Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Via Arboretum

Saturday 10 May 2008, 3.30pm at the Waverly Street entrance to The Arboretum.

The Arboretum is full of visitors lazing around and soaking up the sun.

'The Chinese Bell Tower'. The bell in question was taken from Canton after the city was taken during the 1857 war with China. The cannon guns were taken at Sebastopol during the Crimea War, 1854–56. The Notts Regiment of Foot are also remembered somewhere on the tower/monument. I have a included a quote from Robert Mellors, a Nottingham historian, who wrote The Parks and Walks of Nottingham and District in 1926 below.

Young musicians and their friends chill out in a corner of The Arboretum.

As I said in my last blog on Sunday I walked into town on Saturday to have a closer look at Canning Circus, then cut through the General Cemetery so I could visit The Arboretum on my way to the Victoria Centre. As you can see from the above pictures The Arboretum was busy with folk enjoying the hot sunny weather.

To quote from the City Council's own website entry: '
The Arboretum is Nottingham's oldest public park and the one that is closest to the city centre. This historic, beautifully maintained park covers an area of approximately 7.6 hectares, measuring 360m by 310m at its widest extent, and contains a host of original features that make this site unique within the city including the fine collection of trees that lend the site its name. Opened on the 11th May 1852 by the Mayor, Mr W Felkin and the Sheriff of the Borough, Mr Ball, in front of 30,000 people, the Arboretum continues to attract a year round audience. Easily accessible from the city centre and the wider community via the tram network that runs alongside, this park plays a vital role for the local community and is the site for many organised events through the summer'.

The Arboretum has a lake,an aviary and a formal garden. In a couple of weeks, on Sunday 25 May it will be hosting Nottingham's annual Green Festival, so if you want to go and have a look for yourself, then on Sunday week you there will be lots more to see and do. At the Addison Street end of the park you can walk under the road and along a green corridor to North Sherwood Street, from where you can walk straight through to the Mansfield Road. Turn left and at its junction a few yards away with Huntingdon Street cross the road and you can follow a corridor of green to Corporation Oaks and some fine views of Nottingham — a walk I will do for this blog soon.

But to end my visit to The Arboretum, I want to refer to what Robert Mellors wrote about The Chinese Bell Tower in 1926. It is one of the few occasions when he gives his readers an insight into his views. Eighty-two years on and they still resonate, for even though the names have changed, the injustice and madness of wars in countries we have no business to be in remains:

'Is it not a pity that the memory of wars that might have been avoided, and brought us no national credit, should have thus been perpetuated? The Crimean War was for very confused objects and doubtful results… The Chinese War was to compel China to open its ports to our commerce, which included opium, and which they were determined not to have… and the bell should remind us that it is our national duty to see that justice is done by other powers to China as a sovereign state, and that treaties which were wrung from her should now be revised with equity'.

I am so pleased that Lenton Recreation Ground is to be home to the Nottingham Peace Garden and I suspect that Robert Mellors, who writes very favourably about our little park, will be looking down upon us with approval — given that Lenton is the UK headquarters of the world's second largest small arms trade, but more about this blot on Lenton when the Peace Garden is in place and open to visitors.

The new London mayor, Boris Johnson, is to scrap
The Londoner newspaper and spend some of the savings on planting trees in the capital. Scrapping the promotional Greater London Authority newspaper will generate savings of nearly £3m per year, with a percentage of that sum to be spent on 10,000 trees on residential streets in deprived neighbourhoods by 2012, according to a GLA statement.


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