11 December 2014

Researching Roman Southwell project

The Researching Roman Southwell Project has launched a crowdfunding bid to fund a community archaeology project in the town. They need to raise £4,300 to investigate Harvey's Field which test-pit excavations have suggested has in-situ Roman deposits that have never been explored before.

Further information on the project is available on the Researching Roman Southwell website.

Lecture on the Welbeck Atlas, Saturday 13 December

Nottingham University's Department of History are running a series of local history seminars over the coming months.

The next one is by Steph Mastoris on the splendid Welbeck Atlas which comprises over 80 maps based on surveys of the estates of William Cavendish, Earl of Newcastle. The maps were produced by the surveyor William Senior between 1629 and 1640 and cover Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Northumberland, Gloucestershire and Somerset.

The seminar will take place at 10am on Saturday, 13th Decembe,r and will describe the origins and structure of the Atlas and its relationship to Senior's written surveys.

Further information on the seminars is available on the University of Nottingham website.

26 November 2014

'Discover King John's Palace' project shortlisted for the Big Lottery Fund People's Millions funding programme

'Discover King John's Palace', a project lead by the Sherwood Forest Trust, has been shortlisted for the Big Lottery Fund People's Millions funding programme.

A public vote TODAY (26 November) will decide whether the project gets the funding it needs. Further details and the telephone number to call are here: http://www.peoplesmillions.org.uk/2014-finalists/central-east/discover-king-johns-palace

There will also be a piece on the project on ITV Central East News at 6pm tonight.

19 November 2014

'Walking through history' TV programme visits Sherwood Forest

King John's Palace, Kings Clipstone
Tony Robinson (of Time Team fame) will be walking through the history of Sherwood Forest this coming Saturday (22 November) at 8pm on Channel 4. The programme summary reads: 'In Sherwood Forest and the Peak District, Tony Robinson explores the story of King John, the hapless monarch who stumbled from one crisis to another.'

During the programme Robinson will be discussing the intriguing ruins of King John's Palace and the history of Sherwood Forest with Andy Gaunt of Mercian Archaeological Services CIC.

15 November 2014

Charity screening of 'Operation Oman: the untold story of a secret war' documentary at the Broadway cinema (16th November)

There is a Royal British Legion charity screening of a documentary film, 'Operation Oman: the untold story of a secret war,' at 12.15pm tomorrow at the Broadway cinema in Nottingham.

The film was made by Nottingham film-maker, Tristan Ofield, about the Dhofar Rebellion in which his father fought between 1969-1975. They returned together in 2011 to make the film, which was the first time his father, Major Nicholas Ofield had been back to Oman in 40 years. It is considered 'Britain’s Secret War', and cost 24 British soldiers lost their lives.

The screening itself will feature an exclusive introduction from Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who both fought in and wrote about the conflict, and will conclude with a Q&A with both Major Nicholas Ofield and Tristan.

29 October 2014

'Under the Music Hall' film being shot in Nottingham

Ellie Wake has sent me details of a film she will be directing in Nottingham next month:
'This November I will be directing a film called ‘Under the Music Hall’ in one of Nottingham’s underground caves, based under the Malt Cross CafĂ© bar in Nottingham’s city centre. The Malt Cross is an old Victorian Music Hall, one of the best preserved in the country, and the film focuses on the history of the building and the cave which lies beneath it. The story follows a local girl who investigates the cave and encounters characters from its history. The main periods addressed will be, the time of the Carmelite Monks, The Victorian Music Hall era, and the bombing of Nottingham during WWII in 1941. Our aims with this film are to both raise awareness of Nottingham’s underground cave system, as well as sharing some of its rich heritage through the historical stories portrayed.
The film is also to run alongside a community project which will work directly with the public to collect their experiences of Nottingham’s caves, as well as collecting stories from the past to be compiled as resources to the users of the website. We aim to work with local historians and other volunteers to do this. Our objective with this side of the project is to not only present a useful source of information, but also to provide a means through which locals and visitors can share their experiences with a wider audience, whilst developing a much closer level of personal involvement and interaction with the wide array of historical subject matter involved.'
The film-makers are currently in pre-production and are seeking to raise the funds needed to shoot the film through crowd-funding website IndieGoGo.

14 October 2014

Special offer on 'A City of Light: Socialism, Chartism and Co-operation - Nottingham 1844'

Christopher Richardson, author of 'A City of Light: Socialism, Chartism and Co-operation - Nottingham 1844' has been in touch to say that he has 'recently refurbished and improved the web site for my book, with new information on people and places I wrote about and some additional illustrations.'

There is also a 'seasonal special offer' on the opening blog: £7.99 incl. p&p, signed and gift wrapped, and a donation to a local history society. Visit acityoflight.wordpress.com/ for further information.

2 October 2014

Day school on life on the 'Home Front' in Nottinghamshire during the First World War, 25 October 2014

A joint Thoroton Society/Nottinghamshire Local History Association day school will be taking place on the 25 October at Ravenshead Village Hall.

The subject is life on the home front in Nottinghamshire during the First World War.

Further details and a booking form are available on the NLHA website.

3 September 2014

Open day at King John's Palace, Kings Clipstone: 6th September

Mercian Archaeological Services are holding an OPEN DAY for their archaeological excavation at King John's Palace, Kings Clipstone in Nottinghamshire. The site is being excavated as part of their field training school and will be open between 11:00 and 16:00 on Saturday for the following: 
  • Tours of the site discussing the designed medieval landscape of the palace,
  • Tours of the standing ruins,
  • Finds and Pottery handling,
  • Results from the latest geophysical surveys,
  • Display boards for the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project and from Mercian Archaeological Services, and and news about the latest Sherwood Forest Bus Tours www.sherwoodbustours.com,
  • Stalls hosted by local heritage groups including Friends of Thynghowe and the Spa Ponds Nature Reserve.
Visitors can also learn about the latest results and research from the project researching the heart of Sherwood Forest, find out about the latest news from Mercian's Edwinstowe Project and all the other upcoming fieldwork and opportunities coming soon. Further details and a map are available here: http://www.mercian-as.co.uk/fieldschool.html.

7 August 2014

Past Lives Project in Nottingham

I've been contacted by Debbie Cooper who is coordinating the Past Lives Project in Nottingham over the next few months. The project is funded by the Arts Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund and is calling out for local cine film, photos and history featuring everyday lives of the region. Local film will be digitised for free to use within the project and the depositor will get a free digitised copy as well.

In 2012 the team worked with MACE to produce a film of the Midlands using cinefilm from 1930s to the 1970s, now they are doing the same for Nottingham. There is a short YouTube video showing how they work.

The project will be organising archive days, memory events, cine film viewing and digitisation.

The first event will be a photo and cine film heritage day on 9th August, 1-4pm.

See the Past Lives Project flier for further information.

6 August 2014

D H Lawrence Festival 2014, 5-25 September

This year's D H Lawrence Festival will run from 5th-25th September. According to the organisers, 'the programme is packed with events celebrating both the life and work of D.H. Lawrence and the rich heritage and culture of this part of Nottinghamshire where he was born and raised, and which so influenced his work' and will include:
  • Creative workshops
  • Drama
  • Exhibitions
  • Film screenings
  • Guided tours and walks
  • Lectures
  • Open days
  • A Mining Heritage Day
  • Music
  • Reading groups
Download the Festival wall planner for further details.

24 July 2014

British Film Institute video archive

The British Film Institute has recently made a wealth of archival and historical films available free to access online for the first time. Among the many videos now available are several showing life and work in Nottingham.

There are three relating to Raleigh cycles:
There is also a fascinating tram ride through Nottingham city centre filmed in 1902:

17 July 2014

Archaeological excavation at Rufford Abbey

The Community Archaeology team from Nottinghamshire County Council and local volunteers are excavating parts of the medieval monastic church at Rufford Abbey, near Ollerton. Foundations uncovered seem to suggest that the church was larger than originally thought.

Follow developments on the Community Archaeology Facebook page.

14 July 2014

Community archaeology project in Edwinstowe, 14-25 July 2014

The Robin Hood's Village Volunteer Dig in Edwinstowe starts work today. It could well turn out to be the largest free community excavation undertaken in the county with over 100 people volunteering to take part in over 13 days of archaeology.

Further information is available on the Sherwood Forest Archaeology website and Mercian Archaeological Services will be publishing photographs and updates on the project on their Facebook page.

1 July 2014

The Hucknall Byron Festival, 28 June - 6 July 2014

The Byron Festival in Hucknall has only just come to my attention - not sure how that managed to fly under the radar! The programme is interesting and varied, including a 'Byron Afternoon Tea' at Colwick Hall (with a lecture by Prof John Beckett on Mary Chaworth and Colwick Hall), and various tours, lectures and performances.
The full programme is available on the International Association of Byron Societies' website.

29 June 2014

3 June 2014

BBC TV programme on Chilwell Shell Filling Factory in World War I

'The Killing Factories', part of BBC's 'World War I at Home' series, is a fascinating look at the story of the Chilwell Shell Filling Factory and those that worked there. The factory produced more than 19 million shells: over half of all the shells fired by the British in the war. The factory was also the site of the worst single disaster on the Home Front when, in July 1918, a massive explosion wrecked it and killed 139 people.
The programme can be watched on BBC iPlayer for another 6 days:

31 May 2014

Project to investigate Newark's Civil War siegeworks

The Archaeology Department at Sheffield University is working on a project with the National Civil War Centre at Newark to study the 17th-century siegeworks that surround the town. The earthworks were the subject of a comprehensive Royal Commission on Historic Monuments publication back in 1964 and the Newark Civil War Project 'will review this report in the light of subsequent archaeological research and will assess the potential of modern geophysical and topographical survey techniques to locate and record both upstanding and destroyed remains.'

29 May 2014

Local history programme on Notts TV

Our new local TV channel, Notts TV, is broadcasting a new series on local history. The series is called 'Nottingham: Now and Then' and the first programme covers Nottingham's trams and the historic Lace Market district. See the Notts TV schedule for when it is being broadcast: www.nottstv.com/schedule

12 May 2014

Transactions of the Thoroton Society, Volume 117 (2013)

The latest volume of the Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire has just been published. It includes the following articles:
  • Archaeology in Nottinghamshire by Keith Challis (editor)
  • A romantic royal retreat, and an idealised forest in miniature: the designed landscape of medieval Clipstone, at the heart of Sherwood Forest by Andy Gaunt and James Wright
  • The interpretation of field walking finds from Bingham in the post-medieval to modern periods by Peter Allen and Geoff Ashton
  • The Soke of Dunham and its Liberties in the Twelfth and Early Thirteenth Centuries by David Crook
  • Annual History Lecture: The emotional landscape of Sir Thomas Parkyns of Bunny by Lizbeth Powell
  • Fee trees and rogue verderers in early eighteenth century Sherwood Forest by Sara Morrison
  • The Newark Navigation 1740-c1850 by Stanley Chapman
  • The much lamented late Lord Byron: Nottinghamshire Visitors to St Mary's, Hucknall 1825-1834 by Ralph Lloyd-Jones
  • 'Hanging For Sheep Hanging's Sake?' Convicted Murderers and the Nottingham Press 1850-1880 by Matthew Grogan
Further details are available on the Thoroton Society website.

6 May 2014

New books (May 2014)

Amberley Publishing have just sent me a copy of Nottingham from old photographs to review. It is yet another book in their attractive series of pictorial local history books. The author, Joseph Earp, is Team Leader of the Nottingham Hidden History Team and a large number of the photographs in the book come from the collection of the late Paul Nix who was a founder member of the team back in 1965.

The book aims to provide a 'new side to Nottingham's ever changing history' by making good use of this collection and it is interesting to see a wide range of hitherto unseen views of the city, particularly those from the destructive 1960s. The photographs of Maid Marian Way under construction and the demolition of the Black Boy Hotel and Victoria Station are a sad reminder of what we've lost.
Southwell & District Local History Society have just published Southwell at War: 1914-1919, an account of Southwell during World War I. It contains biographical details of the 650 Southwell men who served in the war and includes a list of over 550 men from the surrounding villages. Other chapters include the news stories covered by the Newark Advertiser, the 8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters on the Western Front, the South Notts Hussars in the Middle East, life on the home front and individual stories of tragedy and heroism.

Archaeological news (May 2014)

Several archaeological projects are taking place in Nottinghamshire this year.

'Toton Unearthed' is a community archaeology project between the Friends of Toton Fields Group and Broxtowe Borough Council, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The archaeological work is being carried out by Trent & Peak Archaeology who are based in nearby Chilwell. The project aims to locate the mills and manor house in Toton by carrying out non-intrusive surveys, digging of test pits, and excavation over three phases. Further details from the Toton Unearthed website.

Attenborough & Erewash Heritage Rescue: In partnership with the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, TPA are also working on a new community archaeology project based at the Attenborough Nature Reserve. Volunteer 'explorers' are tracking down 'lost' artefacts that were extracted from the reserve during quarrying activity over the last century and are now scattered across various museums and collections. "By creating a photographic catalogue and working with maps and records, they will weave the artefacts into an accessible narrative detailing Attenborough's past that will be presented in an exhibition as part of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s 50 year celebrations". The exhibition will be held on the 10th-11th May at the Attenborough Nature Centre. Anyone wishing to take part should contact Genevieve Carter at TPA.

Mercian Archaeological Services are organising a week long Training Field School at King John's palace, Kings Clipstone, 25th-29th August 2014 or 1st - 5th September 2014. Participants will learn about all aspects of archaeological excavation and receive hands on training and learning from archaeological professionals. To book a place visit and for more information:  http://www.mercian-as.co.uk/fieldschool.html

Mercian AS are also running the Robin Hood's Village Dig in July. This forms part of the Festival of British Archaeology and the dig will run from the 14th - 26th of July with an open day on Saturday the 26th.

The free volunteer dig is being run in conjunction with the Edwinstowe Historical Society and will investigate the development of the village through test- pitting.

Free guided walk: 'In the Footsteps of the Chartists', 1 June 2014

26 April 2014

Exhibition: The First World War in The University of Nottingham’s Historic Collections

A new exhibition at the University of Nottingham's Weston Gallery 'looks at the war through the eyes of the people who experienced it - from the soldier on the battlefield to the worker in the munitions factory, from the volunteer nurse to the wife and mother, and from the British ‘Tommy’ to the German ‘Fritz’'.

The exhibition runs from on the 9th May to 17th August and a series of talks will be held to accompany it. Admission is free. More information is available on the Nottingham University website.

22 April 2014

Contemporary Biographies (1901)

I've just added 341 biographies of the leading inhabitants of the county in 1901 to my Nottinghamshire History website. The profiles and photographs were originally published in a lavishly produced book called Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire at the Opening of the Twentieth Century; [and] Contemporary Biographies and provide a fascinating insight into the movers and shakers of Nottinghamshire in the final year of Queen Victoria's reign.
The biographies start with what the book's editors considered to be the elite members of county society (the 6th Duke of Portland, the Bishop of Southwell, the High Sherriff, the Mayor of Nottingham and Members of Parliament) and includes the nobility and gentry, the professions (military, clergy, doctors and dentists, lawyers, architects, engineers, stockbrokers and accountants), businessmen and industrialists, and sportsmen.
Facial hair was extremely fashionable at the time and the portraits show an impressively wide range of styles!

26 March 2014

New historical guides to walking and cycling in Nottingham

Chris Matthews has designed and written two historical guides to walking and cycling in the Nottingham suburbs of Aspley and Bilborough. These well produced and informative guides are freely available from most public libraries in the city or can be downloaded from his website (where you can also find Blog entries to accompany the guides):
There is also a launch event at St John's Church in Bilborough on Saturday, 5th April (6-8pm), which will include a talk about the history of the area with 'specially sourced archive film footage'.

13 March 2014

'I worked at Raleigh' website launched

Nottingham University and Excavate (formerly Hanby & Barratt) have collaborated on a new website that aims to capture 'the voices and stories of local people who worked at Raleigh.' The Raleigh bicycle factory on Triumph Road in Radford closed in 2002 and the website holds a range of audio recordings and short films that provide a comprehensive overview of what it was like to work at one of Nottingham's most important companies.

6 March 2014

"Community Archaeology in the East Midlands" conference, 5th April 2014

Mercian Archaeological Services CIC are holding a Spring Conference, "Community Archaeology in the East Midlands," on the 5th April at Nottingham University Museum conference room.
The day begins at 9.30am with talks beginning from 10am. The museum will be open throughout the day and there will be displays of community archaeology around the site.
For further information see the Mercian Archaeology website.

5 February 2014

Nottinghamshire Local History Association Spring Day School, 'A river runs through it: the Trent and its communities since c.1750', 22nd March 2014

The Nottinghamshire Local History Association's Spring Day School is entitled 'A river runs through it. The Trent and its communities since c.1750' and will take place at the Village Hall, Ravenshead on Saturday 22nd March 2014.

The cost is £7 for NLHA members and £8 for non-members. Booking is not required but you can secure a place by contacting David Anderson (treasurer@nlha.org.uk).
  • Philip Riden - Trade and traffic on the Trent since 1850: an overview
  • Hywel Maslen - New sources for the recent history of the Trent at the Waterways Archives
  • Wendy Freer - Life on board boats on the Trent in the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Hes Kapur and Les Reid - The Newark Heritage Barge: achievements and plans.

20 January 2014

'Great British Railway Journeys' visits Nottinghamshire

Michael Portillo's entertaining series, Great British Railway Journeys, has finally got around to visiting Nottinghamshire. Clutching his well-thumbed copy of Bradshaw's Railway Guide he starts the programme in Nottingham and a chat about the poet Henry Kirke White in the refined surroundings of Bromley House Library. His next stop is Mansfield station and the story behind the Robin Hood Line, which was created in the 1990s as part of the economic regeneration of the former Notts coalfield. He concludes his brief visit to the county with a visit to Welbeck Abbey to hear Derek Adlam describe the enigmatic 5th Duke of Portland and his extensive building works (including the famous tunnels) on the estate. The episode is still available to view on the BBC iPlayer:

14 January 2014

Launch events for new book on the Nottinghamshire Miners and the 1984-85 Miners' Strike

There are two launch events for a new book by David Amos on the Nottinghamshire Miners and the 1984-85 Miners Strike:
  • Saturday, 18th January 2014 at Bestwood Winding Engine House (10am – 1pm)
  • Saturday, 15th February 2014 (11am – 2pm) at The D H Lawrence Heritage Centre, Eastwood
The book, based on his PhD research, will be available to buy (at £13.99 each) at both events. There will be a small coal-mining heritage display at each of the launch events and tea, coffee and light refreshments can be purchased at both events.

The First Nottinghamshire Local History and Archaeology Day, 21 June 2014

The event will be held at the University of Nottingham Museum on Saturday 21 June, 11am–4pm. 

This event will bring together local history and archaeology societies from throughout the county along with archaeological units, museums and other regional archaeological organisations to display, examine and discuss current archaeological work being undertaken throughout Nottinghamshire. This exciting day can be enjoyed by everyone including those with a general interest in what is happening in their area, people actively taking part in archaeological work and those wanting to get involved.

11am-12.15pmShort talks on local archaeological projects
Five local societies present their work. The session will be introduced by David Knight from Trent and Peak Archaeology who will also give a short overview of work in the region.
Recital Theatre (no. 3 entrance next to the Museum). Free but tickets need to be booked through the box office.

Local history and archaeology societies and regional archaeological units and organisations will display and discuss their work. See the wide and varied work that is being done and find out about opportunities to join in. Practice Hall (no. 3 entrance next to the Museum). Drop in event.

12-4pm – Portable Antiquities Database and the Historic Environment Record for Nottinghamshire
Join the Finds Liaison Officer for Nottinghamshire and Nottinghamshire County Council to see what has been found in your area and bring objects for identification. Drop in event. Museum

12-4pm – Hands on Sessions with archaeological material from Nottinghamshire
Come and handle and find out more about a wide variety of archaeological material from Nottinghamshire including stone artefacts, pottery, coins, animal bones and environmental material dating from the Palaeolithic to the post medieval period. Angear Visitor Centre, Djanogly Gallery 2, Learning Studio (no.1 entrance next to the Museum). Drop in event.

This day is organised by the University of Nottingham Museum and supported by the Thoroton Society and the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies.