Tuesday, 28 August 2012

News - Plans for castle to cash in on Robin's global reputation (Nottingham)

THE pulling power of Robin Hood for tourists has never been in doubt.

But the question of how to capitalise on the legendary outlaw has troubled Nottingham minds for decades.

From a Robin Hood theme park to a giant 100-metre tall statue, there have been plenty of ideas.

In 2009, Nottingham City Council created the Sheriff's Commission to identify how to maximise the tourism potential of Robin Hood. A delegation from the city even spent nine days in America, visiting up to 30 tourist attractions.

The commission concluded that a new Robin Hood attraction was needed at both Nottingham Castle and Sherwood Forest by June 2012 – to make the most of the Olympics.

But after the initial excitement, things went quiet.

However, new ideas have today been put forward to create a "world-class" visitor attraction which will finally cash in on Robin's global reputation.

And the working group behind the suggestions are confident that they are achievable.

They include building a £20 million gallery devoted to Robin Hood and the history of Nottingham at the castle.

It could see the caves underneath the castle brought back into use and a new visitors' centre and café built.

More outdoor festivals and events could also be staged at the site.

The Castle Working Group – which includes people from different backgrounds as well as the city council – has been given the job of delivering the new attraction.

Ted Cantle, chairman of the group, said: "We're trying to bring two things together.

"People have felt we haven't made enough of the legendary status of Robin Hood, and they've also thought we haven't presented sufficiently the castle's national history.

"We're trying to bring those things together so Nottingham Castle is better reflected in a national attraction, and so is Robin Hood.

"We're looking towards a national gallery visitor attraction, something that has strong educational value – but we realise it has to have both excitement and fun as part of that and that will very much be the case.

"It will be an opportunity to develop some of the new technologies available to national galleries. We hope it will be a real visitor experience."

The working group, which includes people from different backgrounds as well as the city council, has suggested three different ideas.

These include exploring the castle as a symbol of Nottingham's important role in social protest and rebellion through the ages; using the story of Robin Hood as a guide through key periods in Nottingham's history; and finally to provide a "significant educational experience" for all visitors.

People can have their say on the ideas, and also suggest their own, from today until September 22.

Mr Cantle said: "We want to make sure we haven't missed anything. That's why the public consultation is so valuable.

"We've had a good look at what people have said in the past, the work of the Sheriff's Commission and the other work carried out.

"We want to make sure we don't miss anything that the public might come up with, like a completely new idea we've not considered."

Mr Cantle said Nottingham Castle, which is currently managed by the city council, is expected to be run by a trust instead, which would give it charitable status and allow it to apply for more grants.

The group hopes to submit a funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund in November. If it is successful, work could begin in the next couple of years, although the attraction is unlikely to be completed until 2019.

In addition to the Heritage Lottery Fund, Mr Cantle said the project would need funding from the public and private sectors. He said they will be approaching various businesses as well as investigating Government funding and speaking to the city council.

Mr Cantle confirmed they are not interested in having a Robin Hood theme park at the castle, an idea which has previously been suggested.

"Any private developer that wants to do that in any other part of Nottingham is perfectly able to if they want," he said.

After years of various organisations talking about what sort of redevelopment could take place at the castle, Mr Cantle said he is sure they will deliver.

He told the Post: "We've grounded this in reality. It's not a series of ideas that have floated around."

Councillor Dave Trimble, portfolio holder for leisure at the council, said: "We want to create a world-class heritage facility for Nottingham, create new jobs, support the development of new businesses, encourage investment and provide economic stability for the city's castle quarter.

"We need to do this right, and that's where we need the public to step in and help us make the right decisions."

To have your say in the plans, forms can be found online at www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk, at Nottingham Castle, or by scanning QR codes that can be found at leisure centres and libraries.

A final proposal will be drawn up in the autumn.

From http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/Plans-castle-cash-Robin-s-global-reputation/story-16775559-detail/story.html

Friday, 24 August 2012

Booklet - Town’s brewing history on tap (Newark)

A Newark pub has helped to pay for a guide to the town’s malting and brewing heritage to be reprinted.

Just Beer, at Swan and Salmon Yard, paid for the cost of reprinting the Malting And Brewing Trail guided walks, which were created by Newark Civic Trust.

They were paid for by the Newark branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), the Maltsters’ Association of Great Britain, and Nottinghamshire county councillor Mr Stuart Wallace.

The trail looks at landmarks from Newark’s brewing past from the 18th Century to the mid 20th Century.

Mr Duncan Neil, of Just Beer, said they were eager for the leaflets to be reprinted as they kept a supply in the pub.

He said: “When I heard it was out of print I was mortified.

“I was having a conversation with Mr Wallace over a pint and I decided I would help contribute and we would get Newark Camra involved as well.

“Camra is not just about focusing on real ales. It is also about the history and tradition of beer and ale and there is a lot history in this town.

“It is so important that we don’t let this history slip away and die.”

Mr Wallace said he supported the Civic Society’s heritage trails since they were first launched about eight years ago.

He said: “I think Newark is the jewel in Nottinghamshire’s crown and I think these trails are a good way to encourage people to come to the town and enjoy their day here.”

A member of the Civic Trust, Mr Rupert Vinnicombe, said a total of 15,000 copies of the trail had been produced.

Mr Vinnicombe said: “I think it is so important for a place like this, which has such a brewing heritage, to have information about it available especially in a local pub.

“We have eight trails and you can quite often see people walking around town carrying one of the leaflets.”

Mr Vinnicombe said some alterations had been made from the original trail including noting that the maltkilns on Lover’s Lane had been demolished since the first map had been produced.

Copies of the trail are available from Newark Tourist Information Centre, Newark Library, Ann et Vin, Millgate Museum, Newark Town Hall and Just Beer.

All the trails are also available on the Civic Trust website at www.newarkcivictrust.org.uk

l PUBLICISING the reprinted brewing trail leaflets are, from the left, Mr Duncan Neil, Jennie Richards, Mr Stuart Wallace, Mr Rupert Vinnicombe, Mr Michael Hawes, and Mr George Wilkinson.

From: http://www.newarkadvertiser.co.uk/articles/news/Towns-brewing-history-on-tap

Event - Boat ride fun (Ranby)

LOOKING for fun this Bank Holiday?

The Chesterfield Canal Trust’s trip boat, Seth Ellis, will be running two hour return cruises from The Chequers Inn at Ranby on Saturday 25th, Sunday 26th and Monday 27th August, at 10am, 1pm and 4pm.

Tickets are £8. To book call 07925 851569.

From: http://www.worksopguardian.co.uk/news/boat-ride-fun-1-4858229

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

News - Tourist trail plan for Conisbrough

Members of a Conisbrough Church are starting a tourist trail in the town to highlight aspects of cultural interest past and present.

Conisbrough Baptist Chapel’s trail will showcase the history of Conisbrough, along a track which will include almost every part of the village.

The trail will point out the stories connected to local people, and places from the past and the present. Baptist Minister, Ian Wright said: “The Baptist Chapel is very proud to be involved at such a level with the project,

“We live in an area of amazing historical interest. We are so proud to be part of this. You may be living just a short walk away from something of outstanding local interest and not know.

“Following the completion of this project it will give the community a greater love of the place they call home”.

The trail will include obvious spots such as the castle grounds and the Holy Well and lesser known points of interest such as the Oval.

It is intended to involve the whole of the community, by asking anyone with suggestions to contact the organisers, with either memories, or facts regarding the area.

If anyone has pictures or special memories, of a particular area, or have suggestions that would be of interest to villagers and visitors, contact Jon Sutton on 07939 548285.

From: http://www.southyorkshiretimes.co.uk/community/tourist-trail-plan-for-conisbrough-1-4851629

Event - Fayre hosts horticulture and battle display (Sheffield)

SHEFFIELD’s Jubilee Fayre returns over the bank holiday weekend in Norfolk Heritage Park.

Thousands of people are expected for the event, which is being held on Sunday and Monday, from 10.30am until 5.30pm, with free admission. Among the attractions is the horticultural show, which includes a dedicated tent for homegrown flowers, vegetables, exhibitions of cacti and bonsai, as well as homemade jams, honey, wine and cakes.

This year also sees an Olympic-themed art competition, with gold medal inspired artwork to take centre stage. Anyone can enter any of the categories – visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/sheffieldfayre to find the entry booklet.

The fayre also boasts a massive battle re-enactment and living history camp, craft stalls and fairground sideshows.

The event will be visited by the Paralympic Torch on the Sunday.

From: http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/fayre-hosts-horticulture-and-battle-display-1-4852744

News - Familiar Doncaster landmark consigned to history (Thorpe Marsh)

The familiar cooling towers at Thorpe Marsh power station near Doncaster have been consigned to history.

The last two of the concrete towers have been brought to the ground, half a century since they were built.

Now weeks of work to clear away the rubble has begun, to be followed by the first stages of construction of a new gas power station.

Demolition workers from Teesside based Able UK have spent the summer preparing for the phased demolition of the six towers, which has been carried out with a revolutionary wire pulling technique, rather then the old method of using high explosives.

The previous two towers were brought down on August 5 and Able UK moved ahead of schedule by completing the project on Sunday, rather than the suggested date in September.

Neil Etherington, for Able UK, said the method used to bring down the towers was an ‘important breakthrough’ in demolition technology.

“It is the first time we’ve tried it and there is much less noise involved,” he said.

“We made sure the relevant people in Barnby Dun were informed, but didn’t want traffic jams on the road and to have it as a form of spectator sport, so the job was completed by 7am.

“We think the rubble should be cleared by the end of the autumn so construction of the gas power station can start in 2013.”

Work has already started on an extended sub-station for National Grid which will take electricity from the new Thorpe Marsh power station.

From: http://www.thestar.co.uk/community/familiar-doncaster-landmark-consigned-to-history-1-4852708

Friday, 17 August 2012

News - History of abbey sold off by metal thief — for £87! (Newstead)

A METAL thief who stole tens of thousands of pounds worth of lead from Newstead Abbey — and sold it on for just £87 — has been jailed.

Gurshoron Bhattie, of Cornerpin Drive, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, pleaded guilty to theft and handling of lead from the historic abbey, which is the Dispatch district’s premier tourist attraction and the ancestral home of the poet Lord Byron.

Bhattie targeted the world-renowned landmark in December last year.

The 24-year-old appeared at Nottingham Crown Court and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Bhattie was arrested following the discovery of some of the metal drainpipes from the Grade I-listed building at a scrap-metal dealer’s.

Police then traced the car used to weigh-in the metal back to Bhattie and this led to the further discovery of more of the stolen lead in his car and back garden.

Chief Insp Sean Anderson, of Nottinghamshire police, said: “Newstead Abbey is among countless listed buildings that will never be the same again thanks to the disrespectful actions of selfish individuals such as Gurshoron Bhattie.

“He essentially sold pieces of Nottinghamshire’s centuries-old history for £87 in scrap value.

“It was very costly for Nottingham City Council to replace the drain pipes. The cost to Nottinghamshire in terms of heritage and legacy is something we will be counting the cost of for centuries to come.”

Ken Purslow, chairman of the Newstead Abbey Byron Society (NABS), said: “First of all I am pleased that someone has been caught and even more pleased to hear he has been brought to justice.

“But the thing that it doesn’t do is put the lead back on the roof and replace the lead drainpipes.

“It is down to whether Nottingham City Council has the confidence to put them back or we have lost them forever.

“If it has done anything, this has reminded the city council that the abbey is in a vulnerable position and it needs full-time care to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Metal theft is a national issue, costing the economy millions of pounds each year.

In response to the number of metal thefts, Nottinghamshire police launched a metal-theft reduction team who work in partnership with neighbouring forces, the government and industry to deter, detect and reduce this type of crime.

Since April, there has been a 46% decrease in the number of reported metal thefts in Nottinghamshire compared to the same period in 2011.

From http://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/news/local-news/history-of-abbey-sold-off-by-metal-thief-for-87-1-4844827

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Excavation - Digging for windmill evidence (Bingham)

A heritage group has been given permission to dig an archaeological pit near the site of a former mill in Bingham as it bids to uncover the town’s historic origins.

Bingham Heritage Trails Association is being allowed to dig a one metre square pit on land owned by Bingham Town Council at the top of Mill Hill.

It will search for evidence of a windmill dating from the late 18th or early 19th Century as the group continues its efforts to piece together the history of Bingham.

It has already dug 29 test pits and has so far uncovered Medieval and Roman rubbish pits, and evidence of Roman and 15th Century houses.

The group’s chairman, Mr Peter Allen, said: “We want to look for further evidence of a windmill at the top of Mill Hill.

“We will get an idea of what was going on in the yard and near the mill in the late 18th or early 19th Century.”

He said pits dug so far had proved very productive, with only two not turning up any evidence.

“We don’t know where Bingham originally was and so our purpose is to look for Anglo-Saxon origins,” he said.

“It is quite amazing what we have found. We find bits of pottery and work out the story from there.

“We have found evidence of a Roman house in the rectory garden so there could even have been pre-Anglo-Saxon habitation in Bingham.”

He said samples were sent off to experts who could date them and give an indication of their significance.

The pits typically take two or three days to dig and are then filled in.

The project is being paid for through a £32,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Mr Allen said all the information would be put on the association website and some funding had been put aside for a publication, possibly a book.

From: http://www.newarkadvertiser.co.uk/articles/news/Digging-for-windmill-evidence

Event - Savour flavours of medieval food (Newark)

An exhibition about medieval food has opened in the undercroft of Newark Castle.

The display has been created by the Friends of Newark Castle and Gardens.

It provides information about food production between 1066 and 1566, when produce from the Continent and the new world was introduced to Britain.

The exhibition is in what would have been the castle storeroom.

The room is linked by stairs to a water gate that leads directly on to the River Trent, where supplies to the castle were delivered.

Beer barrels, imitation fruit, and period cups, plates and jugs create the feel of a medieval food store.

A variety of birds and a rabbit hang from the pillars as they would have done in the Middle Ages, although those in the exhibition have been stuffed.

The chairman of the friends group, Mr Allan Towler, said the stuffed animals attracted attention from children.

He said they hoped to add to the exhibition over time as more money became available.

The project has been supported by the Trent Vale Landscape Partnership, an initiative funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Money has also been provided by Yorkshire Bank, Lincolnshire Co-op, and Nottinghamshire county, Newark and Sherwood district and Newark town councils.

The exhibition can be viewed as part of castle tours every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 1pm, or at other times by arrangement.

The tours, which cost £2.50, can be booked at the tourist information centre.
  From: http://www.newarkadvertiser.co.uk/articles/news/Savour-flavours-of-medieval-food

Monday, 13 August 2012

Event - Medieval Castle Clash (Conisbrough Castle)

The mighty castle of Conisbrough becomes the stage for the pageant of the Knights this Saturday and Sunday between 12.00 and 16.30

See Escafeld re-enactors gather for courtly pursuits of archery and dancing, presentations of arming a knight and then witness the dramatic conclusion of a tournament of Knights.

Main combat at 3pm.

From: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/events/medieval-castle-clash-coca-18-aug/

Event - Robin Hood Festival starts in Sherwood Forest (Clipstone)

Today marks the start of the Robin Hood Festival - an annual celebration of the UK's most famous outlaw.

The event will run for seven days and will take place in Nottingham's Sherwood Forest.

Award-winning street artists will perform 'Medieval' battles

The festival will showcase archery, falconry, jousting and medieval entertainment in the form of music, street performance, and adventure tales.

Timetable of activities:
Wednesday - Falconry 12.00 noon & 2pm, Jousting 2.30pm
Saturday - Falconry 12.00 noon & 2pm, Jousting 2.30pm
Sunday - Falconry 12.30 & 2.15pm, Jousting 3pm

The event is free and will take place at Sherwood Forest's Visitor Centre

Nottinghamshire County Council have organised the event, which is now in it's 28th year.

Things you might not know about the Legend of Robin Hood:

The earliest reference to Robin Hood was in 1377, in a poem by William Langland called "The vision of William concerning Piers Plowman". Other historical evidence places Robin anywhere between 1190 - 1307.

The longbow was Robin's weapon of choice, made from the English yew tree.

One legend says that Robin Hood was killed by his cousin, because she didn't want him to find out that she was having an affair. Another tale is that a monk murdered him, even though he'd been brought in to help.

From: http://www.itv.com/news/central/2012-08-13/robin-hood-festival-starts-in-sherwood-forest/

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Book - Smiling German in tank said: 'Come on Tommy. For you the war's over'

IT all began for Stephen Staples, from Daybrook, in July 1940.

It's a date emblazoned in his memory, after which life would never be the same again.

He has documented his tale of capture in Tobruk, experiences in prisoner of war camps and his eventual escape in a book called Caprice Italien – British Style.

Lieutenant Bombardier Staples, now 93, said his incredible journey began manning guns on his own doorstep. "I was stationed at Yorker Site 276 HAA BTY RA at Gainsford Crescent, off Oxclose Lane, then on to Sugar Site at Beechwood Road, Aspley," he recalled.

"It was while there that I fired a 3.7 HAA gun at a German plane which came in over Wollaton Hall. I was the one who pressed the firing handle down. We didn't hit it, but we scared the occupants of Wollaton to death when the shrapnel pieces from the shells dropped down upon them!"

Stephen stayed with this unit until they were captured in Tobruk in June 1942.

He was among troops shipped to Egypt. "Although we were not told where we were going it soon became clear that it was Tobruk," he said.

"My unit was the headquarters staff of the 68th Regiment, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Royal Artillery, billeted about a mile outside Tobruk, just past the famous Hell Fire Corner sign.

"This was our second visit to Tobruk. The first occasion was when we had passed through on our way in the advance to Benghazi, which hadn't lasted long before being chased back again by our old friend General Rommel and his men, who now sat on the perimeter of Tobruk, amassing his forces for the final attack on the town."

The men lived in dugouts and earned themselves a famous nickname. "The Germans called us Desert Rats and the name stuck. It is now carried with pride by all who served there," Stephen said. On June 20 Rommel unleashed a surprise attack on Tobruk and a succession of bombing raids involving every German and Italian bomber in Libya – plus some from Crete.

Stephen said: "I expected to be killed as there didn't seem any alternative. The tanks veered away and gave us some respite for a short time, but then I heard an ominous clanking about 50 yards away, and there advancing towards us was a Tiger tank – the pride of the German Army.

"I pulled the cocking handle out of my rifle and buried it, then I raised my hands the best way I could in a prone position. I braced myself expecting the machine gun to riddle me. The tank pulled up barely ten yards away, the turret cover flipped open and a smiling German officer stood up and shouted 'Come on Tommy. For you the war is over'.

"The tanks circled around us, herding us into the centre. Then all hell let loose. Three German Stukas had begun their dive directly overhead. We dived under the projecting front of the nearest tank. If it had moved we were dead."

It was the start of a trek to a succession of prisoner of war camps. At the time of his capture Stephen describes himself as 23, very fit and weighing 13 stones: "When we first set eyes on Camp 78 Sulmona in Italy, I weighed about nine stones, was physically exhausted, mentally very depressed, dirty, lice-infested, hungry, dehydrated and wearing the same shirt and shorts in which I had been captured three months earlier."

The camp was home to 3,000 British and Commonwealth officers and other ranks captured in North Africa.

In September 1943, as the Italian government neared collapse, the inmates of Sulmona heard rumours that the evacuation of the camp was imminent. They awoke one morning to discover that their guards had deserted them.

"A mass meeting was held and we were informed that arms were to be airlifted to us and that anyone leaving the camp would be classed as a deserter. We waited days but no arms came. We decided that it was just a ploy to keep us together," Stephen added.

He joined a small group – one of many – who escaped into the hills surrounding Monte Morrone and set off on a hazardous journey which eventually led him to Naples on June 20, 1944 – two years to the day when he had been taken prisoner in Tobruk.

Later, long days were spent in this country at York Hill Barracks, before Stephen was sent home for three weeks' leave. He said: "When I reached the Midland Station in Nottingham – the same platform I left three years previously – it was a Sunday morning.

"I sat on my kit bag in the entrance hall but found out that there were no buses until mid morning. So it was a case of hitchhiking and my luck was good as an ATS girl driver with a small truck was going to Bestwood Camp.

"I eyed every shop and every inch of the way along Mansfield Road. I stopped at the bottom of Morris Street, thanked the girl and began to walk up the hill.

"At 7.30 I was alone. I had dreamt of this moment many, many times, but not like this. Just one person I knew would have been enough. I knocked on the door. I was home. The next three weeks were spent meeting family and friends but it didn't seem real. I couldn't take it all in. I needed time to myself."

Stephen was demobbed in June 1946.

"I was discharged at York and so it ended, back home and free at last. But my street had moved on from 1939 at a very fast pace. Everything and everybody had changed, there was no looking back," he said.

"A few weeks after getting home, an Army sergeant came to see me about re-signing. I was out at the time – and I still am!"

Stephen, who has lived in the same house in Daybrook since 1948, worked at Home Brewery and then spent 30 years on the coal face at Gedling pit, retiring in 1979 at the age of 60.

A few copies of the book remain available from Colin Staples on: 0791 0452 012.

From: http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/Smiling-German-tank-said-Come-Tommy-war-s/story-16660980-detail/story.html

Event - See new film on history of carnivals (Nottingham)

A FILM charting the history of Nottingham's carnivals will be screened in Hyson Green.

An exclusive premiere viewing of the documentary will be shown at New Art Exchange on Friday.

This is ahead of the full-length feature due for release in 2013 and one week ahead of the annual carnival celebrations in Nottingham.

The documentary will discuss the origins of the first carnival of 1958 and chart its development as a multicultural event at the Forest Recreation Ground in Nottingham.

The screening will be followed by a question and answer session.

Visitors will then be able to enjoy carnival-themed live music, entertainment, food and drink event in the café-bar with amazing costumes, modelled by carnival queens.

From: http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/new-film-history-carnivals/story-16655458-detail/story.html

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Event - Great Nottinghamshire Local History Fair (Mansfield)

In May 2013 the Nottinghamshire County Council Libraries Archives and Information Service is planning to host a new Local History fair at the refurbished Mansfield Central Library.

This will form part of the Nottinghamshire Ancestral Tourism Partnership Nottinghamshire Peoples programme

A whole floor of Mansfield Library will be given to the fair, and vital to the success of this new venture will be the participation of as many local history societies as possible.

They also hope to feature live demonstrations of local crafts, storytelling, talks and other local history presentations.

All in all th concil would aim to make the Great Nottinghamshire Local History Fair the premier showcase for local history in Nottinghamshire, where local societies will find a forum to showcase their work, attract new members, sell their publications, and share expertise with other groups.

The date they are initially proposing for the fair is Sunday 19th May 2013 (there being free parking on Sundays between 10am and 4pm at the Four Seasons shopping centre next to Mansfield library). If, however, you know that this date clashes with any other important local event, we would be grateful if you could let them know.

If you would like to find out more about our plans for the Great Nottinghamshire Local History Fair please reply to tim.warner@nottscc.gov.uk by 30th September 2012 and to ensure that further information, including how to book your place, is sent to you as soon as it is ready.