Wednesday, 29 August 2012

But there are some good things too....

Although my previous post would probably suggest otherwise, there are some great places to see in Nottingham.

The Lace Market area has been really well done.  The surviving lace warehouses are now offices, restaurants & apartments.  Because they're in use, they are being preserved.

This Georgian house just off Weekday Cross & opposite Nottingham Contemporary is used by small businesses & also contains a very nice cafe.  I have a further interest in it because my Great-Great Grandmother Alice May was living there with her siblings in 1871.

There's also the 'Aqua Horological Tintinnabulator' in the Victoria Centre, designed & installed in 1973 by Rowland Emett, the inventor responsible for the 'gadgets' in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  I loved this clock when I was a kid; just hearing the tune takes me right back!  It hasn't been working properly for some time, but earlier this year it was restored by local engineer Pete Dexter, who generously gave his time to nurse it back to working order.  It's great to hear/see it working again; here's a link to the news report.

And just a couple of days ago it was announced that there is to be more investment in tourism in Nottingham; mostly based around Robin Hood, but good news nonetheless.  Hopefully there will be more thought put into the historic buildings the Council already own.

And, lastly, I can highly recommend Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant on Low Pavement, worth a visit, for the chocolate brownies alone!

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Saturday, 25 August 2012

A Bit of a Rant......

Most of my immediate family are from Nottingham; I was born there & also went to Nottingham Trent University.  So I've spent a lot of time there over the years, most recently visiting the Archives and Angel Row library for genealogy research.  I'm proud of being from Nottingham & I love learning about the history associated with this city.

So I was very sad when I discovered the museum I volunteered at for a while, Brewhouse Yard, is closed to the public, with the exception of group visits and special events.*

My children were also sad to hear of this; they have happy memories of story-telling in the cellar at Halloween, looking round the 'shops' and being told off for being left-handed in the school-room!  I have a family link to this too, as my Great-Grandfather worked in the stores when it was the Water Board offices and was offered one of the houses, which he turned down.

Nottingham is also famous for its lace, but there is no lace museum.  The Lace Centre based at the Severns building opposite the castle closed in 2009; the related costume museum closed a couple of years previously.  There's an article here with more detail.  I can remember going to the re-opening of the building after it had been moved from Broad Marsh.  At the time it was considered an asset of great importance to the city.

Not only has Severns closed, the council have put it up for sale along with the entire run of listed buildings 43 to 59 Castle Gate, which are a mixture of medieval, Georgian and Stuart architecture and used to house the costume museum.

Here's a link to the estate agents and the property details - if you're interested?!

I realise that in the middle of a recession, spending money on old buildings is not a top priority on the councils 'to-do' list, but while these buildings stand empty they are gradually deteriorating - Severn's gutters are full of weeds - and they are not replaceable. 

The tourist industry is worth £115.4bn a year in Britain; Visit Britain calculates that the number of jobs tourism supports is forecast to increase by 250,000 between 2010 and 2020, from 2.645 million to 2.899 million. Genealogy tourism is on the increase, but for the descendants of Nottingham lace makers there is nothing left to tempt them into the city. Giving tourists a reason to visit, stay and spend money could increase jobs in the city. So why is Nottingham City Council closing down its tourist attractions and not looking after its heritage?  It's a short-sighted attitude which could mean there is much to regret in the future.

*since writing this, Brewhouse Yard has re-opened on Saturdays & Sundays.

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Friday, 24 August 2012

Catch 22

I've been browsing through the Methodist baptism & marriage records over the last couple of weeks at Nottinghamshire Archives

Whilst looking for my ancestors, I came across an entry which made me smile.  On 20th April 1946,  Harold Major married  Biddy Stevenson at the United Methodist Church, Redcliffe Road, Nottingham.  Harold was a Sergeant in the Royal Army Service Corps, which of course, makes him Sergeant Major.  Should he earn a promotion, he could be Sergeant Major Major and following that, Major Major!

If you've ever read Joseph Heller's Catch 22, you'll know why this tickled me!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

A Quick Post About This Event.....