Historical Walks of Ye Olde Nottingham: Around the Slab Square

 Around the Slab Square

Slab Top

Penned by our Nottingham WordPress resident the decrepit impecunious pensioner, of great senility and ill health Mr Juan Inchcock, with the hopes of encouraging.. er… well something!

WalksFriar001Quote from Inchcock:

Slab InchyOn my last walk around Nottingham City’s abandoned shops… I mean City Centre, I came across some council workers removing a sign from the wall.

The sign read:

‘Visit Nottingham Castle to hear the fables of Robin Hood and his Merry Men’

The graffiti written below it said:

‘Then visit Nottingham Council House to hear the fables of the Merry Men and their robbing hoods’

“I thought it was hilarious!”

The Lions at the front of the Council House

Slab lionsCreated by Joseph Else, the 2 stone art-deco lions stand guard on either side of the entrance steps. They are similar in design to the lions used to publicise the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924-25. There are alternative ‘names’ attached to them, some people call them “Menelaus and Agamemnon”, others “Leo and Oscar”.

Whatever their names, arranging to meet ‘At The Lions’ has become an essential part of Nottinghamian life since the building opened.

The Left side Lion

1963:

Where the higher class ‘Totties’ would gather, hoping to ply their trade with the more affluent visitors to the ‘Black Boy’ hotel (Now criminally destroyed by backhander seeking councillors)  just along the road. I’m told the Totties provided £3 and £5 servicing.

2014:

A popular meeting point for the shoplifting squads and locals. The regular appearances of Protest meetings, Big Issue sellers, a Parking Attendants favourite point of observational value and during the regular various foreign markets, an absolute haven for pickpockets.

The Right side Lion – The more popular of the Lions as a meeting-up place.

1963:

Slab TugWWhere local PC’s Dennis ‘Tug’ Wilson (7′ 2½ inches) and Geoffrey Baker (6′ 8½ inches) would position themselves to keep a keen eye on the populous of the City, and responding to questions from the public, and always alert.

2014:

The graffiti is cleaned off regularly nowadays. The CPO’s (Community Police Officers), and occasionally a real PC can be seen using their mobile phones, and if they are needed, as soon as they end their phone call, citizens can speak to them. Nearby you will find the Big Issue sellers, street artists, beggars, Motorbility scooters, Skateboaders, Cyclists and other dangers.

Special Foreign Market’s

1963:

Slab foodNo Special Foreign Market’s were held then. But there was a speakers corner.

2014:

Themed markets are a regular appearance in the slab square nowadays. Themes including: Lithuanian Foods, German, Polish, Austrian, Australian Foods, French Products, and Asian Foods. Amongst the items you would not have been offered in 1963 are: Kangaroo burgers, Shark steaks and Blueberry candyfloss.

Violence

Slab riotsThe Sacheverell riots of 1710, riots were a series of public disorder outbreaks that spread across England during the spring, summer and autumn of 1710 in which supporters of the Tories attacked property and places of worship of Whigs St Mary’s Church just off the Slab square becoming a victim.

The Spitalfield Riots of 1769, Luddite Riots of 1812, Reform Bill riots of 1831, Racial Riots of 1958, Protest Riots of 1981, and the Protest Riots of 2014 all had occasion to ply their violence, along with other locations, on the Nottingham Slab Square. The muggings continue, but most of them have moved to the suburbs where there are fewer CCTV cameras.

1963:

I recall a few skirmishes between Mods and Rockers, and between football fans occasionally.

2014:

Slab FireLast year there were 485 shoplifters arrested (Although less than 200 were prosecuted) – 211 arrests for using threatening behaviour or using violence – One murder – Nine stabbings – 156 assaults – 18 nights of rioting activity – 3 police vehicles fire-bombed and attacked – 4 police officers hospitalised – 9 Ram raids – 11 shop raids with violence – 2 street dwellers died. 8 people knocked over by drunken or illegal drivers – 4 Taxi drivers robbed and assaulted, and 126 muggings. Oh, and the nearest police station was fire bombed.

Transport

Slab taxis

1963:

Black Taxi’s with white bonnets and boots lined up on the right side of the Slab Square. Fairs from 1/3p (5 ¼d) Some of the drivers could speak English too.

Trolley and Motor-buses with conductors ruled in this year. Tickets from 1p

2014:

Custom designed and built London style Taxi’s are now ranked off the Square. Fares from… well I don’t know, I can’t afford to use them nowadays.

The new Trams and Motor-buses without conductors rule now. Tickets from £1.80.

Retailers/Trade outlets

1963:

There were about 65 businesses around the square.

Lyons Cafe being another popular meeting place for Nottingham residents.

Slab cashops2014:

There are still about 65 businesses around the square, but a third of them are closed down.

There are now far more eateries, less banks, and the excessive proliferation of Pawn Shops, Charity Shops and Pay-Day Loan sharks were not around in 1963.

The new fountains are a popular place for children to play in and swear at passers by. Unemployed benefit seekers, immigrants, shoplifters, muggers, and wino’s to meet.

In the event of anyone being tempted to move to Nottingham for its Multiculturalism, Wealth, Serenity, or Placid lifestyle, as a result of these meanderings – Please read between the lines!

Walks of Ye Olde Nottingham: Bulwell

18 8 03

Along Bulwell Main Street

 Join our guide for the day, decrepit Senior Citizen and Retired Cinema Wall Gas Light Lighter and Snuffer Outerer Technician of bad sanitary habits and Nottingham resident Bartholomew Utterswaithe, for a walk: Along Bulwell Main Street today, comparing the same walk with that of 1963, when your guide was working on that same street.

Your tour guide Bartholomew will stroll down from what today is the KFC take away, at the end of Hucknall Lane along Main Street into Bulwell Market and to the train and tram Station.

We start off at:

2014:

The recently ram raided Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet.

1963:

Where once stood the proud Adelphi cinema, tickets from 9d (4p) to 1/3d (5¼p).

2014:

On our left, is a second hand car showroom, offering on the front, a 1992 Land Rover for £6,999.

1963:

On the same spot, amazingly, there was a Land Rover dealership outlet, offering a new Land Rovers at £2,935.

2014:

Further up on the left, stands the dilapidated old Sharp’s Vauxhall Dealership premises – destroyed when travellers used it as a base some years ago, and been for sale or rent ever since, no takers though.

1963:

Sharp’s Vauxhall Dealership premises, offering the new Chevette from a price of £1,593!

2014:

On our right, the Cancer Research charity shop, that was in the news recently when they were raided by two knife wielding local yobs.

1963:

Two cottages, later bought by investors and sold to Councillor Arbuthnot.

2014:

Further along, the Extra Charity shop, with furniture etc available for those in need.

1963:

A motorbike shop. With the new Honda 50 cub at under £100 for sale.

2014:

The new Tesco now stands on our left – as yet not raided or fire bombed, but it’s new, give them time. Although the local shoplifters took to it straight away.

1963:

The Scots Grey public House, beer at 1/- (5p) a pint, skittles alley, darts, dominoes, tip-it, bar skittles, shove halfpenny, fags at 3/2d (15¼p) for twenty, good company, an RAOB lodge and a buxom landlady… ah memories!

2014:

As we veer left to main shopping part of the road, come across, a closed down retail unit, another charity shop, a closed down retail unit, a stationery shop, a bank, another charity shop, a closed down retail unit, a Pay Day Loan outlet, a cake shop, a bank, a building society, a closed down retail unit, a butchers, Iceland, a cheap frozen food shop, a closed down retail unit, a shoe shop, a charity shop, a pub, a bingo shop, a buy your gold shop, a closed down retail unit, the ATM that was raided last week outside the bank, the alleyway where the two women were attacked last February, and the ram raided jewellery store that has not opened since, Ali’s newspaper shop, a closed down retail unit, finally near the market place, the Wilko’s store that was broken into last weekend, another favourite with the local shop-lifters.

19 8 001b1963:

There was, a newspaper shop, a sweet shop, a greengrocers, a wet fishmongers, a chip shop, a second hand shop, a bank, a police station, two pubs, a butchers, a cake shop, a Sanderson’s Tripe shop, a Fine Fare supermarket, a Cycle shop, a hairdressers, a hardware shop, a bakers, Roses shoe shop, a Farrand’s grocery shop, a post office, and a wines and spirits shop. The shoplifting craze hadn’t fully installed itself with the local at this time.

2014:

Now at the market: It has all been pedestrianised, the market is no longer held five days a week, but three, and the 54 stalls that used to be there, are down to about 11. Bakers, three greengrocers stalls of sorts, socks & gloves stalls, hot-cold take-away foods, fishmongers van, four women’s clothes stalls, games stall, DVD stall, Accident
cinsurers/claims people lurking, and depressed big issue sellers were there on the day of our visit.

18 8 041963:

Then, there were several greengrocery stalls, two bakery stalls, two butchers stalls, pottery stalls, a fishmonger, a hot pie and peas whelks etc. stall, a chip shop van, a grocery stall, a florist stall, men’s-wear stalls, ladies-wear stalls, shoe stalls, toy stalls, record stalls, hardware stalls, sweet stalls, etc. The trolley buses terminus around the traffic island. (3d [1¼p]maximum fare)

2014:

Around the market: Greggs hot food (20% VAT), Cohen’s Jewellery shop, cheap freezer centre, cheap foods, a pound shop, stationers, a butcher who sells his meat by the tray with no weights indicated, a book shop, JCP benefits office, the Police Station torched in the riots (still closed), the bus station (£1.80 minimum fare), café’s, the canal (where the two kids threw another kid into it last January), the new Tram stop, and the highly ignore pedestrian crossing.

 

1963:

Marsden’s Grocers (I worked there), Newspaper shop, sweet shop, shoe shop, Jewellery store, Woolworth’s, Elmo supermarket, Co-op grocers, pub, the butchers who sold the glorious beef dripping with jelly, Chip shop, Police Station (With Policemen), furniture shop, record shop, and a Cowheel, tripe, pie & jellied eel shop.

The sound of the market in 1963 were those of the barkers selling their wares and food, the bus conductors calling out to the passengers, the laughter of the children and their mothers telling them off, and the occasional sound of traffic. (The trolley buses made no noise other than that of their tyres)

Today, we heard the constant stream of bad language coming from the kids, while their mothers ignored them as they were using their mobile phones to shout down, and the sound of emergency services sirens seemed to be always in the air.

Never mind eh!