As part of Nottingham Light Night 2019 the Lace Market Theatre was offering behind the scenes tours and as this is a local theatre that I keep meaning to visit but haven’t got around to (I promise I’ll go see something there this year!) we thought it would be a nice change of pace to the normal Light Night activities.
27 St Mary’s Gate is a building in the Lace Market area of Nottingham. It was built in 1849 for Louis Augustin Baillon, the Vice Consul of France, as consulate offices. By 1868 it had been turned into a lace warehouse.
As is tradition we visited Nottingham’s Light Night event last Friday and as is also tradition, there just isn’t time to see everything so I planned a route around the city that would work for the time we had available. The only thing we didn’t manage to visit was the Museum of the Moon at the Concert Hall – kudos to everyone who was prepared to stand in the exceptionally long lines to get in, we decided in the end that we were prepared to skip it for other things.
As has become a yearly exercise I went out last week to take some photos of the Christmas lights around Nottingham. I was particularly impressed this year by the lights and tree in the Exchange shopping area as in the first picture below.
The Elite Building used to be a cinema but now houses many other businesses such as a nightclub and a variety of different shops. It was one of Nottingham’s “super-cinemas” designed by the London architectural firm of Adamson & Kinns and opened on 22 August 1921 with Mary Pickford in Pollyanna. The interior, which I’ve never seen myself and no doubt has changed considerably, included a restaurant, tea room and a ballroom, not to mention the cinema area having a concert organ and space for a full orchestra.
The Martins Bank building below, as of taking the picture a bar, was the first of two branches to open in Nottingham in 1931.
Mapperley Hall was built by Ichabod Wright, a banker, in 1792. The Wright’s were a prominent family in Nottingham and many of them have plaques erected in St Mary’s Church. It was their home until the end of the 19th century when it became part of University College Nottingham. As best as I can make out it has now been split into separate flats.
St Mary Magdalene Church has been on my local must list visit for a number of years and I finally managed it in September. It is most notable for being the burial place of both Lord Byron and his daughter, the mathematician Ada Lovelace.
We received a very warm welcome from two of the volunteers who throughout our visit were very accommodating and chatted to me about the church, providing some extra details about the history of the building. The church does however have a lot of information boards about Byron, Ada and other figures connected to the church, as well as QR codes making it possible to work your way around several “trails” depending on who you want to focus on.
The building itself is on the site of an old Saxon church, the porch dating from 1320 and the tower built in stages between the 12th and 14th centuries. Much of the rest of the building dates from 1872.
The church has many claims to fame. The first of course is as the burial place of Lord Byron and in the baptistery there are many objects related to him including this quite impressive plaque and statue.
One of the other claims to fame is as the burial ground of Ada Lovelace, Byron’s only legitimate daughter, a mathematician who is credited with having written the first computer programme. Byron and her mother separated shortly after her birth and so she never knew her father. She did however remain fascinated with him though her mother steered her towards more scientific subjects rather than poetical. She died of cancer aged 36 in 1852 and was the last member of the family to be buried in the vault, at her own request. What you see of the tomb isn’t actually that impressive, as the coffin is actually beneath the church, but interesting to see nonetheless.
Another claim to fame is that St Mary Magdalene has a large collection of stained glass windows by Charles Eamer Kempe a renowned Victorian designer.
Definitely worth a visit. You can see some more photos here.
As part of Heritage Open Day in September we visited the Nottingham Heritage Vehicles Charity in Hucknall. I try to visit somewhere new each Open Day and as I’d never heard of this place until I’d spotted it on the website I thought it was worth taking a chance on. The NHVC’s aim is to preserve and restore local transport and as such they had different buses on display during our visit.
The Birkin Building in the Lace Market in Nottingham was designed by Thomas Chambers Hine another architect who, like Watson Fothergill, made a big impact on the city. It was, of course, a lace warehouse made for Richard Birkin, a lace manufacturer, in 1855.