awaited when they landed at Staunton Harold in Leicestershire.


Putting Helen Watts in the Picture (1 page)

Articles on Helen Watts, the Lenton Suffragette, have already appeared in Issue Nos. 7 & 10 of Lenton Times. Barry Edwards played a key role in ensuring that copies of material relating to Helen Watts's suffragette activities were deposited with Nottinghamshire Archives. In this short article Barry relates how it all came about and also provides us with copies of photographs showing Helen Watts as a young woman and also in middle age. These are taken from photocopies of the original photographs and so are relatively low definition but they are the only known images of her that have so far come to light.


Where's Wally? The Search for Walter Edwin James (3 pages)

Karl and Pauline James currently reside in Cornwall which means they are not best placed to research Karl's family links with Nottingham. Nevertheless much had been uncovered when Pauline contacted Lenton Local History Society to ask if we could help with a Lenton connection. She had discovered that Mary Adelaide James, at that time living in Lenton, had committed suicide in 1900 by jumping in the canal and wondered if we could check and see if the local newspapers had included an account of her inquest. We looked on the microfilm copies held at the Local Studies in the Nottingham Central Library and found it had indeed been reported. In the account featured in the Nottingham Guardian it stated that her husband, Walter James, was a professional cricketer currently living in Bilston, Staffordshire. Intrigued by this we tried to find out more. We weren't able to discover much about Walter James's cricketing career but we did turn up the fact that one of his sons went on to play cricket for Nottinghamshire C.C.C. while another son was on the books of Notts. County F.C. What also came to light was that Walter James died in Moscow in 1909 at the age of 51. With our help Karl and Pauline were able to discover why he was in Russia at the time of his death. If you are equally intrigued then our article can tell you more!


Richard Pearson, son of James Pearson, stands outside in the yard at the back of the Radford Marsh property with three of the household's pigs for company.  Photograph courtesy of Lance Wright.Radford Marsh and the Pearson Family (3 pages)

Lance Wright is someone else interested in family history and his family tree also has a Lenton connection. His great grandfather James Pearson was born in Lenton in 1830 and for most of his life he lived in properties on Radford Marsh. Radford Marsh used to run from the Derby Road through to the Wollaton Road in Radford. Its southern end still exists and forms Radmarsh Road which is the section of no-through road to be found coming out on Derby Road beside the Three Wheatsheaves public house. James Pearson started his working life as an agricultural labourer but eventually established his own business as a coal dealer based in Radford Marsh. Drawing on Lance Wright's researches we provide a brief account of the Pearson family including what happened to all James' brothers and sisters and accompany the article with two photographs of James Pearson taken at Radford Marsh in the early twentieth century.


Lenton and the Railway (11 pages)

This article looks at the history of the railway in the Lenton area. In 1839 the line from Nottingham to Derby was opened and this passed through part of Lenton parish although any local residents would have had to go to Nottingham or Beeston if they wanted to catch a train. In the late 1840s work started on the Nottingham to Mansfield line and once this was up and running in 1848 you could catch a train at Lenton as a station had been built alongside the Derby Road just east of the Three Wheatsheaves. Although bridges were built to take the railway over the Nottingham Canal, the River Leen and Birch Lane (later renamed Sherwin Road) it was by means of level crossings that road users crossed the line at Church Street, Derby Road and over on Radford Marsh. The development of the collieries in the Leen Valley in the second half of the nineteenth century saw ever-increasing amounts of coal being transported along this line. The existence of level crossings meant inevitable delays for these freight trains and in order to improve matters the Midland Railway decided to do away with those in Lenton. Having initially looked at the construction of the Nottingham to Mansfield line our article goes on to look at the construction of the road bridges and what had to go to make way for them. In order to build the Church Street bridge we lost Lenton's Manor House while two other properties had to come down over on Derby Road. We pinpoint who was living in these particular properties when they were commandeered by the Railway Company and what subsequently happened to them when they moved elsewhere. In the late 1920s the Derby Road bridge was deemed to be too narrow to cope with the amount of traffic now using it and the Corporation undertook to widen it in the early 1930s. Our feature has several photographs taken while the bridge was being widened and we also have photographs of the station buildings at Lenton. You'll be getting on in years if you can recall them in situ as the buildings were all demolished back in 1953 and few if any will be able to remember the time when passengers used the station as Lenton only operated as a goods yard after 1911.


Our Sponsor's Story (1 page)

Started by Gary Crosby in 1993 Transit Express Travel gradually built up a small fleet of minibuses and coaches which from 1999 were based at the Evans Business Park situated at the end of Radmarsh Road. Gary had long harboured a love of veteran vehicles and most of those he acquired for the business were not exactly in their first flush of youth. He enjoyed the challenge of their restoration and subsequent maintenance. Some of them he would take to veteran bus and coach rallies held up and down the country often providing the transport for other local enthusiasts to attend these events. However most of those who hire coaches nowadays want access to the very latest in vehicle design. Gary has no desire to compete in this market and so recently decided to run down the transportation side of his business, rebrand himself as ‘Transit Express' and concentrate on the repair and overhaul of other people's vehicles. The closure of the Evans Business Park in 2007, for its subsequent incorporation into the Jubilee Campus site, meant Gary had to move to new premises. These are located on New Road which lies off St Peter's street in Old Radford. Here with part-time help from Chris Jackson they service and repair trucks, buses, coaches, trailers, caravans, vans, cars and even motorbikes. They can carry out safety inspections, undertake MOT repairs, welding jobs and bodywork restorations; given their shared penchant for older vehicles - the older the better, though preferably on a British-built chassis - although more modern and foreign vehicles can be accommodated. They will also source and supply new and used parts for Ford Transits, Ford D. Series and Ford R. Series, Ford Cargo, Leyland Leopards, and body parts and glazing for older Plaxton & Duple buses and coaches. They have obtained a waste carrier's licence which adds another string to their bow, especially now that the need to recycle materials is being emphasized.


Nazareth House: A Childhood Lost (1 page)

Photograph of a group of Nazareth House girls taken at their first Holy Communion c.1952. Photograph supplied by Pauline Wroe.Following the inclusion of Dolores Draper's recollections of life at Nazareth House in the 1950s and early 60s featured in Issue 25 we include some more observations, not so fondly recalled, from Dolores's sister, Angela, who was just a baby when she was sent to live at Nazareth House in 1951.


Nazareth House: Post-War Recollections ()2 pages)

Pauline Wroe (née Watkins) was someone else who was prompted to send us her detailed recollections of life at Nazareth House in the late 1940s and early 1950s.


Sport at Cottesmore Girls in the 1930s (2 pages)

Hilda Boosey (née Holton) was among the first girls to attend Cottesmore Girls School when it opened in January 1932. Hilda enjoyed playing most of the sports on offer at the school and recalls the Annual Sports Day when she was declared the Junior Champion.


Lenton's Ice Rink that never was (½ page)

In 1930 it was announced that an ice-skating rink was to be built in Lenton; large enough to host international ice hockey matches. The papers of the day went into considerable detail about what the facilities would include. No doubt the young people of Nottingham, and especially those living in Lenton, got very excited about this prospect. Our article recalls what had been planned for the site just off Triumph Road. Nottingham eventually got its ice stadium in the late 1930s but it was not built in Lenton. Quite why Lenton's was never built remains unexplained unless it was simply a case that the potential investors all got 'cold feet' at the last minute.





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