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Highfields Park - Lenton

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Highfields Park
Click on each photograph below  to show the enlarged version

Old Lakeside Pavilion



Photograph supplied by Glenys Randle




This picture postcard carries a 1928 postmark which suggests that the photograph was probably taken soon after the park first opened to the public.


Clarice Pownall and Ada Mariott pose for their photograph in 1932 beside the lake at Highfields.  Behind them on the right is part of the Pavilion and in the far distance on the left is the bell tower of Highfields Lido.


An undated view taken from the south side of the lake with part of the lakeside pavilion shown on the left.






Photograph courtesy of David Toone







The end wall of the pavilion, just visible in the previous photograph, provides the backdrop for this 1957 shot of local lads gathered at  Highfields.









New Lakeside Pavilion


Photograph by Paul Bexon - April 2003


Photograph by Paul Bexon - April 2003


Photograph courtesy of Ray Teece



April 2003 photograph of the new D.H. Lawrence Pavilion built by the University to replace the old pavilion erected by Sir Jesse Boot in the 1920s.


The area between the new pavilion and the lake with one of the two 'balcony' areas the only portions of the old building retained in the new development.


The 'balcony' areas as viewed from the lakeside.  Photograph taken by Ray Teece in 2007.  For other photographs by Ray see his City of Nottingham website






Photograph by Paul Bexon - April 2003


Photograph by Paul Bexon - April 2003


Photograph by Paul Bexon - April 2003



The old retaining wall around the edge of the lake with the new pavilion in the background.


This view of the D.H. Lawrence Pavilion clearly shows the roofline of the main portion of the building which the architects designed to resembled the upturned hull of a boat.
A feature on the architectural practice that designed the D.H. Lawrence Pavilion was included in Lenton Times No.17


This view of the lakeside has largely remained unchanged since the park first opened in the 1920s.  Had the photograph been taken a few days later in April 2003 all the various rowing boats and canoes would have been visible in the picture.






Photograph by Paul Bexon - February 2004







A view of the D.H. Lawrence Pavilion in February 2004









Elsewhere in the Park






This particular view looking across the lake towards the Trent Building when it was still University College, Nottingham turns up quite frequently in different publishers' selections of Nottingham picture postcards.


An aerial view looking down on the lake at Highfields with the Trent Building beyond it.  Photograph was probably taken in the 1930s.


Down by the lake in a photograph also taken in the 1930s.  This location is still popular with those intent on feeding the wildfowl living in this vicinity.






Photograph supplied by Mr. Aston.


Photograph courtesy of Ray Teece


Photograph by Paul Bexon - Lenton Listener



A view looking eastwards across the lake taken in the 1930s.  In the far distance the pavilion can just be glimpsed beyond the line of trees.


A 2007 photograph taken by Ray Teece showing the stepping stones situated at the western end of the lake.  


A 1987 photograph of the Highfields Park groundsmen. They stand beside the bust of Sir Jesse Boot, erected at the lakeside entrance to the park.






Photograph by Paul Bexon - April 2003


Photograph supplied by Mr. Aston.


Photograph by Paul Bexon - February 2004



The view looking towards the southern entrance to Highfields Park in April 2003.  Beyond the hedge on the left are the croquet lawns while beyond the righthand hedge are the bowling greens.


This photograph shows the Highfields Park groundstaff taken in 1930, not long after the park was created.  The men are posing for their picture at the end of the main entrance to the park, with the edge of the lake to their right.
Taken from Lenton Listener Issue 48 - Oct to Nov 1987


The same view as in the previous photograph,but 74 years later.  Photograph taken in February 2004.


Highfields Lake January 1963


Photograph by Vivien Smith - January 1963


Photograph by Vivien Smith - January 1963


Photograph by Vivien Smith - January 1963



The view looking across Highfields Lake towards the Trent Building.  Nigel Redel, Angela and Paul Bexon (with balaclava) pose for their photograph.


With the lake frozen and the ground covered in snow the wildfowl were largely reliant on laid-on supplies of food - but not from this particular group of individuals.


Having walked on to the western half of the lake the opportunity to engage in a snowball fight became too strong to resist.






Photograph by Vivien Smith - January 1963


Photograph by Vivien Smith - January 1963


Photograph by Vivien Smith - January 1963



The previous scene evidently culminated with Angela having snow rubbed in her face - that's what friends are for!


The ice on the lake was sufficiently thick to permit skating to take place on the western half of the lake.  A number of skaters can be seen in background of this photograph.


Having donned her skates Vivien Bexon prepares to set foot on the ice.  Alongside her are several others getting ready to skate and this photograph demonstrates that this pursuit was not restricted to just the young.





 Lenton Listener Archive
Articles from 'The Lenton Listener' Magazine

The Story of University Park - Issue 46 (June - July 1987)


The Tottle Brook



Richard Gadsby - Norfolk
One of my boyhood friends was David Palin and his father was the Park Superintendent.  David’s Mum, Edith, worked on the boats with George Horton and also did secretarial work in the Park Office. Highfields was our playground; amongst other things we used to use the band stand area as a roller hockey pitch. In 1946 one of the local newspapers took a photograph of us playing there which should be still in their archives. We used roller skates, a tennis ball and walking sticks. This is now the ‘in’ game and I like to think we invented it decades before it eventually became popular. During the War the large grass area in front of the Lido (pronounced Liedo by us unsophisticated locals – Leedo by visiting cousins from London!) was converted to allotment gardens.  In August 1953 I started working in the park as a stepping stone on my hoped-for-career in horticulture. I worked for a year on the lakeside side of the park – the ornamental side. That year during the winter the lake froze over and there was public skating. The lights around the lake were restored and illuminated it in the evening. The effects of wartime were still apparent and I don’t think the lights had been on since before the war. The students used to cause us consternation with their end of term activities. Jesse Boot’s bust at the Entrance to the park would irreverently receive a dousing of paint amongst other things.

Although University Park and Wollaton Park are in close physical proximity with each other, until 1957, they were managed by quite separate departments of the City Council, who did little in the way of liaising with one another.  Wollaton Park, The Castle, Newstead Abbey plus road verges and housing estates were within the City Estates Department. The other parks such as University Park, Woodthorpe Grange, The Forest, The Arboretum, Embankment etc. etc. were managed by the Parks and Cemeteries Department. The division had come about I think because the Estates maintained those parks which were given or obtained as existing parks or estates and not originally made as public parks.  In 1957 Fred Hallowes who had been in the Estates Department was made the new overall Director of Parks and  his deputy became Richard Stanion, who had previously been deputy to Mr. Ayres (who had just died) in Parks and Cemeteries.

Let us know your memories of Highfields Park & Lido


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