The first Tuesday of each month you will always find us meeting and socialising at the Blidworth Welfare Function room. On Tuesday the 7th May we received a visit from one of our favourite guest speakers, Mr. Bob Massey.

Bob can always be relied upon to deliver a talk that is both entertaining and informative and this month was no exception. “Gone but not forgotten” was the story of the lost buildings of Nottinghamshire, demonstrated with slides, film and Bob’s unique and inimitable style that completely engrossed our members and guests for over an hour.

Perhaps the highlight of the talk was this short 5 minute film. Imagine it is 1903 and a man is standing at the front of a horse drawn tram, winding the handle of his recording camera whilst the tram is traveling between the two railway stations of Arkwright Street and Victoria Station. The streets are extremely busy with pedestrians and cyclists not to mention other horse drawn vehicles all interweaving through the center of the city and no-one giving any consideration to the possibility of a collision or an injury. As the film progressed our speaker pointed out the many buildings, shops and cinemas that were since demolished and explained how many of the buildings on route have been subject to the wrecking ball in the name of progress or have just disappeared and replaced with high rise office blocks or multi-storey car parks.

The amount of horse drawn traffic created its own form of pollution in and around the city and this necessitated regular cleaning of the streets at the end of each day. Pedestrians not only needed to be aware of the traffic all around them but also of where they stepped when crossing the street. The introduction of motor cars onto the city’s streets was welcomed by the general public and most of the pollution problems associated with horse drawn traffic began to disappear, but this new form of transport has brought with it, its own form of pollution.

We were shown slides of other once famous Nottingham buildings now longer with us, such as the old Workhouse, before it was demolished to make way for Victoria Station, the Black Boy Hotel in Long Row was one of Nottingham's most well-known buildings, the Empire theatre where Ken Dodd made his first professional performance in 1954, the Watson Fothergill bridge across Postern Street which connected the main Nottingham General Hospital building with some of its outlying wards. A few may claim that these were not Nottingham's most attractive buildings, yet there departure is yet another sign of the way the city is constantly changing and evolving. Nottingham is an outstanding city and should be proud of its heritage. Bob Massey was thanked for his contribution to the evening and we look forward to his next visit.

Following the refreshment break we discussed the Blidworth Oaks primary School and how that building had changed and evolved in almost 100 years that it has existed. Built in 1926 to facilitate the children of the new village created by the opening of the new Blidworth coal mine, the school was originally known as Blidworth County Council School. Catering for children between the ages of 5-14 years and then later to 15 years old. In 1970 the Joseph Whitaker comprehensive school opened and the Blidworth School was renamed Robert Jones Junior School. Between 1926 and 1974 numerous pupils and staff attended the Blidworth School, but just 2 Headmasters held that title. Mr. Godfrey retired in 1957 and Mr. Goddard retired in 1974.

 

Upcoming events and our next 3 meetings are;

·        May 12th 11am to 3pm The Great Nottinghamshire Local History Fair at Mansfield Library

·        June 4th - Peter Hammond, 'Joseph Wooley and his Diary of a Framework Knitter'.

·        July 2nd – Peter Liddle; How the “Time Team” programme works.

·        Aug 6th – Anthony Poulton Smith and Talking Butts

Our meetings are in the Function Room of the Blidworth Welfare. Doors are open at 6.45 pm and ample parking is available. New members are always welcome; just turn up on the night. There is a small charge on the door of £2 to cover refreshments. Our book, 'Blidworth and the First World War' can be purchased from Blidworth Library Tel. 01623677200, 'Salon 68', 68a Kirklington Road, Rainworth Tel. 01623795511 and 'Busy Bees' Mansfield Road, Blidworth, Tel. 01623793868  at a cost of £10, or Email: blidworthhistory@virginmedia.com