International Brigade celebrated in Old Market Square in 1939

IMG_2710a LM AldJB 1938 39 album 08 International Brigade (c) Jackie Clark scan O18021915300 ab2993h
The Lord Mayor of Nottingham meeting and greeting the International Brigade on Wednesday, 1st February, 1939.
79 years ago.
Amazing photo – determined faces, big coats – and a beret.
The famous “Quince Brigade“.  Viva!
Note, Barcelona had just fallen in the Spanish Civil War and the U.K. was to recognise the Franco regime 26 days later.
IMG_2839 cj4318h Nottm Guardian 19390203 p01 International brigade and pictureThe event pictured was part of the food campaign tour and the photograph was published in the Nottingham Guardian, on Friday, 3rd February.
Click on or download the graphic to read the article.
(Thanks to Stuart Walsh who has taken the trouble to write – “This was part of the International Brigade Convoy, which went all over UK in January-February 1939 raising money for a foodship to Spain …”.)

Photo courtesy of Jackie Clark, descendant of the then Mayor, Ald. J. Baldwin, and copyright holder.  The Nottingham Guardian presented the retiring Mayor a photo album with 39 splendid photos (crude photos of each page available here).

I had wrongly thought it might be a welcome home for those who served –  26 volunteers went from Notts to serve.  If they were 35th Division, it’s likely that they’d fought at the Battle of Ebro, staving off superior nationalist forces, which included the Nazi Condor Legion..


Operatives’ Library No. 1

As the new hub of Nottingham College is being designed for the Narrowmarsh, I have claimed how this was a kind of “education coming home” as Sussex Street hosted the first Operatives’ Library in the city in the 19th Century in the Rencliffe Arms.
Screenshot (770) ab0537h Rancliffe Arms
It’s possible that my melodramatic claim for it being the first working class library in the world may not be sustainable.
Our Local Studies Library reports – “According to “The Operatives Libraries of Nottingham: A radical community’s own initiative” by Peter Hoare which has been my main source of information there were at least 12 operative libraries mainly based in public houses in working class areas. … Operative[s] libraries were formed partly to enable the working class to access books on political and religious matters that were not available through other types of libraries.
Please find attached a scan from Peter Hoare’s work. It would suggest that the first operative library was based in the Rancliffe Arms in Sussex Street and was founded in August 1835 by W. Brooksbank . The reference to John Blackner is interesting as we hold copies of his “History of Nottingham” from 1815 in the library.”

Note, planning permission has been granted for  a new highway linking Cliff Road and Canal Street at the site of Popham Court, Popham Street (16/00090/PFUL3).
The development will result in the construction of a new street that will need to be formally named by the Council. The road in question is unofficially referred to as ‘New Popham Street’ as it will be built to replace Popham Street ready for the development of the new college on the land that is currently being used as a temporary car park for the Broadmarsh. The construction of the new road is scheduled to be completed in April 2018.

Herbert Kilpin

171022T Herbert Kilpin Lord of Milan ab0662h
On the centenary of his death, a shop front on Mansfield Road where Herbert Kilpin was born was dedicated to the Nottingham lace worker and footballer who founded AC Milan.
In the evening, a documentary “Lord of Milan” was released.
And from that film it’s clear that AC Milan wear red and black stripes, cos that what Herbert wore when he played for Notts Olympic.

Our Lady and StPatrick’s 150th anniversary

Celebrating the catholic church that had first been built in The Narrowmarsh just by London Road island, and then built anew in The Meadows just off Robin Hood Way, the Bishop attended a special service and blessed a celtic-style cross that had been fashioned out of the fallen lime tress from Queens Walk.
Featured is resident and former work colleague, Mary Brown, and some of her family, her son having made the cross.

Minsk 950

Nottingham’s twin city is celebrating the 950th anniversary of its formal beginning.
One concert told the city’s stories, including celebrating the iconic bison that still living in the forests that surround the city.

What would Nottingham’s stories be?
A place of caves;  by-passed by the Romans; founded by a Saxon chief; made an important borough by the Vikings;  made so important by the castle built by the Normans; a seige of the castle;  supporting the crusades, the city symbol and a taste for saffron; the stories of Robin Hood becoming about Nottingham castle at the time of the printing press; deposing of a queen in the castle; Goose Fair; a palace and a garden city, with caves used for brewing;  French and Germans fleeing religious persecution bringing knowledge of lace; not supporting the king in the civil war, even if he tried to raise his standard here; resisting Royalist seige of the castle; embracing tolerance post the civil war; the Quakers starting from a protest in St.Mary’s; industrialisation; textiles and lace; wealth in the good times, slums in the bad times, and riots – “Bannertown”; campaigns for proper jobs, proper wages, proper products and the vote; the Pentrich march, burning the palace at the castle, and the Battle of Mapperley Hills; canals and caves for chemical “engineering”; clean water plants; Empire and wealth through lace; railways and national sports and Notts County & Trent Bridge; expanding the city out of its historic boundaries; art school, the art gallery in the castle; becoming a city and the end of the French and Saxon boroughs; quality pharmaceuticals, soap, cigarettes, bicycles; The Great War; the new housing estates to the north and north-west – gardens back and front; the economic depression and the building of The Council House; the Second World War; a blitz and manufacturing anti-aircraft guns; a new deal – jobs, free health care at the point of need, success for all in schools, better housing  (Clifton and slum clearance), social security; cold war and threatened total destruction; the commonwealth and immigration; confronting racism; new democratisation of local government, slum clearances and radical transport policies – “zone and collar”; Europe and twinning; Nottingham Forest and Torvill & Dean; loss of confidence in government programmes, making the market king, globalisation, loss of manufacturing and mass unemployment & deprivation; growth in night life, universities and information technology; bdy scanning and bio-technology; a return to investing in health and education; new jobs and new immigration & multi-culturalism; better buses, light rail transit and asking commuters to pay; world economic crash and slum private landlords …

The 175th anniversary of the Battle of Mapperley Hills

August 1842 —
On The Thursday (18th), 2,000 resolved in the Market Square not to work until the terms of the Charter were met.
On The Tuesday (23rd), a rally of some 5,000 supporters met on Mapperley Hills Common (most probably the area just south of the GMB offices on Woodborough Road for a rally)..
At 3pm, as they ‘sat down for their dinner’, Dragoons brandishing swords (glittering in the bright sunshine) scattered the rally, arrested 400 and marched them into town. 50 were to end up being punished severely.
The actions of the authorities were mocked, a) by the mocking term of “Battle of Mapperley Hills” (cos the ‘battle was so one-sided – soldiers on horseback with weapons) and b) with a very long poem, published a month later.
(Photos of the poem are available –

I’ve made a 4 minute video (sorry, I didn’t appreciate until I got home how much I was grimacing cos I was concentrating on remembering what to say).

A previous video is a bit rough. With thanks to contributors to Wikipedia for the improved understanding and to the Local Studies Library on Angel Row.

Black Boy Hotel exhibition

Demolished in 1970 after Littlewoods bought the hotel in 1964, the hotel was designed by Watson Fothergill and opened in 1897.
People testify to how beautiful and splendid it was with the slightest prompt.
An exhibition is on at Nottingham’s Industrial Museum at Wollaton Hall until the end of August and the highlight is a special model of the building as it was in the ’60s.
Displays tell the history of the hotel, including it being named after King Charles II, who had long black hair.