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Interesting that you should say that Mick. During the war my grandma, mother and aunt (both recently married with husbands away in the forces), and uncle lived on Langdale Road, Bakersfields. There was a contingent of Italian prisoners of war who regularly exercised on Colwick Woods. Apparently they were extremely pleasant and affable and in no hurry to go home after the war ended. Don't know where their quarters were, but they came and went in the back of a lorry, supervised by ONE elderly British serjeant. When returning, they would all climb in, then the serjeant would chuck his rifle in to them, after which friendly POW arms would reach down to haul him in over the tailboard.

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They (The POWs) did a lot of work around Nott'm , I remember a tale on telly , from years back , of some of them running a bakery, and every day the 'guard' would go past at a certain time and one of the POWs would "Fling us an ot cob or two" (His words not mine , I'm far too posh....LOL)

The POW camp was here by the way.


It won't let me post pictures!

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Without in any way insulting the Italians, I think it's true that few of them had much philosophical commitment to fighting for Mussolini (after all remember how he finished up) and even less for Hitler. So I guess while being POWs wasn't exactly what they wanted, escaping to re-enlist was even lower down their agenda. By and large they seem to have been well-liked. My cousin was born in July 1944 and was sometimes admired when out in his pram by Italians who hadn't seen their own bambini for some time.

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There is quite a large Anglo Italian community in and around Sneinton descended from those POWs

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Re the Italian ice-cream connection, the Solari family were well represented in Victorian Nottingham. Mr john Solari was a local councillor in the late 40's and early 50's. Capocci family also well known, more for catering and cafe's.

One Italian family selling ice cream in Basford area were the Federici brothers, thier van would park outside William Crane school gates on Minver Crescent most afternoons (50/60's)

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as i have mentioned in previous posts the italian pow definitly bases colwick woods many worked at the netherfield sidingsone of them made my eldest sister a ring from a six pence piece as he said with her dark hair and big dark eyes she reminded him of his own bambinoas far as i know she still has it. they used to walk down from the woods by the railway line and when the italians became british allies they were allowed to go shopping in netherfield but still were billited in the woods .

its funny mick talking about the italian commuity in bakersfield one ofour italian friends died a few weeks back and whenwe were at his funeral i was telling his fammily most of whoom spoke little english about this his partner terrie doing all the translating for me i was saying their used to be an ittalian community centre in nottingham but could not remember were can anyone on here remember and is there still one.

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8342943938_9bff5a06a3_b.jpg

Here's where the POW camp was situated. The road along the top is Greenwood Road.

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  • 4 years later...

My father-in-law(85 now) tells me that quite a few Italian POWs worked for Harry Wheatcroft. I gather that their skill with planting vines translated to roses easily.

He also tells me that they were all working a particular field, under the supervision of (I presume) head gardener, when a battered old fiat van clattered over the ploughed field, and a highly agitated Italian emerged waving a shotgun. Apparently, one of the workforce had been dallying with his wife.

My father in law tells me that the overseer neither blinked or flinched, just walked up to the shotgun, bellowing "yer can't do that 'ere - this eent Italy. Any rode, you made a mess of the field" or words to that effect.

He couldn't have made it up, could he?

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  • 1 year later...

Just discovered this topic, which has answered a curiosity of mine. Some years ago, I was taking a walk down Oakdale Road Carlton while I was in Nottm. I called into a sweet shop, and wondered if they were Italian. I spent my teenage years in Colwick; I seem to recall  that the summer of '59 was sunny and hot. One day I volunteered to act as a ball-boy for a neighbour who was playng tennis on the court behind the Vale Social Club. She was about 19, seriously gorgeous, called Olga Bertilasso - anyone heard of her?

 

 BTW#1: there was/is a highly-praised Italian restaurant on Oakdale; its website used to be accessed via the Evening Post website, but no more. Is it still there, and if so, what's it called.

 

BTW#2: in my first year at uni, I had a summer job at Harry Wheatcroft's. Some of the permanent workers were Italian, specifically Sicilian. In those days, the rose fields were manured by human waste ('elf 'n' safety be blowed). Sometimes, to their intense amusement, the workers would find, and display with great relish, items of "domestic rubberware".

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The Italian restaurant on Oakdale Road is still there, it’s called Navarra. No website, but they are on Facebook.

 

https://m.facebook.com/NavarraItalianRestaurant/?locale2=en_GB

 

My wife’s family used to live round the corner from it in the 1970s and knew the family well. In fact, when my father-in-law returned to the U.K. after living in Canada for over thirty years, they recognised him when we went for a meal!

 

 

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I remember as a youngster visiting my auntie Ethel and uncle Mark who lived for a while in a Nissen hut on Colwick woods. I used to catch a sneinton dale bus then get off and walk through to the site. This must have been in the early fifties and the huts were used for temporary housing during slum clearance at a guess. They the moved to the new, developing Clifton estate. (I wonder if these huts were part of a p.o.w site?).

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Thanks for the info about Navvarra, Rob L - grazie mille! And Cliff Ton must have the most amazing photographic archive in his attic!

 

LongJohn

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One other snippet about our visit to Navarra is that they asked my Polish-born father-in-law if he wanted to meet the chef, so that the Polish chef could talk to someone in his own language!

 

It didn’t faze FiL at all, as he was fluent in Polish and Italian (as well as English, Czech, and Ukrainian), having studied in Italy when the war ended.

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  • 2 months later...

Longjohn,

Bertalasso's lived on First Ave were neighbours of ours, good people.

I have a vague memory of Italians renting next-door and doing shift work at Trent concrete.Rotating in the beds i was told.

My Father played a lot of Tennis in the courts behind vale social club and also at Burton Joyce [club  Crow... ave?] - he also was a line judge at Nottingham Tennis championship in early 60's, cycled from there to Tommy Johnsons sports shop in Netherfield to get Ken Rosewalls racket restrung and back to him next day. Ive still got all the autographs [ rose wall, head, Gonzales , segura etc]. happy days!

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  • 6 months later...
14 hours ago, Bestwoodbill said:

There was a Italian P.o.w camp on old Bestwood Estate On Padstow School Playing Fields, When they left they chucked their blankets etc over the fences to tho local residents.

 

Welcome Bestwoodbill, another old Bestwoodian here.  I was dragged up on Southglade Road. :)

 

 

Never heard the one about the blankets.  As I recall the camp was actually on the steep sloping field immediately behind the building (Now a convenience store I believe) which was the Deerstalker pub, although that wasn't built until the early 50s.  The camp extended up to the boundary between the sloping field and the site of St Matthews Church, and a small spinney further east which divided it from Padstow School.

 

When I was a kid in the 1950s, we used to go sledging up on that slope, which was made pretty dangerous by the brick footings of the old camp huts, which were still there.  The area is now mostly occupied by the extension of Raymede Drive to the east of Padstow Road, also including Peary Close.  Back then, Leybourne Drive and Raymede Drive had only a couple of houses to the east of Padstow.

 

Do you remember a couple of Pig Roasts, held on farmer Jarve Goddard's meadow, in the early 1950s?  They are printed in my mind, but nobody else seem to recall them.  On the meadow which existed next to Jarve's farm before Southglade Rd was extended to become Eastglade.  Link below to the current view.

 

https://www.google.com/maps/@52.997322,-1.1720745,292m/data=!3m1!1e3

 

 

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Welcome Bestwoodbill...............i'm another old Bestwood boy,,,even born on Leybourne drive,,,schools ''The Huts'',,,,Henry Whipple,,,and Padstow,,also got married on the estate at St.Matthews,,,mind you got married in several places....lol.

                 The part of Bestwood i always recall as the ''Camp'' was behind the schools,,,there were old concrete bunkers that i always assumed were for 'Anti-aircraft guns''......and regarding the school sportsfield in the 50s,,was merely a very rough football pitch,,we called ''the Camp pitch'',,,wouldn't be allowed for use today,,,it was full of embedded bits of glass,,...........Probably from the demo of the Italian camp.....So sad that the Padstow school is no more,,and will soon be more housing................

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Hi Ben.. hope you are OK.  If I put up a map of how it is now, can you describe where  those bunkers were?  I really don't recall them, but I was very young and not allowed to wander too far.

 

Seems to me two things are missing now. One is the old Church Hall of St Matthews Church.  I assume it's demolished.  The other is of course, the buildings of Padstow School.

 

But also.. between Padstow School and the meadow where the camp was.. there used to be a small spinney.  I can't see it at all now.

 

Any ideas?

 

https://www.google.com/maps/@52.9967131,-1.1699819,146m/data=!3m1!1e3

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Ey up Col,, the rough football pitch we played on was just south of the line of trees that arre still there,,and the concrete bunkers just south of that,,at least thats what my memory taells me,,

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Just a blank to me Ben. I don't recall them at all.

I do recall we used a classroom in Padstow for a while in my last year or so of Primary.  Also we used to play footie somewhere up there.. but that's all I recall.  Looking at the map now, it gets increasingly difficult to make out anything and everything has changed.  Jarve Goddard's Farm long gone., obliterated by Southglade Sports Centre and the extension of Southglade to link to Eastglade, removing the 'green belt' between 'proper' Bestwood Est and Bestwood Park .  St Matthews Church looks pretty tatty and its older Brick built church hall seems to have gone.  Padstow gone. Henry Whipple Primary still there but seriously extended and the site of the old caretaker's house and canteen look a mess.  'Our' fields, opposite Southglade not just built on, but the whole topography changed from a hollow, to an ugly mound covered in small businesses.  And of course the architectural masterpiece that is the Gala/Buzz Bingo... :wacko:

 

Progress eh?

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  • 1 year later...

At the bottom of Harrogate rd Bakersfield at the right on Greenwood rd the Italian prison camp later given up for housing whether pulled them down it left a big flat concert base kids used it to roller skate on

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