What did West Bridgford look like before the Musters estate was sold off and the transition to a town began? A rural idyll if two visitors are to be taken at their word. The first is an account by M H Barker, published in 1835:
“I continued my walk to the village, which certainly presents a picture of rural neatness. The cottages, with their gardens in front filled with plants and flowers, had a show of gladness about them that told a tale of industrious tranquillity, united to calm simplicity. The village is rather straggling and detached, but it comes very near the beau-ideal of those pleasant spots which the poet and the painter love to trace. A neat house has recently been erected on the right hand and the cropped yews, which formed a sort of arch in the back ground, had a fantastic though not an unpleasing effect.”
Some years later, around 1880, John J Ogle, journeyed from Nottingham and described what he found on his arrival:
“The Nottingham and Melton Railway shuts out the townward view, all is rural, and sweet as rural. The houses of the village have an individuality about them. They do not all look east or west. North or South, as in a town street. Nor is anyone exactly opposite any other. A county mansion in red brick is next to a group of labourers’ cottages, with thatched roof supporting a rich crop of chickweed and moss, and over the way are a farm house and buildings surrounding a yard where pigs and poultry fraternise with a white heifer. A long high wall hides everything in the squire’s less democratic ground [as seen in the illustration]. The church rises grandly in the midst of the housesteads. The urban visitor passes on: a turn or two in the road, which is not the cleanest, brings him side by side with an orchard. The brook filled with the morning rains flows gently by, watering the roots of the hedgerow that is resplendent in the massed bloom of the hawthorn.”
Written by West Bridgford & District History Society.
The West Bridgford and District Local History Society meets in the hall of the Musters Road Methodist Church, on the corner of Musters Road and Patrick Road.
Our talk on Monday 9th January at 7.30pm is “Roughnecks of Sherwood”, when Linda Stevenson will tell us about the secret wartime oilfield in Nottinghamshire.