Tag Archives: Nottingham

The Snow Arrives

Finally, it arrived.

It wasn’t impressive.

We have some snow left in the street, where it will be a patchy nuisance until it melts, but all the main roads are clear. Driving into town to pick up Julia at 4.00 pm it was quite clear that the centre of town was warmer than Sherwood as there was nothing on the floor at all, not even the narrow road at the back of the leisure centre.

The bad news is that we’re meant to be down to minus 12 degrees C tomorrow. That’s minus 10.4 degrees F. We will be as cold as northern Scotland, which, the news tells me, is colder than Everest.

Based on the accuracy of previous forecasts that will probably be a few degrees under freezing.

Number Two son has just been out for a walk and says it isn’t too bad. He arrived home by train this afternoon and says Sheffield has even less snow than Nottingham.

All in all, it’s a very unsnowy day round here, though news reports do show that there is plenty of snow locally. Looks like we dodged the bullet.

Though it may be a bit early, as their is time for snow yet, I will permit myself a small smile. ūüôā

Nottingham 1911 Veterans’ Dinner

This is the medal that was given to members of the Boy’s Brigade and Boy Scouts who lined the procession route for the Veterans’ Parade in Nottingham during the Coronation celebrations. The Scouts were, at that time, a new organisation compared to the Boy’s Brigade. The medal features two stags with very flat antlers. They have to be flat to allow room for all the wording.

I presume Mrs J A Morrison was the wife of J A Morrison DSO, who was MP for East Nottingham between 1908 and 1912, and was host of the dinner.

There is a book which lists the names of the war veterans who went to the dinner, which was held at the Empress Rink, King Edward Street, Nottingham. The skating rink is reported as burning down in 1910 and being rebuilt as a cinema, which opened in January 1913 so I’m not sure how it hosted the dinner in June 1911.

There were 1,600 veterans, with 2,475 medals between them. The oldest veteran was 90-year-old E Pratt of the 17th Foot, who lost eight toes to frostbite in the Crimea.

Each veteran was given a copy of the book as a souvenir, with Stewards being given silver jewels (which I have seen, though never been able to photograph), and Captain Morrison, as he was then, being given a gold and enamel jewel.

Edit: This is a link to the catalogue archive of auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb showing a picture of a silver stewards jewel.

A Thing of Beauty

No, it’s not another picture of Julia, though if she’s reading this I would like to point out that the title would fit.

This is an item I saw in a collectors’ shop in Nottingham last week. It’s the badge of an ex-Lady Mayoress of Nottingham from 1951-2. The workmanship, including the enamelling, is top quality, and it really is a thing of beauty. It is also a piece of Nottingham history.

Ruth Wigman, the recipient, would probably to be the wife of Alderman George H. Wigman who was Lord Mayor at that time. I’ve tried various searches but the internet seems to be empty of information on the Wigmans. I had hoped that Wigman Road might be something to do with them, but it just seems to complicate the search.

It is made from 9 carat gold and manufactured by Vaughtons of Birmingham. It appears that it was assembled after the engraving was done, as one of the fixings has obscured part of the inscription.

One of the more notable Vaughton family members was Oliver Howard Vaughton.¬†He played football for England and Aston Villa, won the All England Skating Championship, cycled, swam, played county cricket for¬†Warwickshire¬†and was a County hockey player. He’s a bit more famous than the Wigmans, though, to be fair, neither of them scored five goals in an international football match or won the FA Cup.

History in a Junk Box

There was a time when dealers used to have junk boxes full of clapped out coins, broken bits and base metal medallions. I certainly did. When I bought mixed boxes at auction the detritus from the bottom, after being carefully checked, would end up tipped in the junk box.

When buying, the junk boxes of other dealers were my natural habitat. I’ve bought some good stuff out of junk boxes. It seemed like they would never end. Then ebay came along and¬† it all ended up on line.

The contents of the box could cover anything from ancient coins to petrol station giveaways, via Georgian medals, Victorian adverts and pre-decimal coins. One of the staple items was the mass produced commemorative medal. They really started in a big way with Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 and ended in the 1930s with a flurry of royal events – George V’s Jubilee, the abdication (though this is shown only by the¬† items of Edward VIII (which aen’t really rare, whatever dealers may say) and, finally, the coronation of George VI.

This is the medallion Nottingham produced for the 1897 Jubilee of Queen Victoria

This is the Edward V!! medal from Nottingham – note the foresters supporting the coat of arms.

The colour changes for 1911, as do the supporters on the coat of arms, but the general idea remains the same. There is a second version of the medal, often known locally as the unofficial version (see below).

There is a medal very similar to the 1911 coronation medal – made for the 1914 Royal visit. It isn’t just in recent years that the Royal Family has been unpopular, there were seven attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria and one on Edward VII. In 1914, to encourage public approval George V embarked on a programme of visits. I’ve seen the itinerary for his visit to Nottingham – he visited Arnold and Mansfield too, though I think he just waved at Arnold in passing.

Royal visit to Nottingham (above( and Dundee (below).

Things seemed to tail off after that, with a much smaller selection being produced for 1953. To set it in perspective, rationing was still in force in 1953, and the fledgling Matchbox company struggled to produce model cars when metal supplies were diverted to fighting the Korean War.

This is one of the later medals, from Mansfield Woodhouse.

I have plenty more to show you yet, so don’t worry about me running out for the next few weeks,

Desert Island Blogs (3)

The moment of truth. The acid test. The place where cliches come to die…

Part 1 was easy as the three bloggers have all become part of my daily life over the last few years and with eight slots that still left five. Part 2 was harder. The blogs are also part of my blogging life, but the choices had to be made against a background of declining availability. I’m happy that all the choices are good, I’m just concerned that I only have two slots left to go and more than two blogs to fit in.

From Lancashire we moved to Lincolnshire. In phonetic terms it wasn’t a great change, but in terms of weather it was a revelation. In Lincolnshire they have weeks where there is no rain.

They also had a village school that looked like it had been undisturbed since the old Queen’s jubilee. It had two rooms, dip pens, inkwells, a pot-bellied stove and a map where the Empire was still coloured red. There’s one very much like it in Retford Museum.

My penultimate choice is Beating the Bounds¬†– a blog about walking and nature and family and the area around Lancater. I’ve just been reading one of his posts and it’s like entering a different world¬†– lizards, damsel flies, beetles, birds, butterflies limestone pavements, bilberries, Are You Being Served? and the Song of Soloman have all featured recently.

A blog that can weave cheesy seventies comedy and the King James Bible into one story has to be one to watch. Add trips to the Lake District and Silverdale, deer in the garden and digressions into books, science, art and history…

After Lincolnshire we moved to Peterborough, which is where the family stayed. My Dad and sister are still there. There are far too many memories to even start. One of the most significant features is that the place is cluttered with Magpies now, but when we lived there we only saw Magpies when we visited Lancashire. Same with Buzzards. There are Red Kites round Peterborough now often to be seen circling over the A1 and the city tip. We had Lapwings, Yellow Wagtails, nesting Long-tailed Tits in the rough grazing around the house with newts in the back garden. As the area has been developed over the last 50 years these have all disappeared.

Final choice is difficult.

It goes, after a ecrtain amount of heart-searching, to Helen. She’s currently experimenting with bokashi (or fermented Japanese compost if you prefer it in English). She’s a couple of weeks ahead of me, which is good because I can learn from her experiences.

The blog captures the true up and down moments of growing back garden veg, making compost, learning about permaculture, earthworms and volunteering. And much, much more, as they say in the adverts. Her broccoli is currently looking skeletal after a butterfly attack, She’s taking it well, as I try to do, because let’s face it, butterflies need to eat too.

It was touch and go here, and it was hard to exclude The Snail of Happiness. So hard in fact, that she seems to have managed to get in despite my decision. When you grow veg, cook ethically, raise chickens and crochet blankets for refugees it’s always going to be tough to keep her out. So I sneaked her in.

That’s about it for now. All that remains are the bits and pieces.

I can have Shakespeare and an “appropriate cultural or philosophical work”. I don’t want The Bible¬†because I know how it ends, so I’m going to opt for The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy. It’s the story of the Reformation, and though I’ve read and enjoyed The Voices of Morebath I’ve never tried the bigger book. It’s been on my shelves for a while but I haven’t actually opened it. When I have plenty of time to sit and wait I’ll have a good crack at it.

I intend building a tidal fish trap and digging a pit to see what meat drops into it, hopefully a pig. I’m certainly not going to run round chasing things. I’d better learn how to make a salt pan and smoke fish too. By the time I’m rescued I’m intending to be fit, well fed, brainier¬†and, probably, sick of fish.

The book to read for pleasure is the collected version of the Chronicles of Narnia. I could probably make do with the first six, as I’ve often thought The Last Battle is a miserable piece of writing.

Finally, the luxury item.

What else could it be but another blog – I’ll go for the Nottingham Food Blog by Marcus from the Bread Group. We have baked much bread together, and managed to eat most of it, though I never did get the hang of rye bread.

It will be nice to read about the junk food of Nottingham while I’m away. He also writes about his devotion to the fast food of Chicago, so it’s never a boring blog, even though I do wonder what a blood test would reveal. I’d like to see him start testing porridge and salad to make sure he hangs around a bit longer.

And that, is that.

I’m off to look for a desert island now.

Closing music.

Career choices

It sometimes seems like I live at the hospital. I was back at the anti-coagulant clinic again this morning, being stabbed in the fingertips (twice, because the first test didn’t work). They are pleased with the way my blood no longer clots, though I’m not quite so happy with it, as I’ve been bleeding when injecting myself. One morning at the end of last week Julia pointed at my stomach and, horrified,struggled to get some words out. It appeared that the puncture wound from that night’s injection had bled in the night. I had a stain the size of my hand on my pyjamas and one about half the size on the bedding.

I like to think she was worried about me rather than the laundry…

Fortunately I’ve been told to stop injecting. I’ve still got to go back on Friday, but I’m hoping we can do less testing from now on, and do it at the GP. It’s hard even thinking about finding a job when you’re in and out of hospital.

Unfortunately, with the various problems, it’s not likely that I’ll be setting up as a jobbing gardener again and I’ve lost my enthusiasm for antiques. That only leaves taxi driving and pole dancing, the jobs of last resort. Taxi driving requires a clean car and being nice to people, so it clearly isn’t playing to my strengths. ¬†As for pole dancing, I fear there may, like hospital beds, be a weight limit.

I suppose I could always apply to be an NHS “mystery customer”, though there’s a limit to the number of catheters I’m prepared to have fitted in the interests of improving customer service.

If anyone can think of a suitable job for a lugubrious, larger than average, middle-aged man please let me know.

The pictures are from the bed curtains at City Hospital. I thought you would prefer them to the alternatives.

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