The Magazine of Lenton Local History Society

Lenton Recreation Ground


Older Photographs of the Recreation Ground | The Derby Road Entrance Area | The Children's Play Equipment | Elsewhere on the Rec | Lenton Festival 2008 | Memories | Map


Lenton Recreation Ground was established by the Nottingham Borough Council's Public Parks Committee and was opened in 1888. The Story of Lenton Rec was featured in Lenton Times No.23 along with a number of other articles, which focused on different aspects of the Rec's past.


Photographs


Older Photographs of the Recreation Ground

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This photograph entitled 'The Promenade from the Recreation Ground' originally featured as one of a series of picture postcards entitled 'Hunt's Views of Lenton'. Although a poor quality image it probably offers us our earliest glimpse of the recreation ground in the very early 1900s.

A copy of an early coloured Edwardian picture postcard of Lenton Recreation Ground. Taken near the Derby Road entrance we have our first glimpse of the giant elm tree that featured in many images of the park.

Much the same view but a better quality image showing off the handiwork of the groundsmen with every bush trimmed to achieve the desired effect.

Photograph courtesy of Lenton Local History Society.

With the school buildings and Holy Trinity Church in the background, the elm tree has moved more centre stage in this picture postcard with a set of young extras willing to pose for the photographer.

The same scene as in the previous picture postcard although the locals shown here appear to be less aware of the presence of the photographer.

Lenton Times No.23 also contains a feature on Empire Day and Lenton. This photograph and the following three were all taken on Lenton Recreation Ground on Empire Day 1910. If it were possible to obtain an aerial view of this particular shot the viewer would see that the children are all wearing coloured costumes and arranged to recreate a living representation of the Union Jack flag.

Photograph courtesy of Lenton Local History Society

Photograph courtesy of Lenton Local History Society

Photograph courtesy of Lenton Local History Society

Over 2,000 children from the various Lenton schools had made their way to Lenton Recreation Ground. Here, in this photograph, the musical conductor, one of their teachers, can be seen keeping time as they sang a number of suitably patriotic songs concluding with the Empire song ‘Flag of Britain, We Salute Thee.'

Shot from the rear of the assembled mass of children, the raised stage with its gathering of local dignitaries can just be seen in the middle distance.

This close-up of the raised stage captures the moment when Councillor Albert Ball addresses the children, teachers and all the parents who had come to watch. 1910 just happened to be the year when Albert Ball was the City's Lord Mayor and he clearly ensured that presiding at this year Lenton's Empire Day was going to be a memorable occasion.

Photograph courtesy of Lenton Local History Society

While we have no precise date for this photograph, we know it must be between 1910 and 1914. Looking towards the railway line, beyond the low hedge are the two bowling greens created in 1910. Later in 1913/14 the greens were extended to their present complement of three greens.

To get his shot of the church and school buildings the photographer was in the area set aside for bowling. Given the hedge separating the bowling greens from the rest of the park is still looking pretty vestigial the photograph must have been taken not long after our previous image.

The Rec with a backdrop of the terraced portion of Devonshire Promenade made a suitable setting for this combined Lenton scouts, cubs, guides and brownies photograph which we suspect was taken in the 1920s or 30s.

Photograph courtesy of Picture the Past

Picture postcard publishers frequently returned to the Rec for more shots to put on their local postcards. This one was probably taken in the 1920s.

The Nottingham local historian Robert Mellors once suggested that the view across Lenton Recreation Ground was the closest thing Nottingham had to a traditional village green. Clearly the presence of the parish church in that view was an integral part of his thinking.

The park keeper's house, ‘The Lodge,' seen from Derby Road in 1949. This photograph is taken from the Picture the Past collection. Click here to be taken to their version of the photograph. By 1949 Cyril and Iris Wing were resident here and Lenton Times Issue No.23 contains Iris's recollections of living in the park.

The Lodge remained Iris and Cyril Wing's home until 1972. Here in 2005 Iris poses for her photograph outside her old front door.

Until 1949 no specific play equipment had been provided on the Rec. Once the swings etc. were installed they became a major attraction for the local youth. This very poor quality image was taken from a microfilm copy of the Nottingham Evening Post for August 1949, which included a series of photographs showing the new equipment in use.

Most of the images from the microfilm copies of the newspaper proved too poor for us to use in the magazine. This shot of unknown girl on swing proved the exception, although it still took a great deal of computer manipulation and enhancement to get what you see today.

Photograph courtesy of Nottingham Evening Post

Photograph courtesy of Lenton Bowling Club

Photograph courtesy of Lenton Bowling Club

The Nottingham Evening Post photographer returned to the Rec on 15 April 1955 to take this view of the Recreation Ground.

Lenton Bowling Club celebrated its golden jubilee in 1962. To mark the occasion there was a special dinner at the Reform Club in Nottingham and this photograph of the current members was also taken. Given the apparent age of the young lad on the right of the photograph there is a chance that he might still [2015] be in the land of the living.

We have no date for this earlier photograph of members of Lenton Bowling Club. If anyone recognizes anyone in this or the previous photograph we should be interested to hear from them.

This photograph, clearly taken on Lenton Recreation Ground, featured on the cover of a 1974 book published by Cambridge University Press entitled Black Migrants: White Natives - A study of race relations in Nottingham. The book was written by Daniel Lawrence who was then a lecturer in Sociology at the University of Nottingham.

This photograph was taken on Lenton Recreation Ground during the summer of 1973. The model railway track was set up as part of that year's Nottingham Festival.


The Derby Road Entrance Area

Photograph courtesy of Iris Wing

Photograph courtesy of Iris Wing

Photograph courtesy of Sonia Humphreys

The garden area adjacent to the Derby Road entrance has always contained a set of formal flower beds. This photograph taken in the 1960s shows the central bed in the time when Cyril Wing was the park superintendent.

Part of the outer ring of flower beds taken at the same time as the previous photograph.

For ease of maintenance the complex of flower beds were later reduced to one circular bed. This photograph shows it in early 2004 before being planted up.

Photograph courtesy of Sonia Humphreys

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2005

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2005

During 2005 Lenton Recreation Grounds underwent a major revamp. A new footpath was created across the area where the large flower bed was situated and park employees are seen here carrying out preparatory work for the creation of a new ornamental flower bed.

The new footpath with the completed garden feature that was being worked on in the previous image. The installation of a pedestrian gate into the park from Derby Road meant that henceforth the original vehicular entrance could be kept closed.

Eager to keep park users aware of the improvements planned for Lenton Recreation Ground this sign was erected on the park in 2005.

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2005

Photograph courtesy of Iris Wing

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2005

A view of The Lodge with the gates on to Derby Road now replaced by the new pedestrian gate.

A view of The Lodge in the 1990s focusing on the wonderful wisteria that has been trained to grow around the exterior of the building.

The new exit point on to Derby Road visible just beyond the Council's information sign.


The Children's Play Equipment

Photograph courtesy of Sonia Humphreys

Photograph courtesy of Sonia Humphreys

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2005

In 2005 new play equipment was installed in the toddlers' play area. This is a 2004 shot showing what the old equipment looked like.

A second shot of the toddlers' play area with sand pit centre-stage.

A 2005 view of the new play area set out with a completely new range of equipment for use by both toddlers and older children.

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2005

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2005

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2006

The new slide and mini-climbing wall erected on the Rec in 2005. Beyond the trees is the park lodge although the white rendered walls of the upper storey somewhat camouflages its presence.

For the more daring there was always the Mobilus, seen here in 2005.

The area which had housed the old playground equipment was now made into a new basketball area. Dave Thompson and Simon, two park employees, tidying up in the basketball ‘court' in 2006.


Elsewhere on the Rec

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2005

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2005

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2005

The Rec acquired this rather ornate feature in the 1990s. It offers park users a suitable refuge should the weather turn inclement. Beyond it lies the Derby Road.

Part of the circular pathway around the edge of the rec that has remained a permanent feature of the park ever since it first opened in the 1880s. Beyond the trees on the left lies Devonshire Promenade.

The Rec had been in use for almost two decades before the Council installed this toilet block. With another set of toilets in the bowls pavilion the old toilets have been taken out of commission.

Photograph courtesy of Stefan Kruczkowski

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2006

Photograph courtesy of Stefan Kruczkowski

Dave Thompson in 2005 with Councillors Dave Trimble and Zahoor Mir planting the 5,000th bulb at Lenton Rec at the Field of Hope.

In Lenton Times 24 we featured an article about the Hawkes family who lived in Coleby Avenue, Lenton. After Charlie Hawkes died in 2004 his family arranged to have a memorial tree for him planted in the Recreation Ground. This is the tree in 2006, a special strain of elm that is resistant to Dutch Elm Disease.

A view across the bowling greens with the bowls pavilion in the middle distance.

Photograph by Jacqueline Haywood

Photograph by Jacqueline Haywood

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2005

A view of the bowling greens looking northward during Spring 2011; the bowling season had yet to get underway.

Taken at the same time as the previous photograph, we are now on the other side of the hedge and now looking back towards the church with daffodils in full bloom.

The improvements carried out on the Rec during 2005 were sufficient for it to gain the Green Flag award. As a permanent reminder of this fact a flagpole bearing the 'green flag' can now be found beside the bowling green area of the Rec.

Photograph courtesy of Stefan Kruczkowski

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2005

Photograph by Jacqueline Haywood

Given the wind wasn't really sufficient to cause the flag to billow out in the previous photograph, this one shows a close-up of the flag with Dave Thompson on hand to hoist it up.

The park may attract along many students and local youngsters but it is also a meeting place for longstanding residents of the area. Here are Gwen Leigh, Annette Fletcher and Pat Galvin taking their morning constitutional in 2005. Annette's Story – Walking the Dog was also featured in Lenton Times No.23.

Concluding our tour of the Rec we return to a view looking across the park and taking in the picnic tables, the play equipment and the Lodge as they looked in 2011.


Lenton Festival 2008

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2008

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2008

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2008

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2008

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2008

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2008

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2008

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2008

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2008

Lenton Recreation Ground was the venue for the Lenton Festival held on 8 June 2008. At this time of year the Rec is a very popular gathering point for students living in the area and this sequence of photographs provides both glimpses of various activities incorporated into the Festival programme, with the majority of those students present confining themselves to the northern half of the Rec as they soak up the sun's rays.


Memories

Pat Fines - Australia


I have happy memories of Lenton Rec. Once I attended Cottesmore School in the early 50s it became a meeting place for all sorts of things. Margaret Wing whose family lived in the house on the Rec was in my class at school. Her best friend was Rita Ware and I remember they were always together. Running along the side of the Rec. was Devonshire Promenade, where Deirdre Smith another classmate lived. I think she subsequently went to live in America. I moved to Australia in 1967 so sadly lost touch with all these old school friends, although I did come across Delia Carthy many years later and now correspond with her. I know many of my fellow pupils would remember her - she originally lived on Highfield Road in Dunkirk.

My name was Pat Beal when single and I married Barrie Fines from Radford, and it is going to be our 50th wedding anniversary next year [2006].


Let us know your memories of Lenton Recreation Ground



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