March Meeting – Lost Houses of Nottingham

The lost houses of Nottinghamshire were the subject of a talk to Bingham Business Club’s March meeting.

Mr Graham Hayes, from the Rotary Club of Wollaton Park, described his talk as a story of vanished heritage, illustrating it with pictures of the buildings, and maps showing where they had once stood. He explained that many large homes were lost through death duties, often being sold and converted, damaged by mining subsidence, or demolished for housing or other development. The Town and Country Planning Act of 1944 was passed to help protect such buildings, but Mr Hayes said the legislation had been too little, too late.

The great houses he mentioned included Sherwood Lodge, which was built in 1791 and was the home of the Vicar of Arnold for 60 years, the Rev George Holcombe, who was also a magistrate. Sherwood Lodge was later owned by the National Coal Board and then Nottinghamshire County Council. It was demolished in the 1970s and the county police headquarters was built on the site.

Calverton Hall, former home of Colonel Frank Seeley, was demolished in 1961 to make way for a miners’ welfare. It was said to have been haunted by a maid who killed herself after being jilted on her wedding day.

The Guide House, built in 1710 as a farmhouse on the old north road out of Nottingham, was once an inn where people could hire someone to guide them safely through Sherwood Forest to Mansfield. It was demolished in 1978 to make way for housing.

Burton Joyce Hall, whose cellars were once used as a lock-up for village drunks, was later owned by the county council and the Royal British Legion, before being demolished in the 1970s.

Bramcote Hall, built in 1832 by banker Charles Wright, was later owned by Frederick Smith, a pioneering banker who opened his own bank in Nottingham, which is now the NatWest building in the Market Square.

Other great houses featured in Graham Hayes’ talk included Stapleford Hall, Bramcote Hills House, Aspley Hall, Broxtowe Hall, Watnall Hall and Bulwell Hall. It also included Nuthall Temple, which was not a temple at all, but designed to look like one. It was built in 1754, and demolished in 1966 to make way for the M1. Its site is now under the northbound slip road at junction 26.

Thanking Mr Hayes, club chairman Jonathan Hammond said the talk had been fascinating. “I am originally from the west of Nottingham, and a lot of those houses were in the west of Nottingham, but I had no idea they ever existed.”

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