Our Green & Pleasant Town

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 the giant lemon of the Covid pandemic. We started a FONA YouTube channel to host short videos, FONAbytes. Now our latest batch of ‘lemonade’ is out. Our Green & Pleasant Town, the first series of The FONA Podcast, was launched at FONA’s AGM on 19 March. This radio-play type broadcast brings the story of Nottingham’s green spaces to life in a dramatic recreation over 4 episodes. The scripts were inspired by the community history project led by John Beckett, The Social World of Nottingham’s Green Spaces ( www.ng-spaces.org.uk ), and developed using a variety of first-hand contemporary accounts, ranging from the online newspaper archive to personal documents such as the diaries of Samuel Collinson (Nottinghamshire Archives M382/1 & 2).

The origins and early history of Nottingham’s parks and promenades overflows with amazing stories of controversy, creativity and innovation. And wonderful people! Over the four episodes you will come to know men like William Felkin, Samuel Collinson and William Parsons; and women like Eliza Cooke, Mary Bullock and Susannah Parsons. Find out from PC Fisher just why it was a challenge to police the 4 public walks; Elm Avenue, Corporation Oaks, Robin Hood Chase and Queen’s Walk. Thrill to Thomas Cullen’s own account of his balloon flight with aeronaut Charles Green. Enjoy listening to Mary Bullock challenge William Felkin over his description of the opening of the Arboretum. Discover the almost magical character of the Forest Recreation Ground, with its long history encompassing both the best and the worst of human life.

By turns shocking and amusing, grim and light-hearted, this series is always informative and entertaining. You can listen for free on FONA’s website, www.fona.org.uk by clicking on the YouTube icon on the home page, where you will also find our series of FONAbytes and details of how to purchase Lockdown 2020: the first 100 days, £4.50. Alternatively, you can download the podcast for free from Spotify https://anchor.fm/friends-of-nottinghamshire-archives

Karen Winyard

Flyer – Our Green and Pleasant Town (PDF)


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