Thursday, 1 October 2009
Lenton in a picture – is it possible?
The four pictures which follow were all taken on Church Street, which runs west to east, from Gregory Street in Old Lenton to Park Street in New Lenton. A distance of about half-a-mile. If you walk from one end to the other you will see at least twenty points of historic interest, which for what first seems to be a quite short, unassuming, street is quite remarkable. I have decided Church Street will be my 2010 Lenton Festival Walk — which is 8–9 months away. For now, I just want to share the first two pictures, which I took this morning, and two I took in 2007. All are packed with history.
Lenton War Memorial has been cleaned and repaired, thanks to members of Holy Trinity Church who collected donations and obtained a grant to carry out the work. It looks very impressive, with the Albert Ball VC Memorial Homes in the background. This is one of my favourite Lenton views and, as far as I am concerned, this spot marks the centre of Lenton. If you didn't know, would you guess that this was in an area now regarded as part of Nottingham's inner city? I don't think so.I took this picture today. It is a picture I have thought about taking on numerous occasions and even tried to take a couple of times. Previous pictures have lost some of their detail, but today I have captured enough to risk publishing it on the web. Already, it has become one of my favourite Lenton pics. Why? I like the building lines, the mix of the old and the new, both in terms of what you see and where you are.
In the foreground and to the right I have caught a corner of the Albert Ball VC Memorial Homes and a blue front door, which date from 1923. To the right and past a tree, the modern brick bungalow built in the 1990s, then comes the white stucco 19th century building that was once a public house and to its side, on the left-hand edge of the picture, you can catch a glimpse of the Albert Square flats, which were built as student accommodation and include part of an old Lenton school which opened in 1896 (see picture below). Behind the white house you can see the tower of Lenton's Holy Trinity parish church, built in 1841–2, and on either side of the tower, sitting on the roof, are the tops of two of Lenton's five high-rise blocks of flats. In other words, here in one picture, you begin in Old Lenton and end in New Lenton. Then there are the trees. I wish there were more. Far too many of our side streets are devoid of trees and greenery. What would make this picture perfect for me would be a tall chimney, as a reminder of Lenton's place in Nottingham's industrial and manufacturing history. Finally, there is what you cannot see, but you may know is there — the railway line. Once the line of this road, now known as Old Church Street, would have taken you to a level crossing that disappeared a long time ago. Just one picture so packed with history that you could write a book about it.
The date in the stonework, '1896', tells you all you need to know for now. This picture is taken on Church Street, to the left is the railway bridge and behind is the modern extension know as 'Albert Square'.
My last picture is a view of Lenton high-rise flats from Lenton Boulevard. The road you can see is the eastern end of Church Street, which divides into three sections: Gregory Street–Railway bridge; Railway bridge–Lenton Boulevard and Lenton Boulevard–park Street. The block of flats you can see may just be the block you can see the top of in my second picture. The building on the left-hand corner is a wine bar called the Bag o' Nails, which was a bank when we came to Lenton in 1979. All around me is local history — as it is in all four of today's pics. Going to P&C, coming out and taking two pics, then wandering home with my arms full of flattened cardboard boxes and stopping in Lenton Rec to take some pics of Dave, our grounds–person, for another posting, resulted in my deciding what my Festival Walk next year will be about — Church Street.
So to answer my own question in the title of today's blog: Can you capture Lenton in a picture? When I started I thought the answer was 'no'. Now I'm not so sure. I may have an answer for you by the time I do the Lenton Festival Walk next year!