Wednesday, 4 October 2017

New edition of 35 History Bus Leaflet coming soon

I will be launching a new edition of my 35 History Bus leaflet at the Lenton Priory Martinmass Fair on 14 October 2017. Here is a preview. Just click on the image to enlarge.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Seeing Nottingham City Centre a little differently

Here is the updated version of my Nottingham City Centre map which is different to other city centre maps because it extends from Hyson Green in the north to Trent Bridge in the south.

The map will be at the centre of a new Nottingham History by Bus spider map I am creating, so watch this blog.

There is a blank template showing just the streets which others can use free provide it is not used for profit.

Usual rule applies. Simply click on the map to enlarge.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Box Boxes update

Now that I'm back on my feet (it's six months since I had open heart surgery) I am reworking the 35 map for the Lenton Martinmass Fair in October and working on a new box following several requests over recent weeks (more when it happens). Lucy in the @ Little Magpies crafty shop on Beeston High Road is selling my boxes and friends ask me for one-offs and I have had an event in Beeston in mind for next summer (capturing a moment in time in Beeston Town Centre and recreating it outside Lucy's 2 Little Magpies using cardboard buses, cars etc.

By coincidence (Nottingham) City Arts have an event using cardboard boxes planned for December this year which I only found out about this week. 

I suddenly realised I have no photos of the current version of the bus box except one including me taking at the Lakeside local history fair last year.

The good news is that I have worked out how to fold a scored sheet ready to cut and glue in just one place so it can go into an envelope to be posted. It's taken a year but it's happened by chance.

I will start posting more as History By Buses gets more of my attention.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Kegworth with Sutton Bonington Spider Map

I have created this 'spider' map in the the style of a map familiar to bus users in London. You will find them at almost every bus stop. My map is for use by Nottingham University's Students' Union, who asked me to design a map for them. I admit to be being pleased with the outcome.

The test, of course, is the map's legibility and whether or not it holds the viewer's attention. I hope it will. Anyway have a look and make up your own mind.

The map can be used by anyone.

Remember, click on the map to enlarge.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Bilborough 35 History Bus Day less than a week away.

All aboard for a special Bilborough day. Ding ding!

This post is still a work in progress. It should be finished by 8 July 

Welcome to a unique post, based on Nottingham City Transport's 35 bus route between Bulwell and Nottingham City Centre, using maps copied from a Burrow's Pointer Guide Map of Nottingham c.1960, which you can find on the Notts History website created and managed by Andy Nicholson.

The blog has been created to accompany a one-off day organised by St Martin's Church, Bilborough, and generously supported by Nottingham City Transport.

The 35 bus route could fairly be designated Nottingham's 'Heritage Bus Route', for it takes you on a ride through history to a string of 'pre-conquest' communities, all with entries in the Domesday Book of 1086, which is a unique record of who owned what in William the Conquerer's England. Look through its pages and you will find place names at every twist and turn of a 35 bus, beginning with Bulwell, them Hempshill, Strelley, Bilborough, Wollaton, Lenton and finally, of course, Nottingham. To hear these place names in Old English is to hear our forebears speak: Bul(e)uuelle; Hamessal; Straelie/Straleia; Bileburch/burg; Waletone/Ol(l)avestone; Lentone/tune; Snoting(e)ham/quin.

If our 35 was able to go back a thousand years, it would also visit, or go very near, two 'lost' Lenton 'pre-Conquest' communities: Mortune and Sudtune/tone (now remembered as Sutton Passeys, the name having been revived in the 20th century). Nine of Nottingham's fifteen pre-Conquest communities are on its route. No other Nottingham bus route comes close to claiming the title 'Heritage Bus Route'.

The map below accompanies an entry on the Our Nottinghamshire website entitled 'A city greater than the sum of its parts'. The 

All the old photographs are from the Picture the Past website, the online image archive of Derby City Council, Derbyshire County Council, Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council, where there are thousands more photographs not only to look at, but buy as well.

The old adverts have been taken from a c.1936 Nottingham Official Handbook issued by Authority of Nottingham City Council. It is a treasure trove of information.

The orange line on the six maps below shows the route of the 35 from Bulwell to Nottingham City Centre. Many of the places which existed in 1960 have disappeared completely or have been replaced by parks, hotels, nature reserves, tram-tracks, housing and new roads.

The 35 bus route was created in about 1983. Its predecessors were the 55 between Bulwell and Bilborough and the 63 between Wollaton Vale and the City Centre.

If this Ride into History on a 35 has a theme of sorts, then it is housing. Nottingham has much to be proud off when it comes to housing, For all its black spots in the past and its failure to build more public housing in recent decades, the blame for this can be fairly laid at the door of successive central governments of all political persuasions.

Industry runs housing a close second, though in 2014 there is not much to see. In 1960 it would have been very different.

A trolleybus in Bulwell Market Place (enter years started and finished).

Babbington Colliery also known as Cinderhill Colliery (enter dates)

Holden Square, Cinderhill c1950. Also known as Brickyard Square (check).

 Broxtowe Boy by Derrick Buttress story and link to be entered.

Roman Broxtowe link to be entered.

Broxtowe Hall, demolished to make way for the Broxtowe estate. Location marked by the present-day street name, Broxtowe Hall Close.

Oxmoor Wood, Strelley, within ten minutes walk of the 35 bus (see walk page to be added).

At first glance this could be Tuscany, Italy. In fact its a view from Oxmoor Woods.

Balloon Houses, Bilborough, on the Trowell Road, demolished xxxx.

'Tottlebrook Bridge' on the Derby Road, located a few yards west of what is now the Priory Island roundabout.

Sherwood Foresters in September 1914 crossing the River Leen in Lenton, with the old Rose & Crown pub to the left of the photograph.

Spring Close, Lenton, showing the canal. The area was completely cleared to make way for the construction of the Queen's Medical Centre (add Lenton Times reference and link).

Lenton Lodge at Hillside by the Derby Road (add info)

Lenton Times link to be entered

South-west corner of Derby Road / Lenton Boulevard junction.

Lenton Savoy Cinema in 1949, surrounded by buildings (add info about makeover and when).

Nottingham Victoria Station forecourt, with Hotel to the right. Today, only the clock tower and Victoria Hotel remain.

Trolleybuses on Milton Street, outside the Victoria Hotel, in Nottingham City Centre, c1950. The 35 passes this spot every day as it makes its way to its own stop outside the Victoria Centre, by the entrance to John Lewis.

A view of the old Victoria Station clock tower from the 35 bus stop outside John Lewis.

A view down Angel Row, towards Old Market Square, from Mount Street
(add a 2014 photograph yet to be taken).


Each number refers to a location. See list beneath map for details (links to be added).

Friday, 23 June 2017

Hucknall Tourism & Regeneration Group mini-bus at Newstead Abbey.

For the past ten years Sheila and Ken Robinson have been organising and managing an annual programme of mini-bus tours for the Hucknall Tourism & Regeneration Group (HT&RG), which was founded in 2002. For 2017 they have arranged no less than seven different tours on twenty dates.

Laura Simpson, Nottinghamshire County Council’s Senior Practitioner in Heritage Tourism had the brilliant idea of asking Sheila and Ken to run a training day, ‘How to run a heritage bus tour on a budget’, which took place on 16 June 2017. A group of some twelve interested individuals, including two who found their way to the day from Derby, such was the interest. None of us left disappointed.

The morning was spent in the Dynamo House at Bestwood Country Park, where Laura did a presentation on Heritage Tourism in Nottinghamshire, which included information about the national scene as well. The county focus is on a collection of ‘themes’, including ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’ (industrial history), ‘Rebellion and Freedom’ (dissent and liberty), ‘With Brush and Pen’ (literary and artistic heritage) and ‘Our Sporting Life’ (sporting heritage). 

The recession has resulted in the way we take breaks and holidays changing. More of us now stay with friends and family than in hotels or self-catering, and from the nodding heads I guessed it was a fact most of those present could relate to. Another one of the many interesting points made by Laura which caught my attention was a reference to ‘visitors’ (not ‘tourists’) who ‘come in pursuit of the real’. These are people who want to visit local pubs, sporting events, maybe ride on a bus. 

There was much in Laura’s presentation to hold the attention of local historians with an interest in reaching a wider audience, and as Sheila and Ken demonstrated with their presentation, you don’t have to have a museum or historic building. Organising walks is an obvious activity, but with the help of a mini-bus you can do much more. Sheila took us  through all the things you have to think about and plan for: funding (including sponsorship); costs (including insurance); routes (including duration); advertising ; Booking methods and the day of the tour itself — of which we had a perfect example after a sandwich lunch, when Sheila and Ken took us a Byron inspired tour from Bestwood to Annesley, Newstead Abbey, Hucknall, before returning to Bestwood, where we ended the day with a general discussion and muffins!

I went home mightily impressed by the enterprise of Sheila and Ken and thinking about the opportunities that exist for local historians everywhere to follow their example. I should point out that HT&RG does not duplicate existing bus routes or compete with them in any way. They fill up their 14 seat mini-buses quickly and they offered many tips on how to raise money from local businesses, especially people selling bathrooms and kitchens!

Among the pieces of paper we left with was a County Council Risk Assessment Record prepared for the training day. A useful document some might too easily dismiss as unnecessary. I found it quite the reverse. Laura’s enthusiasm also helped the day go well, as she made her way around the group talking to participants about their interests and reasons for attending.

I can see this training being organised again and when it is, book a place. You won’t be disappointed. Just to be sure you don't miss out, why not contact Laura Simpson direct and tell you are interested. Contact details as follows: Tel.0115 9932595, email:

There must be many other areas which could benefit from local heritage mini-bus tours. Beeston, for example, where I live has no direct access by main road or public transport to Eastwood and Brinsley, although we are in the same local authority area (Broxtowe). Heritage tours across Nottinghamshire could be organised. Some readers might remember the Sherwood Forester Sunday Network which used to run across the county, but was axed in 2010 because it was losing £40,000 a year. 

This year, the Hucknall Heritage Bus Tours includes to trips to Rufford Abbey and the Bilsthorpe Heritage Museum  — destinations difficult to reach easily from Hucknall. I'm sure you can think of your own examples.

The work of Sheila and Ken and their Hucknall Tourism & Regeneration Group shows that such ventures are clearly possible and, most importantly, viable.

Sheila Robinson talking to training day participants whilst at All Saints Annesley.

A view into what remains of Annesley (All Saints) Old Church.

Annesley Hall stable block, laundry and servants' accommodation.