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Issue No.4 June 1990


The cover of Lenton Times - Issue 4Nottingham Forest and Lenton

For some seven seasons in the 1880s Nottingham Forest F.C. played their home matches at grounds in Lenton. A piece of sharp practice by their local rivals, Notts County F.C., meant Forest lost the use of the Trent Bridge cricket ground and, in the summer of 1883, was forced to look elsewhere. The move to the Parkside Ground in Lenton was not an unqualified success. The pitch sloped badly and the playing surface was rather uneven. The local press also thought the ground was situated too far out of town. The Club persevered with the ground for two seasons and then decamped to the Gregory Ground, also in Lenton. This time the newspapers were full of praise for the new ground even though it was further from the centre of town. Forest stayed here for five seasons until the Club decided it didn't really fit the bill and in 1890 moved to the Town Ground in the Meadows.

Set alongside an account of Nottingham Forest's footballing exploits the article explores the changes in the game - the introduction of professionalism, the creation of the Football League, Forest's first experiment with floodlights - all of which happened while Forest was in Lenton.


The Campus: Facing up to its past

On the University campus there is a cliff face traditionally thought to be the work of the river Trent at the time when it flowed in a different pathway. In his article Frank Barnes reveals that the cliff face is of much more recent origin. It was created in then under construction. Using Frank Barnes' help the reader can even discover on the first Ordnance Survey map of 1839 the presence of a temporary rail track laid to transport rock from the cliff face down to the railway line.


History on a Plate

Brian Howes is a keen collector of early advertising material. In 1983 he popped into a city centre pub undergoing a major refurbishment to ask if anything of interest was being thrown out. There was nothing in the advertising line but the workmen reported that they had come across a huge pile of glass photographic negatives stacked in an upstairs room. They had taken a few samples to a nearby antique/junk shop but as the proprietor had shown no interest the plates had been loaded into the builders' skips. Most of the plates had already gone off to the tip by then but Brian persuaded the builders to give him a few of those that remained some forty plates. When he got them home he could see that they showed people standing outside their homes or in front of shop premises. Suitably intrigued he asked a photographer to make a contact print of each slide. After a lot of detective work it became clear that some ten of them were taken of people and properties in Lenton and that the photographs dated from the mid 1920s. A couple of others were probably of locations elsewhere in Nottingham but the rest remained unidentified.

Our article tried to offer answers as to how these glass plates had come to be in that particular pub and what exactly the photographer was up to. It seems that inadvertently the builders may have discarded a major photographic archive.


More about Mr Mitchell

Brian Howes is a keen collector of early advertising material. In 1983 he popped into a city centre pub undergoing a major refurbishment to ask if anything of interest was being thrown out. There was nothing in the advertising line but the workmen reported that they had come across a huge pile of glass photographic negatives stacked in an upstairs room. They had taken a few samples to a nearby antique/junk shop but as the proprietor had shown no interest the plates had been loaded into the builders' skips. Most of the plates had already gone off to the tip by then but Brian persuaded the builders to give him a few of those that remained some forty plates. When he got them home he could see that they showed people standing outside their homes or in front of shop premises. Suitably intrigued he asked a photographer to make a contact print of each slide. After a lot of detective work it became clear that some ten of them were taken of people and properties in Lenton and that the photographs dated from the mid 1920s. A couple of others were probably of locations elsewhere in Nottingham but the rest remained unidentified.

Our article tried to offer answers as to how these glass plates had come to be in that particular pub and what exactly the photographer was up to. It seems that inadvertently the builders may have discarded a major photographic archive.


Anyone for Golf?

This is our feature on Lenton Lane Golf Driving Range who sponsored Issue No.4.


Society Snips

The Society's recent news section.


Editorial for this issue

Nottingham Forest First Team in 1884See in Lightbox

Photograph of Nottingham Forest first team in 1884.
Back Row - T. Danks, C.J. Caborn, S.W. Widdowson, T. Lindley.
Middle Row - H. Billyeald, T. Hancock, F. Fox, A. Ward.
Front Row - S. Norman, J.E. Leighton, F.W. Beardsley, G. Unwin.
Photo courtesy of Nottinghamshire County Library Service

Nottingham Forest F.C. once played football here in Lenton. As Michael Caine might say 'Not many people know that'. If this fact didn't come as a surprise, you've probably been reading Forest 1865-1978 by John Lawson or one of the other recent publications on the history of the Club. Forest first came to Lenton in 1883 (not 1882 as most writers erroneously state) and stayed for seven seasons before moving to a ground in the Meadows in 1890. The principal reason for Forest's departure is usually given that the Club was unable to attract enough spectators because their ground was too far out of town. Certainly Forest failed to attract adequate support but then the first eleven weren't playing very well. Had they been able to achieve better results, the Club might have attracted larger attendances and, who knows, Forest might still be playing in Lenton. Then again if they had stayed here the Club might well have gone the way of Notts Rangers and Notts Olympic - into relative obscurity or even oblivion.

Those who have so far written about Nottingham Forest have largely cold shouldered the 'Lenton' era. Possibly this is because of the paucity of original material. The Club itself has little or nothing in the way of early records. Those documents that weren't ruined in the floods of 1947 were destroyed when the main stand caught fire in 1968. Our own article relies heavily on contemporary sports reports in the local press. Reading through seven years' worth of match reports and sporting comment, all on microfilm at the Local Studies Library, was a daunting task. We earnestly hope readers consider it was worth the effort.





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