The Magazine of Lenton Local History Society

Lenton Memories
Memories of the Dunkirk area

from Sue James


My birth family came from Dunkirk. My Grandmother (Sarah Elizabeth Swinn) a.k.a. Lizzie to her friends, and until her death in 1962, lived in at No.2 Highfield Road, the house on the corner of Highfield Road and Clifton Boulevard. The house had a larger than average garden which was tended by her next door neighbour, Mr Pearson. This gentleman used to grow a variety of prize winning rose bushes in her garden, and passers-by would often stop to admire the roses over the garden wall.

My parents and I lived on Beeston Road, Dunkirk. My father worked at Raleigh Industries and my mother worked in the latter years of her working life as a dinner lady at Dunkirk Primary School. In her earlier years my Mother worked in the office at the soap factory, next to the railway on Montpelier Road. I believe it was called Robert Windsors. At Christmas we used to be able to buy soap gift sets very cheaply for presents!



Early 1960's photograph shows tipping underway in the foreground,
prior to the construction of Clifton Boulevard.

I attended Dunkirk Primary School from 1956 1962. The head mistress was Miss Stonehouse, a stern and upstanding spinster. Other teachers I remember were Miss Bates, Mr Leishman, Mrs Brown. I remember the building of the Clifton Boulevard flyover. Before it was built there was a large "slack heap" and many local children used to go with wheel barrows to collect "slack" slate to burn on household fires.

I used to attend Sunday School and the "Pathfinders" club which was held in the Lenton Priory Church. The club was always great fun, run by a very nice clergyman whose name sadly I have forgotten. He would take us on many outings to Highfields Park or Wollaton Park and knew how to handle a mixed bunch of young teenagers. I remember seeing red squirrels in Wollaton Park.

When I first left Secondary School (Cottesmore Girls) in 1966 I worked at the PDSA animal hospital/stray dogs home. I later left there to work in the offices of Martin Emprex, on Clifton Boulevard, before the new hospital was built. I remember the company Chairman, Sir Albert Martin, being killed whilst driving his Rolls Royce Silver Shadow on the M1 motorway from Sheffield to Nottingham.

I used to go with my Father to the "Police Pond" fishing - which was down Harriman's Lane.

I spent many hours playing on Highfields Park, Wollaton Park or in the University Grounds, or on the recreation ground or "rec" as we called it, the site of which is now incorporated into the University Hospital site. Originally the PDSA used to be on the north side Of Abbey Street and I can remember the new PDSA being built on its present location and also the construction of the fire station.




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