Recollections of old Nottingham, by Ann Gilbert (nee Gee)

The Taylors of Ongar
and others of their family




Writers on
the Taylors
Recollections of old Nottingham

A Lecture delivered to the Addison Street Church Literary Society,
March 10th, 1901, revised and printed by request.








For certain emendations in the topographical remarks, I am indebted to Mr. Granger who has long made a careful study of Old Nottingham's Streets and Lanes and has thus become a recognised authority on the subject.

June, 1904.

If the personal element in my paper is too obtrusive I must crave your indulgence because the very title of it — "Recollections" — necessarily implies the experience of the recollector who cannot exactly retire behind her subject.

I am one of the few who have lived under four Sovereigns, but the reminiscences about to be presented to you gather around two decades, the thirties and the forties: that is around the two neither your memories nor lives are likely to touch.

You will observe that I speak of Nottingham as a town — the town and county of the town of Nottingham — a far greater distinction to my mind than the empty title of city.

I have supplemented my own knowledge and reminiscences by a few fragmentary details culled from that interesting and locally valuable work — The Nottingham Date Book.

MARCH, 1901
PATRIOTISM in its usual signification, is taken to mean love of one's country. In the widest application that is so. It is the fully developed affection which had its beginning in the home of childhood and youth. It has a centrifugal action. Beginning with one's town it works outwardly. Pride in the town and its institutions tends in ever widening circles to embrace interests vast as the empire which created them.

Such a definition of patriotism justifies the position I venture to take for myself. Patriotism must have been an instinct, for I well remember having heated discussions with school-fellows, visitors, and others on the vast superiority of Nottingham over all towns I was at that time acquainted with — Newark, Mansfield, Derby, Chesterfield. In a sense I was able to hold my own, because I had acquired in very early years a knowledge of Nottingham, its history and topography, derived not from books, but from the conversation I was permitted to hear between my father and his friends, one of whom became a local historian. Those were the days when conversation was a recognised and practised art — no mere monologue where the talk is monopolised by one brilliant tongue, but where all might join, "give and take" being the fair principle on which they met for interesting discussion.

I propose to give you a sketch of Nottingham and its neighbourhood as seen by my eyes in those far-off years which nevertheless, by "memory's magic", often seem so near. I shall fill in the outline with pictures of events I have witnessed. And let us not talk of the mouldy past, an expression full of ingratitude, and one I never would use. For what is our present but the outcome of a past which our forbears, enduring the strain and stress of social, political and religious life have made easier for us. If our share in the Past has been unworthy, as oft it has, conscience in league with memory revealing many a barren waste of opportunity, many a sad blot smirching the wide expanse, let us at least be honest in giving honour where honour is due; thus with fuller appreciation shall we recognise the work achieved by our predecessors in times of danger and difficulty of which we in this free age can have no idea. A cultivation of the historic sense would help towards such appreciation.

Nottingham justly lays claim to the merit of being a town of great antiquity. Many of its excavations favour the supposition of the presence of ancient Britons. Whether or not it was a Roman station has been much debated, but no one, examining into its history doubts that it was a town of importance at the Saxon Heptarchy, when it was called Snottengham, from Snottenga (caves) and ham (home), subsequently softened into Nottingham. Whoever the earliest inhabitants were, they were troglodytes as evinced by traces everywhere of their cave dwellings, the soft yielding sandstone furnishing them with the required shelter. Indeed, Nottingham is honeycombed with caves; from underneath the Market Place they extend to the Castle in one direction, to St. Mary's Church in another, and right away on each side of Mansfield Road to Gallows Hill, and to that part of the old Forest now converted into the Church Cemetery.

I pause here to narrate an incident in connection with one set of caves just above the Blue Coat School, Mansfield Road. Hearing that a party of workmen employed to paint the interior of some property in the neighbourhood had been warned not to descend certain steps leading to the caves, yet despising the warning had gratified their curiosity at the expense of a night's captivity (another proof by the way how curiosity belongs not alone to the daughters of Eve), I accepted the invitation of the owner to take as many friends as I liked and explore them, for he was about to have the entrance blocked up. Remembering the experience of the workmen who, after their one candle had burnt out and their lanterns were exhausted, wandered about from six in the evening until ten next morning, when they were found by a rescue party white with terror, and the hair of two completely blanched, I was glad that the invitation was hedged about with every precaution. On the appointed afternoon, a guide was in attendance with a clue of lace waste, and each of the thirty visitors was provided with a lighted candle. Down the steps we went to the entrance, the only aperture for air and light being a tiny window opening at the top of the descent. We soon lost this and were in total darkness except for the artificial light we carried. Very remarkable was the structure that dimly revealed itself to our astonished gaze. The rock had been scooped out into tiers of chambers, the floor between them supported by pillars cut in the living sandstone. It was a veritable labyrinth, and we could well understand how in the darkness those poor fellows imagined their day of doom drew near. In one compartment, besides a bench or two, there was a depression which suggested a manger. Imagination thereupon busied herself with the purpose of it. Was it the rude cradle for the offspring born in these caves? It was curious, as we stood pondering, to hear the vehicles in Sherwood Street lumbering overhead, giving added force to the thought of contrast between the life of upper air and the subterranean life lived in these regions in the remote past. One remarkable feature was the salubrity of the air, the absence of every kind of organism, and the perfect cleanliness throughout. I have seen it stated somewhere that the caves were fashioned in comparatively modern times by one man who kept the secret to himself, so that he might gain his living by selling the sand he excavated. Their size and number are to my mind sufficient refutation, especially as they are known to extend from that point onwards to the Church Cemetery.

Nottingham can fairly claim, as a town of note, the age of one thousand and fifty years; as a considerable borough eight hundred and fifty; as a Mayor's town and Parliamentary borough a little over six hundred; as a county, which honour and advantage a few other boroughs possess, four hundred and forty-one years. As for situation, where could we go to find her equal? I speak now of her pristine beauty ere improvement's feverish rush had swept off many natural attractions. Elevated on the broken declivities of her red sandstone rock, she was protected on the north, east and west by hills rising gently above her; while on the south stretched out a beauteous expanse of meadow land intersected by the Leen and its tributaries; beyond was the noble Trent spanned by its historic bridges; still beyond, the hills of Clifton and Wilford; to the east, Colwick Hill and Wood; westward, Bramcote and the Hemlock Stone Hill. Between St. Mary's on one rock and the Castle on another and greater, the old town sloped and curved towards St. Peter's; that part from St. Mary's bearing the names of the High, Middle, and Low Pavements.    So steep was this rocky ridge between St. Mary's and Low Pavement that streets of steps led to the lower parts of the town. I need only mention Short Stairs, Long Stairs, Garner's Hill, Middle Hill, as such streets conducting to the various Marshes: Broad Marsh, Narrow Marsh, Middle Marsh. Those roomy houses on High Pavement were, in my time, the residences of well-to-do manufacturers and professional men; now, they are nearly all turned into warehouses. Those on the south side had gardens at the back, or spacious court-yards. From one of these, our family doctor's house, I used often to watch the people in Narrow Marsh below and notice how small they looked from such a height, and how pretty the height was, adorned with wallflowers and other plants growing on its ledges, or with elder trees which had found root in its crevices. Canal Street, or Leen Side, as we called it, was the boundary of the town southward; Parliament and Wollaton Streets, or Back Side, the northern limit. Westward it terminated at the space fronting the General Cemetery and from this space opened out three main roads: Derby Road, Ilkeston Road, Alfreton Road, beginning with Birch Row in Radford Parish. Of these three roads only one, Ilkeston Road, was much peopled. There were no houses after you passed Barrack Lane on the Derby Road till you came to a few at the foot of the hill called Lenton Sands; then past Wollaton Lodge there would be here and there a stately home embedded in trees. Alfreton Road on the right was open fields, part of it being the boundary of the Forest on that side; on the left was a number of houses broken in their continuity by passages and entries, themselves the site of much smaller tenements. The name of Birch Row still survives in Birch Passage, which I happened to notice lately as I passed along. But it was towards the east that the town stretched farthest — from the top of Pelham Street, Bottle Lane, and Chandler's Lane (for there was no Victoria Street) down Swine Green, Goose Gate, Hockley, Meadow Platts, to Southwell Road, which with the Beck formed the division between the borough and Sneinton. Some of the oldest parts of the town lay between Goose Gate and the Pavement. There were Warser Gate, Fletcher Gate, Pilcher Gate, St. Mary's Gate on one side of Stoney Street, which street ran at right angles with Goose Gate and Hollow Stone; on the other side were Barker Gate and Woolpack Lane; beyond these, Bellar Gate, Carter Gate, and Fisher Gate, where formerly dwelt the fishermen who were wont to ply their avocation in the waters of the Trent and Leen. The wall, pierced by gates, that encompassed the town was built for its greater security by command of Edward the Elder. It was joined to an ancient tower which occupied part of the ground where the Castle was afterwards built. Part of this wall having been destroyed in the wars between Stephen and Matilda, Henry II repaired it. It ran from the Castle rock along the site of Park Row, crossed Chapel Bar, thence the whole length of Upper and Lower Parliament Street, pursuing its way to St. John's Street, Coalpit Lane, Carter Gate, Fisher Gate, Hollow Stone, the three Pavements, to the end of Lister Gate; thence it passed up the south side of Castle Gate and below St. Nicholas' Churchyard to Brewhouse Yard, where it joined the Castle rock once more. Up to March, 1900, a portion of an old wall, generally, yet erroneously, elieved to be Edward's wall, could be seen in Galloway's Yard, nearly opposite the east end of Trinity Church; on it rested a brick wall of the early part of last century. I have often taken friends to show them that interesting historic relic, and I never passed by daylight without turning in to glance around and indulge in the retrospection its antiquity called up. You can judge then of my indignation when on entering one afternoon I found pick-axe and shovel busily engaged in the ruthless work of demolition. And cui bono! The brick wall was pulled down apparently for a stronger one; but why not have let the new, as the other, rest on the stone base, strong in itself, an object of great interest, as almost the last bit of the supposed historic town wall. Alas! alas! for the want of reverence for old associations manifested by Nottingham's authorities. Only a short time ago it was proposed to enlarge the Riding School or Drill Hall, to do which a portion of the old Castle wall, built in the time of the Norman William must have perished. If I had had my way years ago when the town showed such an abnormal tendency to expansion, there would have been created the office of Guardian of Public Monuments, with the object of preserving to posterity, where possible, from the destruction of the speculative builder, works of architectural beauty, structures full of interest on account of the cunning hands which reared them in the far-away Past. There used to be in St. Peter's Gate a lovely specimen of mediaeval architecture — an overhanging house whose plaster panels were adorned with an exquisitely beautiful design. This unique example was worthy the attention of Ruskin, who put up at the George Hotel one nigh in order to rise very early and make a sketch of it ere the world was stirring. There were similar gabled houses in Bottle Lane; many in Bridlesmith Gate, Jew Lane, Hounds' Gate, Castle Gate, Long Row, Timber Hill, Parliament Street, Bunker's Hill, Wheeler Gate, Pepper Street;  yea, everywhere in the old town. An example of a different period, the Renaissance, may yet be seen in Armitage's Cafe, Wheeler Gate. Glance upward, when you next enter the place, to admire the richness of the ceiling decoration. In my persistent advocacy whether by lip or pen for more reverence for what has been, do not suppose I am indifferent to the undoubted improvements of modern times; far from it. These I have hailed with satisfaction when their inception and execution in any town has been marked by reverent consideration for the excellent work of former artificers.

Part of the ancient Nottingham Castle wall, 1780. Sketch by Jane BaileyIn reverting to that bit of old wall in Galloway's Yard opposite the east end of Trinity Church, it is only fair to say that our late distinguished local geologist, Mr. Shipman, whose opinion is of high value, did not regard it as part of the old town wall of Edward the Elder. A most interesting relic of far-off times he knew it was; his reasons for not accepting the hitherto recognised and popular belief are given in his able work on the subject, entitled Notes on the Old Town Wall of Nottingham.

Besides the town wall as security against a common enemy, there were two others which played an important part for many generations.

William the Norman knew better how to settle the kingdom politically than socially, for when he had partitioned Mercia among his followers and had bestowed Lenton Priory and the fortress on the rock on his son Peveril, leaving the Saxons to amalgamate with the new comers as best they might, he could not extinguish the burning hate of the English — as the Anglo-Saxons had begun to be called — ­against their rivals in possession. So fierce were the quarrels that it was found necessary to divide the town into two boroughs — east and west — with separate jurisdictions, separate tribunals, separate churches. A wall was constructed from near Robin Hood's Yard along a bit of Milton Street, Clumber Street, High Street, Bridlesmith Gate, Drury Hill, Sussex Street, to Leen Side, the southern boundary of the town. All to the east of this wall was English; it included the Old Town Hall, then called Mont Hall, Weekday Cross, St. Mary's Church, and the important Leen Bridge at the foot of Malin Hill. To the west of the wall the borough was Norman, except one-half of the Market Place. To further accentuate the differences between the two races who could not meet on market days without strife, a wall ran east and west from the Exchange to the Malt Cross; the space to the north fronting Long Row was assigned to the English; that looking towards South Parade, to the Normans, who thus possessed that part of the borough west and south-west. Their Guildhall was the Old Moot Hall at the bottom of Friar Lane; their churches those of St. Peter and St. Nicholas; and their bridge over the Leen, the one at the foot of Castle Road. Rivers and bridges have long gone the way of all things. Lenton Boulevard covers over the channel and its reedy banks as they were in my time, when a walk by Leenside and across the Park, then innocent of houses, was an enjoyable ramble. The distinction between the two boroughs as evinced by the two walls remained until 1724; on any old map may be seen the Market Place division. And it is a curious fact that even down to my day a remnant of the old jealousy survived; for before the appointment of Nottingham's penultimate Coroner, who filled the office over fifty years, there were two Coroners — ­one for the east, one for the west.

It is difficult to believe how in one person's lifetime a town could change so much as Nottingham has done. Figure to yourselves its compact appearance at the accession of our late beloved Queen. The great expansion was, as I have said, eastward where the borough bordered on Sneinton. Westward, at the top of Chapel Bar, there were a few houses and shops at the right hand side going up Derby Road; very few on the left to diversify the fields and sandhills lying between them and the Ropewalk. One side only of Park Row was built upon, that nearest the town; in front of it there lay those sloping Lammas fields where the burgesses had the right of pasturage. There was no Wellington Circus with its radiating streets, no St. Barnabas, Nunnery, or People's College. From the town's northern boundary — ­Parliament Street and Wollaton Street — there stretched breezy fields to the windmill-crowned Forest.

Suppose we are at the top of the Forest and want to go to the Market Place and Meadows. As there was no Waverley Street, no Addison Street, and but a small portion of Sherwood Street, we must use the footpath of Lark Dale, or Bowling Alley Lane — now Waverley Street — or Sherwood Street, at its lower end called Shaw's Lane, or go down the chief road, Mansfield Road, where on the left there were no houses whatever till one came to the point where York Street forked into the main road. From this point, looking opposite, it was all country, and so it continued to be till one got to Milton Street. All was field and hedgerow; thus there was no Shakespeare Street, no Mechanics' Hall, no Trinity Church and Schools, no Burton Street;    the fields now intersected by Burton Street and Church Street were called Burton Leys.

In leaving Wheeler Gate to get to the Meadows, as Albert Street was not yet formed, a detour had to be made by St. Peter's Church, then down the little narrow opening called Church Lane into Lister Gate. We have passed our southern boundary and are now in the meadows. How did we get there? For as yet there was no Carrington Street Bridge over the Canal. By that bit of road nearly opposite the end of Walnut Tree Lane and Finkhill Street to the little bridge near the Navigation Inn, or else by the openings from the Flood Road. I cannot hope to give you an adequate idea of that fair expanse. Often in my day dreams I find myself and companions wandering — by its streamlets, watching the fish in the clear waters, or the dragon flies skimming along the surface, or gathering the floewers that grew along the banks. Anon we rest on the Rye Hills, listening to the lark's song, happy in "the glad, joyous sense of Being" and in the freedom we shared with all the beautiful things above and around.

Nottingham owed the beauty of her surroundings, and in a measure her own, to the belt of common land that engirdled her. Over this the burgesses had the right of pasturage several months in the year; this privilege, with many others, dates as far back as the early Plantagenet kings. The right of pasturage, the right of fishing in the well-stocked rivers, the right to roam free and unfettered in coppice, meadow, forest, wood and field, brought about a sense of brotherhood which bound them together into a very clannish community. To hold the position of a burgess a man must be the son of a burgess, a native of the town, and apprenticed seven years to a burgess. Occasionally natives of other towns were made burgesses by the payment of a fee — a fine as the Records call it — of ten pounds. The privilege was sometimes bestowed upon outsiders as a token of respect. Very jealous were the burgesses of strangers settling amongst them as tradespeople, hence it happened that but little change in streets and Market Place was seen; so, as I said before, Nottingham owed her own beauty to the preservation of the architectural features which this burgess system unconsciously brought about. I have before me an apprenticeship contract, the quaintness of which amuses, whilst its loyalty evokes respect. Their estate was a remarkably rich one, furnishing some provision for their widows and children, and under the name of burgess parts was dotted about the town's environs. You all know how the Corporation bought it up some years ago, and settled annuities on the then holders, their widows, and their eldest sons, at whose death they cease.

The system of apprenticeship in those old burgess days had many advantages both to the apprentices themselves and to the community at large. One element of character — ­honesty in workmanship — was no less cultivated than honesty in dealing: the apprentice learned his trade thoroughly; so that if a joiner he could be set on a piece of furniture at the expiry of his time, begin and finish it completely; unlike the subsequent system of division of labour, when for instance one man would spend his time making the backs of chairs, another the legs and so on. There was scope for original design too, when as an apprentice his individuality was allowed to assert itself.
In my time Nottingham began to be well supplied with drinking water. "The Trent Waterworks were finished in 1831; the river, filtered through the sand and gravel of a large reservoir near the bank of the Trent, was pumped by a steam engine along the main pipe to an open reservoir at the top of Park Row whence miles of piping conducted it to various parts of the town. Prior to this there was the Old Water Works Company established at the close of the seventeenth century, their pumping station being on the bank of the Leen at the bottom of Finkhill Street. The water from this source was forced into a reservoir behind the General Hospital. In process of time, by the establishment of bleach and dye works on the banks of the Leen, the water became too impure for drinking purposes. Power was then sought and obtained by the Company in 1831 to make new works at Scottam in Basford parish, whence the water was conveyed to the newer works at the foot of the Castle rock in Brewhouse Yard and forced, as before, into the Town Reservoir behind the General Hospital." I have reason to remember that reservoir as I recall an incident of my very early days when I went to school on Park Terrace. That side of Postern Street consisted of a blank brick wall pierced about the middle of its length by a doorway — the door always shut. But on one occasion I saw it open; in the excitement of a game at hide and seek with my schoolfellows, I rushed in, ran swiftly up some steps, and was just about bounding on what looked like a smoothly paved floor when I started back, as a ripple on the surface betrayed the nature of that flooring. I shudder even now as I think of what might have been.

Our play-beat began at the steps by Park Terrace leading into the Park, and at the adjoining rock (long since cut away), and continued to Postern Street, down Russell Street (now Amberley Street), along Cumberland Place to the backs of the houses in Park Row. Some of these houses possessed pretty little gardens; in one of them a huge rocking horse, set in motion by the present Dean of St. Paul's and his cousin-brother of three of my schoolfellows — used to give me when mounted much delight.

Besides these there were the Northern Water Works at the top of Sherwood Street — near to the Jews' Burial Ground ­belonging to the Corporation. They were formed in 1826 and supplied water from a copious spring pumped into a large cistern for that side of Mansfield Road already built upon, for York Street, and the eastern portion of the town. These works with the adjoining property passed from the Corporation into private hands somewhere about the early seventies, the spring having ceased to flow. The cistern was then dried up and small tenements were built along its sides.

Still earlier than the Northern Works were the water­works established in 1824 by Mr. Joshua Beardmore on Sion Hill and Gregory Street (now Holden Street). The water was raised by a steam engine from a well sixty yards deep, with a reservoir at the top of the engine house, and then sent by pipes to houses in that part of the parish — New Radford­to the Barracks, and to the few houses Nottingham Park Side then possessed. These works also supplied the various water carts that came for the benefit of the poorer classes as yet untouched by water pipes. When Mr. Beardmore was getting into years he sold the well to Messrs. Walker who had marble works on Sion Hill and who needed the water for certain processes in their business. The above named Joshua Beardmore seems to have been a most excellent character. Prosperous in business-that of a tallow-chandler-through industry and capacity, he was at the same time large hearted. One instance, suppressing names, may be here related. A certain Joseph X, an old friend, fell on evil days. Meeting Mr. Beardmore in the street one day, he exclaimed, "Good-bye, I am on my way to the workhouse." "No," said Mr. B, "you shall not go there while I have a roof to shelter you." Acting on the words, he made a home for him, found him employment, tended him when ill and finally buried him in his own family vault in Old Radford church yard. His brother, John X, a prosperous saddler in Spaniel Row, had turned his back on him, and thus left him to the tenderer mercies of a non-relative. This same John X was the father of Miss X, a name well known to me in early days. Inheriting her father's fortune, which accumulated, and living a quiet ife in the quaint old house close to the Quakers' Chapel, Spaniel Row, she died exceedingly wealthy. She became possessed of this chapel in a curious fashion. The people were about to make certain alterations or enlargements when she stopped them because, as she said, they were undermining her house. Being quiet people, and wishing to avoid litigation, they sold her the chapel and built another in Friar Lane; eventually the Irvingites acquired the building and made decided alterations. Miss X, by the way, had made a will duly attested and signed regarding the almshouses she had built. Respecting her other property a will was drawn up, but was not signed when sudden fatal illness seized her. The consequence was that a cousin, whom she much disliked and whom she would never permit to enter her house, came in for a large fortune.

In 1845 the bill for the Inclosure of the Common Lands became law, but it was not till the early fifties that much change was wrought in the fair face of the country around us. Then it got wrinkled with roads in every direction. As these hills began to be built upon, as villas and terraces and gardens arose, my fancy likened them to the seven hills of Rome radiating from our Forum, the Market Place.

Friar Lane Independent chapel, 1823At the time of my marriage Nottingham had five churches — the three parish churches St. Mary's, St. Peter's, St. Nicholas', together with St. Paul's and St. James's, the latter a chapel-of-ease to the church of St. Mary. There were three Independent Chapels — Castle Gate Meeting, the parent church, St. James's Street Chapel, now Park Hill, and Friar Lane, now the Friary Chapel, West Bridgford.

My earliest associations are with St. Nicholas', for it was there my people worshipped and where I was baptised and married. In those days the Church of England's conception of duty was but meagre; the three parish churches being content with the two Sunday services year in year out. I never heard of a week-night service, a tea-meeting, a social gathering in connection with any one of them. A striking contrast to the activity of the Established Church to-day ! On the other hand the Independents, as Congregationalists used to he called, were very active. At the time I began to mingle with them, there were the two Sunday services, Sunday-school morning and afternoon, prayer meeting on Monday evening, lecture (as it was called) on Thursday evening, united services of the different denominations once a month, three days given up to the County Associations' Meetings in March, three days to the Missionary meetings in June, besides the two tea-meetings at Christmas — one for the church, the other for the congregation, and the Sunday-school tea-meeting on Shrove Tuesday.    At Friar Lane the Sunday-­school work was supplemented by classes for writing, arithmetic and sewing on two evenings of the week. The announcement sheets of the years 1844-45-46 on the table will show what importance the County Associations gathered around them, judging from the number of meetings arranged.

If the Episcopal Church was lethargic in the spiritual oversight of her flock, she made up for her supineness by a rigorous exercise of her ecclesiastical power even to the penalty of excommunication for refractory members. Consider for a moment what excommunication meant at the beginning of the 19th century. A person under its ban had no religious privileges, few social ones; he could not vote, he could not recover a debt. A very old gentleman, an acquaintance of ours, who died in the eighties, told me how he narrowly escaped — by a technical flaw — the disabilities of excommuni­cation. It seems that some person he knew, calling himself a gentleman, had shamefully treated a young woman to whom he was engaged; whereupon our friend denounced his conduct in the hearing of others and finished up by saying he deserved to be tied to a cart's tail and whipped round the Market Place, he himself undertaking to be the whipper. (This punishment, by the way, was a common one at the time even for women.)    The report of such indignant speech reached the ears of the offender who summoned him for libel in a civil court; the words being spoken, not written, the action fell through. Determined on revenge, he now sought the strong arm of the Church to crush the object of his wrath. "Railing or contumelious words" was the charge; had it been sustained, the curse of the Church, supported by the common law, might have landed him in prison, failing his submission to the Church. The case broke down on a technical point, but there still lived in the eighties in Nottingham Park two gentlemen who went down one day to St. Peter's Church expecting to hear the excommunication pronounced.
A few curious customs loom out from the Past as I look back. I will just mention the one associated with Old General — as Benjamin Mayo was called — a harmless imbecile, yet not without a certain cleverness and gift of humour. It was the custom in my girlhood for the Mickleton jury twice a year to beat the bounds. Their duty was to take the sons of burgesses, while yet schoolboys, along the boundaries of the borough; to point out the limits and to emphasise the teaching by beating each boy; thus, while a lad might forget the spoken word, he would never forget the beating. Furthermore the business of the jury was to remove nuisances and obstructions and prevent encroachments. They must have been very lax as regards the latter duty in far-off days, for houses did continually encroach on the pavements of even our chief streets. Where the east end of the Poultry has been opened out in comparatively modern days, there used to be two narrow lanes — Bottle Lane and Chandler's Lane — ­converging into the north end of Bridlesmith Gate; here it was just possible for only one vehicle to pass. Until recently you might see similar encroachments in High Street.

To return to Old General dear to all school boys — for were they not indebted to him for a day's holiday? I think I see him now making his way to the Grammar School, Stoney Street, with batches of boys he had already released. Our girls' school was on the other side of Stoney Street, so we were well placed to observe the fun. Sentinels at the Grammar School windows soon gave notice of his approach. "Out, Out," they cried. Down went books; helter skelter the lads tumbled into the street to join the General's army — the masters (even had they been so disposed) unable to offer resistance. His troops all concentrated, the General marched them into the Market Place, proud to present them to the jury with the Coroner at the head, for the business of the morning. There is a very excellent portrait at the Castle of Old General in the midst of a group of boys, bare-headed as always; and an exact likeness as to figure, at the Old General Inn, Radford Road. I quite appreciate the feelings of those gentlemen who have put up a tablet to his memory on the top walk of the Cemetery.

Another custom was that of having geese served up for the Michaelmas Day midday dinner. Most households of the middle class observed the custom just as carefully as they did that of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. And I should not wonder that in this custom may be partly traced the origin of the name Goose Fair, the annual Fair just three days later, a title which has puzzled many.

But the most interesting and beautiful custom of all was the yearly visit in March to our crocus covered meadows, young and old alike turning out during the fortnight the beauteous purple bloom lasted to revel among them. Not to have seen the crocuses was to confess yourself false to the traditions of the place, and they were such a hardy generous-hearted flower; they resented not the intrusion of thousands of feet, but sprang up day by day as if in recognition of the admiration they aroused. I have written elsewhere upon the distinction nature conferred on Nottingham, when she gave her the indigenous growth of Crocus vernus.

It was not till about the early forties that policemen, such as we have now, became the guardians of the public safety. Formerly the town depended for such aid on constables, their avocation being set forth on the doors of their houses — Constable No. 1, No. 2, and so on. Each parish provided its own constable. At night they went about with lantern, bludgeon and rattle. Standard Hill being extra parochial had its own special constable provided by the inhabitants, who were of the well-to-do class. He began his perambulation soon after ten. Very startling was it, at times, ere "slumber's chain had bound me", ensconced within the curtains of a four-post bed, to hear the vociferous announcement "Hell, Heaven (eleven) o'clock — fine starlight night", or later on "Two o'clock, clear, frosty morning".

It was in the forties that the first cab-stand was introduced, 1845 being the year of their appearance in the Market Place. Did you want a vehicle, unless you kept your own gig or phaeton, a much more common possession then than now — you must send to livery stables for a fly or coach as it was called. Although the railway between Nottingham and Derby, our one solitary line, had been in use for six years, the only vehicular accommodation at the station was an omnibus or two. That small woodcut represents the station on the opening day, May 30th, 1839, when the whole town was "en fete" to celebrate the stirring event. You will observe it is on the site of the Midland goods station just over Carrington street bridge — a bridge not at that time in being; therefore to reach the station you had to go over the little Navigation Inn bridge and by the road above the canal bank which for a while went by the name of Locomotive Road. One of the earliest Bradshaws bearing the date 1840 lies on the table. I saw lately that a Bradshaw three months earlier was sold for 25 pounds.
It was in 184o, as you all know, that the penny postage was introduced, and with it gradually disappeared the old letter sheet; envelopes then came in, not adhesive, but requiring to be closed with wafers or sealing wax as in the case of letter sheets. There was but one post-office, the General in Bridlesmith Gate; by the side of the main building, near to where Lloyd's Bank now stands, there ran a narrow passage opening on to which was a little window, in size and shape like the sliding door at a railway booking office, and it was here that for a long time people preferred to pay their penny and post their letter, even after the introduction of stamps. At the corner of your letter you wrote "post-paid", or "pre-paid", or "p.p." or "free", and if you wanted to be very affected and fine, "exempt". The newer post-office in Albert Street was opened in 1848. After twenty-one years the business was removed to more commodious premises in Victoria Street; another period of twenty-nine years passed, and the staff migrated to the spacious block in Queen Street.

Before giving you pictures of notable events connected with Nottingham, I ought first to speak of one of her oldest institutions, Goose Fair.
It needs no little courage in these days to say a word in favour of Goose Fair. To the prejudiced people of to-day it is a word of sinister import associated in their minds with turbulence and licentiousness. True, like most institutions, it is a mixture of good and bad, but that it was not always the vile thing its detractors represent I will proceed to show.

Nottingham is said to owe the privilege of Goose Fair with its former undoubted benefits to the graditude of Edward I for the assistance the bold Sherwood archers — the forbears of our modern Robin Hoods — had given him in the conquest of Wales. By Royal statute the Fair began on October 2nd (except when the and fell on a Sunday) and lasted nine days. I despair of giving you an adequate idea of the importance of the Fair and of the picturesque scene our grand old Market Place presented in my early years.    You cannot realise it by what you see to-day. Now, there is no business, in the proper sense, transacted; and what there is of pleasure gathers about the ubiquitous merry­go-rounds-machines then unknown. One only remnant there is to remind me of former fairs — the menagerie; but even this is as a shadow of the glory of Wombwell's first magnificent collection. We owed much to Wombwell in our knowledge of the forms and habits of the savage beasts of the forest, of the curious ruminants from the East, of the gay-plumaged birds of the tropics, of the deadly reptiles. When travelling was difficult a journey to London where these animals might be seen was a comparatively rare event. Indeed a person who had been to Paris and back created an atmosphere of importance about him at which we now can smile. Wombwell had in his service an intelligent man whose duty it was to go round and describe the living contents of each cage ; thus a lesson in natural history was blended with the pleasure of the exhibition.

Nottingham's calendar was regulated by Goose Fair. If you asked a workman concerning the date of any domestic or municipal event he would most likely reply — "Come next Goose Fair, it happened so-and-so."

You can have but little idea of what the preparations for Goose Fair implied, seeing that the festival had the importance of Harvest Home, Fair and Christmas all rolled up into one. What Christmas is now as to family gathering, Goose Fair was then. So high was its importance in the estimation of all classes, that when young men were enrolled in the Militia one of the conditions of service was the being free to come home at Goose Fair. For two or three weeks all good housewives were busy with the renovation of their homes for the expected arrival of guests — a mild sort of spring-cleaning being thus put in operation. While these preparations were in progress, the glow of excitement, the throb of anticipation pulsed through the individual and collective being of the whole community. The result was, hospitality such as I have never subsequently seen, of the most generous not to say lavish kind. Everybody kept open house; the utmost bonhomie prevailed; the schools had a week's holiday; children were taken by their parents' visitors into the bazaars, there to feast their eyes ere returning home laden with fairings. Two-thirds of the Market Place would be devoted to business purposes, the remainder to shows. From Long Row to South Parade booths stretched their grey exteriors. Within, all was life, activity and bustle. Thither the Sheffielder brought his cutlery; the Barnsley man his linen; the Halifax and Leeds people their cloth; the Staffordshire man his china; the Grantham lady — the well­remembered "lassie with the golden locks" — her gingerbread; while various towns contributed the dolls and toys for the delectation of the juveniles. Four stalls fronting the Exchange were devoted to the sale of Nottingham's special products. One exhibited lace and hosiery; another, baskets of all sorts manufactured from material furnished by the osier beds near the Trent and at Wilford. Another displayed whipcord of a superior quality made from the hemp growing in the alluvial soil of the depressions in the Park valleys, notably near the fishpond gardens, where the Leen flowed at the foot of the Castle rock and by the Cow Drinks at the left hand side of Lenten Road as you cross the Park. There were several ropewalks in operation in my time, but the one whose name now survives stretched from Derby Road to Park Row.    Our illustrious poet Festus Bailey — as his admirers prefer to call him — once told me how, when he was a boy, he used to watch the spidery movements of the ropemakers from the very spot where his house now stands. The fourth stall fronting the Exchange held nothing but heaps of liquorice grown also in the Park valleys.

The Fair was proclaimed with much ceremony. No showmen might utter their alluring invitations to "walk up, walk up", and see the wonders within, no bazaar-holders begin their respective sales before the proclamation went forth declaring Goose Fair opened.

On a temporary platform in front of the Exchange window stood the Mayor in robe and chain of office, supported by aldermen and their officials.    The ringing of the bellman's bell produced a lull in the hubbub of the crowd beneath, while he in suitable words proclaimed the Fair. At the conclusion of this part of the ceremony he and various members of the Corporation, preceded by the mace-bearer, walked in procession along Long Row, then down the avenue of shows at the foot of Market Street — no wide street then but a narrow opening called Sheep Lane — along Beastmarket Hill, South Parade, back to the Exchange, which they entered by the Smithy Row portal, there to lay aside the official garb, and resume ordinary dress.

In early times the Fair was a necessity. When railways were not, turnpikes not too well kept, and country lanes in the depth of winter often impassable, the storing of certain kinds of provisions, clothing, and agricultural appliances was imperative on the part of the inhabitants of villages and small townships. Nottingham herself profited much by the commodities the country folk brought in such abundance at her fairs in March and October, notably at the last. Take my own home as an instance. Well do I recall the rows of shelves in one compartment of the store-room, where apples, pears, walnuts were temptingly displayed on beds of clean straw; the smaller room where cheeses were kept to last the family until March fair came in; the bushels of potatoes in the cellars, the strings of onions depending from the scullery ceiling. You might remark — Why not buy such things at the shops as you required them? Good old-fashioned house-keepers would reply, "The very raison d'etre of Goose Fair was the opportunity it afforded of buying the commodities at wholesale prices."

All along the Poultry cackled the Michaelmas geese; opposite, at Cheapside, the fruiterers took their stand as now.

But you will be saying: "You have got into Goose Fair and do not know how to get out." Let me linger just a moment to describe the space enclosed by Cheapside. It was a lovely, picturesque bit. As you looked with your back to the Market Place, quaint gabled houses met the view; the one nearest to Bridlesmith Gate was called Elizabethan House — a toy and fancy goods emporium kept for long years by one Corbett; to the left of this was the grocery shop of Samuel Fox, the Quaker philanthropist. This man — "Sammy Fox" as he was lovingly called — was quite a character, doing good in countless ways, yet preserving to the last his simplicity of speech and garb. All the members of his establishment wore the Quaker dress: the women, old and young alike, the lavender gown, white shawl, low shoes, and the lavender silk tunnel of a bonnet.

Now, we will turn round and look towards the Market Place. On the right were well-built shops, curving somewhat from the line of causeway and extending to the passage opening into the Market Square. These, for the most part, remain unchanged. On the left were similar shops and dwellings — for you must remember people lived over their shops in those days — until you came to the Flying Horse and the shops reaching to Peck Lane. These later have been absorbed by the Flying Horse and modernised. Before leaving this space let me call your attention to the block of buildings jutting eastwards from the Market Place.    The end one is now a shoe-booth; but in my time it was always a butcher's shop, and it was on this site that the poet, Henry Kirke White, the son of a butcher, was born. At the entrance to the Shambles you can to-day see a low quaint public-house — the Henry Kirke White Tavern, adorned with the portrait of the poet — which is popularly believed to be his birthplace. This is a mistake, as I will prove. My old writing-master, Mr. Lee, who taught most of the school-girls of my generation, often used to tell me interesting anecdotes of Henry Kirke White's mother. She kept a school at this butcher's place for a while, afterwards removing to High Pavement. Mr. Lee was writing master there also. It is difficult to believe that in those days writing was an extra in schools, like Music, French and Drawing. Yet so it was, and I was not taught writing till I was eight years old; although many a sheet of letter-paper I had previously stained with pen and ink printing characters.
In the long vista of the years this lurid picture occupies the remotest position. And yet there is one event of domestic import, still earlier, that my parents used to tell me happened when I was barely two years old, which I to this day distinctly recall. And does not Mr. Gladstone place it on record how, as a babe creeping on the nursery floor, he remembered the colour and pattern of his nurse's gown?

The spirit of discontent, which broke out into open riot in Nottingham at the rejection of the Reform Bill by the House of Lords, had been smouldering for two or three years, so that when the news was brought down by Pickford, the great carrier, and by the mail coach passengers, the mob, swelled by roughs arrived for the forthcoming races, was ripe for every form of mischief. How did this discontent originate? It was simply the re-action from years of unexampled prosperity. During a great part of the twenties the bobbin-net manufacture and its application to the stocking-frame, the invention of Heathcote and others, made the fortunes of scores of families. Working­men, framework knitters, f.w.k.'s as they were described in the calendar, the grandfathers of the twist-hand of to-day, used to earn from four to ten pounds per week. Some of the wiser ones took fortune at the flood and began to establish themselves as master lace manufacturers; but the majority as usual spent their earnings in self-indulgence. The great houses of to-day, all except a few, sprang up in this manner, impelled by the unparalleled wage-earning power of the period.

On the morning of the memorable Sunday, October 9th, hundreds assembled before the White Lion, awaiting the arrival of the mail. As the coach drove up a passenger remarked that the reformers in London were beating to arms. That was enough. The crowd, with wild cries. rushed at the dwellings of supposed anti-reformers and perpetrated lawless deeds. The Mayor, Mr. William Wilson, left the service at Castle Gate Chapel and hastened to the multitude. While exhorting them to disperse and refrain from  violence he himself was struck and injured. The Riot Act was then read; the constables were, however, unable to seize the chief offenders, or make much impression on the moving mob. Monday morning was comparatively peaceful, so that the Mayor did not think it necessary to prohibit the public meeting in the Market Place which he had convened at the request of the principal townsmen. The speakers, from a waggon in the centre of the space, addressed a dense and orderly mass; but the fringe of the assembly consisted of the lowest and most despicable characters. These renewing the disturbances of the previous day, the authorities, ever loth to do so, found the moment had come to use extreme measures. A troop of the 15th Hussars was called out from the Park Barracks — for Nottingham was for many years a military station. They kept dispersing the mob. One section, however, eluded their vigilance. Making their way Sneinton-wards they proceeded to Colwick, the original Notts. seat of Lord Byron's ancestors. Entering the mansion they began to lay about with the railings they had torn from Notintone Place, Sneinton; they ripped up the pictures, smashed everything they could, and finally set fire to a portion of the building. Mr. Musters was away from home; Mrs. Musters — Lord Byron's Mary Ann Chaworth — and a French lady, a visitor, made their escape to the shrubbery. Here, in evening dress, Mrs. Musters received that shock to the system which terminated her life five weeks later at Wiverton Hall, the dower-house of the Chaworths.

Wing of Nottingham Castle converted into a residence.The mob now turned homewards intoxicated with success and with the wine they had broached in the Colwick Hall cellars. "To the Castle" was now the cry, and thither the mass surged on. The details, so far, I had from my father and others. Now for my own personal recollections. On that l0th of October I was in bed about eight o'clock, but not asleep: the roar outside was too terrible and persistent for even infancy's slumbers. Presently some one — presumably a servant — lifted me up and throwing a shawl over me held me at the window. I can never forget that sight. Beneath, a dense black mass of human beings, more like wild beasts, shrieking and howling; above, columns of smoke through which after a while the flames penetrated, lighting up St. James' Church, Standard Hill, and the whole neighbourhood. Athwart that deafening roar came the sound of crackling and falling timbers; by and by a delicious odour was wafted in our direction from the burning cedar wood, of which costly material the panels of many of the rooms were made. It seems the place was completely gutted; the beautiful tapestry which escaped the conflagration at the beginning was torn down by the miscreants and sold to bystanders at three shillings per yard. One impressive sight was the molten lead pouring down in lurid streams from the roof of that noble mansion; for it must not be forgotten that the fortress of the Norman period — the Castle proper — had given place to the fine structure erected by the 1st Duke of Newcastle, in the spirit of the Inigo Jones style of architecture. For a long period the Dukes of Newcastle had not been in residence, but had let the Castle and grounds to various tenants. My dear husband's family, unable when they first came to Nottingham to find a suitable house, occupied one wing for several months. I have often heard him describe the beautiful view from the windows of the boys' playroom — now the refreshment saloon and the print gallery above, for there was then no dividing floor in this apartment tapestried from plinth to cornice. As far as the eye could reach stretched rich meadow land, along a portion of which the Trent wound in and out like a broad silk ribbon; no smoky chimneys, no collieries to defile the bounteous landscape terminated in the extreme distance by the Belvoir hill and its crowning Castle. Fortunate was it that the Castle was untenanted when the mob attacked it; the lodge-keeper, after useless resistance, had to flee for his life.

The Rutland Foundry Works were in imminent peril at this time, the maddened mob having got it into their heads that the place was rented from the obnoxious Duke of Newcastle. An audible threat arose amid the noise and din to the effect that when they had finished that "job" — ­meaning the Castle — they would turn their attention to this.

My father, ever sagacious and prompt in action, lost not a moment in causing the walls, the great gateway and the delivery warehouse door to be chalked in largest characters, "These premises do not belong to the Duke." This device had the desired effect, to the discomfiture of the returning, lawless throng.
The next recollections in the order of time are the festivities at the passing of the Reform Bill. The procession, a mile long, of about 20,000 people, consisted of horsemen four abreast; pedestrians, in rows of ten; a carriage drawn by six horses, containing Sir Thomas Denman and General Ferguson (Nottingham's two members); the Odd Fellows and Masons wearing their peculiar devices; and, what I recollect most distinctly, thousands of boys carrying miniature flags of all colours and varied designs. It was at a window in Friar Lane that my father held me up in his arms to enjoy on that bright summer day in 1832 the brilliant scene forming in the Market Place, about nine in the morning. The procession wound its way through the chief streets until it reached the Flood Road, then returned up Hollow Stone, down the three Pavements, up Castle Gate, Castle Road, along Park Street, Friar Lane, to the Market Place again. On a platform in front of the Exchange the two Members addressed the vast multitude, after which they dispersed, the thousands of boys being conducted to George Street (barricaded for the purpose), where they were each regaled with a bun and a small mug of ale. Perhaps the most distinct impression of this event is connected with a subsequent alfresco banquet, given by the firm of Mechanical Engineers, Iron Merchants and Iron Founders, to which my father then belonged, and which business he afterwards purchased in partnership with Benjamin Cort, of Leicester. The proprietors at this time were Messrs. Boothby, father and son. Benjamin Boothby subsequently removed to Melbourne, Australia, and became the grandfather of Guy Boothby, the prolific novelist of to-day.

In the spacious yards of what were subsequently the premises of Mr. Cort and my father tables stretched in the form of a capital T. At the long tables the workmen were placed, dressed up in their best and sporting flowers in their button-holes. At the cross table the "quality" sat. When the dinner of roast beef and plum pudding had been duly and appreciatively discussed, the dessert at the upper end came on, and with it the little daughter of the house. I recollect well how I was petted and made much of. In a pause of the toasts, which followed each other in rapid succession, I begged that my favourite horse might be brought out from the stable to receive from my hand some token of the day's rejoicing; whereupon the ostler was despatched for the animal and for a remnant of plum pudding, which the dear old creature took, and thus my childish wish was gratified. By the way, until two or three years ago, had you stood on the little bridge at the Navigation Inn and looked eastward, you would have seen the name "B. Cort & Co.", unless the wood sheds intercepted the view, and you could not have failed to admire the proportions of that Carrington Street Bridge, as well as the ornamental work of the spandrels. In the comparatively older parts of Nottingham may still be seen the name "B. Cort & Co"; for instance, on the pallisades of Wellington Circus, on many gratings, and on the staircase balusters of numerous private houses. Strong as was the bridge, it had to be pulled down after sixty years' service, and replaced by one more suited to the heavier traffic of to-day. The City Councillor, who when lately broaching the matter observed it had done good duty for fifty years, was under the mark, for it was in 1841 — more than sixty years ago — that the construction was begun.

This iron foundry business was the oldest and largest in the town: the premises occupied nearly the whole of Granby Street, and turned the corner into St. James's Street. This part contained the foundry proper. Here human bones were discovered from time to time by the moulders in the preparation of the ground for casting — a fact which goes far to strengthen the conjecture that this was the burial place of the White Friars, whose possessions covered all that space now bounded by Granby Street, Friar Lane, Beastmarket Hill, and St. James's Street. A little grating at one end of the iron warehouse connected with the foundry looked on to the Quakers' burial ground, abutting on Friar Yard, Friar Lane. I hav occasionally watched from this opening the simple funeral rites of the quiet people. In silence they gathered about the grave, clad in their ordinary costume, as in silence they committed the loved remains to the dust. Their previous place of interment was in Walnut Tree Lane; and it was only last year (1903) that it was disturbed for business purposes, and the bodies removed to the Cemetery.

In looking back I have sometimes wondered why I, a schoolgirl, was permitted to wander about and watch the varied industries of this great business, from the joiners' shops to the moulding processes preceding the casting. From one entrance of the watchman's lodge I have stood and gazed with awe at the fearful risks those moulders ran in carrying the molten metal from the cupola to the moulds in the fine sand prepared to receive it. The explanation probably was in the desire my father always manifested that his daughter's education should be as practical as possible — that I should see for myself as well as acquire knowledge from books and conversation. I remember seeing the casting of the great girders which supported the Carrington Street Canal Bridge.
My next recollection in the order of time was of a grand cricket-match on the Forest between Notts and Sussex, for at that time the County Matches came off in that locality. It was in the early autumn of 1836. The arrival of the Sussex team by coach was the signal for much cheering as soon as the vehicle was seen toiling up Hollow Stone. On the following day play began, when the schools had half-holiday. How well I recall it all — the walk, as soon as the northern boundary, Parliament Street, was passed, through Roper's Close and the fields beyond, where we looked with eager anticipation at the ripening blackberries and watched the robins and wrens flitting about in the hedges. Even the costume of myself and sister I can remember. We wore on that bright afternoon white frocks with pink sashes, tippets, and Leghorn gipsy bonnets trimmed with pink.

When we reached the rendezvous the scene was most animated and picturesque. The slopes from the windmill-­crowned crests down to the race-course resembled a military encampment; for the white tents for refreshment and various other purposes were dotted about in every direction. Among them the Forest's native beauty asserted itself in the gorse bushes not quite depleted of their gold, the dwarf thorn trees and the tall grasses which clustered about them. As the multitude squatted on the patches of sward watching the play and hailing with exultant shouts the achievements of the players, the white tents, the greenery, the wide expanse, and the click-clack of the windmills appealed with fine effect to the senses and the imagination.    For, as William Howitt wrote, "I had the strongest idea of an amphitheatre filled with people that I ever had. In fact, it was an amphitheatre. It is the nearest approach to the athletic games of the Greeks that we have made or are likely to make.
The great snowstorm of Christmas Day, 1836, should now be mentioned. In that year Christmas Day was on a Sunday; the snow had been falling since Wednesday night almost without intermission: the roads in country districts were impassible, so that on Christmas Eve the different parishes sent out poor men by scores to open them. It an ill-wind that blows nobody any good; the families of these men rejoiced in that snowstorm, because of the excellent wages the shovellers received at a season when employment was scarce. If the storm was severe in the Midlands, the records tell us how much worse it was in the South of London, where high ridges ran across the streets up to the first floor windows; for three days not a shop was opened; and intercourse between London and the South Coast was suspended for that period. My recollections corroborate much of this picture. On awaking that Christmas morn I gazed on the whitest of worlds; the snow was more than a yard thick, for it was up to the window sills; the horses were snowed up in the stable; silence reigned im­pressively supreme over the deserted streets; and the church bells themselves found no tongue to salute the happy morn. As the snow was still falling the ridges deepened, and so did the difficulty of getting to the animals. After hours of shovelling on the part of two or three of the household the stable at last became accessible.

The mention of Christmas recalls the paucity of holidays in those times — the only recognised public holidays being Sunday, Christmas Day, and Good Friday. I do not say that Saint Monday was not frequently observed, yet not as it is to-day. There were no Bank holidays widened out as now into a third of the week; no week's holiday for a workman in the autumn, no fortnight for his master; no Thursday or Saturday afternoons. The pendulum has swung to my thinking too much the other way, and people nowadays seem more intent on their play than on their working hours.
Radical as was Nottingham's political creed, she was not behind other towns in loyal demonstrations of attachment to the young Queen. Coronation Day was fittingly observed as a general holiday. The chief event which I recall was a procession formed by the Mayor and Corporation, the Mace-bearer, the Yeomanry Band, the soldiers from the barracks (a troop of the 9th Lancers), the Odd Fellows, many of the principal inhabitants, and thousands of Sunday-­school children. They started from the Exchange and marched along South Parade, Beastmarket Hill, Long Row, Pelham Street to somewhere about Stoney Street, where the procession halted, the Mayor and Corporation proceeding to Divine Service at St. Mary's, the Sunday Scholars being taken in hand by their respective teachers and conducted to the schoolrooms adjoining their various places of worship, where dinners of roast beef and plum­pudding were provided. The afternoon was spent by these children in the Park; while they walked in procession they sang hymns; when they rested, or wandered about among the thorn-clad undulations, or sat under the shade of the trees which extended from the Barracks to what is now called Lenton Avenue they listened to the stirring strains of the military band stationed in front of those fine trees. I well remember the appearance of those Sunday-school processions from the hill above the rock-holes or Druids' Caves, where myself and my people stood to watch them. The male teachers mostly wore white duck trousers and white hats. The dress of the children was simplicity itself. The "masses" could not afford to ape the fashionable "classes", even were they so disposed, the dear loaf of protection absolutely forbidding it. The dress of the girls, for the most part, consisted of a print frock, a nankeen tippet, and a straw-bonnet trimmed with a "curtain" behind, a bow at the side, and a piece of ribbon between the crown and brim long enough to serve as strings.

Between four and five o'clock the teachers conducted their classes back to their respective schoolrooms, where "tea" — consisting of milk and buns for the girls, ale (in some instances) and buns for the boys  — was served; after which the children were dispersed and the teachers rested until late in the evening, when the festivities of this memorable day were brought to a close by a grand display of fireworks in the Market Place. My people had engaged an upper window at the Exchange, and it was from this vantage ground we witnessed the best pyrotechnic display  — as regards design  — ­Nottingham had ever furnished. I will just pause here to observe what a lamentable thing it is when memory wears away to a mere tabula rasa, or if not quite that, to a surface of blurred impressions with nothing distinct, nothing in relief. In the Diamond jubilee year I was addressing a meeting and recalling the events of the Coronation in the hope that one of the women of about my own age would impart her recollections so as to vary my own. She could not recall anything, neither the delicious brightness of the day, the warmth tempered by a gentle breeze, the ringing of the bells, the flags and banners, the bands of music, nor yet the roast beef and plum pudding dinner, of which, as a Sunday scholar, she must have partaken somewhere or other. How true I find it that

When Time that steals our years away Shall steal our pleasures too, The memory of the Past shall stay And half our joys renew.

I have already alluded to the opening of the railway in 1839. Previous to this, and for some time afterwards, the needs of Nottingham were well supplied by her public coaches. Besides those that started from the Maypole and Black Boy to Derby and elsewhere, there were two coaches from London to Sheffield and Leeds, which daily stopped for horse-changing, and for the passengers' breakfast at the White Lion in Clumber Street — an old hostelry set back from the street by a clean, well-paved court-yard. The "Express" left the "Bull and Mouth", London, every evening at six o'clock, and arrived in Nottingham at eight next morning. The Mail Coach left London at eight in the evening, and arrived here at eleven next morning. They came along the Flood Road, up Hollow Stone, along High and Middle Pavements, Bridlesmith Gate, and High Street to the inn. They would reach their destination — Leeds — ­between three and four o'clock in the afternoon, and six and seven respectively. Their arrival created no little stir in our good old town; the signal was the playing by the guard of popular tunes on his horn -the Old Hundredth, as he neared St. Mary's on Sundays. Some idea of the former surround­ings of Nottingham may be gathered from the oft-repeated remark of the old coachmen that nowhere near a town was there a mile of such beauty as that which lay between Trent Bridges and Hollow Stone.

The next important event was the opening of the Mechanics' Exhibition in 1840 to provide funds for the building of the present Mechanics' Hall. It was held in the Exchange Hall, enlarged for the occasion by an annexe in front. Art, manufactures, machinery, scientific instruments, curios were well represented; and as it was one of the first undertakings of the kind the Midlands had attempted, the novelty of the thing, combined with the excellence of the exhibits, assured its success.

Up to the building of the Mechanics' in 1845 there were only two public halls suitable for large assemblies — the Exchange and the Assembly Room, Low Pavement. It did sometimes happen that the club rooms of the Odd Fellows at various inns could be hired, but the concession was rare.

Winter amusements were thus few and far between. Two public charity balls for the Infirmary and Dispensary, and the three subscription concerts got up by Mr. Woolley and his sisters comprised the dissipation of the well-to-do. I had almost forgotten the little theatre in St. Mary's Gate, near the Old Bugge Hall, the town residence of the Willoughbys; but as we were never allowed o frequent such places, I can only speak of the two occasions when after my marriage I entered its portal. This was in 1861, and each time it was for the purpose of seeing Charles Kean and his wife in their magnificent interpretation of Hamlet, and in Louis XI.

But if the winter amusements were few the summer delights were many. No town had a neighbourhood richer in country rambles, whether of meadow or field or stream or woodland. The working-man had his garden on the Hunger (said to be a corruption of Hanger) Hills; his master having his near his own house, for most of the houses in the chief streets had gardens at the back. There were besides many tea-gardens, the resort of the middle classes and others; those at Radford Folly, St. Ann's Well, Blue Bell Hill, the Coppice, the Whey House near the Trent, Old Lenton, and others recur to me. I wish I could give you a fair picture of those Hunger Hill rose-gardens. Down to comparatively recent times they were known far and wide for the wonderful richness and variety of their bloom. The twist-hands cultivated them in their leisure hours and made much profit thereby, for they supplied the Manchester and Liverpool markets with freshly cut roses twice a week. Their success in this direction was largely due to the assistance they received from Canon Hole, now Dean Hole of Rochester, a noted rosarian. Most Saturdays in the season he might be seen near the florists' stall in our Market Place among a group of men waiting for his opinion on such and such a strain. Those lovely gardens were arranged most effectively. The one I have specially in my mind was of five or six terraces; the lowest was planted with roses of the deepest red; the one immediately above glowed in crimson beauty; and so the gradation softened until the uppermost fascinated by their delicate hue. The last or top terrace was finished off by a trellis where the honeysuckle and jasmine rioted together in fragrant luxuriance.
One morning in September, 1841, while in the midst of a French lesson, Signor Assolari, our master, suddenly remembered that Queen Adelaide, on her way to Sudbury, would change horses at the George, and that the cortege must necessarily pass our school in Stoney Street. Permission having been obtained from the Principal, we threw aside books and pens, and stood under the trees at the foot of the garden awaiting the august arrival. The cortege consisted of seven carriages. As Her Majesty slowly passed, we girls curtseyed low, and were much gratified by her responsive smiles and bows. Being quite close we saw distinctly the features and attire of the chief lady. She wore her hair, tinged with grey, in flat curls; the bonnet, huge in proportion, was what was called a drawn-bonnet after the fashion (as regards the drawing) of the hat on the table, and from it depended a black lace veil of the size of those lying before me; the shawl, worn au naturel, was of a rich cashmere. A guard of honour was formed by a detachment of the 3rd Dragoons, which conducted the cortege as far as Wollaton Hall, where the Queen Dowager called on Lady Middleton.

The mention of curtseying brings me to the subject of children's manners, a matter of no mean importance in my young days. Our education included dancing and deportment — deportment not for company alone, but for behaviour in daily and domestic life. To enter or leave a room where our parents or elders were sitting, without curtseying at  the door was deemed very bad manners. Unquestioning obedience to their wishes was the rule; and a certain kind of deference, now rarely seen, showed itself in the way we answered them. To reply with a bald "yes", or "no" would have been the height of rudeness; and it was always "Yes, father", or " No, mother", as the case might be.
The visit of the Queen regnant was a much more important event. On her way from Chatsworth to Belvoir our late beloved Queen came by train to Nottingham old station, now the Midland Goods station much enlarged. There the carriage was in waiting to conduct her and Prince Albert along a road just completed in the West Croft enclosure, which in honour of the occasion has received the name of Queen's Road. It must be remembered that there were no houses in the Meadows; no railway extension eastwards; no Arkwright Street, nothing but a vast stretch of beauteous meadow land between the Park and the Flood Road, athwart which flowed the Leen's tributaries and the Tinker's Leen — a lovely sight, especially in early spring, when the purple crocuses in rich profusion lent an annual charm. December 4th, 1843, was the date of the Queen's transient visit. Brilliant were the skies, generous the sunshine — more like May than December — as befitted so august an occasion. Triumphal arches were erected at intervals along the new road and the Flood Road to Trent Bridges. All along the route raised seats were temporarily provided for thousands of spectators. From the bench my people and myself occupied I had a perfectly distinct glimpse of both Queen and Prince. The distinguished look of the Prince was enhanced to my girlish eyes by the moustache he wore, a labial ornament I had never seen except in the instance of Signor Assolari, our French and Italian master. It may interest my lady listeners to know that the Queen's luxuriant fair hair was simply braided; the bonnet was of white straw, trimmed with blue ribbon and white feather; within the brim was a border of tulle interspersed with bits of baby ribbon matching the colour outside. I also noticed she was "overhung" as in her early portraits, the two front teeth showing slightly.
You would expect that in a town like Nottingham there would be fierce fights before the introduction of the ballot and its undoubted benefits. In 1841 occurred the most notable contest of my early years. Sir John Cam Hobhouse and George de H. Larpent were the candidates who won on the Whig side in opposition to John Walter and T.B. Charlton of the Tory camp. In those days the canvass previous to the polling lasted long, during which the greatest excitement prevailed; everybody wore either the Whig yellow or the Tory blue; bands of music patrolled the streets continually; devices, some clever and witty, but mostly scurrilous, adorned and disfigured walls and other bare spaces; the speakers from the hustings in front of the Exchange were often assailed with opprobrious remarks, or pelted with rubbish. When the election was over the last act partook of the nature of a brilliant pageant — for then came the chairing. I suppose originally the candidate would be carried in a chair hoisted on men's shoulders, hence the term; but the chairing I saw in 1841 (the last of the kind, I believe) consisted of a carriage drawn by four grey horses, in which sat Sir John Cam Hobhouse, and George de H. Larpent, afterwards Sir George Larpent, completely embowered in evergreens and flowers. From an upper window on Timber Hill, as that part of South Parade near Messrs. Lamb's corner was called, we surveyed the scene. The people's good humour had all come back as the acrimony of party spirit subsided, and all joined in the vociferous cheering as the carriage slowly proceeded round the Market Place. Dense was the mass, great the enthusiasm, beautiful the colours and devices of flags, banners, and waving handkerchiefs under the brilliant sun of a July afternoon.

Sir John Cam Hobhouse was the friend and companion of Lord Byron in the poet's first visit to Greece. A letter of his lies on the table. I have brought it to shew you the kind of letter sheets employed before the penny postage led to the use of scrappy letters and envelopes; as well as to furnish an instance of the system of franking — a system swept away with the introduction of cheap postage.

The year 1845 is memorable as the year of the railway mania; hundreds of lines were projected; speculation ran riot; all classes became eager for shares, especially in the autumn, when the fever was at its height. The mania might be likened to the South Sea Bubble of the preceding century in its inception, progress, panic and ignominous close.
The repeal of the Corn Laws is an event connected in my memory with public rejoicings through the length and breadth of the land. With the gradual acceptance of free trade, the bettering of the middle and lower classes slowly proceeded. And yet to what taunts and gibes and insults was Sir Robert Peel, the father of the measure, subjected? He was lampooned by the wits of the day, caricatured mercilessly, and of course our facetious friend Punch had something to say respecting the turn-coat. The cartoon of June, 1845, on the table, represents Sir Robert wearing a new wig at the Queen's Costume Ball in derision of his change from Toryism to Whiggism. The ringing of the bells on that summer day in 1846 accorded well with the joyous harvest prospects on every hand. Never had there been a more bountiful outlook than in this glorious summer following the mildest winter I can remember. None too soon was this measure introduced! And most welcome was that harvest! Great Britain needed plentitude for the distress in the Sister Isle, after the failure of the potato crop, and the subsequent famine. Sir Robert Peel proved himself a true hero by sinking the interests of party to what he con­ceived to be the voice of duty calling him to free the commerce of the country from the fetters that cramped her activities. He had fully counted the cost to himself — the torrent of obloquy, the falling off of friends; yet he bravely persevered till his great scheme found accomplishment. It is sad to recall the bitterness of his friends. No sooner had his measure — helped on by the Anti-Corn Law League with Cobden and Bright as its exponents — become law than the storm of vengeance broke over him. His friends, became his enemies, seeing their opportunity on the Irish question succeeded in ousting him. He never re-entered Parliament, but the signal honour belongs to him of sacrificing a party to save a nation.

I have dwelt for a few moments on this great event, for from it dates the improvement in the condition of the people. You cannot hark back, as I do, to note the difference. When the four-pound loaf was cheap at 8½d and 9d, when tea was 6s 6d to 7s per lb, sugar 8d and 9d, all clothing fabrics proportionately dear, the country went wild over the prospect of untaxed corn. In the delirious joy of the time people were apt to forget two beneficent laws in the early forties; the one in 1844 regulating the working hours in factories, and the earlier one of 1842 whereby women and girls were forbidden to work in mines. The name of Lord Ashley, better known as Lord Shaftesbury, will ever be gratefully associated with the latter Act. It seems hardly credible that such degradation could have existed: that women and girls, unclothed, unwashed, should be harnessed like beasts, with a girdle round their waists, to wear out underground their miserable lives.

The year 1848 is to be remembered in Nottingham as one of much anxiety on the part of all law-abiding people. The tide of revolution which had swept over the continent, toppling down thrones, removing landmarks, and changing geographical conditions, threatened to touch our "tight little island". In view of the danger of a Chartist rising the authorities in Nottingham took measures betimes. By augmenting the military strength at the barracks, by calling out the Yeomanry and swearing in many hundred special constables the danger was averted. The malcontents, surprised apparently at the determined attitude of the Corporation and people, slunk away, and nothing happily came of their disaffection.

Not long ago a gentleman remarked in my presence how poor Nottinghamshire was in historical interest compared with some counties; whereupon I fired up. Had he never heard of Scrooby (one of the most northerly places in Notts), the cradle of the great American race — Scrooby, deemed worthy of a pilgrimage by the hundreds of delegates from America at the International Congress of 1891? To the handful of religiously loyal men who braved numberless dangers and privations ere they made good their escape to Gainsborough, thence to Holland, much later on to Plymouth; whose voyage in the Mayflower, as the Pilgrim Fathers, has been subject enough to inspire poet and painter — to these men and their steady efforts in the cause of freedom their descendents are indebted for the priceless boon of religious and political liberty. Had he never heard of Scrooby ?

Going farther back, was it not the love of liberty, the hatred of feudal oppression, that drove Robin Hood and his merrie men to Sherwood Forest, where true to their conviction they made it their business to defend the poor against the tyranny of their masters? Is not Wollaton Hall in this neighbourhood deserving of mention — the most perfect example of Elizabethan architecture the country possesses; of historical interest too, for it was here the first Arctic Expedition was planned by Sir Hugh Willoughby and his companions for the discovery of a north-east passage to China? Was not our county further distinguished by the invention of the stocking frame, and subsequently by the adaptation of bobbin net to the frame by Heathcote and others, whereby the beautiful lace fabric became the staple manufacture of our town, giving employment to thousands, and making the fortunes of hundreds, until workmen's strikes succeeded in crippling its prosperity?

Was it not in Nottingham that the first Missionary Sermon was preached; when at that little chapel in Park Street (now a furniture shop near the almshouses) more than a hundred years ago Carey gave as his text, "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God?"

And have we not a galaxy of distinguished names to adorn the county's records, whether in history, poetry, painting or general literature? We have as local historians Thoroton, Deering, Throsby, Blackner, Bailey and others. In poetry we claim Byron, Philip Bailey (the illustrious author of Festus, till lately among us), Kirke White, Ichabod Charles Wright, the translator of Dante and Homer, Henry Sutton, Millhouse, and others. In painting there is Richard Parkes Bonnington, whose genius demands unstinted praise. His works are very difficult to meet with, for they adorn private galleries and seldom change hands; he is represented by one or two pictures in the Louvre, by the same number in the National Gallery, and by many in the Wallace Collection. Paul Sandby, the inventor of water-colour painting, was a Nottingham man; Henry Dawson, though not born in Nottingham, spent the greater part of his professional life here; as did Smythe, the artist of those oil-paintings before you representing Nottingham Castle, the windmills, the meadows, etc, etc.

As preachers of the Gospel we have Andrew Kippis, Gilbert Wakefield, Erasmus Darwin, Dr. Sterne, Whitlock, Reynolds, Barrett, and others among the various denominations who suffered for conscience' sake at the passing of the Five Mile Act. And shall we not mention William and Mary Howitt, beloved of young people for the many charming books from their pens illustrative of English rural life, as also for their tales picturing the home of the prosperous twist-hands of their day? Little Coin, Much Care, a book long out of print, gives us a better idea of the Nottingham working classes, of their unexampled good wages and improvidence, than any account I have ever heard or read.

The first illustrated newspaper proper was projected by a Nottingham man, Herbert Ingram, who brought out the Illustrated London News.

Huntingdon Shaw, of Narrow Marsh, the famous smith who wrought those beautiful iron gates so long exhibited at our Castle Museum is one among many another I ought to mention, but I forbear.
And now I must close. If I have succeeded in these imperfect sketches in giving you a glimpse of the Nottingham of my earlier life you will understand my passionate love for and loyalty to the Queen of the Midlands. How often has the useless desire arisen that my children could have seen her picturesqueness and enjoyed the breezy freshness of her surroundings! If the comeliness    survives in a newer form, the picturesqueness has all but gone. No convenient country-lane walks can now be had. Much further afield must we go by cycle or rail or carriage, for the narrow ivied lanes, the scented fields, the misty glens of long ago. Let me offer one parting word to those of you in authority, whether in City Council or the various Committees of Management; aye, and to parents and teachers also. Cultivate in yourselves the spirit of reverence for what is honest and beautiful. Architecture, for example, may not be ornate; but if a structure has a dignified mien, the dignity arising out of solidity and good proportions, and if the workmanship betrays truth and honesty in its aim and execution, such a building should evoke respect, even when falling short of admiration. So with the open spaces left to us. Teach children's hands to refrain from disfiguring them by the wanton destruction of anything they can clutch at — over-hanging branches, wandering ivy, mosses, emerald patches on wall coping and the like; their feet from spoiling grass borders; from digging holes with their heels in the too-often be-papered and be­bottled sward. In my small way I am constantly working in the direction of preservation of what is worth preserving. I rarely stir out without having to harangue children and even grown-ups, in groups or singly, upon the folly, the wrong­ness, of exercising their destructive powers on lovely things not their own. If they cannot contribute to the beauty of the world, they can at least let it alone. If we all recognised the source of beauty, reverence for it would spring up unbidden. The beauty of a tree or blossom, what is it but a revelation of something in the mind of its Creator? In the countless forms of floral loveliness and the glorious tints that brighten them, God shows He takes pleasure in beauty for its own sake.    As some one has finely put it, "beauty is the hall mark of God, the very signature of His hand."

The same care that is expended over personal beauty to guard it against the ravages of time, if exercised with regard to our surroundings would result in the perpetuation of an ever beautiful world. But alas! commercial interest overrides everything, and the instinct for beauty is quenched. This ought not to be. Human faculties were not bestowed that some should tyrannise over others, but that each should have its rightful exercise, and that all should work harmoniously together. But if the aesthetic sense among some of us is poor, and consequently the appreciation of beauty feeble, we can retire upon a lower plane, that of order, and thus testify to our belief that one element of beauty — Order — "is Heaven's first law".

The author, Annie Gilbert (nee Gee), was born in Nottingham on July 11, 1828, daughter of Thomas Gee and Hannah Moseley, and died at New Barnet on May 27, 1908. In 1851 she married Isaac Charles Gilbert (1822-1885), son of the noted writer of children's poetry and other works, Ann Gilbert (Taylor), and the Rev Joseph Gilbert of the James Street Independent chapel. Annie Gilbert also wrote Remarks on Botany for Beginners (about 1892). She was a school mistress.

Annie Laurie Gilbert (1851-1941) was the daughter of Annie Gilbert, author of Recollections of Old Nottingham.



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