The Magazine of Lenton Local History Society

Lenton Memories
Memories of Beeston Road in the 1950s

from Vivien Smith (Nee Bexon)


Vivien Bexon with her younger sister AngelaI lived at 20 Beeston Road with my younger sister Angela, and my parents, Muriel and Geoff Bexon.

Beeston Road and Clifton Boulevard were two most attractive roads. Beeston Road had exceptionally wide tree lined pavements and hardly any traffic, although it was even then the main route into Nottingham. The odd exceptions occurred when we suffered almost continuous streams of tanks travelling from the Army Depot at Chilwell to … we never knew where!!

There was no island at its junction with Clifton Boulevard – the two roads meeting to form a ‘T’ junction, and no ugly flyover. Clifton Boulevard was also edged with wide grass verges and trees down the length of it – almost rural in appearance.

On the left hand side of Clifton Boulevard, going towards Dunkirk, was the original PDSA – the walls of which my sister and I planned to scale in the dead of night to rescue our cat that had been taken by our parents to be ‘put down’ for no other reason than that it was a nuisance! Of course we hadn’t got the nerve carry out our plan and for months afterwards were overwhelmed with sadness for our beloved cat! The PDSA was eventually rebuilt on the other side of the road near the Fire Station.

We also had two rabbits (which did survive!) and every Saturday morning the two of us used to go up Clifton Boulevard, with a sack each, which we filled (for free) with wood shavings, which we were allowed to have from the huge factory of Simms Sons and Cooke. Part of the area is now covered by the Queens Medical Centre, once Simms and Cooke had been demolished.

One passion we both had was going for a swim at Highfields Lido after school most summer evenings - even if it was pouring with rain. It was a marvellous huge pool, but the water was always freezing cold – even on a glorious day. What sacrilege to demolish a lido like that. It’s a pity the equivalent of the Cardiff Millenium Stadium roof couldn’t have been put on it!!

Beyond the lido there were no buildings at all belonging to the University – just allotments for the people of Dunkirk and open spaces. My memory of the allotments is helping my grandfather with his digging. One day I put the spade straight into a wasp’s nest. We were both stung absolutely everywhere – in our mouths, ears, all over our bodies – very, very painful and to this day I’m still very wary of wasps.



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