24 November 2013

Consultation event for project on Segelocum (Littleborough)

I was interested to see a flier on the Nottinghamshire County Council's Community Archaeologists' Facebook page inviting people along to a consultation meeting to discuss a bid for Heritage Lottery funding to investigate the Roman small town of Segelocum (Littleborough) in north Nottinghamshire.

The event is on 28th November at 7pm in the Sturton Hall Conference Centre, Brickings Way, Sturton le Steeple, DN22 9HY.

22 November 2013

Trent & Peak Archaeology: laser scan videos on YouTube

A colleague has just alerted me to an impressive laser scan flythrough of the Workhouse at Southwell. A quick look at Trent & Peak Archaeology's YouTube page reveals other videos of Nottinghamshire subjects:
  • Southwell Workhouse
  • Newark marketplace
  • Wollaton Hall
  • Laser scan survey of Stapleford Anglo-Saxon Cross
  • An explanation of archaeomagnetic dating at the TPA excavation at Girton Quarry

15 November 2013

Work starts on the National Civil War Centre in Newark

Contractors have started work converting the Old Magnus Buildings on Appletongate into a £5.3 million National Civil War Centre "where the centrepiece theme will be the deadly struggles for power in 17th century Britain." Newark was a staunchly Royalist town and played an important role in the English Civil Wars: King Charles I surrendered to the Scots Army here in 1646.

7 November 2013

The Battle of Hatfield and Cuckney church

The Battle of Hatfield Investigation Society are putting together a project to determine the location of the Battle of Heathfield (AD632) which led to the death of King Edwin of Northumbria. Traditionally, the battle is assumed to have taken place near Doncaster but the Society think that it was fought near the village of Cuckney in west Nottinghamshire.

Over 200 adult male skeletons were discovered at Cuckney church in 1951 when work was done to protect the building against subsidence from coal mining. Although it has been assumed the burials related to a 12th century battle the Society are arguing that they may be the fallen from the Battle of Heathfield and want to excavate at the church to find and analyse the skeletons.

23 October 2013

Film premiere: 'The Ice Age Journey', 14th November at Newark Town Hall

FARIArchaeology have been running a lottery funded project to study a prehistoric site at Farndon, near Newark. They have produce a short film of their discoveries which will be premiered at Newark Town Hall. See the poster below for further details.
 More information can be found on the project website.

15 October 2013

Event: 'Stories of ordinary folk', 19th October 2013

'Stories of ordinary folk', the Nottinghamshire Local History Autumn Day-School, will be held at Ravenshead Village Hall on Saturday, 19th October 2013, 10 am – 4:15 pm.

"The man-in-the-street may not make the history books, but people in the past at least had their rites of passage recorded. If they fell by the wayside the workhouse was there to offer some relief and perhaps a form of escape. Other diversions included the village bands."

The speakers are:
  • Valerie Henstock: Reading between the Lines - Stories from Parish Registers
  • Peter Hammond: Joseph Woolley, the Diary of a Framework Knitter
  • Victoria Preece: A Common Fate - People in the Workhouse
  • Chris Weir: When the Bands Played On
Cost: £6.50 (members of NLHA) and £7.50 (non members).

There is no need to pre-book. For further information call 01509 820067

13 October 2013

Local History Seminars 2013/14 at Nottingham University

These Local History Seminars are organised by the University of Nottingham's Department of History and are held on the second Saturday of the month at Lenton Grove - where the Department of History is based. They are open to everyone with an interest in local and regional history. Booking is not necessary and the entry fee of £5 covers the cost of attending the seminar together with coffee and biscuits in the interval. In addition there is often a bookstall at the seminar. The seminars start at 10.00 and finish at 12.30. Further details on the Department of History website.

New publications from Mercian Archaeological Services

Mercian Archaeological Services has produced its first newsletter, summarising recent work at King John's Palace in Kings Clipstone, The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project, plus details of excavations at Ticknall in Leicestershire, Codnor Castle in Derbyshire and elsewhere. The newsletter can be accessed here: www.academia.edu
Mercian have also published the first two papers in their Occasional Papers series, both by James Wright:
  • Brammer Farm House & Arundel Cottage - Standing Building Survey Report, and
  • The king’s houses a palace or a mere hunting lodge?
The papers are available online here: http://issuu.com/mercianarch

'Pit Talk' research project at Bestwood Country Park, 19 October 2013

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University are studying  the language of the Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire coalfields. The project is called 'Pit Talk' and is led by Dr Natalie Braber and they will be asking visitors to add their own terms and phrases during an event at Bestwood Country Park from 10am on Saturday 19 October.

If you have links with mining and the East Midlands collieries and wish share any examples of pit talk, you can contact Natalie by email at natalie.braber@ntu.ac.uk

The Nottingham Trent University event, at Dynamo House and Bestwood Winding Engine House, Bestwood Country Park, Park Road, Bestwood, NG6 8ZA, is supported by Nottinghamshire County Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

20 September 2013

New books on Worksop and East Midlands Canals

Amberley Publishing have sent me copies of two new titles in their attractively produced 'Through Time' series.

'Worksop through time' by Retford author and photographer, Sally Outram, includes a good selection of photographs showing how the town has changed over the past 130 years or so. She also includes images of the country houses in the neighbouring Dukeries, such as Clumber, Welbeck and Rufford.

Worksop's history tends to be overlooked so it is good to have reminders of its best built heritage: for example, the early 12th century priory church, the impressive 14th century priory gatehouse, the earthworks of the castle, Worksop Manor Lodge (dating from 1590), the railway station and Albion Mill. Unfortunately, some of the then-and-now images give a sadder impression of Worksop in the early 21st century. For example, the decline of the pub is exemplified by The French Horn on Potter Street, a splendid example of Edwardian exuberance with its distinctive green-glazed tiling and colourful architectural details, which closed in 2007 and now has boarded-up windows. Other photographs record architectural losses in the town, for example, the charming cottage hospital that stood on Memorial Avenue was demolished in 1996 and replaced by an undistinguished Farmfoods store and the fine Victorian Priorwell Brewery was pulled down in 1962; a dull red-brick archway and some office buildings are all that survive.

Ray Shill's contribution to the series is 'East Midlands Canals - Soar, Trent, Derby, Leicester & Nottingham - Through Time'. The author takes a chronological approach to the development of canals in the region and has chosen his images well. Nottinghamshire canals mentioned and illustrated are the Nottingham Canal, the Trent Navigation, the Chesterfield Canal and the Grantham Canal.

The Nottinghamshire Bibliography Online is launched

The Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire held an event at Bromley House Library in Nottingham yesterday to launch The Nottinghamshire Bibliography Online. The Bibliography provides a single web-based means of access to bibliographic sources for the history of the city of Nottingham and county of Nottinghamshire.

23 July 2013

New book: East Coast Main Line Disasters

Nottinghamshire-based author, Adrian Gray, has recently published a fascinating book examining fatal disasters on one of Britain's premier rail routes, from Newham Bog (Northumberland) in 1847 to Great Heck near Selby in 2001. 

The East Coast Line has run through the east of Nottinghamshire since the mid-19th century and Adrian discusses several accidents along this stretch, including disasters in Retford in 1873 and 1923 and one south of Newark in 1870 that left 18 dead.

The official launch of the book will be held at The Well on Hospital Road, Retford on 16th Spetember at 7.30pm. Adrian will give an illustrated talk about the various key accidents on the route.

Heritage Open Days in Nottinghamshire, September 2013

Heritage Open Days celebrates England’s fantastic architecture and culture by offering free access to places that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission. This September over 70 events and places can be seen, including:
  • Bromley House Library in Nottingham
  • Classic cars and buses at Bartons in Chilwell
  • Tour of Lilac Grove Sewage Treatment Works in Beeston (!)
  • The thatched dovecote at Thoroton, near Bingham
  • Guided walks around the timber-framed buildings of Newark and Civil War sites
  • Tour of the D10 factory at Boots and a chance to browse through the Boots archives
  • North Leverton windmill
  • Trinity Hospital, Retford (established in 1671)
  • Worksop Priory gatehouse
Full details are available on the Heritage Open Days website.

2 July 2013

Nottinghamshire Open Churches Weekends, July 2013

For the fourth year, churches across Nottinghamshire will be unlocked and welcoming visitors on the 13th - 14th July (northern half of the county) and the 20th - 21st July (southern half of the county).

This year over half of all churches across the county are taking part; either by simply opening their doors
and welcoming visitors, or by offering refreshments and staging additional activities and events.

14 June 2013

Nottinghamshire's Great War Roll of Honour

Nottinghamshire County Council has commissioned the county's first ever Great War Roll of Honour dedicated to the men and women of the county who died in World War I and will contain the names of 11,500 servicemen and women. The information is being compiled by a team of volunteers using war memorials, stained glass windows and plaques in buildings all over Nottinghamshire.

There will also be a Nottinghamshire Great War Centenary Exhibition at Nottingham Castle from July to November 2014. "Marking one hundred years since the outbreak of World War I, this exhibition will explore the experiences of Nottinghamshire people, at home and at war, whether by land, sea or in the air, through powerful visual images, artefacts and tours of city and county Great War landmarks."

The Roll of Honour and exhibition form part of 'From the Trent to the Trenches', a major programme of events and activities taking place in 2014 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

13 June 2013

Events and exhibitions at Nottinghamshire Archives

A varied programme of events and exhibitions over the summer has been announced by Nottinghamshire Archives:

Wednesday Workshops

19 June: Records of Royalty
17 July: Apprenticeship
21 August: Hospital and asylum records

Each workshop starts at 2.30pm and costs £4.

Archive Skills Workshops

30 July: Reading Parish Registers (English)
6 August: Reading Parish Registers (Latin)
13 August: Interpreting Dates

Summer Talk

9 July: Local, National & International – RAF Ancestral Research
This talk starts at 6.30pm and is free.

Nottinghamshire’s People: Ancestral Stories from the Archives

7 June – 1 September 2013 at the Weston Gallery, Lakeside Arts Centre
Admission free

Lunchtime Talks (to accompany the exhibition)

(All talks are free and can be booked by contacting the Lakeside Arts Centre Box Office on 0115 846 7777)
26 June and 9 July: Students, Sinners and Surveys
3 July: Weaving My Family Tapestry
7 August: Unlocking the Parish Chest:
14 August: Kinship and Connectedness

For further information visit the Nottinghamshire Archives Events page.

17 May 2013

Archaeology at Rufford Abbey, July 2013

The Community Archaeologists at Nottingham County Council are organising a volunteer dig at Rufford from 1st to the 12th July.

The first week (1st-5th July) will be run as a field school and will examine the foundations of an ornamental gateway at the north end of the Broad Drive, near to the mill. It is intended that the week will be "ideal for people who want to get a proper introduction to professional excavation techniques."

The second week (8th-12th July) will see the excavation of a disused water channel and studying the former garden features in an attempt to understand their layout.

For further information or to book a place email (community.archaeology@nottscc.gov.uk) or phone on 0115 969 6525.

10 May 2013

Local History Fair at Mansfield Library, 19 May 2013

There is a FREE local history fair at Mansfield Library on Sunday 19 May, between 11am and 3 pm.

There will be local history displays, screenings of old films of Nottinghamshire, demonstration of conservation techniques for documents and books by specialist staff from Nottinghamshire Archives with practical advice on how to take care of your own family documents, craft demonstrations, free children's activities, displays of old photographs and local history books on sale.

Further information and directions are here: http://www.experiencenottinghamshire.com/whats-on/the-great-nottinghamshire-local-history-fair-2013-p550281

7 May 2013

Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire

The latest volume of the Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire has just been published. It includes the following articles:
  • The Origins of Nottingham: Archaeological Investigations in the Medieval Town from 1969 to 1980 by David Knight, Scott Lomax and Gordon Young
  • Community archaeology at Thynghowe, Birklands, Sherwood Forest by Lynda Mallett, Stuart Reddish, John Baker, Stuart Brookes and Andy Gaunt
  • Bingham Hall and the Porter Family: A New Interpretation of the 'Deserted Medieval Village' at Crow Close, Bingham, Nottinghamshire by Adrian Henstock & Peter Allen
  • Coal mining in medieval Nottinghamshire: consumers and producers in a nascent industry by Richard Goddard
  • Dr George Ridding: First Bishop of Southwell, 1884-1904 by J.V. Beckett
  • 'And many of the little ones died' Public health, sanitation and weather in early 20th century Nottingham by John Wilson
Further details are available on the Thoroton Society website.

23 April 2013

Annesley Hall and Church on BBC East Midlands Today, 23 April 2013

The east front of Annesley Hall in 2003.
Tonight's edition of BBC East Midlands Today on BBC1 at 6.30 will feature Annesley Hall and church.

17 April 2013

Nottinghamshire's People events

The Nottinghamshire Ancestral Tourism Partnership has organised a programme of genealogical events and activities in the county throughout 2013. Highlights include:
  • 7 June - 1 September: Exhibition by Nottinghamshire Archives and Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham
  • June-August: Lunchtime talks
  • April-October: Nottingham Central Library talks
  • 19 May: The Great Nottinghamshire Local History Fair at Mansfield Library
  • 15 June: Boots Archives event at Lenton House, University of Nottingham
  • 16 June and 30 June: Talks on the Pilgrim Fathers at Babworth Church and Scrooby Village Hall
  • 22 June: Nottinghamshire Family History Society Family History Day at the Galleries of Justice
  • June-September: Worksop Library exhibitions, talks and walks
  • 29-30 June: Bassetlaw Museum Farm Festival
  • 9 July: Newark Air Museum talk at Nottinghamshire Archives
  • July-August: Nottinghamshire Family History Society Monumental Inscription Recording at Mansfield Cemetery
Full details can be downloaded from the Experience Nottinghamshire website.

27 March 2013

Event: Transport and Trade on the Trent, 1850–1970

Transport and Trade on the Trent, 1850–1970 is a University of Nottingham day school, organised in association with the Friends of Newark Heritage Barge and the Railway & Canal Historical Society. It will take place on Saturday, 18th May 2013 at The Newark Academy on London Road, Newark.

The university has been awarded a substantial grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to undertake a one-year research project on the history of the Trent between the mid-19th century and the end of commercial carrying on the river around 1970. The day school is an opportunity for university staff to introduce the project and describe what is planned.

Conference: 'Archaeology and Landscape in the Trent Valley'

Archaeology and Landscape in the Trent Valley, the Fourth Trent Valley GeoArchaeology Conference, will take place on Wednesday 15th May 2013 at the British Geological Survey in Keyworth.

"This year’s conference provides a forum for discussion of a wide range of projects, including research on early hunter- gatherer communities, later prehistoric and Roman landscape change, cultural resource management and developments in site prospection techniques."

The conference programme and booking form are available on the Trent & Peak Archaeology website.

23 March 2013

'Robin Hood: the real story of the English outlaw' by Jim Bradbury

A respected authority on medieval archery, Jim Bradbury, has spent many years researching Robin Hood and his book examines how the legend of Robin Hood has developed over the centuries and attempts "to work out the historical origin of the hero as far as possible."

The author takes an interesting 'reverse chronology' approach, looking at the influence of Hollywood and TV, then the novel writers of the nineteenth century, the antiquarians of the eighteenth century, seventeenth century ballads, sixteenth century plays and finally the medieval plays and poems. He also considers the audiences for which these literary works were intended. Bradbury adopts this approach in order to filter out the later additions to the story and to prove how much of the modern view of Robin Hood is myth and invention.

A later chapter considers the locations mentioned in the early poems, plays and histories and he concludes that Yorkshire "is one of the two most popular and common locations in the earliest works" and discusses the references to Barnsdale, Kirklees Priory and 'the Saylis'. Nottingham and Sherwood Forest, however, get equal attention and he argues that there is nothing to choose between the two.

This is followed by a discussion of 'real' Robin Hoods and 'Who was Robin Hood?' Bradbury admits that if there was a real Robin Hood we have not yet found him in the sources but hopes that at some point in the future the search for him will be successful.

The author starts by setting the reader a set of 10 questions (to which we return at the end of the book) to show how most of what we know about Robin Hood is the result of cinema and TV and not based on the available evidence. The book provides a very useful summary of the literary and historical sources and is recommended.

25 February 2013

Archaeological work at King's Clipstone

Archaeologist James Wright has been in touch to tell me about fieldwork and excavation at King's Clipstone, near Mansfield. King John's Palace was the subject of a Time Team dig back in 2011 and, more recently, James and colleagues have been working on "a condition survey of the ruin of King John's Palace, loose masonry recording, an 11 acre resistivity survey, two evaluation excavations and test pitting." In addition, the team have conducted "a standing building survey of two properties ... which contain partial remains of the medieval boundary wall and buildings associated with the ... palace complex." Photographs of work in progess and further information on the programme of work are available here:

11 February 2013

Event: 'Stories of Ordinary Folk', 23 March 2013

The Spring meeting of the Nottinghamshire Local History Society on 23rd March at Ravenshead Village Hall is devoted to 'stories of ordinary folk'. The programme includes the following talks:
  • 'Reading between the lines - stories from parish registers'
  • 'Joseph Woolley - the diary of a framework knitter'
  • 'A common fate - people in the workhouse'
  • 'When the bands played on'
Further information on the NLHA website.

The Nottinghamshire Historian

The latest edition of The Nottinghamshire Historian ('a bi-annual magazine of news, views and articles concerning Nottinghamshire local history and conservation')  journal has just arrived. Content includes:
  • 'Nottingham Cinemas, Part Two' by Michael Payne
  • 'After the Ides of March' (World War II German PoW camp near Carburton) by Robert Ilett
  • 'Help at Hand' (the medical team of the 7th (Robin Hood) Battalion in World War I) by Stuart Wilson and others
Further information on the Nottinghamshire Local History Association website.

6 February 2013

People's Histreh YouTube Channel

People's Histreh (Nottingham Radical History Group), have uploaded recordings of the following events to their YouTube Channel:
  • 'Rethinking Luddism in Nottinghamshire' - a talk by Dr Mathew Roberts, Senior Lecturer in Modern British History at Sheffield Hallam University
  • 'To the Castle!' - A walk retracing the 1831 Reform Riots in Nottingham

Talk on poachers and poaching in Nottinghamshire

Rosemary Muge is researching poaching and poachers in Nottinghamshire for a PhD and will be giving a talk about the subject at The Swallow's Nest in Nottingham on the 17th February at 2pm.

Further information is available on the People's Histreh website.

12 January 2013

New book: 'Lowdham, Caythorpe & Gunthorpe Through Time'

Another attractively produced volume in Amberley Publishing's 'Through Time' series has arrived for review. The book focuses on the large village of Lowdham which is located in the Trent valley, some 8 miles north-east of Nottingham, and also covers the neighbouring villages of Caythorpe and Gunthorpe.

The book has been compiled by members of the Lowdham Local History Group and the selection of photographs is both interesting and varied. Each page is a 'then and now' illustration of the ways in which the villages have changed over time.

One of the most intriguing set of photographs is the one covering the development of the house with the misleadingly understated name of 'The Hut'. The house was originally built in the early 1920s to the north of Lowdham and incorporated two American Pacific Railway coaches that the owner had bought after they had been displayed at the 1926 Great Exhibition in Paris. In the 1980s this unusual building was replaced by a grandiose country house.

I also enjoyed the images of 'Gunthorpe on Sea', a popular destination for locals and Nottingham residents in the mid-20th century. Apparently, the nearby lock on the River Trent was a tourist attraction (particularly for children who enjoyed watching the boats being raised or lowered) and this was often followed by a picnic on the extensive common between the Unicorn pub and the Trent.