Centenary Year, 1997

A record of events

11 January

Lecture: ‘Dr Robert Thoroton: His Life and Times (1623-1678), by Adrian Henstock.

3 February

Exhibition: Official Opening at Rufford Mill by Cllr Brian Grocock, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council. Prepared largely by Jean Nicholson, Margaret Trueman and Penny Messenger, but with generous help from many other people, the exhibition was designed by Paul Norton, the County Council’s exhibitions officer at Rufford.

Cllr Grocock noted how the exhibition ‘takes the visitor on a tour of the County from the time of Dr Robert Thoroton, who published the first substantial history of Nottinghamshire in 1677 and whose name the society bears, right up to the present time’. Responding, the Society’s President, Myles Thoroton Hildyard, thanked the County Council for their generous help, and then formally opened the exhibition by presenting Cllr Grocock with a copy of the Society’s commemorative booklet.

Launch of The Thoroton Society: A Commemoration of its First 100 Years, edited by John Beckett.

1-23 February

Exhibition at Rufford Mill

8 February

Lecture: ‘Nottingham: 100 Years a City’, by John Beckett

9 February

Talks at Rufford in association with the exhibition: ‘From Trenchfoot to Aspirin: Boots Pure Drug Company, 1914-18’, by Katey Logan (Boots Co. Archivist), and ‘The History of the Thoroton Society’, by John Beckett

16 February

Talks at Rufford in association with the exhibition: ‘Boots in American Hands: Boots Pure Drug Company, 1920-1933’, by Katey Logan, and ‘The History of the Thoroton Society’, by Neville Hoskins

25 Feb-14 March

Exhibition at Patchings’ Farm, Calverton

8 March

The Maurice Barley Lecture: ‘A Future for Architecture’, by Bob Cullen (Nottingham Civic Society)

17 Mar-26 April

Exhibition at West Bridgford Library

15 April

Civic Reception, Nottingham Council House, hosted by the Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Cllr Barrie Parker.

More than 150 members and their guests gathered at the Council House for a civic reception on a beautiful spring evening. The Lord Mayor welcomed members and recalled the close links with the mayoralty of Nottingham: one of his predecessors, then a mayor of the town of Nottingham, was among the preliminary list of 109 members who attended the inaugural meeting of the Society at the Shire Hall in 1897. Another of his predecessors, by this time Lord Mayor of the City of Nottingham, welcomed the Society to the Council House at the time of its Golden Jubilee. He congratulated the Society on reaching its centenary, and invited members and their guests to enjoy the reception and to take a tour of the Council House conducted by one of the Honorary Aldermen.

Replying on behalf of the Society, Professor John Beckett (Chairman of Council), thanked the Lord Mayor for his warm welcome. For 100 years members of the Thoroton Society had been active in discussing and promoting the history, antiquities and archaeology of Nottinghamshire, and much of their work had been in and around the City of Nottingham. Although summer excursions generally take members to places of interest around the county and even beyond its borders, the first weekend outing in 1897 saw members tackling – in a single day – St Mary’s and St Peter’s churches, the Castle and Wollaton Hall, before returning to the Albert Hotel for dinner!

In thanking the Lord Mayor for his greeting, Professor Beckett also recalled the ‘birthday’ affinity between the Society, founded on 1 June 1897, and the City Charter, which was granted just three weeks later. He looked forward to the relationship continuing and prospering as Nottingham enters its second century as a city and the Thoroton Society enters its second century as Nottingham’s principal historical society.

Professor Beckett concluded by presenting to the Lord Mayor a copy of the Society’s commemorative centenary booklet. Members and guests then enjoyed the convivial atmosphere of the Council House ballroom.

26 April

Annual General Meeting, Clifton

1-30 May

Exhibition at Angel Row Library, Nottingham

6 May

Exhibition: Official Opening at Nottinghamshire County Studies Library, Angel Row, by Cllr Brian Grocock

Presentation of prizes to winners of Schools Competition. Schools throughout the County were invited to enter a competition for a project on a historical theme, as classes or as individuals. Prizes were generously donated by Kodak and by Phillimores, the local history publishers.

13 May

Walk: ‘History at Your Feet’, led by Geoffrey Oldfield, in connection with the exhibition

17 May

Day School, Lowdham: ‘In the Footsteps of Richard Bankes: the Sherwood Forest Map, 1609’, led by Steph Mastoris

3-28 June

Exhibition at Bassetlaw Museum, Retford

5 June

Evening Reception (jointly with Retford Archaeological and Historical Society) at Bassetlaw Museum, with the Chairman of Bassetlaw Council and his wife, Mr & Mrs Walters, and the Mayor of Retford. After a welcome speech by Neville Hoskins, Vice-Chairman of the Society, Roy Sluman presented a seat to the museum in memory of Barry Biggs, a well-known local historian. Cllr Walter presented prizes to local winners of the Schools Competition. There was an opportunity to look around the Thoroton Society’s exhibition and the Retford Historical Society’s 40th Anniversary Exhibition, and the rest of the museum.

7 June

Garden Party, Flintham. ‘A Garden Party with silver band and aircraft noise accompaniment’ could describe this wonderful afternoon, when strong winds made keeping a hat on difficult, and towed gliders circled overhead; but nothing could stop 160 members and guests enjoying the hospitality of President Mr Myles Thoroton Hildyard at Flintham Hall.

30 June-2 Aug

Exhibition at Newark Library

18 July

Conversatzione, Nottingham Subscriptions Library, Bromley House

26 July

Inaugural Outing following the footsteps of the first Thoroton excursion in 1897: Churches Tour – to St Mary’s Car Colston, St Wilfrid’s Screveton, St Mary & All Saints Hawksworth, St Helen’s Thoroton, St Thomas’s Aslockton, St John of Beverley Whatton. The re-enactment of the Society’s very first excursion in 1897 was a great success. About seventy members, some in Victorian costume, retraced their forebears’ footsteps. W.P.W. Phillimore (a.k.a. Graham Beaumont) was leader, and Mr & Mrs J.T. Godfrey (a.k.a. Steph and Lynn Mastoris) added style to the proceedings.

27 July

Picnic and walkabout in Bingham, re-enacting part of the original excursion in 1897. Led by Valerie and Adrian Henstock, members met at the 19th-century Butter Cross in Bingham and enjoyed a short guided walking tour around the village. First stop was the site of the medieval chapel of St Helen’s. During work on the present Victorian house on the site the occupier uncovered a line of skeletons from the chapel cemetery! The ‘Laughing Cavalier’ public house in Long Acre was previously a ‘Ranter’s’ chapel.

The tour continued along Fisher Lane to the site of the shrunken medieval village where roadways and house platforms are clearly visible, and on to the 13th and 14th century church, before finishing in the Robert Miles School grounds, previously part of the old Rectory.

5 August

Talk at Worksop Library: ‘The Jubilee Parade of 1897’, by Michael Jackson

4 Aug-5 Sept

Exhibition at Worksop Library

1 Aug-12 Sept

Part of exhibition at Mansfield Library

11 September

Talk at Mansfield Library: ‘Sanctity and Scandal, the Dissolution of the Monasteries in Nottinghamshire’, by David Marcombe

13 September

Tea and Reception, Hodsock Priory, hosted by Sir Andrew Buchanan, Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, and Lady Buchanan. Members were welcomed by Sir Andrew splendidly attired in full uniform and were joined by the Society President Mr Myles Thoroton Hildyard. Members saw a newly acquired portrait of a handsome but spendthrift ancestor; and, in the fine 16th century gatehouse built during the time of the Clifton family, the unusual plasterwork. There was also tea provided by Lady Buchanan, and a tour of the lovely gardens. As neither the house nor gatehouse is normally accessible this was a most interesting and memorable visit.

13-14 September

Exhibition at Holme Pierrepont Hall (as part of Rushcliffe Festival)

15-19 September

Exhibition at East Leake Library

6-18 October

Exhibition at Bingham Library

10 October

Centenary Dinner, Assembly Hall, County Hall: speaker Sir Neil Cossons. After a cocktail party hosted by the Chairman of the County Council, Cllr Alan Davidson, members enjoyed an excellent dinner with a Nottinghamshire theme: Salmon, Saddle of Sherwood venison, Bramley apple pie and Midlands cheeses. Cllr Davidson proposed the toast to HM The Queen; Sir Andrew Buchanan, Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, proposed a toast to the Thoroton Society, to which Mr Myles Thoroton Hildyard replied; and Vice President Neville Hoskins then introduced Sir Neil Cossons, Director of the Science Museum, London, and a native of Nottingham, who has had long associations with the Society.

Sir Neil fascinated members and guests with his recollections of the Society and local history. His father Arthur Cossons had been a member of the Society from 1929-63 and had attended the 50th anniversary celebrations in 1947. Sir Neil thought Nottinghamshire was well served by its historians, and mentioned, including others, the work of the late Maurice Barley, and The Centenary History of Nottingham edited by Professor John Beckett; and said that Nottinghamshire historians had established a benchmark for others.

Professor Beckett gave a vote of thanks, and offered Honorary Membership of the Society to Sir Neil, who was pleased to accept.

11 October

Lecture: ‘100 Years of Archaeology in Nottinghamshire’, by Jeffrey May

13-31 October

Exhibition at the Angear Visitors’ Centre, University of Nottingham

21 October

Talk at West Bridgford Library: ‘Jesse Boot, His Life and Times’, by Chris Weir

30 October

Celebrity Lecture, Newark Town Hall, by Lady Lucinda Lambton

1-13 November

Exhibition at Bromley House

8 November

The Nottinghamshire History Lecture: ‘The Politics of Parkland in Nottinghamshire, 1750-1850’, by Ben Cowell

17 Nov-12 Dec

Exhibition at Beeston Library

25 November

Talk at Beeston Library: ‘History of Boots’, by Chris Weir

29 November

Carol Concert given by the Christine Asher Singers at Car Colston Church. The concert included both choral and solo items, classical and Tudor pieces together with folk and comic songs and some unusual and familiar Christmas items. The music was interspersed with two delightful readings entitled ‘Christmas at Chatsworth’ and ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ read by Ann Hoskins and Roy Sluman.

2 December

Launch of Sherwood Forest in 1609: A Crown Survey by Richard Bankes, edited by Steph Mastoris and Sue Groves (Record Series, vol. 40) at Bromley House Library

6 December

Lecture: ‘The Thoroton Society: A Review’, by Neville Hoskins

16-31 December

Exhibition at Arnold Library

Council wishes to thank everyone who contributed to make our centenary year such a success.