Bus Tours on a Budget Success by Robert Howard

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, at least four of whom found their way to the day via the NLHA Newsletter (myself included). Two attendees came 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.

Hucknall Tourism and Regeneration Group website:

Riverside Parishes Churches Open Weekend 8 and 9 JULY 2017

All of the churches will be open from 10am until 4pm on Saturday and from 10.00 am until 3.30pm on Sunday; please note that there will be a service in South Muskham church starting at 9.30 am; everyone is most welcome to join in our worship.

The week end will finish on Sunday with a Songs of Praise in St. Michael and All Angels church, Averham at 4.30pm when we will sing favourite hymns and be entertained by other ‘acts’!

St. Wilfrid Kelham: Visitors will be able to follow the footsteps of their predecessors to discover the interesting and unusual features of the building. There will be a display of photographs and artefacts to explain some of the church’s history, current work and aspirations for the future.


St. Michael and All Angels Averham: Information leaflets for both adult visitors and children will be available to guide you around this lovely grade one listed church. Historical registers obtained from the County Archives will be on display.


St. Wilfrid North Muskham: Come and learn about the history of the church over the past 900 years.


St. Wilfrid South Muskham: A murdered priest; mysterious voices in the Chancel; crabs though many miles from the sea; a door said to have been damaged in the Civil War; a grand service to celebrate Victorian refurbishment following great storms: learn more of these and many other interesting facts as you walk around our beautiful church. There will be simple crafts for visiting children and refreshments on the ‘house’/church.

Nottingham Industrial Museum and the Black Boy Hotel

(Picture credit: Nottingham City Council)

Nottingham Industrial Museum is pleased to announce the launch of a new exhibition by researcher Richard Upton detailing the history of the well-loved, but long demolished Black Boy Hotel.

Open at weekends (including Bank Holiday Monday) throughout August, the exhibition will give a detailed history including architects plans, photographs and a carefully reconstructed scale model of Fothergill’s glorious building.

Located on Long Row in the City Centre, the Black Boy Hotel was rebuilt on the site of a 17th century inn in the late 1880s by renowned local architect Watson Fothergill. Credited as having had a great impact on the architecture of Nottingham, Fothergill designed over a hundred buildings in the city, from offices, banks and warehouses, to churches and private dwelling houses. His easily recognisable style includes the use of contrasting horizontal bands of red and blue brick, dark timber eaves and balconies, and elaborate turrets and stone carving.

The Black Boy Hotel was described in the 1939 Official Guide to Nottingham as being “established centuries ago as a posting house, by judicious planning and reconstruction it has been transformed into one of the most up-to-date hostelries in the Midlands. There are 90 bedrooms all fitted with hot and cold running water, and several bedrooms have communicating private bathroom and toilet accommodation. Self-contained suites are also available. The hotel is centrally heated and all floors are served by electric lifts. The Black Boy enjoys an unrivalled reputation for its catering and has excellent accommodation for banquets, balls and social functions of all kinds…There is a gentlemen’s hairdressing saloon, on the premises”.

The building survived until 1970 when it was demolished amidst great public outcry and sadness to make way for a new building which was occupied by Littlewoods, and more recently Primark. This new modernist build is in stark contrast to Fothergill’s easily identifiable style.

Private weekday group tours of the museum and the exhibition are available to pre-book for specialist interest groups and local history societies – please email for more information.

Entrance to the exhibition is included as part of the normal Museum entry charge and of course the museum and all its galleries and displays are open as usual.

Normal Wollaton Hall and Deer Park car parking charges apply.

Wheelchair and pram access throughout the museum (apart from the upper observation decks in the Steam Hall).


Historical artwork display to shed light on works of Dickens illustrator John Leech

A volume containing newly-discovered drawings by caricaturist and illustrator John Leech is on display at the University of Leicester’s Special Collections in the University Library until 31 July.

This volume sheds light on the early life and work of the artist, known for his contributions to Punch and classic Charles Dickens novels including A Christmas Carol.

The images in the exhibition provide examples of Leech’s earlier works, as well as images from his later career.

Dr Simon Dixon from  Special Collections said: “The discovery of these previously unknown sketches by John Leech is down to some superb detective work by Margaret Maclean from the University Library’s Archives and Special Collections team. The drawings add to our knowledge of Leech’s early years and they are great fun to see.”

The display will be running until 31 July 2017 in the David Wilson Library, University of Leicester.

Michael John Jackson

Michael Jackson, sadly passed away on 4th June 2017 at King’s Mill Hospital aged 89 years.The funeral service took place on Monday 19th June at Mansfield Crematorium at 1.45 p.m. By request there were family flowers only but if desired donations made payable to Parkinson’s Disease Society will be gratefully received.

He was a member of the Thoroton Society and past Chairman and honorary President of NOTTINGHAMSHIRE LOCAL HISTORY ASSOCIATION and  a founder member, and subsequently President, of the Worksop Archaelogical and Local Historical Society. 

 Michael was born in Brigg Lincs in 1927 and then lived in Gainsborough before moving to South Parade Worksop where his father managed  F G Welhams shop next to the Gaiety cinema in Bridge St. He attended Retford Grammar school, where he became editor of The Retfordian, and later qualified as a teacher after attending Borough Road college Isleworth. His teaching career saw him at Edwinstowe Junior school reaching the position of headmaster before retirement. He was also a Lay Preacher attached to  Mansfield Methodist church. Mike went on to publish several books mainly on the history of Worksop. He was working on his last book Worksop and Nottinghamshire Windsor Chairs during the final weeks of his life

During his life Michael made a large number of friends throughout Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire and was a highly respected researcher.

He will be greatly missed

Lost Newark by Jillian Campbell and Mike Cox

The town of Newark has been an important place, ever since medieval times when it became a major centre for wool and cloth production. The town grew around its once-impressive castle, built in the eleventh and twelfth centuries but later destroyed in 1646 following the town’s surrender to attacking Parliamentary forces during the Civil War. In Victorian times, the town grew and developed and a number of new industries were established, among them sugar refining, which is still in evidence today.

In Lost Newark, local authors Jillian Campbell and Mike Cox step back in time and rediscover Newark’s lost buildings and remember the forgotten architectural heritage that once embellished this attractive East Midlands market town.

  • Publication: 15th July 2017
  • Price: £12.99
  • ISBN: 978-1-4456-6802-4
  • Size: 235 x 165mm
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Extent: 96 pages
  • Illustrations: 160 illustrations
  • Also available in Kindle, Kobo and iBook formats.

The Workhouse are Recruiting

Room Guides are the first point of contact for our visitors and are key in helping people engage with the property’s past and present. There is no typical day for a Room Guide as the experience is as varied as our visitors, making it a rewarding and interesting role. If you would like to know more about volunteering at The Workhouse please contact Emma Seymour House Manager or 01636 817263.

What is a Room Guide?

Room Guides help supporters/visitors to enjoy and learn more about the Trust property they are visiting – so playing a key role in making visits inspiring experiences.

At The Workhouse, Room Guides are the first point of contact for our visitors and as such are key in helping people to engage with the property’s past and present. They enable visitors to understand the visitor route and the various interpretive tools, such as the audio and written guides. There is no typical day for a Room Guide as the experience is as varied as our visitors, making it a rewarding and interesting role.

Volunteer Room Guides also help to protect the health and safety of visitors, and play a part in safeguarding the property and its collection.

What’s in it for you?

  • Becoming part of a friendly and dedicated team
  • Meeting people from all walks of life and making new friends
  • Improving your communication skills
  • Enjoying new experiences and giving pleasure to audiences young and old.

What’s involved?

  • Provide a friendly and informed welcome to all visitors
  • Uphold the National Trust Service Promise
  • Help visitors to discover more about the place they are visiting by assisting with the provision of interpretation – e.g. answering questions, giving short talks, children’s quizzes and trails, leaflets, room guides and so on
  • Be an advocate for the work of the National Trust
  • Maintain an awareness of relevant health and safety procedures
  • Be responsible for the safe and calm evacuation of visitors in an emergency
  • Uphold the Trust’s preventive conservation approach: leading by example to help encourage visitors to do the same
  • Support security procedures in order to prevent theft and malicious damage
  • Attend training and workshop days relevant to the Room Guide role
  • Develop knowledge of the property as a whole

About the National Trust

As Europe’s largest conservation charity, we help everyone across England, Wales and Northern Ireland enjoy all sorts of very special places for ever, for everyone.  Become part of our fascinating story – volunteer.

 About The Workhouse

The Workhouse was built in 1824 as a place of last resort for the poor and needy. The creation of Reverend J T Becher, its architecture, influenced by prison design and its harsh regime became a blueprint for workhouses throughout the country.

Our Listed Buildings display at Home Farm Open Gardens 4th June 2017


Tinsley’s Barn was open to the public for the first time, after recent restoration:

KDLHS & CAAG displayed “Our Listed Buildings” in the newly restored Tinsley’s Barn on Sunday 4th June 2017 at the NGS Open Gardens event.

Welcoming the visitors to the displays of architect’s drawings, the Swifts Project, and Our Listed Buildings

Over 80 people came into Tinsley’s Barn as part of the Open Gardens event to see the exhibitions of the architect’s drawings, the Swift project and the CAAG “Our Listed Buildings” display.  A 16 page booklet “Our Listed Buildings” produced by KDLHS & CAAG was for sale at £2.00 for the first time at the Open Gardens event on 4th June, at Home Farm; we were able to donate £12.00 to NGS (25% of the sales of  ”Our Listed Buildings” booklet); produced by KDLHS & CAAG; this is now available at Society meetings for £2.00; production costs were met for the first run of 100 copies, by K&DLHS.  Proceeds will be divided between KDLHS and CAAG).


Dave Clarke, archivist, has put pictures and an item about Home Farm on the K&DLHS facebook page……

Midland History Essay Prize 2017

The Midland History Essay Prize worth £400 is offered in 2017 for the best essay submitted on an historical subject relating to midland England. Candidates must not, at the date of submission, have published a book or an article in a major journal. The essay must be a genuine work of original research, not hitherto published or accepted for publication, and must reach the required standard. The text should not exceed 8,000 words. Candidates must consult the style sheet of Midland History, available from the Editor and must submit their choice of subject to the editor for approval before sending their essays. Essays must reach the Editor of Midland History by 31 October 2017. The winning essay, and others judged meritorious, will be published in Midland History.

The Editor Midland History Department of History University of Birmingham, B15 2TT United Kingdom Email:

The aim of Midland History is to publish articles on local issues relating to the history of the midland counties which throw light on general historical developments and problems.

Call for Papers: Midland History Postgraduate Day Conference

Midland History Postgraduate Day Conference, Saturday 11 November 2017 at The University of Worcester, Worcester, WR2 6AJ

Proposals are invited from postgraduate and early career research students on any aspect of the history of the counties of Bedfordshire, Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Rutland, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

Papers will be 20 minutes in length. Please supply a title and 100-word abstract to the organiser Professor Richard Cust

The closing date for this call is 31 August 2017

The conference is sponsored by the journal Midland History. All postgraduates and others researching the history of the Midlands are welcome to attend. Lunch and refreshments will be provided and there will be no charge.