News for Spring 2009

Forest and Garibaldi

It is 50 years since Nottingham Forest won the F.A. Cup, beating Luton Town 2-1 at Wembley Stadium on 2 May 1959.  That was the second time that the club had lifted the trophy, having defeated their local rivals, Derby County, 3-1 at the old Crystal Palace ground in 1898.  The club was founded in 1865 and, at first, played on the Forest in Nottingham, hence the club's name.  The astonishing and exciting successes of Giuseppe Garibaldi and his army of a Thousand Red Shirts in the campaign for Italian unification had captured the interest of millions, so the new team's colour was never in doubt.  At first the players wore caps with red tassels as well as red shirts and were known as the 'Garibaldi Reds'.

Garibaldi had paid his third visit to Britain in 1864.  He was   mobbed by supporters when he landed at Southampton on 3 April, but was   promptly   whisked off to the Isle of Wight to stay at Brooke, the home   of Charles Seely,   the radical MP for Lincoln. (His son, Sir Charles   Seely, was the MP for Nottingham   from 1869, benefactor of St. Paul's   Church, Daybrook, Christ Church, Cinderhill   and the General Hospital,   Nottingham.  He was the owner of Babbington   Colliery and became High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire.  He was buried   at Brooke.)  At Brooke, Garibaldi met Tennyson and his wife who fell   for him, but not as hard as Mary Seely, Charles's wife, who wrote him soppy   letters which might have disgraced a Victorian Mills & Boon volume.

Undoubtedly, Garibaldi had the charisma and appeal of a modern pop star.  After eight days on the Isle of Wight, he travelled by train to London.  There he was greeted by a massive crowd of admirers, estimated at 500,000.  This was somewhat more than the 200,000 fans who lined the streets of Nottingham on 4 May 1959 to welcome home their heroes, Nottingham Forest.

As an aside, Garibaldi biscuits were introduced in 1861 by the Peek Frean Company and resembled a fruit bread, pane dei pescatore, which is still sold on the Ligurian coast.

Terry Fry


A local 'arts and crafts' enthusiast asks whether any Thoroton member can help his research into the life of Edgar Filstrap Simpson.  Simpson was born in Basford in 1867 and was clearly a talented freelance jewellery designer whose work appears in various publications, including Charles Horner of Halifax by Tony Lawson and Modern Design in Jewellery by Edward Charles Holm.  Charles Horner, who manufactured 'jewellery for the masses', marketed Simpson's work in the early 1900s when he was working in London.  Specimens of his work - which was all in the Art Nouveau style and sometimes featured fish designs - are in the museums of Birmingham and Cheltenham.  There is also a silver plaque depicting Dr. Thoroton in Nottingham Castle.

Directories show that in 1861 Simpson lived in Highfield House, Derby Road, and in 1901 he worked in Parade Chambers on South Parade.  By 1901 he had moved to York and during the 1920s and 1930s he took up commercial photography.  During the second world war Simpson moved as a civil servant to Llandudno where he died on 7 January 1945. 

If anyone has information please contact the editor who will pass it on to the enquirer.

Local history education

A meeting called by Professor John Beckett in response to a news report in the last issue of The Nottinghamshire History (No. 81, Autumn/Winter 2008) has resulted in members of The Thoroton Society and Nottinghamshire Local History Association joining forces to propose that Sue Clayton, a local historian, speaker and tutor from Flintham, be commissioned to look at 'The Current and Future of Local History Education and Research in Nottinghamshire', by establishing current levels and types of activity and to assess what future provision and support might look like in five to ten years time.

Those present at the meeting were mindful of how local history and heritage related activities have changed with the coming of the digital age and that there is a generation gap which needs to be addressed.  The growth in Family History also means that Local History related research often takes place without any direct contact with local historians or their organisations.  The Thoroton Society and NHLA committees are both being asked to contribute £1,000 to funding this very important project, which will not be formally launched until both committees have agreed.

At present, a brief, framing the aims and objectives of the project is being finalised, with the intention of actively involving local and family historians and other interested people, as well as local history and education related organisations.

Members will be kept informed as this project develops.

Ed:  I am grateful to Robert Howard, who participated in the meeting, for permission to base this item on an article which he has written for publication elsewhere.

Members will recall John Beckett's item in our last Newsletter dealing with this subject.

The parish of All Saints, St. Mary & St Peter

In September 2007 Nottingham's ancient parish of St. Mary the Virgin, now often referred to as  St. Mary's in the Lace Market, was united with that of St. Peter's with All Saints to become the Nottingham City Centre Parish, now known as All Saints, St. Mary and St. Peter.

At 3.30 pm on Sunday 22 February 2009, the Revd. Christopher Harrison will be licensed by the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham and installed by the Archdeacon of Nottingham as Priest in Charge of the new parish.  The Revd. Christopher Harrison's multi-stranded career has taken him from the higher levels of Government to the heart of inner city London's drugs and crime culture.  Having studied economics at Cambridge, he became an advisor at the Treasury, eventually running the office of the Economic Secretary to the Treasury.  However, in 1984, Christopher decided to train for ordination.  Following a Theology BA at Cambridge, he worked as a curate in Camberwell, a place which experiences high levels of poverty, deprivation and crime.  IN 1996 he returned to his native Derbyshire together with wife Isobel and sons, Peter and Mark and for the past decade he has been Rural Dean of Ashbourne.

St. Mary's will be well prepared for its new Priest in Charge having recently purchased what is hoped will be regarded as more comfortable chairs for the front section of the nave; new loos and a new kitchen, in the hope that the building will be more hospitable to its visitors.  Two big events for the spring are:

Good Friday, 10 April at 7 p.m.  J. S. Bach - St John Passion with St. Mary's choir and Paradizo Baroque Orchestra directed by Andrew Abbott.  Richard Roddis - Evangelist.

Entrance is free but there will be a retiring collection.

Saturday, 6 June at 7.30 p.m.  Orchestra of the Restoration.  Violinist Florian Rago and the Choir of St. Mary's.  Programme:  Slavonic Dances Dvorak; Mass in G Major Schubert; Violin Concerto Sibelius.

Tickets £15(£13), £12(£10), £5 (student standby on the door £3) from Nottingham Playhouse - Box Office tel. 0115-941-9419

Pauline Miller


This award is held every other year and is a joint venture between the Nottinghamshire Building Preservation Trust Limited and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.  It is awarded for the best new building or restoration of a building, within a Nottinghamshire village setting.

The 2008 award considered thirteen projects submitted by Parish Councils which included the new War Memorial at Blidworth designed and built by local people, the conversion of outbuildings at Epperstone Manor, 'Byways' in Harby and the reclamation of Sutton Manor Farm in Sutton-cum-Lound.

The four judges eventually chose as the winner The White Cottage, Church Street, Misson.  The cottage owners, Julie Watkins and David Hobson, in conjunction with local builder John Bingham, have successfully preserved a seventeenth century framed farm house and its associated buildings. Originally six separate farm buildings enclosing a courtyard the early C17th White Cottage was the Red Lion Inn during the C19th. Whilst including modern provisions, the restoration focussed on sustainable construction, energy efficiency whilst using traditional materials such as lime plaster, lime wash, green oak, handmade joinery, stone and lead.

Runners-up were the conversion of Epperstone Manor outbuildings designed by the Henry Mein partnership and the 1795 Nottingham Canal Toll Office, Langley Mill.  The latter has been restored during 2007-8 by a team of volunteers.

The next award will be in 2010 and the two sponsoring organisations hope that more Parish Councils will submit projects for consideration.


Joyce Beilby

It is with great sadness that we record the death on 15 December 2008 of a long standing member, Mrs Joyce Beilby. For many years Joyce and her husband Bernard fulfilled the role of Thoroton Society Lanternists and she was very active in Society events.

Barbara Dobbin

We are also very sad to learn of the death of Mrs. Barbara Dobbin. Barbara's husband, Michael, was Honorary Secretary of the Society for 11 years, retiring in May 1982 but continued as a Council member.  After Michael died, Barbara continued to work for the Society, arranging teas for the excursions, until she moved away to live with one of her sons.

We offer our sincere condolences to both families.

We welcome the following members who have joined us since the Winter Newsletter was published:


Laxton: farming in an open field village

An exhibition by The University of Nottingham's Manuscripts and Special Collections Department at the Weston Gallery, D. H. Lawrence Pavilion, University Park, University of Nottingham, Thursday 9 April 2009 to Sunday 16 August 2009.

The village of Laxton in North Nottinghamshire is unique in preserving the medieval traditions of open field farming.  An otherwise typical agricultural community, it escaped being fully enclosed in the nineteenth century.  The three open fields, divided into strips farmed by tenants of the Laxton estate, are still managed today by a jury reporting to the Manorial Court Leet.

An exceptional series of records from the Thoresby estate, owners of the manor of Laxton from 1640 to 1952, is held by Manuscripts and Special Collections, King's Meadow Campus, University of Nottingham.  Supplemented by material from other collections, including manor court records and photographs of modern-day Laxton, this exhibition highlights aspects of farming life in Laxton.  It extends the theme covered by the University's recently released teaching resource on Laxton:

A series of talks and events will be held to accompany the exhibition.  For further information, see the Lakeside Arts On brochure, or contact Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University: tel:0115-951-4565; email

Coach visits to The National Archives, Kew 2009

The Flintham Society at The Flintham Museum is running outings to The National Archives at Kew in 2009 on Thursday 19 March, Tuesday, 23 June and Thursday, 24 September.

The cost is £20 and the coach picks up at Flintham, Radcliffe-on-Trent and Jubilee Campus, Nottingham.  At the latter venue car parking is available with a charge.  Departure from Flintham is 7 a.m. and from Jubilee Campus at 7.40 a.m.

These outings provide a very cost effective way of undertaking research at TNA, Kew. 

First time visitors are given help and assistance by Sue Clayton who is the organiser for the Museum. Details of reader's ticket requirements are included when Sue sends booking confirmation.  TNA has full catering facilities and own food can be consumed in the cafe area.

Some folk use the coach to visit Kew Gardens which are near to TNA.

Further information and booking details from Sue Clayton, 01636-525641 or email at