News for Spring 2013


As we all know there was extensive flooding in the county at the end of 2012 and our sympathies go to anyone whose home or other building was affected by the water.

Whilst looking through my postcard collection for another subject I came across this card showing very extensive flooding around the Prince of Wales’ Farm in a postcard published by the Nottingham Evening News on 24 May 1932.

Grove Farm on Lenton Lane, now the University of Nottingham playing fields, was bought by Edward, the Prince of Wales (Edward VIII), in 1927 allegedly to facilitate his affair with Freda Ward the married daughter of the lace magnate Charles Birkin. The farmhouse was rebuilt by the Prince. The affair lasted to around 1933 and the farm was then sold with subsequent owners being George Shelton, John William and Nellie Burnett, Colin Burnett and acquired by the University of Nottingham in 1960.

The farm was situated on the banks of the river Trent, the flow of which can be seen in the picture by the white marks running in a diagonal in the lower half.



Members will recall the article in the Newsletter, issue 68, Summer 2012 by Trevor Lewis about the lost manor of Kirkby Hardwick. The Kirkby and District Archaeological Group has continued to be active in their interest in the site but are concerned that recent developments will affect the work they wish to continue undertaking in understanding the history of the building. Barbara Cast updates on the Response Group action.

You may remember reading in our Summer 2012 Newsletter an article about Kirkby Hardwick Old Manor and the excavations which had taken place recently, the findings of which had shown how ancient and interesting the site was, especially with its connections with Cardinal Wolsey and some of the leading families in the county.

Kirkby and District Archaeological Group, who had instigated the investigations, was becoming concerned about the future of this former Coal Board site, especially because of rumours that it was to be sold and the uncertainty about its current ownership. Having written to the County Council, KDAG asked Thoroton for support in their bid to retain the site for future investigation and interpretation. We sent the following letter to the County Council, including to the Leader of the Council, Cllr. Kay Cutts:

The Thoroton Society, as the history and archaeology society for the whole of the county, has been made aware of an issue affecting one of Nottinghamshire’s important historic sites. In the summer issue of our newsletter we featured the work which had been undertaken by the Kirkby and District Archaeological Group at Kirkby Hardwick, which is the site of an ancient manor house demolished by the National Coal Board in 1966.

The exciting history of this site, which was subject to a LIS funded archaeological investigation in 2011 and 2012, has only just begun to emerge. The site and remains of the Manor House are of great interest for their own sake but the house also has close connections with the last days of Cardinal Wolsey and has been in the ownership of some of the leading families of the area, the Earls of Shrewsbury and the Cavendishes, both of which families have Bess of Hardwick at their centre, and the Dukes of Portland.

The archaeological investigations revealed an even longer history, with finds showing that the site has been occupied for at least 800 years. Prehistoric artefacts have also been found in the area.

This is an issue of great concern for the heritage of Ashfield and of Nottinghamshire. The local archaeological group are very keen to see further investigations take place and are hoping to obtain a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable a more comprehensive excavation in order to achieve a fuller understanding of the development of the site. The ancient walls, which are all that is left of the old house, also need to be stabilised and conserved.

We understand that one issue of concern is the ownership and/or potential sale to a private purchaser of this site. This would hamper further investigation of what is certainly a very interesting and important site.

It is therefore our request that the County Council retains ownership until the site is fully understood and, subsequently, its value to our county’s history assessed and its future carefully considered.

Soon after sending the letter by email I received a call from Cllr. Cutts who said that she hadn’t previously heard of the concerns about Kirkby Hardwick and who was very interested and assured me that the County Council wouldn’t sell the land, if it indeed belonged to them, without ensuring that it was fully understood. Indeed she said that the county authority would ensure that the site was afforded some protection whilst its historicity and value was further explored. Officers at the County Council have been asked to report back to councillors on its ownership – we are hopeful that there may be a good future for what is obviously a very important and interesting site. We wait to see what happens next.

[Since writing the above it is understood that the land will be withdrawn from sale.]


Many members seem to be unaware of the facility afforded to Thoroton Society members at the University of Nottingham. It has therefore been decided to reprint, with slight amendments, the explanation given by Dorothy Johnston inNewsletter 48, Summer 2007.

This article clarifies procedures for using Nottingham University’s Library. The Manuscript and Special Collections Department (including the East Midlands Collection) is at the King’s Meadow Campus on Lenton Lane (formerly Carlton TV Studios). The University welcomes members of the public to use the resources of Manuscripts and Special Collections including the open-access East Midlands Collection in the Reading Room. In addition, Thoroton members are entitled to borrow from this collection. They need to be registered as external borrowers of the University Library and will be given a library card, valid for one year.

To obtain a card visit the Reading Room at King’s Meadow with proof of Thoroton Society membership, e.g. your programme card. Core opening hours for the East Midlands Collection are weekdays 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. (5.00p.m. on Fridays) and the Reading Room is not open at weekends.

Members can also use the card to access the rest of the University Library for reference use.

The public are entitled to walk-in reference access, and the library card can be used for identification to library staff if necessary, and will operate the security gate system in the Hallward Library at University Park.

Enquiries about the facilities and collections should be referred to Mrs. Corinne Fawcett, Special Collections Librarian, Manuscripts and Special Collections, King’s Meadow Campus, Lenton Lane, Nottingham, NG7 2NR, tel. 0115-951-4562 or email:

Information on the East Midlands Collection is at:


WATER! PIPES, PUMPS, FLOODS and DRAINS in the University of Nottingham’s Water Archives.

Floods in Nottingham, 1960. Courtesy of the Nottingham Post Group.
Floods in Nottingham, 1960. Courtesy of the Nottingham Post Group.

There is still time for Thoroton members to visit Manuscripts & Special Collections’ exhibition on water which opened in January but runs until 19 May 2013 at the Weston Gallery, Lakeside. Drought conditions or torrential rain affecting water supply always makes headlines. Yet there is much more to the story of water. Our ancestors built an impressive network of pumping stations, water mains, reservoirs and sewage pipes, in Victorian times and much of which is still in use today, to improve sanitation and provide clean drinking water for all. Earlier generations cut drains to reclaim agricultural land, and built canals, weirs and locks to improve navigation. In the twentieth century, scientists and engineers worked to predict floods and construct flood defences.

This exhibition focuses in particular on the city of Nottingham, and the work of the various authorities and public bodies charged with providing reliable water supply, sewerage and water treatment, and flood prevention schemes. It draws on original archives and photographs held by the University’s Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections.



Catherine Drake (née Rooston) and her family outside their West Bridgford home c1902. Catherine undertook teacher training at Nottingham Day Training College (now the University of Nottingham).Catherine Drake (née Rooston) and her family outside their West Bridgford home c1902. Catherine undertook teacher training at Nottingham Day Training College (now the University of Nottingham).

Manuscripts and Special Collections will be collaborating with Nottinghamshire Archives to present an exhibition about Nottinghamshire families, to run at the Weston Gallery, Lakeside, University Park from 6 June 2013 to 1 September 2013.

Tracing our ancestors has proved a fascinating challenge for generations. Some researchers have sought evidence to establish a claim to a title, but increasing numbers pursue family history as a hobby, and want to know more about the lives and times of their forebears. Whether they were humble agricultural labourers, local dignitaries or incorrigible criminals, they all have a story to tell.

This exhibition celebrates the lives of Nottinghamshire’s people and communities. It tells about very different experiences. George Africanus was a former slave who came to Nottingham and became its first black entrepreneur. Robert Weatherall, by contrast, was a local boy from a poor agricultural family who went to study at Christ’s College, Cambridge.

Family historians today can draw on rich internet resources, but ‘Nottinghamshire’s People’ showcases the original documents that provide the evidence for ancestral research. Through church records, private papers, maps, wills and many other sources, it uncovers a rich world that lies beyond the indexes of census and birth, marriage and death records.

A series of talks will accompany the exhibition. Places are limited so please book in advance with the Lakeside Box Office on 1005-846-7777.

1-2 p.m. Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside Arts Centre.

Wednesday, 26 June and Tuesday 9 July – STUDENTS, SINNERS and SURVEYS.

From diligent students to blasphemers brought before the Archdeaconry court, Assistant Archivist, Kathryn Steenson, introduces some of the diverse and perhaps surprising range of documents at the University of Nottingham that can help family historians put flesh on their ancestors’ bones.


With characters ranging from local weavers to Cambridge graduates and enthusiastic genealogists, adult-education teacher, Jenni Dobson, explores the threads of her own family history beyond BMDs.


Did your ancestors work on local roads, serve as a parish constable, or become a parish apprentice? were they baptized, married or buried at a local church? Peter Lester, archivist at Nottinghamshire Archives, uncovers the fascinating information for family historians kept in the parish chest.


Dr. Anne-Marie Kramer, Lecturer at the University of Nottingham’s Faculty of Social Science, explores the meaning and significance of the recent boom in popularity of genealogy, from the personal impact on family historians and their families, to its influence on British society.


KEN BRAND has transcribed the following from a microfilm copy of a report in the ‘Nottingham Daily Express’ of 24 December 1878, the school-day recollections of Nottingham High School in its Stoney Street premises by Thomas Hawksley, the prominent Victorian water engineer.

Society members who attended Michael Bolton’s excellent Norah Witham lecture ‘500 Years of Nottingham High School’ on 12 January 2013 will recall in the speaker’s list of eminent old boys the name Thomas Hawksley appeared. Nottingham High School for boys rearranged the date of the prize giving in 1878 in order to accommodate the busy schedules of their now renowned old boy, Thomas Hawksley, one of the most prominent of Victorian water engineers. Hawksley had attended the school over half a century earlier.

It is interesting to note that this ‘speech night’ took place just two days before Christmas Day. In Hawksley’s address he recalled his time in the old Stoney Street premises.

‘I am one of the oldest of the “Old Boys” of Dame Agnes Mellers’ educational institution –(Cheers) – and partly, perhaps, because of the well-known interest that I have always taken in its welfare and success, and, I may add, in its gradual development into a first class school, which may, ere long, become a worthy rival of Harrow, Rugby, Winchester and Shrewsbury. (Cheers).

Sixty years ago I was a scholar under the head master, Dr. Wood, at Dame Agnes Mellers’ ancient pile of buildings in Stoney-street. The school was like a large barn, of which the headmaster occupied the one end and the second master the opposite end. You will easily conceive the amount of confusion which then prevailed, especially during the “canings” which were in those days frequently administered, and always with orthodox severity. (Cheers and laughter.) At that time appeals from the masters to governors anti justices of the peace were wholly unknown – the boys accepted their “whacking” with becoming gratitude, and no doubt had their memories and aptitudes improved during the process. (renewed laughter.) The teaching, too, was of a similarly primitive order – mathematics, the living languages, and the natural sciences were wholly ignored. The dead languages, with some little writing and arithmetic, occupied indeed the entire field of tuition in schools of this class at the period of which I am now speaking. Nevertheless, scant as was then the amount of knowledge communicated, or indeed allowed to be acquired, in the greater number of the so-called foundation schools, that knowledge was for the most part well imparted, and if it did not very directly contribute in the majority of instances to the young scholar’s success in after life, it must be admitted that it so framed the mind and improved the perceptive faculties as to enable him to acquire with ease and rapidity any other description of knowledge necessary to his subsequent career. (Hear, hear.) In this way I gained much myself, and am, therefore, happy to make use of the present opportunity to express my indebtedness and grateful acknowledgement to Dame Agnes and the many worthy (but now forgotten) executors of her beneficial trust, together with my intention to request my friends the present trustees to permit me to express myself in some manner the most agreeable to themselves, more substantial, and more permanent than mere verbal expressions. (Cheers.) But how different is the state of your school now to what it was in good old King George’s time, of which I still retain a vivid recollection’.


Judith Mills updates us on developments since the report in the Spring 2012 Newsletter.

An article in the 2012 Spring Newsletter reportedwork being done by the School of Humanities at the University of Nottingham to help community history and heritage groups apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund for grants under its All Our Stories programme. The programme was highly successful   with the HLF receiving nine-times as many bids as they expected – there were 104 from the East Midlands region alone – but it rose to the occasion by allocating more funds to the scheme. Forty-six East Midlands’ projects were funded: six in Nottinghamshire, eleven in Derbyshire, seventeen in Leicestershire, seven in Lincolnshire and five in Northamptonshire.

In January 2013, the School of Humanities was award a follow-on grant by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to support fifteen of the successful community groups with their projects. The work will be led by Dr Richard Gaunt (a former Editor of the Thoroton Society’s Transactions) and Dr Judith Mills (Membership Secretary) will be part of the project team. The grant will pay for academic staff time to provide specialist advice and training to the community groups which will be able to tap into a vast range of resources such as finds identification, help with accessing archives, support with documentary research, using social media, website design or training in taking oral testimony.

Four Nottinghamshire projects are part of the project. They are:

In the rest of the East Midlands, the University will support projects in Barrow-on-Trent, Bonsall, Charnwood Forest, Chesterfield, Corby, Cottesmore, Darley Abbey, the Derwent Valley, Killamarsh and Leicester, and will help with a project in the Meon Valley in Hampshire. The work being done ranges from histories of towns, villages, schools and other communities to recording the experiences of factory workers in the twentieth century.

Two further community-based projects have also been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The first of these, The Social World of Nottingham’s Historic Green Spaces: a community history project, will be led by Professor John Beckett and a research team which includes Dr Judith Mills and Dr Paul Elliott from the University of Derby (and a Thoroton Society member). The project will bring together The Friends of the Arboretum, The Friends of the Forest and Nottingham Women’s Group to carry out research on the changing uses of the Forest Recreation Ground, the Arboretum, and the General and Rock Cemeteries with the aim of uncovering and making new information available to the public, and informing the City Council’s management plans for these spaces.

The second project Trade and Traffic on the River Trent and Associated Waterways, 1850-1970 is a collaborative project with the Friends of Newark Heritage Barge, to be led by Dr Richard Gaunt and Philip Riden (also a member of the Thoroton Society). The project will focus on the history of the Trent, including both trade and traffic on the river and the lives of riverside communities and river-based families, with the objective of understanding how the Trent has shaped the history and social structure of the region.

For further information about the project to support HLF-funded community projects, and research into the ‘Green Spaces’ of Nottingham, please email Anyone interested in contacting the River Trent research team, should email


A series of talks and handling sessions that focuses on current archaeological work to be held at the University of Nottingham Museum at the Lakeside Arts Centre.

These talks allow professional archaeologists, related specialists and community groups to share their exciting work with us as it is happening and include local, regional, national and international projects.

Book through the Lakeside Box Office on0115-846-7777

WORKING WITH ARCHAEOLOGICAL OBJECTS - Saturday, 23 March 2013, a Drop in Session 1.30 to 4.00 p.m. Angear Visitor Centre, admission free.

What happens to archaeological finds once they have been excavated?

Come along and find out by participating in a number of activities including sorting archaeological material, drawing and recording finds and conservation.

THE MAKING OF LIFE AND DEATH IN POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM - Wednesday, 17 April, 1 p.m. Djanogly Recital Hall admission free.

Dr. Paul Roberts, Senior Roman Curator at the British Museum, will talk about his major new exhibition at the British Museum Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

This exhibition will display over 250 objects from recent excavations alongside earlier well known finds, many of which are displayed outside of Italy for the first time. The exhibition will focus on the Roman home exploring the lives of individuals in Roma society, not the classic figures, such as emperors, gladiators and legionaries, but businessmen, powerful women, freed slaves and children. Following this talk there will be the opportunity to handle local Roman artifacts in the Museum.

ANCIENT GLASS - Friday, 10 May, 12 noon. Djanogly Theatre, admission free.

Professor Julian Henderson, specialist in ancient glass, will discuss ancient glass and technology.

GLASS BEAD MAKING - Friday, 10 May, 14.00 to 16.00 – Visual Arts Studio. £15/£10 per person.

Mike Poole will offer a lesson in glass bead making and the opportunity to make replica beads.

FESTIVAL OF BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGY: FINDS ROAD SHOW - Wednesday, 17 July, 12.00 to 15.00 – University of Nottingham Museum

Join Charlotte Burill (Finds Liaison Officer for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire) and Emily Gillott (Community Archaeologist from Nottinghamshire County Council), who will be identifying any finds you may have from Nottinghamshire and will also be displaying the Portable Antiquities database for England and the Historic Environment Record for Nottinghamshire.

ANCIENT CRAFT FAMILY ACTIVITY DAY - Saturday, 20 July. 11 to 4 p.m. – Lakeside arts Centre.

Participate in different craft sessions taking place throughout the day. Activities will include the construction of a mosaic, weaving and cave painting.



The festival will run from Saturday 13 to Sunday 28 July 2013.

In 2012 over 1,000 events were organised throughout the UK involving groups large and small.

In the Summer issue of the Newsletter we will list events which have been notified to be held in our region.


Reported on the BBC local web site in December was an item about the Hemlock Stone and two other stones in Nottinghamshire which are to be investigated to see if more information will be revealed about them.


Many members have taken advantage of the Open Churches weekends which have been held in the county for the past few years.

The 2013 weekend will take place on 13 and 14 July in the northern half of the county and 20 and 21 July in the southern half of the county.

Further details will be available on the website at


Nottingham has been chosen to host the 2013 Armed Forces Day. This is a national event held to celebrate the efforts of military personnel, past and present and is an opportunity to show support for the men and women who form the Armed Forces, from currently serving troops to Service families; from veterans to cadets.

The Day itself is the culmination of a week-long programme of celebrations. On the Monday of the week, cities, towns, villages and members of the public raise the Armed Forces Day flag to show their support. Later in the week thousands of men and women who make up the Reserve Force wear their uniforms to work in celebration of those who give up their free time to serve their country.

Details of the Nottingham events are not available at the time of writing but will appear on the City’s web site and in the local press.

In 2012 over 30,000 people lined the streets and seafront of Plymouth on the day to watch a parade and Drumhead Service which was concluded by a display by the Red Arrows.


A new historical society has come into being in Blyth and Hodsock (Honorary President - Sir Andrew Buchanan: Chairman - Martin Grocock JP: Archivist - Mike Griffiths), with the express aim of putting the history of the backwater which is north-west Nottinghamshire back on the map. ‘It's been a struggle to get the thing properly constituted but, at last, we've managed to do it and can now boast some 70 members’.

The society hopes to be forging strong links with similar societies in the area and, naturally, with the Thoroton Society.


In reporting about Sue’s list of speakers in the Winter 2012 (70) issue her email address was incorrect with the omission of a letter ‘a’. The correct contact address is:


One of our oldest members wishes to dispose of his run of Transactions from 1959 to date as a single set. Offers in the form of a donation to the Society or another charity to Geoffrey Oldfield on 0115-923-4834.


The Nottinghamshire Ancestral Tourism Partnership presents a programme of events and activities for 2013.

7 June to 1 September: Ancestral Stories from the Archives exhibition and associated talks at the Weston Gallery.

19 to 23 March: Edwinstowe Library Local and Family History week.

23 March (09.40 to 16.15): Nottinghamshire Local History Association Stories of Nottinghamshire Folk day school at Ravenshead Village Hall.

April to October: a series of talks at Nottingham Central Library.

19 May (11.00 to 15.00): Great Nottinghamshire Local History Fair at Mansfield Library.

15 June: Boots Archives event at Lenton House, University of Nottingham.

16 June (13.00): Pilgrim Fathers talk at Babworth Church.

30 June (13.00): Pilgrim fathers talk at Scrooby Village Hall.

22 June (10.00 to 15.45): Nottinghamshire Family History Society Family History Day, Galleries of Justice, Nottingham.

June to September: a series of exhibitions, talks and walks by Worksop Library.

29 and 30 June: Bassetlaw Museum Farm festival.

9 July (18.30): Newark Air Museum talk at Nottinghamshire Archives.

July and August Saturdays: Nottinghamshire Family History Society Monumental Inscriptions recording at Mansfield Cemetery.

For further details contact the venue or pick up the Nottinghamshire’s People brochure from your local library or Tourist Information centre or via the web at


The NLHA is holding another of its very successful series of Day Schools at Ravenshead Village Hall on Saturday, 23 March 2013, commencing the first talk at 10.00 and finishing the event at about 16.15 with the title of STORIES OF ORDINARY FOLK.

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

The cost is £6.50 for members of NLHA and £7.50 for non-members. Although pre-booking is preferred there is no objection to just turning-up on the day.

The NLHA is also continuing its series of Local History Forums at Nottingham Angel Row Local Studies Library on 26 March, 3 September and 3 December 2013. These take place from 10.00 to 12.30. See the Library web site for further details.


On 25 May 2013 the Harley Gallery at Welbeck near Worksop, opens a new exhibition EDWARD HARLEY: THE GREAT COLLECTOR.

From opulence and obsession to debt and despair this exhibition follows the fortunes of Edward Harley, the 2nd Duke of Oxford, exploring his background, family and marriage, through his spectacular collections of art, decorative crafts and fine books.

The son of one of the most powerful politicians in the country, Edward Harley married Henrietta Cavendish-Holles – the wealthiest heiress in Britain. Harley filled his family’s home with a hubbub of activity – writers, poets, artists, bibliophiles would be regular visitors. He was a dedicated collector; his collections were extensive, extravagant as he passionately sought the rarest and most beautiful things. He surrounded himself with the finest thinkers and finest things. Even when his wealth was gradually dwindling he continued to add to his collections, often driving up the price of objects in his lust for ownership and eventually bankrupting himself nad having to sell his collections and his family home to settle his debts.

At his death in 1741 his library contained 50,000 printed books, 7,639 manuscripts, 14,236 rolls and legal documents, 350,000 pamphlets and 41,000 prints. The manuscript collection was sold to the nation after his death to settle his remaining debts, at a price far less than he paid. These manuscripts formed the basis of the British Library and are still known as the Harleian Collection.

The Harley Gallery has recently announced plans to build a new Gallery which will show objects from The Portland Collections, the fine and decorative art collected by this family over the centuries which include many objects purchased by the 2nd Earl of Oxford. This exhibition may be considered a taster for the new Gallery development due to open in Autumn 2015.

Further details of the exhibition opening times are at


Ask the Archivist - Library Surgeries. An archivist is available to talk about local and family history, and provide advice on sources both within the library and at archives. Free and no booking is required.

Monday, 22 April - 1400 to 1600 at CALVERTON Library, St. Wilfred’s Square, NG14 6PF

Thursday, 16 May - 1400 to 1600 at MANSFIELD WOODHOUSE Library, Church Street, NG19 8AH

Thursday, 13 June - 1400 to 1600 at KEYWORTH Library, Church Drive, NG12 5FF

Thursday, 11 July - 1400 to 1600 at EASTWOOD Library, Wellington Place, NG16 3GB

Monday, 12 August - 1430 to 1630 at RADCLIFFE-ON-TRENT Library, New Road, NG12 2AJ

Friday, 6 September - 10.00 to 12.00 at OLLERTON Library, Forest Road, NG22 9PL

Wednesday Workshops – An opportunity to find out more about different types of archives.

All commence at 14.30 at the Archive office and last for an hour. Cost £4.00 per person. Booking is essential.

24 April - Non-conformist records.

15 May - Records of Landed Families and Estates.

19 June - Records of Royalty.

17 July - Apprenticeship.

21 August - Hospital and Asylum Records.

Summer Talks.

All are free but booking is essential as places are limited.

Wednesday, 5 May at 14.30 - Life and Times of Richard lll by Jenny Moran of the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland.

Thursday, 9 July at 18.30 - Local, National and International – RAF Ancestral Research by Howard Heeley of the Newark Air Museum.

Archive Skills Workshops provide opportunities to get new skills or brush up on old ones. Cost £4.00 and booking is essential. Workshops last for 1.5 hours.

Tuesday, 30 July at 10.30 - Reading Parish Registers (English)

Tuesday, 6 August at 10.30 - Reading parish Registers (Latin)

Tuesday, 13 August at 10.30 - Interpreting Dates

Friday, 27 September at 14.30 - Maps and Plans.

Further details and booking from the Nottinghamshire Archives, by phone on: 0115-958-1634 or via the Archive’s web site.