All postings

Our Green & Pleasant Town (16 May 2022) - by Karen Winyard “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” as the saying goes, (although in my house we make G&T instead). And that’s just what FONA did when handed […]
Breathing Spaces – the script (23 January 2017) - In July 2016 the Green Spaces Project staged performances of Breathing Spaces, a play specially commissioned for the project, written by Andy Barrett, produced by members of Excavate and performed by […]
Poetry Competition Winners (13 January 2017) - We are delighted to be able to announce the three winners of our Poetry Competition. Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone who entered. FIRST PRIZE Arboretum Shapes by […]
New online exhibition now available (5 December 2016) - Our exhibition for the 2016 Nottingham Green Spaces project is now available online – to find out more about the history of Nottingham’s ‘enclosure’ parks CLICK HERE or click on […]
’19th century urban trees: Britain and Europe’ – new article by Paul Elliott (5 December 2016) - Prof. Paul Elliott has just written a two-part blog entitled ‘Nineteenth-Century Urban Trees: Britain and Europe’ which may be of interest to readers of this Nottingham Green Spaces website. Click […]
The Ten Films for Breathing Spaces (20 October 2016) - Following on from the performances of Breathing Spaces, Excavate made a series of ten short films for the project. Some of these characters could be seen in the show, some […]
Images from Breathing Spaces, our community play (30 August 2016) - Our play, Breathing Spaces generated a vast range of exciting photographs, some of which are reproduced here.  All photographs courtesy of Jo Wheeler      
How well do you know the Arboretum? (30 August 2016) - When did you last explore the Arboretum?  Do you really know all there is to see?  Have a go at our Discovery Trail. It’s a fun thing to do that’s […]
Six films are now available to watch (11 August 2016) - As part of their work for the project Excavate have made a series of ten short films which are currently on display at the Angel Row exhibition. Each of these […]
The Development of Public Parks in Nottingham in the mid-19th Century (3 August 2016) - 24 August 2016: 2pm Local Studies Library, Angel Row A talk by Professor Paul Elliott Paul looks at the provision and development of public green spaces intended to promote civic pride. […]
Parklands in Wartime: Nottingham’s parks in WW1 and WW2 (3 August 2016) - 11 August 2016, 2pm Local Studies Library, Angel Row A talk by Jonathan Coope Jonathan will describe the impact of two world wars on Nottingham’s parks. From fundraising band concerts […]
Breathing Spaces – the parks tour! (28 July 2016) - So our parks tour of Breathing Spaces has come to an end. We began with a rather shaky first performance at Queens Walk Recreation Ground on July 16th, although the […]
… and tomorrow the play begins! (15 July 2016) - It’s been a hectic twelve weeks or so as we’ve worked full tilt on Breathing Spaces, our community play that will be performed over the next two weekends in four […]
Local History and Archaeology Fair 9 July 2016 (15 July 2016) - The Green Spaces Project had a stall at the Local History and Archaeology Fair at the University of Nottingham on 9 July 2016.  The extremely wet morning may have kept […]
Nottingham’s Historic Green Spaces Exhibition (15 July 2016) - Using pictures, film and the written word this Exhibition celebrates these spaces and reveals something about why they were created, where they are located, how they have been used, and in what ways […]
‘Making’ Workshop (15 July 2016) - Great fun was had by all on Wednesday 13 July, when 30 Year 4 children from Claremont School joined Ali Bakewell, Production Manager for Breathing Spaces, in a workshop in […]
Enclosure Parks tree trail leaflet published (14 July 2016) - Nottingham City Council, in conjunction with the Nottingham Green Spaces project, has just published a new Tree Trail leaflet giving details of many of the most significant types of trees […]
14th Annual Inclosure Walk 3 July 2016 (4 July 2016) - About 50 people came to the 14th Inclosure Walk on Sunday 3 July 2016. It was a lovely day – not too hot and not too cold.  In all, we […]
… no time to rest for Breathing Spaces (3 July 2016) - Rehearsals have been under way for the specially commissioned community play ‘Breathing Spaces’ over the last two months, and now, with the first show less than two weeks away, it’s […]
Talk and Walk the Forest and Arboretum (30 June 2016) - On 29 June, a group of people from Framework Housing Association’s Nature in Mind project met with some of the project team to share information and experiences connected to The […]
Filming for Breathing Spaces (27 June 2016) - This weekend ten community performers took their place in front of the camera to film a series of monologues. Each of the finished films will last around three minutes and […]
Children’s Discovery Trail around the Arboretum (23 June 2016) - The Arboretum was always intended to be a place to explore and make new discoveries – especially to enjoy trees from around the world, flowers, and exotic birds – as […]
Breathing Spaces: a community play by Excavate (17 June 2016) - Breathing Spaces is a community play, specially commissioned for the Green Spaces project.  It is written by Andy Barrett, Artistic Director of Excavate and will be performed by community actors and members […]
New video introductions to Forest and Arboretum (4 June 2016) - We’ve just produced two new video introductions to the history of The Forest and the Arboretum. They feature John Beckett, Professor of Regional History at the University of Nottingham. Watch […]
Nottingham Arboretum – a video introduction to its history (4 June 2016) - A short video introduction to the history of Nottingham Arboretum with John Beckett, Professor of English Regional History, University of Nottingham.
The Forest – a video introduction to its history (4 June 2016) - An introduction to the history of The Forest recreation ground in Nottingham, with John Beckett, Professor of English Regional History, University of Nottingham.
Poetry Competition (1 June 2016) - The top three poems will each win a cash prize; a further seven will be commended, and all 10 will form part of an exhibition. Entrants can submit up to […]
Events Calendar 2016 (1 June 2016) - Here’s the list of all our public events. New things are being added all the time, so please keep checking to see what’s new!   When What Where 9 May 11-3pm Great […]
The first read through of Breathing Spaces (24 May 2016) -   Last night (May 23rd) a group of eighteen of us gathered together at the pavilion on the Forest recreation ground for the first read through of ‘Breathing Spaces’, the […]
18 May 2016: Anniversary of opening of the Arboretum (20 May 2016) - This was the third time the Green Spaces project had supported this annual event organised by the Friends of The Arboretum – and we’re very happy to be able to […]
Green Spaces Project at the Nottinghamshire Local History and Archaeology Day (17 May 2016) - 2016 sees the third Local History and Archaeology Day at the University of Nottingham.  The Green Spaces Project will have a display there, so come and see us to find […]
14th Annual Inclosure Walk (17 May 2016) -   In the first half of the nineteenth-century, when Nottingham was surrounded by fields, it was possible – just – to walk around the town boundary along pathways between fields. […]
Annual Anniversary of the Opening of the Arboretum (17 May 2016) - The Nottingham Arboretum was officially opened on 11 May 1852 amidst great ceremony and celebration. It was acclaimed for its size and for the many viewpoints across the Arboretum and […]
Nottingham Green Spaces at the Great Nottinghamshire History Fair (10 May 2016) - Mansfield Library, 9 May 2016 This was the first official project event, so should probably be described as its ‘soft launch’.  We had a great spot, right next to the […]
Animals in the Parks (5 May 2016) - Apart from the odd squirrel or blackbird, or duck on a pond, it is not usual to associate parks with animals, but some of Nottingham’s parks and open spaces have […]
Ladies cricket (4 May 2016) - I have been going through some of Judith’s research on letters received by the Public Parks Committee and found an intriguing entry for the 3rd of March 1880; a letter […]
Open Air Schools in Nottingham Parks (26 April 2016) - by Judith Mills, University of Nottingham and Val Wood, Friends of the Arboretum Towards the end of the First World War, Nottingham’s Board of Education began to promote an ‘open […]
The entrance fee controversy at the Nottingham Arboretum (25 April 2016) - Victorian urban parks are often described as ‘public’ institutions however many were not straightforwardly ‘public’ and placed some restrictions upon who could visit, especially those founded up to the 1850s. […]
Starting to write the play (24 April 2016) - I am currently working on the script for the community performance that will take place during Love Parks week as a key part of this project. And right now – […]
Nottingham Arboretum’s Oldest Figure: The Troublesome Statue of Feargus O’Connor (20 April 2016) - The statue of Feargus O’Connor (1794-1855), the popular Irish Chartist leader, stands quietly in the Arboretum beneath the trees and onlookers today probably find it hard to appreciate the amount […]
Ten short films about the Green Lungs of Nottingham (18 April 2016) - Excavate are currently working on a series of ten very short films that will feature ten characters from across the ages talking about the many ways in which the parks […]
Nottingham’s Enclosure Act 1845: the context and arguments (18 April 2016) - By the end of the 18th Century, Nottingham was overcrowded; housing was inadequate and the insanitary conditions led to a higher than average mortality rate.  The densely populated centre was […]
The 1928 move of Goose Fair from the Old Market Square (part 1) (5 April 2016) - By Mick Smith and Jonathan Coope Introduction Goose Fair, the world’s oldest travelling fair, dates back more than 700 years and still thrives today for five days each October on […]
The 1928 move of Goose Fair from the Old Market Square (part 2) (5 April 2016) - By Mick Smith and Jonathan Coope 1927 The fate of the Fair and the market lay ultimately in the hands of the council’s General Purposes Committee, working in close conjunction […]
The 1928 move of Goose Fair from the Old Market Square (part 3) (5 April 2016) - By Mick Smith and Jonathan Coope Goose Fair Re-Launched Despite worries about whether the re-launch of Goose Fair on its new Forest site would be a success, some saw grounds […]
Parklands in WW2 (3 April 2016) - By Malcolm Prosser and Jonathan Coope. Early roles for the parks As in WW1, Goose Fair was cancelled pretty much automatically. And in May 1940 the Council refused to overturn […]
A Place to Rest – in Peace (30 March 2016) - The two main cemeteries in Nottingham during the 1800’s were the General Cemetery and the Church Cemetery, locally known as the Rock Cemetery. Both were conceived either side of the […]
What the parks committee archives tell us about life in Nottingham during WW1 (29 March 2016) - By Malcolm Prosser and Jonathan Coope. Nottingham’s Public Parks and Burial Grounds Committee met every two or three weeks on weekdays at 10.00am in the Guildhall. The committee minutes indicate […]
To what extent did WW1 change the priorities in the parks? (29 March 2016) - By Malcolm Prosser and Jonathan Coope. Life on the home front – and in the parks – continued much as it had before. The Royal Show went ahead as planned […]
Problems running the parks during WW1 (29 March 2016) - By Malcolm Prosser and Jonathan Coope. It is worth noting that anti-social behaviour in the parks didn’t stop simply because there was a war on. A number of instances of […]
The role of parks and green spaces on the Home Front during WW1 (29 March 2016) - By Malcolm Prosser and Jonathan Coope. One of the first challenges facing the City Council in their first wartime meeting on 14th September 1914, was the urgent need to find […]
The Arboretum Rose Garden (21 March 2016) - by Val Wood, Friends of the Arboretum The rose gardens in the northern part of the Arboretum were constructed in 1972. They replaced the green houses that were in situ […]
Arthur Shrewsbury: a Nottinghamshire cricketer (3 March 2016) - Arthur Shrewsbury was born in New Lenton, Nottingham on the 11 April 1856 and from the 1880s played for Nottinghamshire. He lodged with his Uncle at the Queens Hotel in […]
24 May in the Meadows: 1913 and 2013 (3 March 2016) -   On 24th May 1913, children from the Queen’s Walk school gathered on the Queen’s Walk Recreation Ground to celebrate Empire Day which was also the anniversary of the birth […]
Royal Celebrations (1 March 2016) - On 22 June 1911, Nottingham celebrated the Coronation of George V by a remarkable public demonstration of loyalty. The events began in the City centre as 3,200 men and boys gathered […]
Concerts in the Parks (24 February 2016) - From its opening in 1852, band concerts in the Arboretum were popular events. Not only did they feature prominently in the opening ceremony but were a regular feature of the […]
Employing the Unemployed (24 February 2016) - Nottingham, like many towns and cities suffered periods of economic depression and high unemployment throughout the 19th century. For many, the final resort was the much criticised workhouse. In reality, […]
Cricket: a ritual, spiritual and sporting experience (22 February 2016) - Cricket was a passion in Victorian society that has been described as ‘a ritual as well as recreation, a spiritual as well as a sporting experience’. William Howie Wylie, in […]
Controlling anti-social behaviour in the Parks and Walks (18 February 2016) - Although the town Council was responsible for managing Nottingham’s recreation grounds, parks and walks, the day-to-day supervision of the areas was done by the police. Lodges were built at the […]
Old and New Trees in Nineteenth Century Nottingham (16 February 2016) - We are so used to the many trees in Nottingham’s streets and suburbs that it is easy to take them for granted, although the lack of city-centre green spaces is […]
The End of the Race Course (16 February 2016) - Horse racing began on The Forest in the late seventeenth century. Originally organised by a group of ‘county gentlemen’, the annual meeting was held during the summer months, but in […]
The new project, February to September 2016 (14 February 2016) - The project will run from February – September 2016. The academic team is the same as the original (2013-14) project; the community partners have been expanded to include Framework, ‘Making […]
Historical themes (14 February 2016) - The historical themes this project will explore through its activities and community theatre production will include: Controversy: disagreements about enclosure, private versus restricted access spaces, management of the race course, […]
Love Parks Week Conference (11 February 2016) - This year’s national Love Parks conference and awards ceremony, will be held in Nottingham on 17 March 2016. The event will feature headline speakers and a series of practical workshops, […]
Meeting, Wednesday 18 February 2015 (25 January 2015) - There will be a meeting about the Nottingham Green Spaces project at 2:30pm on Wednesday 18 February 2015 at Nottingham Mechanics, North Sherwood Street, Nottingham. Coffee available from 2:15pm. The […]
Arboretum Annual History Talk, 16 May 2014 (6 May 2014) - To celebrate the one hundred and sixty second anniversary of the opening of Nottingham Arboretum in 1852 there will be a series of short talks on aspects of the history […]
Reclaim the Night, 2013 (24 March 2014) - Reclaim the Night – or Take Back the Night – marches have been held all around the world as a protest and direct action against rape and sexual violence against […]
The Racecourse on The Forest (25 February 2014) - Although the 1845 Enclosure Act allowed for up to 130 acres of land to be allocated as open space, the only places specifically named were the Race Course, the Cricket […]
Posters from Showcase event, 18 January 2014 (27 January 2014) - Group 1 Ian Bussey; Keith Fisher; Margaret Knowles; Christine Drew; Chris Weir; Elizabeth Robinson; Tamsin Morris; Richard Gaunt; Cherry Knight. Group 2 June Perry; Mo Cooper; Chris Rendell?; Val Knowles; […]
Next meeting, Tuesday 28th January 2014 (15 December 2013) - The next public meeting of the Nottingham Green Spaces project will be held at Nottingham Mechanics on Tuesday 28th January 2014 at 6pm. This meeting will take place in The […]
Christmas in the Arboretum, Sunday 15th December (11 December 2013) - The annual Christmas celebrations in Nottingham Arboretum will be taking place this coming Sunday, 15 December between 4pm and 6pm. Click on the picture (right) for more information. Activities include: […]
Belle View Reservoir (9 December 2013) - History Trevor Buck (in a paper entitled ‘Corporation Oaks’, 1983) tells us that Thomas Hawksley (1807 – 1893), ‘the greatest water engineer of the age’, was the force behind the […]
Windmills on Forest Road (4 December 2013) - The Windmills on Forest Road Thanks to Michael Smith and Elizabeth Robinson © Michael Smith has an old connection with the Vernon Arms and these two pictures were spotted on […]
The Nottingham Inclosure Act 1845: Why it is important today (4 December 2013) - Nottingham Inclosure Act, 1845: Why is it important today? © June Perry AN INCLOSURE is the changing of open fields, moorland and wastes into fenced areas, basically a change from […]
Our Arboretum – 1913 (29 November 2013) - Sixty -one years ago the Nottingham Arboretum was first opened for the benefit of the public.  Many citizens there are who find pleasure in frequenting these beautifully kept grounds, deriving […]
Dahlia Border – 1939 (29 November 2013) - 1939 recent innovations in this park have been a fine dahlia border, and a series of beds constructed along each side of the central walk.  Other recent features have been specialized […]
Sycamore and Coppice Parks volunteering (14 November 2013) - Nottingham City Council are helping to organize community volunteering sessions on Sycamore and Coppice Parks on one Saturday each month from 10am – 12 noon: 23 November – Coppice Park […]
Bonfire Night on the Forest (8 November 2013) - When we think of festivals celebrated in Nottingham’s parks and green spaces Goose Fair is the annual event we most commonly associate with the Forest. But we shouldn’t forget Bonfire […]
Academic Conference, 10 January (31 October 2013) - We are delighted to announce that on Friday 10 January 2014 we will be hosting the academic conference: The Social History of Urban Green Spaces. The conference will explore some […]
Public conference, 18 January (31 October 2013) - We are delighted to announce that our public conference event will be held on Saturday 18 January 2014 at Nottingham Contemporary. It will be an opportunity for community groups and […]
Australian Birds (9 October 2013) - In the 1930s a gift of Australian birds was made, via the Honorary Curator of the aviary, Captain John Fletcher MC, by Mr Bert Barnett.  Out of 126 birds offered, 40 […]
Forest launch, 31 August (2 September 2013) - The Green Spaces team had a stall at the official reopening of the Forest pavilion on 31 August 2013. The event was to mark the completion of a refurbishment programme […]
Whistons green spaces (7 August 2013) - The lepers of st Leonards needed green spaces as well. fortunately the land adjoining the north end of their site was theirs.  So when in 1852 land was released to become  Elm […]
Green Flags Award (7 August 2013) - The Forest has just (August 2013) been awarded its first green flag and, exclusively for the city, it has also been given a Green Heritage Flag, in recognition of the […]
WoLAN (7 August 2013) - Recently WoLAN (Women’s Liberation and After in Nottingham) local history project interviewed Lesley Kershaw (comedian) who performed at Nottingham Pride 2013, this year celebrated on the Arboretum. Tamsin, our Roving Reporter interviewed […]
Creation of Nottingham’s out-of-town Cemeteries (9 July 2013) - Under an Act of Parliament, in 1836 the Town Council of Nottingham was required to sell land to the newly formed General Cemetery Company to develop a new Cemetery for […]
Nottingham Enclosure Act, 1845 (24 June 2013) - The development of Nottingham Arboretum and the other green spaces which are the focus of this project only became possible with the passing of the Nottingham Enclosure Act in 1845, […]
Arboretum Tea Rooms – 1952 (17 June 2013) - For those who might have assumed the former Arboretum tea rooms were just about tea drinking and bath buns, think again: they were also about dancing! Thanks to Val Wood […]
The Racecourse on the Forest: interview with John Beckett (BBC TV, 2012) (13 June 2013) - John Sergeant interviews Prof. John Beckett, Principal Investigator for The Social World of Nottingham’s Green Spaces project, about the history of horse racing on the Forest in Nottingham, for the […]
Corporation Oaks Tree Planting (4 June 2013) - Corporation Oaks (above), by kind permission of Christine Drew of The Mapperley and Sherwood History Group. Corporation Oaks was officially opened by a tree planting on 11 February 1850. This […]
Project launch in Arboretum Bandstand – 17th May 2013 (20 May 2013) - We are delighted to announce that the Social World of Nottingham’s Green Spaces project received its official launch in the Arboretum Bandstand on Friday 17 May. The launch coincided with […]
Two Maps of 19th century Nottingham (15 May 2013) - These two maps of 19th century Nottingham are reproduced by kind permission of Nottinghamshire County Archive. The first map (below) is the 1831 Plan of Nottingham by Staveley and Wood. […]
The Arboretum guns (15 May 2013) - On 9 April 1857 the Enclosure Committee reported to the Council that it believed ‘… that some of the large Guns and trophies taken from Russia in the late War […]
Forest Development walk and talk – Saturday 20 April 10am (13 April 2013) - Arranged by Nottingham City Council Parks Department, this was an opportunity to find out more about the exciting developments taking place at the forest recreation ground. For further information on […]
Meeting with community groups at Loxley House – 11th April (13 April 2013) - Our latest meeting with community groups took place at Loxley House in Nottingham on Thursday 11 April. Present were representatives of Friends of the Forest, Nottingham Women’s History group and […]
The Forest (7 April 2013) -
The Arboretum (7 April 2013) -