Category Archives: History

Gotham & District Local History Society

The Gotham and District Local History Society was originally formed in 1974. Regular monthly meetings with appropriate speakers are held at 7-30pm in the Gotham Memorial Hall, Nottingham Road, on the third Thursday of each month with the exception of August. Other topics and correspondence are discussed after each talk. No membership joining fee is required. There is a separate attendance fee on the night. Typically 25-30 people attend the meetings.

For more information please visit the Society’s new and improved website HERE.

Village girls who died in factory blast

6194547-largeTwo young women from the same small Nottinghamshire village who died in the Chilwell shell factory blast are remembered on the county’s Roll of Honour.

Louie Chaplin was 19 and lived at Monks Lane, Gotham, with parents Ernest, a gypsum miner, and Margaret, sisters Florence and Nora and brother Joseph.

Fanny Taylor was 21 and lived with parents Joseph, also a gypsum miner, and Sarah Ann, sisters Doris and Elizabeth and brother Arthur at Bag Lane, Gotham.

6194548-largeThey were among more than 130 people killed at the factory in the explosion on July 1, 1918. Another 250 workers were injured.

Read more on the Nottingham Post website

The Cuckoo Bush Mound

L to R: Stan Watson, Allen Gorringe and Andrew Vickers
L to R: Stan Watson, Allen Gorringe and Andrew Vickers

The Cuckoo Bush mound is situated at the top of Court Hill the south of the village.  Walk up Hill Road, over Gypsum Way and follow the bridle path straight up the hill to the top.  The mound is situated just inside the corner of the wood where the path to West Leake forms a cross roads with the Gotham – East Leake path.

The mound is the alleged site for the tale of the Wise Men of Gotham’s attempt at fencing in the cuckoo. The wise men thought that the cuckoo was the harbinger of spring and summer, a time of plenty, and what better than to have good weather and good crops all year round? By keeping the cuckoo in the village surely good weather would remain all year and everyone would be well fed and warm always. Their attempt to fence the cuckoo in a bush failed when the bird flew away. The Gothamites had built the fence too low!

In fact the mound is a Neolithic burial mound. It is about three thousand years old and it was excavated in 1847. It contained two rock cut graves each with a burial; one with a flint spearhead and a bronze pin. The mound is roughly 20m in diameter and 1.5m high with a shallow ditch around its perimeter.

The land on which the mound stands is now owned by British Gypsum Ltd and with the go ahead of their head of environment, Allen Gorringe, two modern day Gothamites, Andrew Vickers and Stan Watson, cleared the mound over the winter period of its invading brambles and foliage and erected a mock fence around the site so that visitors can appreciate the splendour of this historic mound.

Why not go out for a walk and take in the mound? In April it was awash with a sea of bluebells. Stand on the mound and imagine no trees around you. The view over the Fairham Brook flood plain and Trent valley beyond would have been a dominant site for the graves of our Bronze Age forebears who lie interred in this barrow.

Andrew Vickers