Heritage Open Days 2012 Report

Heritage Open Day Weekend 6/9th September 2012

Once again it is the time of year when the Committee starts on a very busy weekend.  This year we started our first of 19 events with a bang on Thursday, 6th with the visit to Chetwynd Barracks.  All new this year, as Capt Pascoe had retired not long after our visit in 2011.   This year all the arrangements had been made with James McCloskey who is the new person in charge.

This year we were allowed to take 80 visitors on the tour, ( 2 of them being the Mayor of Broxtowe, Cllr Margaret Handley, and her escort, John Handley)   the largest number ever,  and even so we already have a list of over 25 who were too late to get on this tour but wanted to be sure of a place for 2013..

James and his team had really done us proud and although I had only registered 4 people as needing the mini-bus, when it arrived most people decided they would rather use the bus than walk, and in the end it had to make 3 trips up to the auditorium.

There we were treated to an entirely new presentation of the history of the site from its start when Lord Chetwynd obtained the site before the start of the first world war.

We then proceeded down to the 2 memorials, the first one being presented in 196?  and the second one to commemorate all personnel from the Barracks that have lost their lives in recent conflicts, such as Afghanistan.  Many visitors were able to take pictures of the memorials and James McCloskey said that they always had a service there on Remembrance Day.

We then continued around the site , just passing the small church, until we came to the Sergeant’s Mess, where tea, coffee and biscuits were freely available, along with an opportunity to purchase ‘The Chilwell Story’ and also to see memorabilia that had been laid out as well as talk to the many personnel that had helped with the tour.

In all, a very pleasurable 2 hour tour.

There was nothing else happening on the Thursday, but on Friday a new venue was in store for visitors as The British Legion were opening their doors for the first time.  The doors opened at 12.noon and the Mayor, Cllr  Margaret Handley, with her husband, John Handley,  arrived for their 2nd visit to HOD to have a tour.  The members of the legion had really gone to town and the number of medals on display as well as the pictorial history was a sight to behold.

My colleague, Barbara Selwood and I spent over one and a half hours there, including having a cup of tea and a cake, before we had to go and set up the Society’s stand at The Bartons’s site, ready for Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday saw the start of a busy 2 days first stop being The Inham Nook Allotments.  They were busy getting ready for the Healthy Eating demonstrations by Jackie Henson who works for the NHS.  The veg racks were brimming with produce and they were hoping to have a good turnout.  I also bumped into my colleague, Cllr Tim Brindley and his wife, who had come to support them.

Next stop was John Clifford School where a large group of people had arrived at the gates by 10.15.a.m. ready for the opening and in all 40 people had arrived by 10.30.a.m. the official opening time and we were split into 6 groups to be shown round the school.  I was in  Asst  Head Steve Teague’s team, and we started at the top of the school and worked our way down finishing in the Nursery. Most people in my group had been at the School when it had been Nether Street Secondary Girls School when Miss Herring was the Head Teacher and were telling Steve  how the school was arranged then and how the rooms looked much bigger as a child and are definitely more attractive nowadays. A very interesting hour was spent there and thanks go to all the staff who gave up their time to show us around.  The Head Teacher, Simon Thompson also told us that the school was being visited by ‘The One Show’ in the next week, ( to be transmitted BBC1 on  24th September) as the school was unusual in having so many male teachers.

Next stop was back to ‘The Inham  Nook Allotments’ where I found Jackie supervising children  chopping up vegetables ready for cooking a stir-fry, that they then eat as their lunch.  Unfortunately in the publicity we had also put that there would be a barbecue, which they had not planned on, so they hurriedly purchased a smaller barbecue set and started cooking up burgers and sausages that they already had in the freezer.  (I have already apologised to the Allotments for the Society getting the details wrong in our publicity and causing any embarrassment).

Next I used the bus to go to G.H.Hurt, Bartons and Christ Church, Chilwell, arriving at Hurt’s just before 1.0’clock.  Again, a slight boob because publicity said that they were only open until 12.noon, but Anne assured me that they had always intended opening until 1.00.p.m. as they had in previous years.

Again they had had a large number of visitors, but Anne said that it had not been as hectic as the previous year, and they had had a steady flow, more easily coped with.  Whilst I was there a lady was trying to find a cardigan suitable for sending to a relative who lived in Canada.

Next stop our own Stand at Bartons to see how we were doing.  ? was manning the stand in the morning and reported that we had had quite a lot of interest and sold quite a few Heritage guide books and postcards.  Being that our stand was in the eating facilities part I had an absolutely delicious chicken and mushroom pie and then went round the other events that were happening at Bartons, and saw the Beeston & District Local History Society display set in its own room, displaying the wonderful collection of old Newspapers as well as old Maps of Beeston that they old (They  really need somewhere to display them permanently ) the Girl Guides display in a small room (this was an extra not registered by the Society – perhaps next year if they join in they can register and be part of our publicity).  I then went into the display by the Beeston Camera Club, ‘Aspects of Beeston’, which was wonderful to see what pictures they had been able to take before all the changes that are taking place because of the tram and refurbishment of  Beeston Square.  Besides all this, on the outside were people milling around waiting to get on a vintage Barton’s or Trent’s bus to the Boots D10 building (I was not booked until the 11.00.a.m.tomorrow tour).

Throughout the site there was also vintage cars and buses on display and I could have spent a lot more time there but it was time for my stint manning our own Stand but I did manage to take a picture of the Morris and other traditional dancing arranged by Alistair of  Sullivan’s Sword at 3.30.p.m.

After a while Barbara came along (she was going to see to see to closing it down at 4.00.p.m. (my turn was tomorrow)  and I was able to nip off to see how they were getting on at Christ Church, Chilwell where they reported that they had had a very successful day, and were already planning on what more they could do for next year.   I really enjoyed a cup of tea and a cake (or 2) there, and unbelievably they were not charging, and wouldn’t even accept a donation.  They said that they were very happy to be a part of this community event  and did not see this occasion as in any way a fund raising event.

After returning home on the bus I decided that I just had time to make a visit to The Old Church Tower, Bramcote before they closed for the day, (I had intended leaving them until the Sunday).

Again they reported that they had had a very busy day, a lot of tours of the site of Bramcote Hall had taken place, and everyone was very enthused and although it was now past 4.0’clock people were still coming in to see the Tower.   The friends of The Old Church Tower told me that they have now managed to purchase the site so its future is secure.

Sunday morning and my son-in-law has kindly offered to pick me and my sister-in-law, along with my daughter to drop us off at Barton’s to go on the 11.0’clock trip to Boots.

So arriving there just after 10. 0’clock we are able to register in early and then take a look at the other things happening at the Barton’s site on the Sunday and also to look in at our own Stand.

The vintage Trent bus for Boots D10 Tour

leaves promptly at 10.40.a.m. with the 15 people on board for that trip.  On arriving we are met by Judith and her team and I was immediately called to have a quiet word with Judith that unfortunately they had been inundated with calls following the write up in the Nottingham Post on the Friday night inferring that places were still available and that visitors just needed to ring up and Judith said that they had even had visitors turning up at Boots directly.  This was extremely annoying  particularly as my late husband had been trying to get a tour into Boots for the past 8 years, having written letters to Boots locally and then being referred to their London office.  Last year we had managed to get a visit to their Archives department, but this year, we had finally managed D10 and because of this late article by an unknown source appearing in the Nottingham Post, it looked as if it might be the one and only time because Judith and her team were not happy and I understood their frustration because a week earlier on the Thursday evening an article had been published in the Nottingham Post giving my telephone number for bookings for the Chilwell Depot tour, which had been advertised with a booking closing date of 1st August, and that tour had been fully booked by then.   That was annoying enough, but at least I was the only one affected, but this time Boots staff were involved and it might jeopardise tours for HOD next year.

The tour itself was absolutely brilliant and I just wish that my late husband could have lived long enough to be on the tour himself, as his mother worked there before being married.  We were shown around the outside on either side of D10 covering the unloading bays on the right and the loading bays on the left and the extremely modern factory design (for its time) when built in 1933.   The factory design resembled a liner with the sweep of the stairs and the Manager’s office was made so that he could see all that was happening on the factory floor.

On arriving at the restaurant floor we were offered tea, coffee and cakes and a booklet about the building of the site and memorabilia about the building of the site was laid out on tables.  It was an extremely interesting hour and a half, before the vintage Bartons bus this time took us back to Bartons at Chilwell for another look around the site before my son-in-law picked me up to take us back home.

After arriving home I just had time for a quick bite before setting off to see the start of the Beeston Heritage Trail Walk led by Professor Beckett.  Over 20 people started the work and signed our Visitor’s sheet and we were able to take a picture of the group before we set off.   John Beckett explained the origins of the Beeston settlement whilst we were sat at the Podium and then started walking up Foster Avenue to explain the building of the new Council Offices and up to Roundhill School to talk about the CLASP building method of the School in the 1960’s and then about the extension to Beeston Library.  At this point I left the walk to do my final stint manning the Society’s stand and dismantling it at the end of a very interesting 2012 HOD weekend.

From this report you will see that I was not able to cover the Sewage works,  Beeston Parish Church (Sheila Allton has since rung me to say that they had over 80 people attend the event in the short time that they were open and over 25 people also came in during the Wedding itself, the reason for the Church’s short opening time) , the Stapleford Town Trail (taking place at the same time as my Boots Tour) and the Toton Fields Walk (taking place at the same town as the Beeston Heritage Trail)but I believe that other colleagues have been covering these venues

Eileen Atherton.

One thought on “Heritage Open Days 2012 Report

  1. Pingback: Heritage Open Days – Tours of Boots archives now fully booked « Beeston and District Civic Society

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