News for Autumn 2014

A New Sherwood Forest Project

This new project will take place over the course of a year, beginning in November 2014.

Dave Wood will walk the 1609 perambulation route with others joining. At points along the route there will be oral history workshops with Colin Hyde. Oral histories and stories will be recorded along the walk and become part of an online archive with a purpose built website.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, the RSPB and Woodland Trust will support with expertise and volunteers. Other groups will be involved using photography, drawing and sound recording to document landscape and natural heritage.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is concerned with the emphasis on circularity in the links between ex-mining areas and the return to heathland through country parks (e.g. Clipstone, Newstead, Ollerton). Focus will be along the lesser known rivers Leen, Meden and Maun. Documentation of pockets of woodland along the route, e.g. wet woodland as Budby Carr, hidden off-road oases of woodland like Fox Covert, recording sound and birdsong in Dukes and Sellers Woods. Documentaion of hedgerows along the route and of meadow names and wildfowers in ancient woodlands such as Eakring. The images and sound recorded will be placed, fully mapped, on the online archive.

There will be five creative archaeology workshops at points along the route led by the Nottinghamshire Community Archaeology team at:

WELLOW - using the monastic link to Rufford, with activities based on literacy, making a quill pen from a feather and using it to write; illuminations and colouring manuscripts.

KIRKBY HARDWICK - making a model of the house.

MANSFIELD WOODHOUSE - following the footsteps of Major Hayman Rooke. Making notebooks, sketching and describing the buildings he would have seen.

EAST BRIDGFORD - related to the castles of the forest and entertainment. Music and medieval poetry.

CALVERTON/OXTON - functional place names related to specialised production. An activity on medieval cooking with old cookbooks and recipes.

There will be history walks and tours in places along the route using professionals and volunteers. Footpaths and routes are to be mapped and documented visually. Leafets and literature will be produced. All this with the focus on bringing to light the hidden histories and routes of the city, suburb and countryside. Walking these routes reveals layers of history so the emphasis will be on stepping out of the car and getting off the road onto past trodden routes.

The overall aim is to re-define the ancient Sherwood perambulation route and to involve people in the history of the area.

Nottinghamshire Heritage Awards Ceremony, 17 July 2014

BEST EVENT 2014: The Flintham Museum for Meet Flintham’s Pre-World War Families

BEST EXHIBITION 2014: Highly Commended: Cresswell Crags for Man or Superman: Pin Hole Man

Winner: The Galleries of Justice for Bow Street Dock - Special Exhibition Programme

INSPIRATION AWARD for BEST SPECIAL PROJECT 2014: Papplewick Pumping Station and Dragon Breath Theatre for A Crack in Time

WORK WITH CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE 2014: The National Centre for Citizenship and the Law and the Galleries of Justice for I Pledge

CARE AND DEVELOPMENT OF COLLECTIONS 2014: The Museum of the Horse for the creation of the museum

SPECIAL CONTRIBUTION 2014: Susan Clayton (Flintham Museum)


HERITAGE SITE of the YEAR 2014: The University of Nottingham Museum

The Newstead Abbey Partnership

The Newstead Abbey Partnership (NAP) - now a formally established friends group of Newstead Abbey supporters, advocates and local partners - announce their committment to promote the site’s significance, encourage tourism and secure new funds for necessary conservation work with the support of a start-up grant of £40,000 from World Monuments Fund Britain via The Paul Mellon Estate.

At the initial meeting of the NAP, held in Newstead’s historic Orangery on June 25, Chairman Dr. Patrick Candler praised the work of the Steering Group who had set up the partnership following two public meetings in 2013:

“The passion and enthusiasm for Newstead Abbey remains undiminished. There is a tremendous wealth of experience, skills and knowledge in our new Committee and we now have the challenge of coordinating our idea so that we can confrm Newstead as the jewel in Nottinghamshire’s cultural and heritage crown”.

The NAP was established with the help of World Monuments Fund Britain following the abbey’s inclusion on the 2012 World Monuments Watch, WMF’s biennial advocacy programme for threatened cultural heritage worldwide.

The listing called attention to the plight of the Grade 1 listed building, best known today as the ancestral home of the Romantic poet Lord Byron. The abbey’s rich history stretches right back to the twelfth century when it was founded as an Augustinian Priory by Henry II; it was later dismantled in 1539 as part of Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries before being offered to the Byron family in 1540 and converted into a residence. Set in beautiful formal gardens with medieval origins, an unusually large portion of Newstead’s original monastic fabric survives, including the magnifcent west front of the original priory church - now a scheduled ancient monument - and medieval cloisters.

World Monuments Fund’s decision to include Newstead on the 2012 Watch refects the vulnerable condition of the abbey and its wider estate, the substantial cost of repair work required and the ongoing challenge of enabling public access. The west front has remained on English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk Register for some time.

Since 2012, WMF Britain has spurred positive change working in collaboration with the owner of the site, Nottingham City Council, which is investing what it can to keep Newstead maintained, but clearly does not have the resources to do all that is needed. The creation of the NAP will help to raise awareness of the plight of the abbey and to fnd new ways to bring in the necessary re-investment.

WMF Britain is supporting the NAP in its vision to help conserve, maintain and develop Newstead as a heritage and tourist attraction, with the aim of increasing opening hours, refreshing interpretation, improving the visitor experience and attracting new users to increase revenue to the site. In an important frst step, the NAP is currently supporting the City Council’s efforts to prepare an updated Condition Survey of Newstead.

Melissa Marshall, WMF Britain’s Project Manager, congratulated the NAP on their success so far: “Local friends groups and trusts play an essential role in helping to look after historic buildings to everyone’s enjoyment, and WMF’s grant from The Paul Mellon Estate has got the NAP off to a great start ensuring that Newstead gets the support and recognition it deserves.”

Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dave Trimble, said: “Newstead is a beautiful site and a real historic local gem, so we welcome the development of the Newstead Abbey Partnership to help support us conserve and develop the estate, ensuring our vision for a sustainable Newstead Abbey can be realised for future generations. This is an exciting time for the Abbey, with investment by Nottingham City Council already improving a number of facilities including the roads and we continue to attract new events and increase the site’s annual visitor numbers.”

For more information about the Newstead Abbey Partnership please contact Dr. Patrick Candler on 01623-821490 or email patrick.candler@sherwoodforest

On Our Doorstep: An occasional series about sites and places to visit which are perhaps not as well known as they might be

Pleasley Colliery Heritage Site

The boundary between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire runs in part along the River Meden and so Pleasley Colliery is just in Derbyshire but it is situated on the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire coal feld and so qualifes as being on our doorstep.

In 1872 the Stanton Iron Company was granted a lease to extract coal from the Top Hard seam at Pleasley by William Edward Nightingale, the father of Florence Nightingale. William was Lord of the Manor at Pleasley and, having been born a Shore in 1794, had changed his name upon inheriting the land from his great uncle. William died in an accident in 1874 but is remembered at the pit by the downshaft being named after him.

By 1873 the two engine-houses had been built and this was followed by the installation of two winders by the Worsley Mesnes Iron Company. The sinking of the shafts struck problems with water and they had to be lined with cast-iron for the frst 120m. Coinciding with a depression in the iron and coal industries the coal seam was not reached until February 1877 and production did not start until 1879.

Pleasley’s output steadily increased and in October 1881 the monthly output was 9,600 tons, had risen to 13,000 tons by August 1882 and 17,250 tons by 1884 outstripping the Stanton colliery at Teversal which had been operating since 1868.

With output averaging 1,000 tons per 9-hour shift by 1890 the underground haulage by ponies had become unsustainable. A shareholder, Col. R.E.B. Crompton gained the contract to fit electric powered haulage and a 60 hp, DC motor driven endless-rope haulage system was installed. Pleasley thus became the first pit in the country to use electicity underground, and by 1897 there were five electically driven rope haulages in operation at the pit; this released 44 ponies and enabled output to rise to 1,700 tons per day.

The wooden headstock of the upcast shaft was replaced by a steel one in 1900 and that of the downcast shaft in 1901 (both encased in concrete in the 1970s). The downcast winder drum shaft fractured and was replaced by a more powerful one from Lilleshall Co., Oakengates, Shropshire. Boilers were replaced and more powerful fans installed with turbine generators operating off the exhaust steam from the winders.

Shaft deepening took place in the early 1920s and to wind the deeper seams a new winder was installed by Markhams of Chesterfeld, a firm still in existance and which has recently done work for the Site volunteers. To accommodate this larger winder the South engine house had to be rebuilt.

After nationalisation of the coal industry reorganisation of the pit top and bottoms was undertaken costing £900,000.

By 1951 the Top Hard seam had been exhausted at which time the coalface was 3 miles from the pit bottom. However by the 1970s the infrastructure at Pleasley was no longer able to handle coal production so all output was switched to Shirebrook with roadways driven to connect the workings. Pleasley continued to be used for man-riding and ventilation but was closed completely in 1983. A preservation order was gained for the site to prevent demolition due in 1986.

Pleasley was the first pit to use electricity underground, was one of the first to have steel headstocks and for a while was the deepest colliery in Derbyshire.

The pit is now owned by The Land Trust but all the renovation work is being done by volunteers of the Friends of Pleasley Colliery.

The site is well worth a visit. Entry is free but donations are requested; a volunteer will provide a conducted tour if available and there is an excellent cafe serving hot and cold foods and drinks which is well used by visitors to the site and to the adjacent Country Park as well as cycling clubs. Very clean toilets are on the site.

The volunteers are very cheerful and most friendly being only too pleased to see visitors and they all have a great enthusiasm for their pit.

The collections of photographs, machinery, equipment and other ephemera is very extensives. It is hoped to have one of the winding engines running later in 2014 and a new gallery museum which leads into the shaft top is being prepared which will enhance the visitor’s experience of the site. At the time of our visit we were shown this section of the site through a locked door, by a volunteer who was a source of great knowledge not only about this particular colliery but the coal industry in general. Many volunteers are ex-colliers and clearly love what they are doing at Pleasley.

This site on our doorstep is well worth a visit and highly recommended. You will not see a pristine museum site but a place which, in many areas, remains much as it was when the colliery closed. It is an important site in the East Midlands where most of the evidence of coal extraction has been removed - to the extent that young people growing up now may not have even seen a lump of coal or experienced a coal fire. They certainly do not understand the great history of coal mining that existed in Derbyshire,

Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. We are fortunate that places like Pleasley and the Bestwood Winding Engine still exist to provide some knowledge of the industrial history of our area.

The site is open daily from 10 am to 2 pm. Web site:

Information for this feature was derived from the Pleasley Colliery Visior Guide and explanatatory notices on the site.

Centre for Hidden Histories: Community, Commemoration and the First World War

By John Beckett

I am currently heading up a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Reasearch Council (AHRC) which is looking at groups and individuals who are commemorating the hidden histories of the 1914-18 period and who want to explore the roles played by people, not only on the Western Front, but across other theatres of war and on the home front. We are also interested in the stories of different nationalities, notably perhaps those with a substantial presence in Britain today who had no such grouping in 1914: many Afro-Caribbean and southern Asian families living here today will have had grandfathers and great-grandfathers who fought in the Great War. The project has started in the East Midlands but will be rolled out nationally, together with the four other Centres being funded by the AHRC, based in Birmingham, Kent, Hertfordshire and Northern Ireland. Here in Nottingham we have partnership links with Nottingham Trent and Derby Universities, and further afeld with Manchester Metropolitan, Oxford Brookes, Goldsmiths and University College (both London).

More information can be found on our website at

Our community liaison offcer, who is the link to the whole project, Mike Noble, can be contacted at:


Forthcoming events and news items


It was announced in July by the Ministry of Defence, that Stanford Hall is to be developed into the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre, opening about the end of 2017.

This will establish a long-term, state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility for injured personnel which builds upon the work of Headley Court to ensure patients the very best of care.

The Grade II listed Lido will be demolished and the listed Game House will be relocated and repaired. The Stables, Oak Court, Worker’s Cottage and outbuildings north of the walled gardens will also be demolished.

The announcement makes no mention of the theatre; it is hoped that this will be retained and modernised as a facility for the patients and local groups to use for productions.


Expert, Patrick Harding returns to the Crags with a Hunter Gatherer course FOOD FOR FREE on 27th September, running from 10.30 am to 3,30 pm. The cost is £21.00 and call 01909 720378 to book.

Local Photographer, Lesley Carley has a photographic display until the end of December 2014. Lesley is inspired by dramatic landscapes and British fora and is a frequent vistor to the Crags.

CAVE, CAKE and COLLECTION events run at 2 pm on the last Wednesday of every month until October. These visit the rarely opened Pin Hole Cave, see behind the scenes at the museum, and include a cake in the Crags End Cafe. Cost is £15 with tickets available on the above number. This event is also available as a package for pre-booked groups, enquiries as above.


Changes are happening to the Hyson Green Library Service where it is planned to move the Service currently housed on Gregory Boulevard (next to New Art Exchange) to the Mary Potter Centre with improved facilities.

The move means that there is an opportunity for the old Library building to take on a new community or creative function to enhance the cultural offer of Hyson Green.

Artreach ( is working with New Art Exchange to explore the future use of the building to better understand the role it could play in the development of the area.

A survey has been created and any Nottingham City Library user is invited to participate and especially those using the Hyson Green library. To complete the survey please visit the artreach web site.


The Community Cafe at the Dynamo House is open on event days and every Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm. During June, July and August it also opened as a trial on Sunday afternoons from 2 to 4 p.m.

Free tours of the Winding Engine House take place every Saturday morning from 10 am to 12 noon.

Bat Night: Wednesday 3 Sepember from 6.30 pm at the Dynamo House. A talk by Lynn Victor of the Notts. Wildlife Trust followed by bat spotting at the lakes.

Steam Heritage Day: Sunday, 7 September 11 am to 4 pm. Various engines, miniature fairground organ, tours of the Winding Engine House.

Bestwood village Poppy Walk: Saturday 13 September, 2 to 5 pm. A thoughtful walk and a traditional 1914 tea courtesy of Bestwood Village W.I. with a performance by actor Becky Matter who will share hidden stories of Gedling Armed Forces families, village life and loss during the Great War. Small charge for the tea. Booking is essential from Gedling Borough Council on 0115-901-3715.

The Wind Up mining Heritage Bus Tour: Sunday 21 September, 10am to 5 pm. Departs from the DH Lawrence Heitage Centre, Eastwood and visits Brinsley Headstocks, Pleasley Colliery Site, Clipstone Headstocks, Papplewick Pumping Station where the old Linby Colliery Robey winding engine will be in steam, and Bestwood Winding engine. Booking essential on 0115-976-2422 or email


13 September, 10.30 am to 1 pm, Mansfeld Central Library; 20 September 10.30 am to 1 pm, Worksop Library and 27 September, 10.30 am to 1 pm, West Bridgford Library - PEGG’s WAR.

Drop by for free family activities inspired by the World War 1 diaries of Nottinghamshire teenager Raymond Pegg. Explore the fascinating real life diaries, create Flag Day badges and make a zeppelin raid indicator.

Heritage Open Day - 13 September 2014 11am to 3 pm.

Visit Nottinghamshire Archives and tour the building; see behind the scenes; see displays of archives and have a go at activities.

Free and no booking necessary.

John Beckett advises that following the closure of the Archives from 20 October 2014 until late February 2015 it may be possible for material to be temporarily deposited at the University of Nottingham’s Kings Meadow Department of Manuscripts. To see whether this is possible for any particular item it is necessary to contact the Archive Office to make the necessary arrangements.


Saturday, 13 September 2014, 10 am to 4 pm - Heritage Open Day: The world before the outbreak of the Great War. Suffragette theme event.

Saturday, 13 December, 10am to 4 pm - Christmas Crank-Up: Festival themed vintage tractors on show, plenty of mince pies and carol singing along the way.

9 August 2014 to January 2015: OVER BY CHRISTMAS an exhibition of photographs, documents, military equipment and costume relating to the Great War 1914-1918.

26 July 2014 to January 2015: The Magic of Advertising. How they get you hooked. Packaging and advertisements for local and iconic brands and businesses.


In a report at the end of June 2014 it was stated that Newark and Sherwood District Council had accepted an offer for the Grade 1 building of Kelham Hall. No buyer’s details or sale price was mentioned but it was stated that a new Council headquarters building would be sited adjacent to the Castle station.


The 500 year old Magnus building is being converted into a new National Civil War Centre at a cost of around £5 million.


Past Lives Project is making a new flm of Nottingham from old cine flm home movies, if you have local cine film please get in touch. They are also running photo, flm and oral history events see website for details.


The Newsletter of Keyworth and District LHS has been chosen for the Local History Award for a Society Newsletter 2014 by the British Association for Local History. Editor Howard Fisher received the certificate of the award at the BALH annual Local History Day in London on 7 June 2014.