Nottingham is a city in the East Midlands which is probably best known for its lace manufacturing and as the home of Robin Hood! The city, along with Edinburgh, Exeter, Manchester and Norwich, was declared a UNESCO “City of Literature” in 2015 (I had no idea such a thing existed!) because of its connections to D H Lawrence, Alan Sillitoe and poet Lord Byron. The Waterstones here is set over four floors in an attractive red-bricked Victorian building constructed around 1875 – I took LOTS of photos!
The statue of Robin Hood , together with some smaller statuettes of his ‘Band of Merry Men’, stands outside Nottingham castle. It was created by sculptor James Woodford and gifted to the people of the city by a local businessman. It was unveiled by the Queen (at the time the Princess Elizabeth) and Prince Philip in 1952.
Nottingham is famous for its lace production, which was at it’s height in the 1800s but declined after lace fell somewhat out of favour after the First World War. The area known as the Lace Market is now a protected heritage site, and it’s easy to see why with such beautiful buildings as these.
After leaving Lincoln we headed south west towards our next destination of Derby. Our first stop on the way there for breakfast was the small town of West Bridgford near Nottingham. The town grew in size considerably after the First World War, having nearly doubled in population from 7,018 in 1901 to 13346 in 1921. The Waterstones is located on the main shopping street – the building was originally an electrical store owned by a local family who sadly went into liquidation in 2016 after 101 years of trading.
Now a registry office and wedding venue, Bridgford Hall was built in 1768 by Mundy Musters who was ‘Lord of the Estates’ of the area. It was initially rented out before being bought by Lewis Heymann, the son of the last tenant, a prominent lace manufacturer called Albert Heymann. The Heymann family lived there until 1923 when the house and grounds were sold to the council and the park created on the land for permanent public use. The Hall is now one of the most popular civil wedding venues in the county.
We spent the day in the car exploring the county of Lincolnshire driving a circuitous route, first to Grantham, then onto Boston and Skegness before returning to Lincoln in the late afternoon. The Waterstones in Boston is located in a modern building in the main shopping area.
St Botolph’s Church
For some reason my I have lost most of the photos I took this day, but I had taken some of St Botolph’s church, known locally as ‘The Stump’. The church’s tower is so tall that it used to be used as a navigation tool by sailors.
Credit for the above images, taken from Wikipedia and used with permission, goes to (clockwise from top left) Martin Clark, the National Churches Trust and BardofL
The second Waterstones in Lincoln is also in the ‘Downhill’ area and is situated in the Cornhall Quarter. This area has recently been regenerated whilst retaining some character buildings, including the Old Corn Exchange, built in 1847 and replaced by a larger building in 1879. This branch of Waterstones is located in the older of the two corn exchange buildings.
The Corn Exchange Buildings
The white building is the old Corn Exchange Building, and the red and inside shots are the new.
Stonebow and Guildhall
The Stonebow building was finished in 1520 – the name comes from the Norse word ‘stennibogi’ which means stone arch. The building houses the Guildhall on the first floor. It is open to the public, and, according to Tripadvisor, is well worth a visit – unfortunately I didn’t know this when we were there or we would probably have gone for a look around.
High Bridge, which crosses the River Witham, was built around 1160 and is the oldest bridge in the UK to still have buildings on it. The buildings themselves date from the mid-1500s.
Lincoln is a cathedral city and the county town of Lincolnshire. The city is compact which makes it easy to explore, and is steeped in history. At the top of Steep Hill (which lives up to its name!) is the oldest part of the city, dominated by a gothic cathedral. A central tower was added to the cathedral in 1311 which made it the tallest structure in the world for over 200 years. This area is colloquially known as ‘uphill’ and as well as many gorgeous buildings it also has a castle! After spending the morning in this area, we walked back down into the town to ‘downhill’ to visit the first of the two Waterstones here. This branch was formerly a hotel called the Saracens Head which closed in 1959.
Below clockwise from the left – the castle grounds, a view of the cathedral, Leigh-Pemberton house – a merchant’s house built in 1543 and now the Tourist Information office.
There is a public footpath through the castle grounds, so it is possible to walk through without paying!
The remains of a third century Roman is said to be the oldest arch in the United Kingdom still used by traffic.
Our next stop on our way to Lincoln, which was to be our ‘home’ for the next three nights, was Grimsby. Unfortunately it was raining so heavily that we didn’t venture outside of the shopping centre in which Waterstones is located, so I don’t have any of my own photographs of the town to share. I would have liked to have visited the Docks – they have a large Victorian chimney which apparently can be seen for miles around. It was such a prominent landmark that during the Second World War the-powers-that-be considered demolishing it in case the Luftwaffe used it as a marker to find Liverpool!
Grimsby Dock Tower
Pictures used under the Wikimedia Commons Licence – picture 1 is owned by David Wright and picture 2 is owned by Colin Westley. Both photos have been resized by me (as allowed under the terms of the Licence).
After three nights in Beverley we headed south to stay in Lincoln, stopping off at the University of Hull campus on the way. The university was founded in 1927 and the poet Philip Larkin worked there as a librarian from 1955 until his death in 1985. The Waterstones here is in a modern concrete building – the inside is almost brutalist in style.
The university, and the city of Hull, are rightly proud of Larkin and he is commemorated by a city trail and with a statue at the railway station. The statue and its accompanying slate plaques featuring some of Larkin’s verses were created by sculptor Martin Jennings.
After leaving the university we drove to the cemetery in nearby Cottingham where Philip Larkin is buried to look at his grave, but it was it was pouring with rain but unfortunately, despite extensive searching, I failed to find it.