Minutiae - Bulwell Common and more


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In this case I'm thinking of Bulwell Common and the finer details of how it has changed in my lifetime.

 

I drive past it pretty much everytime I'm home in Nottingham, but my how it has changed. The area from the Bestwood Estate End and as far as the Golf Club has always, in my lifetime, been pretty much a grassed area for Football and general recreation but there were no trees back in the 1950s.  Now it seems to be lined with Birch trees and barricaded by large lumps of rock, no doubt to stop unwanted vehicles from accessing it. When we were kids we often played football or cricket on there, or we would just lounge on the low bank which dropped down from road level to the playing field proper. 

Many years ago I found one of those silver ID bracelets there.  It had the name and address of someone from Hucknall on it.  Some time later, when I could scrounge up a bit of paper, an envelope and the cost of a stamp, I posted it to its owner, hoping he still lived at the same address.  Some weeks later as I recall, I received a 'thank you' note, and a Postal Order for three shillings, as a reward.  Three shillings was a lot to me in the 1950s, but I was more intrigued by the process and the mystery.  Who was the owner?  How did he lose the bracelet?  Even then, as a pre-adolescent youngster, I speculated on that very thing.  Was it lost during a lover's 'clinch', or just flung off his wrist during football?   I'll never know. 

 

Even more interesting is the golf course itself.

 

Way back, it was proper old Heathland.  That wiry grass and odd Gorse thickets.  No trees. Alongside the Hucknall Road there were exposed sandstone 'banks'.  As you headed up from the Moorbridge end, there was an open, steep, sandy bank extending for much of the width of the course twixt Hucknall Road and the Great Central Railway on the other side.  It was always a challenge to us kids, to run up the crumbling sandy bank and over onto solid ground.

 

I doubt I could have articulated it back then, but there was an odd contrast between the almost primeval heathland, and the velvet civilisation of the golf greens, each with their pure white painted cast iron hole marker and their precise edge trimmed hole. There were no fences then.  Maybe a few cars an hour during the week and perhaps one an hour on Sundays.  We'd watch for balls bouncing across the road and eagerly return them to the nearest golfer in the hope of a reward. Sixpence seemed to be the going rate, but a muttered "Ta Miduck" was equally common.

 

Back to the Heathland.  To many people I suppose it seems pretty ordinary, but it is a fascinating and rapidly disappearing environment.  Little flowers we called 'Egg and Bacon', probably Bird's Foot Trefoil. Wild Pansies and Violets. Lots of Skylark's nests, on the ground in the grass, right in the open.  I don't suppose their instincts pointed to heavy footfall..

Grasshoppers, Burnet Moths, Common Lizards..

All gone I suspect.

 

Progress.

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I've been delayed by trying to recall what I actually did for string...  The best I can come up with is that I gathered up all the various bits of string I could find, and tied them together.  Sometim

In this case I'm thinking of Bulwell Common and the finer details of how it has changed in my lifetime.   I drive past it pretty much everytime I'm home in Nottingham, but my how it has chan

Back behind my grandma's house in Netherfield were two large banks of cinders and gravel near a ditch which ultimately made it's way to the Trent.  I think it was a branch of the Ouse Dyke.  The kids

Good piece col. I remember Bulwell Common just like you do...........no trees and sloping banks,there are still some sandy bits down from where the Golden Ball was to the footpath in the dip........I drive past 3 or 4 times a week and always remenis about somethings we got up to there,and the list is endless,.......Football,Cricket,Tennis,Bowls,bikeing,........even riding my scooter in the early 60s across the Golf course (naughty I know) with Christine clinging on to me has she rode Pillion or it might have been Margaret or Jean even perhaps Julie..............lol.

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Jill..............I know,just can't help it..........lol

Carnie........you sure did.nt,you clung really tight...........lol.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It's late and I didn't intend having a drink tonight.  But daughter No.2 has been taxing my parenting skills and my patience.  When we wuz kids we jus gorronwyit..

 

So anyway.  More minutiae.

 

As it is now, if you cross from Hucknall Road, opposite the top of Bulwell Common, you will have the Gala Bingo on your left and you will emerge at the junction of Southglade and Andover roads, on the old, authentic and original Bestwood Estate.

 

If you are especially clued up, you might realise that you have just crossed an old railway line. 

You probably won't know that there used to be a railway house on the left, until at least the mid 1960s.  But last time I looked some footings were still visible.

Also, on the other side of the railway crossing, there used to be a brick built chimney and hearth, next to the line.  In my memory, from the early 50s, there was never a hut to go with the chimney and hearth.  But I always wondered......

 

So.  You progress down Southglade Road.. heading towards Gervais 'Jarve' Goddard's Farm.

 

I'll continue later.

 

Col

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, DJ360 said:

As it is now, if you cross from Hucknall Road, opposite the top of Bulwell Common, you will have the Gala Bingo on your left and you will emerge at the junction of Southglade and Andover roads, on the old, authentic and original Bestwood Estate. If you are especially clued up, you might realise that you have just crossed an old railway line. You probably won't know that there used to be a railway house on the left, until at least the mid 1960s. 

 

I think I might've done a photo of this area before, but......

andover_zps6ikzlnk4.jpg

The cross-roads at bottom left is the junction of Arnold Road - Hucknall Road.

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A great picture Cliff. Any idea what date it is. I can see my house, but as Paton Rd and Orville Drive are not yet built, then I assume the ones on Hucknall Rd slightly to the right are recent builds.

Just to the left of the red arrow is where we spent countless hours train spotting. If I remember rightly, weren't there some allotments behind where NCV car sales once stood? 

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Thanks for the memories about Bulwell Golf Club DJ360.  My dad played golf there when I was very little.  I remember walking around there with my mum, seeing the flowers and the landscape that you have described so well.  It is years since I have heard the name "bacon and eggs" !  Lovely.  They used to grow on the school field at Portland Infant school.  My mum thought the golf club was very snobby and she would have nothing to do with it.  A good Yorkshire lass!  I still have my dad's golf clubs that date back to the 1930s.  One has a wooden handle.   Golf is not my scene at all and never has been but I cannot part with them as they were his.

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According to a friend of mine who played there in the 60s there were two classes of membership with two club houses. The main club house for the knobs and a much smaller wooden one for the 'artisans', he of course was an artisan member. However he took great delight in the fact that the best dressed and equipped were the .............miners.

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As a kid saw lots of Notts and Forest players of 50s playing there..........one in particular I remember was Peter Russell County centre half,gave me 2 bob for retrieving a ball he sliced on to the railway,............I think in them days the wooden clubhouse across the road was for the Ladies.

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My memories of Bully Common are of taking the footpath and fields from Oxclose Lane end by the White Hart pub through to the common at Wrigley's Waggon Works.  That would be in the early 60s but in winter of 1964/65 I was visiting a friend who was about to leave for Australia as a son of a 'Ten Pound Pom'.  Two of us were returning from his house in Linby via Bestwood Village and Moorbridge to Oxclose Lane at about 7pm., on our push bikes. It had been raining hard for several hours and the road just city-side of Moorbridge was seriously flooded in the dip where the junction for Rise Park is these days.  We noticed a couple of cars, stuck in the floods and gave them a helping hand to push them out.  Each driver rewarded us with a coin, possibly a tanner, and seeing the possibilities here we stayed around for a while.  sure enough, before too long more cars were becoming stranded in the water.  After a couple of hours of pushing we had earnt ourselves a tidy little sum to spend at the weekend :) 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 06/12/2016 at 1:45 AM, DJ360 said:

It's late and I didn't intend having a drink tonight.  But daughter No.2 has been taxing my parenting skills and my patience.  When we wuz kids we jus gorronwyit..

 

So anyway.  More minutiae.

 

As it is now, if you cross from Hucknall Road, opposite the top of Bulwell Common, you will have the Gala Bingo on your left and you will emerge at the junction of Southglade and Andover roads, on the old, authentic and original Bestwood Estate.

 

If you are especially clued up, you might realise that you have just crossed an old railway line. 

You probably won't know that there used to be a railway house on the left, until at least the mid 1960s.  But last time I looked some footings were still visible.  Also, on the other side of the railway crossing, there used to be a brick built chimney and hearth, next to the line.  In my memory, from the early 50s, there was never a hut to go with the chimney and hearth.  But I always wondered......

 

So.  You progress down Southglade Road.. heading towards Gervais 'Jarve' Goddard's Farm.

 

I'll continue later.

 

Col

 

Sorry to quote myself, but it helps to continue my little ramblings.  I've seen Cliff's picture  before and I think it is from around 1935.  There's a lot to see if you know what you are looking at.  Cliff has correctly identified the railway crossing at the end of what became Southglade Road.  The two fields immediately to the right and slightly above define where Southglade Road was built.  Their hedgerows still exist in places.  The hedge up the right side of the second field, which has four trees on it, is pretty much where Southglade Sports Centre is now.  When I was small, the hedge was still there, as was a path alongside it and a low bank alongside that. The low bank had a bulge into the field about half way up, which I'm reliably informed was an anti aircraft gun emplacement in WW2. There were also the remains of a small brick building.  A similar bulge and bank existed in the next field up towards Bestwood.

Village (Which is also visible on the photo.)

Our house, no longer to do with our family, was at No.40 Southglade.  I could pick it out from miles away, because it was the first one (counting from the Bulwell Common end) which had a darker coloured roof than the rest.  It still does;

I've tried to match a modern Google Map to Cliff's picture here: I can't find a way of marking the Google Map, but the oblong white building half way down the left side is Gala Bingo and is in the same place as Cliff's red arrow.

 

  https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.9701247,-1.1600687,1119a,20y,353.5h,71.19t/data=!3m1!1e3

 

Look for Forum Rd., which now emerges opposite the old house on Southglade.  Anyone who doesn't know the past will struggle to grasp that where Forum Road now slopes upward away from Southglade, there used to be a gentle downward sloping meadow, which then sloped up again towards what is now called The Ridgeway.

 

When we were kids, there was a wild rose growing in the hedgerow near to where the Gala Bingo now stands.  I believe it may still be there.. 60 years on.

I must check next time I'm home.

 

Col

 

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I have just come across this topic, only two months after it first started. I must have been roaming the forest at the same time as DJ360 but smewhat less observant. I also went to High Pavement!

I would add these comments and memories.

 

The wooden building oposite the golf house was the original station building of Bulwell Forest station on the Great Northern Railway line.

The wagon works was W Rigley & son, not Wrigley (they made chewing gum).

Acording to George Dow's book on the Great Central Railway their original intention was to build the Loco shed and sidings there instead of at Annesley.

I remember the railway house at on the GNR the gates were fastened shut but the fencing had been broken down so it could be used as a short cut otherwise one would have to walk to the marble arch to cross the railway. I think there was a train in section indicator on the house that worked from the signals.

 

I spent a lot of my time at the bridge at the station and at the footpath opposite Cantrell Road. I remember that most of the signals at Bulwell Common Station were upper quadrants but the signal from the northbound loop and sidings were lower quadrants on a wooden post GCR originals I would think.

 

When I was very young there was no golf on Sundays so my parents would take my brother and I a walk over the golf course. We would start at the Station bridge ad walk over to the bridge out onto Bestwood Road (or Lane) then back home via Austin Street. A longer walk would lake us down to the bottom corner of the common near Moor Bridge then home Via Main Street.

 

A lot of fun was had on the common. I left Bulwell in about 1972.

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The railway depot was built at Annesley because the cost of land was considerably cheaper than Bulwell. 

Not much different from today I suppose.

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Bulwell Brian.  What years were you at HP?

 

You are right about the 'train in section' indicator.  Not so sure about the accessibility of the crossing though.  I lived in Southglade road from about 1952 ish and can't remember there ever being any difficulty getting across the line.  I've always imagined there were little 'wicket' gates and that it was public right of way.. but that could just be a distortion.  For the main crossing there were five bar type farm gates which were locked.  Jarve Goddard clearly had a key to them because he brought his milk up from Southglade Farm pretty much daily using a small pony and trap and left it on the Hucknall Rd side of the crossing. I think I've described before how one day a train passed by just as Jarve and his milk cart arrived at the gates.  His horse was spooked, turned tail and shot back down Southglade towards the farm, scattering churns and milk about.

Weirdly enough, I don't think I ever walked the railway line from the crossing, either to Marble Arch, or up to Rigley's, when the line was still operational.  I think I was so severely warned about the dangers I never considered it, yet I was happy to wander about in the Bulwell Common cuttings.

 

Col

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Come to think of it Col i dont think the crossing was a public right of way in the early 50s,i remember farmer Goddard opening the gates to cross with Milk churns and his horse..........also remember a girl being hit by a train, Diane Staley and she lost a leg,and in school Assembly the Head telling us about it,with a warning not to cross there..............i reckon thru constant use it just automaatically became a right of way.

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I was at High Pavement 1953-1959 in Sherwood House.

 

I don't think there was any wicket gates, just broken down fence but I agree it was easy to cross. I never walked any of the lines, I think that respect for authority was so drilled into me that I was too good.

 

I have been wondering about the speed limit on the line, I don't think it was very high, about 25 or 30mph. I only remember O4 and WD 2-8-0's pulling the trains, Its such a long time ago.

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unlike you Brian and living on Andover road the temptation to trespass on the railway between Arnold rd bridge and Marble Arch was just too much..........we dug small caves in the sandstone rock and collected lumps of coal that had fell from the trucks.......taking them home saying they were on the road............also Brian you mention 04s and WD 2-8-Os,not being interested at the time would these engines be what we called 'Austerities' ?

 

Edit................i also recall the 'Master Cutler' being diverted along that line in the 50s on account of a de-railment at Bulwell Common,.............rumour had it me Dad caused it........he was a 'shunter' there at the ttime.......

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Cliff those photos were taken on or near the footpath that went from the top of Cantrell Road across the forest to Rigleys works. The footpath started with kiss gates on St Albans road, crossed the northbound rails of the burrowing junction to Bestwood Junction on the level, under the main line bridge then crossed the southbound line from Bestwood Junction on the level.

 

Most of the earlier discussion was of the Great Northern line from Bestwood Junction to Leen Valley Junction as pointed to on the earlier map.

 

The O4 class were a Great Central Railway design built in large numbers for army use in WW1, the WD's were built for similar use in WW2, and were known as "Austerities"

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Bournemouth- York or to Newcastle if in summer  I expect. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow!!.  Benjamin #18.  You have finally put a name to a legend.  Diane Staley.  Poor girl.  We were always told that a girl had been injured.  The version I got was that she got her foot caught in a gap under the rail and the train passing caused the rail to cause damage from the up and down movement of the rail.  But again, a long time ago and I could have been told wrong.

 

In my mind, the crossing was always open to pedestrians,  But thinking back, when we went to get a Trent Bus with Mum and Dad down to visit grandparents in Bulwell Hall or Bestwood Village, I recall that we always seemed to wait at the Bus Stop opposite Marble Arch.  I remember being fascinated by the Sodium street lights, which seemed very modern at the time.

 

The photos above show a different area.  Bulwell Brian has identified them correctly. Footpath opposite CantrellRoad. Pedestrians could walk across the 'relatively' little used link which dropped off the main Great Central Line before diving under it and heading off to join the Leen Valley Line via a road bridge over the bottom of Hucknall Road just before Bestwood Road/Moor Bridge. This link ( I think called the 'Bestwood Park Branch') joined the Leen Valley Line on the right of Bestwood Rd when heading towards Bestwood Colliery.

It can in fact all be picked out of Cliff's aerial pic above.

Confusingly, this Junction was called 'Moorbridge Jn', whereas the Junction on the other (Bulwell) side of the Moorbridge which connected the Hucknall-Bulwell (Midland?) line to Bestwood via another bridge further along Bestood Road towards Bestwood Colliery, was called Bestwood Jn.

As far as I know, little evidence of Moorbridge Jn. now exists.  Bestwood Jn. is buried under the new tram stop and bits of industry between Moorbridge and the site of the old 'Swinger'.

If you look on Google Earth or similar, it is still fairly easy to trace the routes of the old GC, Midland, Leen Valley etc., in the area.

 

Col

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