The Magazine of Lenton Local History Society

Derby Road - Lenton

From 'The Lenton Listener' Issue 20

September-October 1982

The Houses of Lenton: Lyndale House - 363 Derby Road

Lyndale House - seen on extreme left of this panoramic shot of Derby Road

Since this photograph of the Derby Road was taken in the early 1900s, much has changed. The canal had been filled in and the buildings on the right have long since disappeared, as has the peace and quiet of the spot, so evident from this 'panoramic postcard'. The gatehouse is still there, but no longer serves as an entry or exit to anywhere. However the building which is partially included on the extreme left of the picture remains and is the subject of this article.

The low hedge around the property, just evident in the photograph has been allowed to grow rather tall in recent years and with addition of a wooden fence on Derby Road, Lyndale House had become somewhat hidden from the view of casual passers-by. But from the photograph shown below, you can see that behind the hedge is a quaint old house, which with its fancy chimneys and leaded windows has considerable charm. Inside the house is a dining room, living room, kitchen, stairs and lobby on the ground floor and three bedrooms and bathroom and toilet upstairs. The date stone on the outside of the chimney breast is inscribed with the year 1858, which would suggest that the house is early Victorian, but in fact much of the building is far older than this.

Lyndale House photographed by Reg Baker in 1973

It would appear that originally there were two tiny single-storey cottages, built next to each other and separated by a matter of feet. At some later stage these two cottages were combined into one building and the space between them made into the main entrance. In the year of the date stone, another major modification occurred when the roof was removed and a second-storey added, along with a small extension to the rear of the building.

The building(s) probably belonged to the Wollaton Park Estate and were occupied by the estate workers. There is, however, no clear mention of the house in the City directories until 1904, when reference is made to a Underhill Cottage at Hillside, which presumably was its former name. A builder, Henry Butler, lived there until about 1925 when the property was bought by the Lewin family. (They were the owners of a hardware shop on Derby Road near the junction with College Street). On the death of last member of the Lewin family, Digby, the house was willed to a Mrs Offiler who had been housekeeper to the family for a number of years. When she died(*), the house was bought in 1949 by Mr William Kenyon and his wife. Mr Kenyon began further alterations to the house. He raised the ceilings and knocked down interior walls to open up the downstairs front rooms. Further plans involved altering and rebuilding the extensions to the rear of the building. A start was made and the outhouse was turned into a kitchen, the old kitchen became the stairs and lobby. But for a variety of reasons the plans were never fully brought to fruition. Now the Kenyons are selling the property and it will be up to the new owner to finish the house as he or she wishes.

The house is set in about a third of an acre. Formerly the grounds were far more extensive, and took in much of the land behind which now form the gardens of the houses on Derby Road. This was used for orchards and rough pasture. The Kenyons were once told by an old man of eighty that he remembered as a boy being told that this pasture used to be let out to drovers. Cattle and sheep brought to Nottingham would graze there overnight, and having recovered from their journey would be driven on to the market the next day. The old man, however, never made it clear quite when this practice was supposed to have taken place. So it remains an historical anecdote - but nevertheless worth the telling!

(*)Mrs Margaret Elsie Offiler was still very much alive when she sold Lyndale House to William Kenyon in 1949. She and her husband, Robert, then moved to Lenton Abbey. Robert died in 1961 and Margaret Elsie in 1965. Correction supplied by Diana Rose (née Offiler).

Another detail in this article that needs amending is that it was Digby's brother, John Frederick Lewin, who actually left the house to Mrs Offiler when he died in April 1942 - Digby Henry Lewin had predeceased him dying in December 1938. The two Lewin brothers also had an older unmarried sister who lived with them at 366 Derby Road. She was Florence Frances Elizabeth Lewin and she died in November 1939.

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