Posts Tagged ‘Nottingham University’

Visit to Nottingham University Park and Bakewell area

September 28, 2012

Nottingham University
Set in beautiful grounds — worth visiting

Recently, we had a short break away to celebrate my hubby’s birthday and visit family. We stayed in a Sleeplodge in Derbyshire. We booked into a ‘superior room’, which had facilities for meal preparation (sink, kettle, toaster, fridge, and a microwave). Certainly it had a posh new bathroom, plenty of hot water and heating. The view from the window was also good. However, certain things did not come up to scratch. But never mind that, we had a lovely time visiting my sister near Nottingham (taking her to the Nottingham University Highfields Park, and the Attenborough Nature Reserve. We had a great lunch with my hubby’s sisters and their husbands, plus visits to their homes. We also visited Chatsworth Farm Shop and the Garden Centre on the Chatsworth Estate. A pleasant walk round Bakewell too. A lot to pack in and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Visiting the University Park always brings back memories of my youth (we used to live about a mile away) and, of course, Derbyshire is where my hubby was born (85 years ago) and lived until work and then marriage meant leaving home.

We sisters in University Park, Nottingham

View from sleeplodge window

The apartment’s posh bathroom

Family Visits and Christmas Shopping

December 14, 2011

Alison House Hotel. Once the home of Sir Richard Arkwright

Not much to look at from the front — note false windows. Lovely house just the same. Once the home of Sir Richard Arkwright

The spooky back door!

We were in Derbyshire for the last days of November. We visited Chatsworth on Sunday afternoon and ate a roast pork bun in the grand old stables courtyard, whilst listening to a band play old tunes. It was already dusk but the music, pretty coloured lights and festive decorations added a kind of warmth to mellow the winter chill. The many visitors were good-humoured as they sat to eat and listen, or stroll around the courtyard and indoor shops to view the varied Christmas goods on sale. The house was brightly lit but we did not go inside to see the decorated rooms but, no doubt, many others did. We have been inside the house and gardens on other occasions. And we have often walked in the extensive park. I don’t think there is another country house quite like Chatsworth and we have visited quite a few.

We stayed at Cromford in the Alison House Hotel (Cromford is the home of the original Arkwright mill). The house is where Sir Richard Arkwright once lived (when not at his London home or elsewhere?). Quite likely, it was while residing in this pleasant abode that he planned the building of Willersley Castle as befitting his growing status in society.

We took a lot of photos of the house and lovely gardens — yes, lovely even in winter with its grand views and flower borders. In summer it must be a relaxing place to sit and soak in the Arkwright history, or just meditate in peace and quiet. Did Arkwright do much dreaming in that wonderful setting? If so, I guess it would be of expansion and new methods to boost production.

I enjoyed the public rooms with their elegant windows. We had a downstairs suite at the hotel. Actually it is one of their rooms for disabled guests. The huge double bed was quite something and the furniture quite pleasant.In the bathroom was a door, which we opened to find a narrow space with an outside door that didn’t open. It must have been the old back door. But what is so funny is that it could not have been cleaned for yonks! What a lark! Huge dust-covered cobwebs that might have been there for years! The rest of the suite was spotless, no doubt like the rest of the hotel. We said nothing as it seemed a shame to have it cleaned up. I loved it so much we took a photograph. The outside door was locked and an old bolt was in still place. My imagination set to work — what a setting for a yarn! The secret door to let in a vampire lover? No, don’t like vampire stories. It will have to be the handsome muscular gardener…

We did some shopping at Masson Mills. Anyone interested in industrial history would love a visit here (as well as the Cromford Mill) as some of the original works have been preserved. My mission though was to explore the one-time mill building’s huge floors of clothing and other goods. I found ideal Christmas presents in quite a short time.

Before we left the area, we had lunch with relatives and visited the Smedley factory shop at Lee Mills. We would have enjoyed visiting inside, but this is a working factory exporting fine knitted wear all over the world. I rejoice that factories in the UK can still export high quality (expensive) goods. Quality and fine workmanship is not always easy to copy. I was pleased to be able to buy a few more presents!

No visit to the Midlands would be complete without a visit to my sister who lives near Nottingham. As usual, we all went to the nature reserve at Attenborough to see the wide range of wild life and also partake of a light meal. Afterwards we drove a few miles to Highfields Park, the exquisite setting for the white Nottingham University building. The elegant building set on a green hill, beyond the ornamental lake, with the ever-changing sky as a backdrop, has never failed to move me. I have fond memories of my brother studying there and of him taking me to a ‘going down hop’. Also of him falling in the lake, when messing about in a boat with other students at the end of term. He was brought home with his shrunken clothes still wet and clinging to his shivering body. Worse — his spectacles were somewhere at the bottom of the lake. My thoughts about university when I was a girl, and ‘people like us’ not being considered suitable for such advanced education, are written into my novel, Awakening Love.

Attenborough Nature Reserve visitor Centre

View from Attenborough Nature Reserve visitor Centre

At Highfields by the lake — Nottingham University Park

After a gentle walk in the grounds, along the university side of the lake that was once the preserve of students and staff, we took my sister home to her waiting cat. (Now why did the cat show us it’s tongue?)

Rude pussy cat or just pleased to see my sister back home?

Rude pussy cat or just pleased to see my sister back home?

Returning again to a time gone by…

June 11, 2011

Returning again to a time gone by…
Highfields Park at Nottingham University June 2011

Many nests around

Lovely views through the trees. Years ago we could not walk that side of the lake

Heron standing in the stream where I took my first photograph 65 years ago

We stood where only students were once allowed.

Through the trees, over the lawns to the white University building.

Years agom we used to see students strolling and sitting on the lawns in front of the stately white building. My brother was one of the early students there — rare for a working class boy who left school at fourteen!

Highfields Park Lake. It was here that my brother fell from a boat and lost his glasses. His suit shrank and he arrived home dripping wet! So much for celebrating the end of term!

As we (my husband and I) entered the café at Nottingham University’s Highfields Park, the theme of the music being played was about ‘going home’. How appropriate! I was visiting once more the ‘playground’ of our youth where so many memories come flooding back.
The only time I met any of our cousins was when they visited our home in Beeston during the war, and we all went to that particular park. The adults talked while we rolled on the sloping grass.

As a teenager I walked there with my brother and youths laughed at the red spot I had on the tip of my nose. (When I reached home, against all advice, I squeezed it until its contents flowed with blood).

At fourteen, on the lake I turned into a Boadicea by fighting boys off with an oar when rowing on the lake. On the little island, under the Wishing Tree, I wished for a first kiss. Under the willow trees I met with a friend who drew boys like bees to nectar (hoping some of it would rub onto me but never did!)

As a family we occasionally walked there on Sundays — my dad was stung on his lip — his lips and face swelled and turned purple. (I was scared stiff!)

It was in the park lake that my brother, celebrating the end of term with his student friends, fell from a boat and lost his glasses. He arrived home dripping water from a suit sodden and quickly shrinking to several sizes smaller.

I saw the little stream where I took my first photo with a box camera. I took a photo of a heron in that very stream — but now with a digital camera.

I looked up at the elegant University building and recalled my brother taking me to a ‘going down hop’ — he’d pressed his trousers with a damp cloth and spent much time scratching at his buttocks!

It was in this park that I walked with my husband to be, and now after 58 years of marriage little had changed, except for growth of trees and loss of paddling pool. Less flowers and more weeds. More students in more university buildings but not affecting the park. One important change, it is now possible to walk ALL the way round the lake AND there is a cultural centre (complete with café) replacing the pavilion.
The huge Nottingham Queen’s hospital has appeared over the years. My mother had an operation there in 1987 to remove a cancer from her stomach.
It so happened to coincide with a conference for Apple computer users. I was able to share a two-bedroomed apartment with my son in the residential buildings within University park. From there I was able to freely visit my mum for the whole weekend. To me, staying amongst the Apple enthusiasts was like going to a ‘Revivalist’ conference — enthusiasm and excitement combined with a friendly welcome and warmth of spirit. In fact I have been to religious conferences far less friendly! Here I was invited to join in with the talks and demonstrations etc but I declined and visited a sister a few miles away. The walk, part of it through the park, did me good. Apart from eating and sleeping, the rest of the time I was with my mother.
Close to (or within?) the Park there used to be Highfields Lido. Alas no more, it went years ago. I never did learn to swim at the Lido but memories of Eric the cad still linger!

Eric… The Breaker of Hearts

February 11, 2011

Nottingham University Highfields Park — Revisited

September 27, 2010

Nottingham University Highfields Park — Revisited

The fine Trent Building in University Park, Nottingham

Highfields Park lake. The path we used to tread.

We have been away a few days visiting family and friends, plus places where I used to frequent when I was a young child growing into an adult.
So here are photographs of the elegant Trent Building built in University Park and formally opened by His Majesty King George V in 1928. Nottingham University has a proud history, but with all the benefits to learning come these wonderful amenities for the ordinary citizen.
As a child, I walked there occasionally with family or friends, rowed boats with my friend Brenda, played tennis with school friends and met a boy that I was silly enough to want as a boyfriend. Silly? Well, I was only twelve at the time and knew nothing about boys. He was only after getting a propelling pencil from my dad anyway. Did he think I was going to steal it? What a cad! Bounder, breaker of hearts! Yes, that was Eric.
So we walked around the lake and passed by the spot where my dad was stung by a bee on his lips, which puffed up like balloons. And years later, where he swore at my mum because his hard-to-control wheel chair was heading for the water’s edge. “Are you trying to bloody drown me?” We walked by the willow trees we used to sit under, and walked over stepping stones with a view of the waterfall — generally indulging in reminiscences of a former age.
In the University building I went to a ‘going down hop’ with my student brother (he died three years ago). In a boat similar to one there, I repelled would-be boarders with a good-sized oar (served them right for trying to overpower us fair maidens).
And the lake itself where we used to see huge fish, and where somewhere lies my brother’s glasses, lost in the lake when fooling around with his student mates. (Worse, his only suit shrank!)
The grassy slopes where we rolled as kids, and where my teacher cousin took us in her car (the only time I met my cousin). The path where youths mocked a bright red spot I had on my nose.
And so memories continue to flow and flow…

Looking across the lake to the park entrance from the University lawn

The Trent Building from the lakeside by the lawns. Where we used to see students sitting with books or chatting.

The waterfall above the stepping stones at the lower end of the lake. Beautiful!