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!

Inchcock’s Historical Walks of Ye Olde Nottingham: To the Arboretum

Inchcock’s Historical Walks of Ye Olde Nottingham

*Incorporating his Guide to Visitors to the Arboretum

Crowds

No mobiles or ipods, muggers, radios, drugs, beggars or rubbish in them days. Nice!

A place where an extensive variety of woody plants are cultivated. For scientific, recreational, educational, and ornamental purposes.

We start at Radford Road, departing from where the Alms Cottages were situated, until the 1960’s, when the then new Police Station was built, and later fire-bombed in the 1982 and 2011 Nottingham Riots.

Police fire

Canning Circus Police Station – fire-bombed in the last riots.

We walk up along the road, past where ‘The Grand Theatre’, where Nottingham’s first screening of films to the public on 13th July 1896 was situated. It closed in the 50’s. It reopened as the Leno Cinema, and was very popular. A pay-day loan company and a bookies shop that got raided last month is now at this spot on the road.

As we pass the Jeweller’s shop on our left, that was ram raided in the 2011 riots, and we pass the alleyway that Albert Staples (71) was stabbed to death in 2008, we come to the ‘We buy gold’ pawnbrokers, where the Co-op food store stood up until 2000, and the police car was fire-bombed in 2011.

As we get to where now stand’s the much shop-lifted Asda (Walmart) store, that replaced the twelve year old blocks of flats that had to be pulled down due to their crumbling concrete, we see the graffiti covered war memorial plaque near the market stalls, in front of the public house where two men were stabbed last March.

Over the road on our right, the church that has now become a mosque is sat between the Indian take-away, and the Benefits Office. Neither were attacked during the riots.

At the second-hand charity shop, next to the three closed down retail units, we turn left onto the damaged trees-lined Gregory Boulevard, with the remains of the fire-bombed cafe on our left, hidden behind the graffiti covered advertising panels.

We cross the road to our right, we pass the Oriental/Asian food superstore, with its colourful array of old fruit, wrinkled vegetables, and threatening stares from the gathering clan of local youths waiting to go to the Job Centre Plus.

RubbishAt the traffic lights near the Forest recreation fields, and closed down church, we turn up Mount Hooton Road, where the Tram stops, and park & ride car park, that had three cars stolen and fourteen damaged in the 2011 Nottingham riots, is situated.

We walk up the hill, ignoring the condoms and blood on the pavement, and cross over the road at the ‘out of order’ pedestrian crossing lights.

pneuAt the top of the hill, we pass the Public House on our left of what now is Waverley Street, down the hill.

On our left, the P N E U Schools (Independent) with its Security Guarded gates at 13 Waverley Street, with its security guards and alarmed gates. Then on our right, the rows of old Victorian houses, in which the rich and wealthy of Nottingham once lived, the first two now knocked into one and occupied by the Ukrainian Social Club.

hid in treesDown the hill, we come to the first gate into the Nottingham Arboretum (where I was mugged last September), where you can imagine in days gone by the nannies would take their charges for a stroll in their prams, listen to the music from the Band Stand, and partake in an ice-Treesmuggedcream. Today it is where the prostitutes take their charges for a stroll into their knickers, listen to the music from their ipods, and partake in sex and drugs.

There was always a park keeper prepared to take care of you in the old days. Nowadays there is always a mugger lurking to take care of your money, mobile, and cash-card.

Where once the lovingly cared for beds of flowers flourished, the detritus and debris of the current lifestyle litter the place, fag-ends, dumped old cycles, condoms, phlegm, sweet wrappers, and the like.

Ducks

Cleaner in those days yer know…

The large pond, once so praised and appreciated by Nottingham folk, now stinks as the leaves are left to rot in the water. The few ducks left struggle to swim in the murky water, and the peacocks have all been killed or stolen.

The CCTV camera put in place in 2006, and had its wires cut the same day, is still not operational.

HotelarsonWhere once the cafe hut was always busy, and the chairs outside always full of happy sociable customers, now the chairs have been stolen, and they only sell coke and sandwiches through the narrow security grating.

AviaryWe walk down passing the Mansfield Road entrance, we pass the Aviary, where the Police van was attacked in the 2011 Nottingham riots, and Karen Mitchell was raped last April, we pass the Park Bench donated in the memory of a local councillor, now vandalised and dilapidated, next to the spot where the police found a knife, that turned out to be the murder weapon used in the killing of a 54 year-old female shop assistant on Mansfield Road, another unsolved murder, in 2002.

We end this enjoyable Historical Walk of Olde Nottingham, exiting the Arboretum opposite the fire-bombed in the 2011 Nottingham riots, Police Station, now closed down.

Anyone interested in taking a ‘Guided tour of Olde Nottingham’, please contact the Tour Guide, Juan Inchcock, at Nottingham City Hospital, the Benefits Offices on Parliament Street, the Pound Shop or Alcoholics Anonymous.

More Historical Walks of Ye Olde Nottingham to follow.

Inchcock’s Guide to Nottingham’s arboretum

aGuide topYour tour guide will walk you through the route from Hyson Green, to the Nottingham Arboretum – describing along the way, the current multi-culturally rich lifestyle as opposed to the history of Nottingham in the same area.

The following statement was given to the Nottingham police, by a 67 year old, 5’3″ tall, made redundant, overweight, bald, bespectacled, hearing aids wearing, depressed, cardiac suffering, arthritic, lesser endowed, angina ridden, imitation man named Juan Inchcock, after he’d decided to take a walk (hobble) for the first time in years through the Nottingham beautiful Arboretum, to feed the ducks, in an effort to cheer himself up a bit.

The Statement:

On Friday 1st October, I took a walk to the Nottingham Arboretum on Dryden Street.

I meandered down the contraceptive ridden top path, walking down through the bottles and food packages, and the abandoned broken umbrella, to the detritus covered duck pond at the bottom of the site.

The ducks were not around, so I fed the pigeons some bread and seed, as I rebuffed the foul mouthed down-and-out Wurzel Gummage double who was demanding money from me.

I was walking between some bushes and trees towards the exit, two youths appeared, one holding a knife, and they demanded my cash and cash card. I(I realised this after a while, as it took me a bit of time to hear and understand what they wanted due to their accents and me hearing aids… but I got it after one pointed his steak-knife in my direction.) The one that looked like a miniature version of Wladimir Klitschko did most of the threatening and had the knife.

They were very unhappy when I told them I did not have a cash card on me, then I produced the £2.45 in cash I had on me… they searched me and nicked me mobile, then belted me around the head, and ran off with my carrier bag, that contained an apple, some medications, a pack of tissues, a pot of nuts, and a small carton of orange juice.

As I rose from the ground, I realised I’d landed in some dog excrement.

At least they did not take my bus-pass!

Signature: Inchcock Chambers

ParkingsafeThe officers I was reporting this to, called in other officers, who had a good read and jolly laugh at my statement wot I’d dun and written like.

Of course they took in seriously.

I’ve not heard anything since.