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Thanks Glaisdalelad and keep it all coming. I'm there with you back in the 1950s again, getting a clip round the earole off mum for going too far in the woods and fields.

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I lived on Elstree Drive at the bottom of Hollington Rd from 1950-61. I attended Beechdale Primary (long gone but a wonderful school just the same) before passing the 11+ and moving to Forest Fields to be nearer the grammar school.

I too have many happy memories of the canal, the railway line and the woods. I remember playing in Robins Wood behind Beechdale School when they were building Peveril. Think this was about 1958 and I went home caked in mud.

My mum went up the wall.

I also used to play on "the banks" which were the slopes either side of Woodyard Lane which ran up from Wigman Rd island up to the tin bridge down past the canal, Browns Woodyard and the Raleigh sports ground.

On one occasion on a very wet day I slipped down the banks and into some soot that some silly sod had dumped there.To make matters worse I was wearing an overcoat which had just come back from the cleaners.

When I got home my mum was using an old bamboo carpet beater on a rug hung on the line and when she saw the state of me she went apeshit and chased me around the garden with the carpet beater. We used to laugh about this incident many times in later years.

My sister was at BPS (1952-58) and then Glaisdale (1958-63).

The kids I played with on Elstree Drive were either at BPS or Robert Shaw. I also played with older lads who were at Glaisdale or Peveril. A Peveril lad I spent lots of time with was Roger Staines who being that bit older used to get into lots of "scrapes" as my mother called them.

He was accused of setting fire to the woods one summers day but I think it was more likely a passing train had spewed burning cinders out it's chimney and set fire to the the embankment and then the woods.

It amazes me that none of my playmates were injured playing on the railway line and around the old canal.

Those disused locks were death traps but we used to climb down into them to catch tadpoles and newts. The crumbling masonry could have come crashing down at any time.

I played football and cricket (not very well) on the green in front of Ambergate Rd shops and I was a regular in the sweet shop (Ambergate News). It also used to sell toys and comics and at Christmas a lot of my stuff including my Dandy annual used to come from there. I remember mum paying for the papers and the shop assistant would open this huge book and tear out a tiny numbered paper receipt.

Happy days. If I won the lottery I'd buy our old house (number 23) and the one next door and convert them into one. The gardens were a good size but we didn't have a garage which was no problem because my dad never had a car in all his 88 years. He used to have thing about sheds however but that's a story for later.

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Thanks for that Mess. There were so many different kids of all ages used to play around that area which stretched from 'Tin Bridge' all the way through the woods including the canal and Old Coach Road. I hardly knew any names but they must all be somewhere now.

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Hey Mess I thought you were Johnny Darch's younger brother but I think he lived at # 45

I do remember Rodger Staines bit of a lad .

Did you live in the bottom corner the right hand side of the semi ?

I lived in the house that had Little woods & was at the bottom of Tin bridge road

Then in 69 rented # 39 Elstree for a couple of years.

I did go to Beechdale school do you remember Harries the teacher

Then to Peveril ,No I didn't pass the 11+ didn't even know the test was coming.

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Thanks for your comments on my last posting.

Trevor S. I remember also a cold Christmas round about the time you mentioned and also going out with my new Lone Star gun and holster to play, I wonder if we actually shot at each other. Shame about the family argument and missing Christmas dinner. The nearest shops I remember were on the corner of Ambergate and Staverton which were a Newsagent that sold sweets and a Beeroff. The Fish and Chip shop that I remember was I think near the Co-op on Bracebridge Drive.

Sorry Dave 48 I do not remember those lads you mentioned.

Thanks Mess for reminding me of the name of the newsagent and the bit about payment for the newspapers. Nice stories as well. I cannot remember going up Woodyard Lane more than a couple of times it was nearly always the Old Coach Road we used.

Michael S and Bilbraborn thanks for you kind comments and as threatened here is my next topic.


In the fifties the ' Cut ' or Nottingham Canal was disused but still fairly clean and supported a variety of marine life. More importantly to us it was a whole new adventure. I was about nine years old when Roger and I first made our way through the woods, down the Old Coach Road, over the railway bridge and up to the Canal bridge. As the years progressed it became my favourite place to play.

That first time was on a hot summers day, some lads were jumping into the ' cut ' from the bridge it looked fun but dangerous, we were more interested in trying to catch some sticklebacks or newts. We thought that the ideal place would be the water at the old boat turning point on the lower level. We can see that there is a lot of bulrushes and other growth in the water and believe it to be a good place. We took the tow path just before the bridge and walked about twenty yards to our chosen spot which was close to a small overflow channel formed in concrete. Before dipping our nets we were attracted by the noise of rushing water, which seemed to be coming from the lock gates just a bit further down. The water was pouring through gaps where the gates met and we tried pushing the gates and moving them with a handle that has rusted on to a steel ratchet. Nothing moved so we decided to cross to the other side and dare each other to go first. We were apprehensive as the drop into the lock looked horrendous and was made worst by the grimy stone walls on either side. These walls formed the lock enclosure between the two sets of gates at the upper and lower levels. There would be no escape if we fell in. The first steps were tentative but sure and we crossed without problem. With our new found braveness we dashed back and forth a few times. With the challenge over we returned to our nets but did not catch anything.

The lock gates were of solid timber construction with large beams at the top, which extended over the towpath either side to facilitate the opening and closing of them. The beam forms a walkway across the water with a steel handrail for support. There are two steel bars with ratchets that extend below the water to sluice plates which when raised allow the water to pour through into the lock enclosure at the lower water level. This allows it to be filled to the same level as the upper water. The upper gates can then be opened to allow the canal boats to enter. The upper gates are then closed and the water let out at the lower end. The water level thereby drops in the lock enclosure so that the lower gates can be opened allowing the boat to proceed. Moving upwater is basically a reverse of this procedure.

We explored a long length of the canal over the following years. The furthest point we reached in an easterly direction was the tunnel under Ilkeston Road. This was long and dark and as we stumbled along the towpath, with head bent low aiming for the welcoming pool of light at the other end, icy cold drips from the roof rained down on us. Parts of the canal were inaccessible and shut off as it traversed along Radford Bridge Road to Woodyard Lane where it came into its more rural setting through Bilborough to Trowell and beyond. The furthest we reached in a westerly direction was about two miles past the Trowell Road bridge.

The best stretch as far as I was concerned was the section about half a mile either side of the Old Coach Road bridge where the locks were intact and the area was in virtually open countryside. It was along this stretch that one day I fell in and made a very slow walk home in the hope that the sun would dry my clothes. As I was with my younger sister I did not think that this irresponsible action would be much appreciated by Mum and Dad who may have taken the drastic step of banning me from the canal if they found out. We worked out various excuses for being damp but I was fairly dry when we arrived home and I narrowly managed to avoid just retribution.

The Trowell Road Canal Bridge was another source of adventure as the roof of the tunnel was very low and again we had to bend low to get along the towpath. There was also a large diameter pipe attached to the side of the bridge which, being protected by a steel grill to stop people climbing on it, was an obvious challenge. We of course managed to swing round this grill and with a great sense of achievement cross the pipe to the other side of the canal.

There was a lot of bird life down the canal including many nesting swans which on one occasion scared me silly when I tried to get a closer look at their nest and they came at me with wings flapping, necks raised and hissing loudly.

We also collected frogspawn in jam jars and kept them whilst eagerly awaiting the change into tadpoles, which duly happened, but they always seemed to die or disappear before turning into frogs. The occasional newt and numerous sticklebacks were caught in our nets but we would put these back into the canal. We also tried fishing with a bent safety pin, a length of string and a stick. We would dangle the line in the water with a bit of bread on the bent pin but never caught anything which was probably fortuitous as we would not have had a clue what to do next.

Bullrushes growing in some marshy areas next to the canal were pulled up and used as spears or swords or generally bash each other with. Needless to say they were quickly destroyed.

Lengths of the canal were constructed between stone walls but many sections had natural banks or may have become this way as the original restraints disappeared. The water was generally clear and varied in depth from between two and six feet deep. The dirtiest areas were in the locks where all sorts of rubbish had been deposited.

I remember that it was with some dismay that on one trip to the Canal we found that workman had demolished part of the old stone bridge and replaced it with a new steel structure spanning the canal and forming the Old Coach Road over it. Even as kids it looked ugly to us.

The canal also ran alongside the Wollaton Colliery and the ' Slag Heap'. When times were hard, and before Dad started at Gedling Pit, we used to scout the slag heap looking for coal to stoke the fire at home. The top of the slag heap was particularly dangerous as it formed a steep slippery slope of grey greasy mud dropping into a rumoured deep quagmire of thick silted water. It was not a place to have fun on.

One evening whilst exploring the hedgerows and fences by the canal bridge we came across a gap and found ourselves in the compound at the back of the Raleigh Sports Club. Amongst all the crates of empty beer bottles we found a used Schweppes soda siphon which we naively thought we could fill with water and spray people with. Of course we could not as a cartridge of compressed carbon dioxide was required. But to our joy we found that there was sixpence refund on it at the ‘Beeroff’. We never felt guilty about taking it to spray water with but as soon as we had the money from the refund we certainly did. We also felt sick after eating the evidence as the money went on Barratt’s sweet cigarettes.

Not so many years ago the family visited Nottingham and I took them to Bilborough to show them my old childhood haunts. It was interesting but quite devastating to see what was left of the canal, just a few stones. What lovely memories flooded back though.

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Greetings again glaisdalelad.

The second of your pictures (#132) is how I remember the lock that we used to play around. Now, if I remember right (and please correct me if I am wrong!), we would follow that path on the left down and past the bottom of the picture and the path would eventually lead out onto Glaisdale nearly opposite #26 and the Green.

I can't remember the brand of the toy six-gun but it was silver as they all were and had brown handles - before I broke them. The holster was a brown, thin leather, as was the belt. The belt had bullet loops with several imitation wooden bullets in them and the holster had a fancy pattern on the outside with a red ruby like stone in the middle. Always remember that present and the ruby stone. Remember the shit I got in as well.

I suppose it was fortunate for the families but our visit was not on Christmas Day but a couple of days afterwards. Just a good day spoilt, really.

That fish and chip shop that I mentioned was, again from memory, at the end of a block of shops? with a vacant block of land next before a street and then houses. The shops were a bit higher than everywhere around?

Funny, but one thing I do remember about the inside of #26 Glaisdale was that in the kitchen and on a lot of the other cupboards, the handles were little round metal ones, like miniature egg cups. There was a button in the centre that you used to press in so the door catch would be released.

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Hi glaisdalelad.,

It was really nice to read your memories of our childhood playground.

I was born in 1950 so I think I’m a little bit younger than your good self.

I have many fond memories of the old canal, railway line and surrounding fields and woods.

I guess you took the pictures from Bernard Chell’s book Nottingham Canal: A History & Guide:

I bought a copy a couple of years back and it’s certainly helped me with my fading memory of the area.

I can just about remember when the section of canal running parallel with Hollington/Beechdale Rd down towards Radford was filled in but don’t remember the Woodyard Lane canal bridge which I think disappeared at the same time.

Neither do I remember the house that stood alongside this bridge. I suspect this too was demolished then.

I clearly remember the stone bridge on The Old Coach Rd. and the lads jumping off it into the canal on a hot summer day. Quite a risky thing to do when you think about all the old bicycles and milk crates that were probably in there. I never heard of any injuries but I can imagine there were a few bouts of sickness and diarrhoea.

I fell in the canal one early summers evening and Roger Staines fished me out. Roger was in his Scouts uniform and on his way to the Glaisdale Drive Scout hut for their weekly meeting.

I assume he qualified for his life saving badge that evening. A Glaisdale lad called Steven Brooks took me home. Steven lived near me on Elstree Drive.

I was fascinated by the lock gates with the water leaking through into the empty lock chamber.

I used to wonder what would happen if the lock gates were pushed open and the huge volume of water behind them released. Of course the canal engineers of the 18th and 19th centuries weren’t stupid and now realise that there isn’t a hope in hell of opening the gates until the lock chamber is full of water and the pressure is equalised. I just couldn’t get my head round this principle when I was 9 years old.

I believe the football ground by the Old Coach Rd bridge belonged to Ilkeston Town. My dad took me to a game there a couple of times and I remember a large brick wall on the side opposite the tinny metal stand. The wall looked like it had been constructed for army cadet training but that’s just a guess.

My dad used to take me to The Raleigh Sports Ground on many occasions to watch football and cricket. I saw my uncle play cricket there one afternoon. He bought me a bottle of pop (Apollo Mineral Waters) from the pavilion which was never open during the football season.

Next to the pavilion were some wooden huts which served as changing rooms. One morning I saw Wally Swift the boxer training in there. I think I found a picture of those huts on Picture the Past.

It featured a band playing there in the late 40s.

There is a scene featuring The Old Coach Rd in Saturday Night & Sunday Morning but I don’t think the club that also features is the Raleigh one.

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Some nice stories on here, living on the edge of Firbeck Estate we very rarely headed in the Bilborough direction, Trowell Road was in the way and we preferred the area west of Balloon Woods, up to Bramcote Hills, the Hemlock Stone and some times as far as Trowell Junction via the canal to do a bit of decent train spotting.

Sometimes we would go up the bridle path from Balloon Woods crossroads and cut across the fields to Strelley Woods and the abandoned quarry that was up there, coming back along the old Strelley Lane and Cockington Road. I seem to remember once giving the land next to Glaisdale Drive a try, but it was full of strange kids that we didn't know, probably some of you lot.

Because Firbeck School didn't have a decent sports ground, every week we would troop up to the playing fields off Brindley Drive, carrying all our equipment with us and clumping up Cockington Road in our football boots, no wonder those old leather nail-in studs used to go missing.

It wasn't until I went on to BGS that I used to spend more time around the estate having got to know quite a few kids up there, I also joined Bracebridge Drive Library on the advice of my mate Jacko because it had a good collection of James Bond books which I proceeded to work my way through.

I recall a few incidents, for some reason Phil Heath and I decided to cycle home from school via the Old Coach Road and Tin Bridge, unfortunately still wearing our school uniforms. We stopped at the bridge to see if any trains were about and were surrounded by a hostile group of kids spitting at us and calling us 'Grammar Snobs'. One of them trying to be extra clever was circling around us at high speed and fell off, much to my amusement, I shouldn't have laughed as they came after me so I headed for Russell Drive as fast as I could. All well and good, I left them trailing in my wake, but they wouldn't give up and my pump slid out it's clips and caught in the pedals, I was doomed. I was surrounded by this group of kids who started pushing me about, then one of them snatched off my school cap and threw it in a garden, wrong thing to do, an old lady appeared out the house armed with a walking stick and set about them with it, they quickly roared off back in the direction of Old Coach Road. Giving me a glass of squash and making sure I was all right she saw me on my way, I never went back to Tin Bridge again until I was older and bigger.

Someone mentioned a Gypsy camp off Glaisdale Drive, I recall one that was accessed from a track that ran up from the side of Trowell Road railway bridge which contained a mixture of traditional and 'modern' caravans. One night there was a big fire in that direction and the police and fire engines arrived. The story I heard was that one of the blokes had been caught in bed with his neighbour's wife, following the ensuing fight, his caravan was torched and the police arrived to find the man about to be strung up from the nearest tree, has anybody else heard this story?

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I remember my mother warning us kids about swimming in the canal, in her younger days a young lad "Billy Ayres" had got trapped & drowned near the bridge, never stopped us though.

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Hi dgbrit,

My name is Ian but not Darch.

I remember the Darchs very well. Ian was younger than me and John older. John had a twin sister Susan and they lived next door to Roger Staines. They were a nice family.

I'm guessing you must be the same age as John Darch.

I remember you. I think you used to make fireworks in your shed/garage but I'm not sure. My memory's still quite good on most stuff from my childhood. Don't ask me about last week though!!

I used to play a lot in Little Woods with Randolph Carter and Philip Kemp and his younger brother John. We used to get stung by nettles regularly as we skidded down the incline behind your house.

Number 23 Elstree Drive was the left hand semi in the bottom corner. The right hand semi (no 25) was where Janet Tinkler lived. You might have known her. Think she was at Beechdale and later Peveril.

Stephen Chapman and his twin Judith lived at 29. They were both at BPS then Glaisdale.

I well remember Mr Harries and Mr Fletcher from BPS.

There's a picture of Mr Fletcher with the BPS football team on FriendsReunited. I also posted some memories of both these teachers on there. I think I also remember Mr Harries accident with the guillotine.

Do you remember the Coronation street party in 1953? I was only 3 so don't have any recollection of it except what I've been told.

You probably remember my sister Marion who's now 67 and lives in Tamworth. She was at BPS and Glaisdale.

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Hi Mess. The names Randolph Carter and Phillip Kemp and even Janet Tinkler ring bells with me, correct me if I'm wrong but did they all attend Peveril,

I think Randolph Carter had an older brother ?

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Hi Dave 48

Randolph Carter and Janet Tinkler went to Peveril but Phil Kemp (and his younger brother John) were at BPS then Forest Fields like myself.

I was in touch with Philip Kemp a few years back. He worked as a technician at Nottm Uni but may have retired now. They lived at 61 Elstree Drive

I believe Janet Tinkler is the landlord of 25 Elstree Drive having inherited it from her parents Ruby and Charlie Tinkler a few years ago.

Randolph's older brother was called Michael. They were both big Forest Fans as was Roger Staines (also at Peveril)

I was in a band when I was 16 and we played at Peveril's school dance around 1966. You might remember us because we were absolute shite.LOL

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The contibutions on this thread lately, are great! Even though I never went to Bilborough as a kid, I am enjoying the memories.

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Hi Mess

I left Peveril in 1964 so missed that . The name Phillip Kemp is bugging me because I do know the name but can't put a face to it.

I don't recall Roger Staines at all. If I remember Randolh Carter had very blonde / white hair and a skin complaint .... Eczema I think.

It sounds like you knew a lot of people who went to Peveril so I'll throw some names around and see if you know any of the following.

Gloria Morley

Jean Govier

Janet Steel

Janet Ward

Christine Ward

Christine Scott

Carol Wade

Pat Whincup

Lorraine Coats

Eileen Lee

Sue Kinton

Diane Whiley

Phillip Bush

John Evans

John Manners

Phillip Dobson

Phillip Stevenson

Malcolm Jarvis

Lee Evans

And the most famous I went to school with was Sue Pollard

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Hi again Dave 48,

Did you go to Beechdale before Peveril?

Perhaps you knew Philip Kemp's older sister Lynda.

Philip was also in the Scouts on Glaisdale Drive and sang in the choir at St Johns Bilborough.

Sorry but the names you list aren't ringing bells. I was born 1950 so I think you're a year or two older than me.

You're correct that Randolph had very blonde hair. Not sure about a skin condition but he always had a runny nose LOL

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Dave 48,

I note you've listed (remembered) more girls names than blokes.

That must mean something

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This picture is from my Raleigh days, I'm on the right, Sue Johnson from Bulwell is centre and Sandra Eggleton is on the left. She grew up in Bilborough, thought someone might recognise her. She was born January 46.


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Lovely picture Katyjay. Very evocative. Taken in 1964 I guess looking at the hairstyles. Sue Johnson is sporting a Kathy Kirby whilst your good self has the Helen Shapiro.

The guy in the background has the David Nixon.

Sorry I don't recognise Sandra.

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I didn't know you were at Raleigh.

I was at Trent Poly with some of their lab staff.

Ian Kale, Terry Sleaford and Colin Chambers (Vince) ring any bells?

Did you ever visit/use their Sports Ground near the canal?

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