Tag Archives: Broadmarsh Shopping Centre

The Great Flood of 1875 and the Fossilised Streets of Nottingham (1)

I have always been fascinated by extreme weather, as many of you will have noticed. I recently came across an account of the Great Flood of Nottingham in 1875. It was in “The Date Book of Remarkable Memorable Events Connected With Nottingham and Its Neighbourhood” started by Mr John Frost Sutton and then continued by Henry Field.
The detailed account of the flood is particularly fascinating because it involves many streets which no longer exist. I was able to trace all of them on my Old Ordnance Survey Map for Nottingham (South) 1880. You can buy these on ebay or from a company run by Alan Godfrey .

The account begins with:

“October 22nd 1875
The greatest flood that has occurred in this century at Nottingham reached its height shortly before midnight, and, as viewed from the terrace of the Castle, was a scene never to be forgotten. Turn which way you would, the south side of town resembled a great sea, with here and there trees, factories, or blocks of houses standing out. The left portion had quite a Venetian aspect: people were moving to and fro, some on planks, some on hastily constructed rafts, fetching out their goods or those of some unfortunate neighbour, and floating them to higher parts.”

The castle has a tremendous view from the top of the cliff on which it stands:

Here’s the terrace and a very poor view of the view:

The description continues with particular reference to individual streets, using the peculiar way of writing them as “Downing-street” for example. Many of them are no longer there in their ancient form, such as Arkwright-street and Kirke White-street. We only have the fossilised fragments of what they once were:      `

“The Queen’s-walk was rendered impassable, and many of the houses on the sides had at least six feet of water in them. In parts of Queen’s-road, Arkwright-street, and Kirke White-street people were conveyed to and fro in carts. The water stood in the cellars of many of the houses in Leen-side, Carrington-street, Greyfriars-gate, and several other streets.”

Let’s take a look at these more obscure Nottingham streets, because if a magic wand could be waved and they were reinstated, quite a few of Nottingham’s current traffic problems might be solved.

On the map below the orange arrow points to  Queen’s Walk which I think is where the Manchester United footballer Andrew Cole originally came from. Queen’s Road, mentioned in the account of the flooding, is north east of the orange arrow and runs down the side of the station. Looking at the map, Queen’s Walk, still in white right next to the orange arrow, used to be a splendidly direct route out of the city to the south. Alas, it is now pedestrianized:

In the map below, Arkwright-street used to be a very big and important thoroughfare. It ran south of the station and curved gently but directly to Trent Bridge. It is there nowadays in a similar fossilised form. Find the red dot that marks the station at the top of the map below and follow it south eastwards towards the river in a long, long curve past the orange arrow and across to Trent Bridge, with the road number A60 on it. Nowadays, alas, this is not a continuous route for cars:

Kirke White-street was equally important. It ran from the canal on London Road straight as an (orange) arrow until it reached Wilford Road in the west. Kirke White-street crossed right through The Meadows, which were some of the most impressive slums in the whole British Empire. Even in 1970, children could be seen barefoot here, In the 19th century, its inhabitants provided the huge crowds that kept Notts County in the First Division and helped them to win the FA Cup:

After World War Two the inhabitants of the Meadows were moved en masse to Clifton Estate, some three or four miles outside the City.

Kirke White-street was a much used east to west route across the city and then out via Wilford Street and Wilford Road to Birmingham and the south west. On the map below, the long lost fossilised path of Kirke White-street is very roughly the red dotted  line going east to west. Wilford Street and then Wilford Road is in the top left corner. It very quickly changes into the A453 which was the old main road to Birmingham:

Leen-side is the eastwards continuation of Canal-street to London Road where the BBC is now situated. It ran to the south of Narrow Marsh, where the Nottingham police never dared to go. It was an area generally reckoned to be the absolute very worst slums in the whole British Empire. People who lived there used to queue up to live in the old Meadows. I found a picture of them queuing on the Internet. It’s hard to believe that on the right that group is just one family, but that’s what slums are all about:

Here is Leen-side, marked with the orange arrow. Just to the north of Canal Street, it used to form an excellent east-west route through the city, and linked well with the route leading south via London Road and the other one going past the red dot of the modern station:

Carrington-street was exactly where it is now and you can see it to the west of the railway station on the map below. In Victorian times, though, it ran a lot further north to a junction with Greyfriars Gate and Broad Marsh, much of which is now covered by the Broad Marsh Centre. Only a small part of Greyfriars Gate remains, between Wilford Street and the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre. I suspect that it used to link up with Lister Gate. I have marked it with our old friend, the Orange Arrow:

There will be more pointed accusations of the slack jawed local planners of the 1960s, and their pathetic and repeated failures to use their brains next time, although I do promise not to mention the fact that they demolished this wonderful old coaching inn and World War II RAF knocking shop without hesitation:

They replaced it with one of the finest examples of sixties architecture in the city:

 

Advertisements

25 Comments

Filed under History, Nottingham

Snow joke

Yet again, the Date-Book of Remarkable Memorable Events Connected With Nottingham and Its Neighbourhood 1750-1879 comes up with the goods.  Ands today you’ll see just how appropriate is the name of the author, John Frost Sutton. Once again, I have tried to simplify some of the more archaic language.

“January 1776

A great fall of snow and intense cold. Drivers of vehicles found it impossible to complete their journeys, and the stagecoach to London was stopped halfway to the capital, and was unable to proceed.”

Here is the type of stagecoach we are talking about. It’s not really one for the Apaches to chase:

stagecoach w

“A contemporary record states that the road beyond Northampton “was crowded with the passengers from the north, all of whom had been detained there all the week, owing to the great depth of snow. Many of them had neglected to make any provision for what had happened, and were in the greatest distress. On the other hand, some, who were well supplied with the one thing they really cherished, lived happily at the nearest public or farm houses. They were literally in high spirits. Almost every house on the road exhibited either a happy picture of noise and merriment, or else showed the visible signs of vexation, disappointment, and humiliation.”

“On January 13th, two men were returning in the evening from Nottingham to Papplewick, when they were overcome by the cold, half-way between Redhill and their place of destination. In the morning, one of them was found stretched out on the snow and dead. The other was found in a state of insensibility, with his stiffened arms clasping the trunk of a tree, and icicles at the end of his fingers. With much difficulty his life was preserved.”

The orange arrow points to Redhill, and Papplewick is in the top left corner:

papplewi3333333333333333333333

“The same day another sufferer was rescued from death by Mr Turner, a Nottingham attorney. A young woman in the service of Mr Lee, of the Peacock Tavern, near St. Peter’s Church in the middle of Nottingham, had been to Leeds on a visit to her friends, and was returning to Nottingham.”

Here is St Peter’s Church in Nottingham, down near the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre. The building to the right will one day be Marks & Spencer but it doesn’t really know it yet:

st-peters-1860-300dpi

The young woman left Leeds as a passenger on the outside of the coach as it was so much cheaper (although a lot colder, of course).

red stage

“About midway between Leeds and Nottingham, some thirty miles from the latter town, the tremendous fall of snow rendered it impossible for the coach to proceed any further, and the young woman, not having enough money to stay where she was, set out resolutely on foot. She managed to reach The Hutt, on the road from Mansfield to Nottingham, when her strength totally failed, and she lay down to die.”

Here is the Hutt nowadays. It figured in a previous article when a White Stork flew over it:

thre hutt

On this map, the orange arrow indicates the Hutt. The immediate area is no longer as isolated or countrified as it would have been in 1766. Redhill and Arnold are both in the bottom right corner:

hutt aaaaa3333333333333333333

“In the hour of her extremity Mr Turner the solicitor happened to be passing that way on horseback, and prompted by humanity, lifted her up, took off his greatcoat and wrapped her in it. He put his gloves onto her hands, and with great difficulty succeeded in carrying her to Redhill, where she was properly taken care of at his expense until sufficiently recovered to be brought to Nottingham.”

I included this bit of the account because there are not many stories where a lawyer is the hero, especially a generous one. This is the “Ram Inn”, an old coaching inn at Redhill. It faces west so it is not easy to photograph and get much light on the subject:

Ram Inn pic

Right next to it is the Waggon and Horses, another coaching inn of the period:

ram

Two pubs next to each other is fabulously convenient. When the barman in one pub refuses to serve you because you are too drunk, you can just leave quietly and try your luck next door.

 

13 Comments

Filed under History, Nottingham, Science, Wildlife and Nature