Tag Archives: Gotham

Proposed closure of Gotham Royal British Legion

15th December 2014

Public Notice – Proposed Club Closure

It is with great sadness that we have to announce that the Club’s present Committee have unanimously agreed that the Club can no longer continue operating mainly due to financial constraints and propose to cease trading at the end of January 2015. In accordance with the procedures a Special General Meeting is to be held on the 19th January 2015 at which a final decision will be made regarding this proposal.

legionPlease be advised that only fully paid-up members will receive a formal letter of invitation and they will be the only people allowed to vote on this issue.  

The financial constraints referred to above relate to the continued down turn in consumable sales, the liability for the maintenance and upkeep of the building. The situation has not been helped by the Club’s inability to attract new Committee Members, particularly in the positions of Secretary and Treasurer respectively.  

Whilst this was an almost inevitable outcome, given the policies adopted by previous regimes in not encouraging the younger generations, it is nevertheless extremely sad that another facility will be lost to the village and the surrounding areas.

The Committee would, however, like to take this opportunity to thank all of those members who have supported the Club over the years and would hope that you will continue to do so over the coming Festive Season as it will be business as usual until the final decision has been made.

To any non-members who may be interested in visiting the Club over the coming weeks please feel free to do so as you may not have another opportunity!

We should not forget that some 16 years ago the Club was pushed to the brink of bankruptcy following a period of unconstrained expenditure by the previous incumbent.

The fact that we survived that particular period and continued to trade was purely down to the unpaid voluntary work carried out by the few and whilst that still continues to this day it is, unfortunately, not enough to ensure survival.

Yours truly,

Mr. S. Kent

Club Treasurer

For and on behalf of the Club Committee

Gotham Fool History

Last year I did a literary walk of Nottingham with Michael Eaton as part of the Festival of Words and was shocked at how little people knew about their local history. Yes, they knew who Byron, Lawrence and Sillitoe were but they had no knowledge of other figures such as Slavomir Rawicz, Alma Reville and the eccentric 5th Duke of Portland.

DOTU on IpadNottingham may have a long history of rebellion and standing up to authority but it would appear we’re not so good at celebrating our own history and standing up for ourselves, so I decided to do something about this and resurrected 12 writers from the grave for a digital graphic novel called Dawn of the Unread. This can be read online and will soon be available as an App for iPhone, Android and the iPad. Reading habits are changing and so if I want Nottingham history to be celebrated then it has to be made accessible in as many formats as possible for a new generation of reader.

The project started on 8 February 2014 (National Libraries’ Day) and finishes on 8 April 2015 when a physical copy of the graphic novel will be presented to every school and library in Nottinghamshire.

Little Boxes 2On the 8th of each month a new chapter is released and is written and drawn by a different writer and artist. The 4th chapter ‘Little Boxes’ tells the tale of the Gotham Fool and how this led to Gotham becoming the mythical home of Batman. It is written by Adrian Reynolds and drawn by Francis Lowe and deals with perceptions of reality and mental health.

The graphic novel includes lots of embedded content which gives further context to the story in the form of videos, photographs and extended essays for readers who want to go deeper into the topic. To access these, just look out for a round circle with a star and click on it.

There is also a Twitter account called @GothamFool where every day a line is tweeted from the many tales of the Merry Men of Gotham as well as photographs that relate to the story to help build up a digital archive of this incredible story of local folklore.

DOTU ChallengeDawn of the Unread can either be ‘read’ as you would any story or you can ‘play’ it. To ‘play’ users are encouraged to answer questions, loan books from the library, visit locations related to the chapter and upload their own interpretations of the story which can be viewed on a screen outside Broadway Cinema, Nottingham. They get points for completing tasks and the person who scores the highest will feature as a character in the last chapter. Information packs are being sent out to all schools and colleges in Nottinghamshire, so please encourage fellow Gothamites to get involved and prove they are anything but fools!

James Walker Editor, Dawn of the Unread

Website www.dawnoftheunread.com

Twitter @dawnoftheunread

How to prevent our village sign being stolen again

Following the theft of our village road sign, which was widely reported in the national press, a number of readers have contacted us with advice on how to avoid this happening in the future.  Here is a selection of your correspondence:

Hello, I think I can solve your problem for you. In Liverpool Beatles fans kept pinching the Penny Lane sign, and it was costing the council a lot of money. Eventually they got a very big, smooth rock, put it in the ground and painted PENNY LANE in white paint. It wasn’t attractive enough to get stolen, but it did the job of showing the street name. The same happened in Hucknall when Brookside was big on Channel 4. A street called Brookside kept having its sign pinched, so I rang them and suggested what they did in Liverpool. It would save you a lot of money and wouldn’t look unsightly – make the lettering clear enough to read from a distance, but not so beautiful that someone will want it. Also, a rock would be too heavy for Batman fans to take the trouble of trying to load it on a van. Hope this helps.

I was reading an article about how people were continuously stealing the sign for the village of Gotham. Have you considered selling plastic replicas of the sign at your city hall or community center, this way people will maybe stop nicking them and the city makes some extra funds.

Hello there I saw the news recently regarding your village sign being stolen. We are a manufacturer of metal signs based in the UK and we can easily reproduce your sign for you. This would stop the original being stolen and raise money for the village. I can arrange a sample for you if you would like. If you need any more information please let me know.

If you have any suggestions, please submit them on our contact form.

Village History

Gotham is a small village situated midway on the original road between the major towns of Nottingham and Loughborough. The river Trent passes 2 miles to the north, the river Soar 4 miles to the west, whilst the Fairham Brook meanders lazily by, about 1 mile to the east. The village sits inside a semicircular amphitheatre of mainly wood-covered hills which rise to a height around 100 metres above sea level.

The village is first recorded in the Domesday Book survey in 1086 when about twenty families resided here. Since that time the population has gradually increased over the centuries from 224 in 1601, 475 in 1801, 1009 in 1901 to around 1800 today.

The village is still surrounded by fields and its perimeter has not xpanded too significantly. As in other parts of the realm, the Enclosure Act of 1804 divided up the larger estates into more manageable fields ith wider ownership and as a result in Gotham, the Lord of the Manor was not required to keep a bull or the Rector a boar for breeding purposes. Agriculture naturally remained the main occupation of the residents sometimes supplemented with basket making using reeds and ushes from the swampy ground to the east. Additionally in the mid 1800s the framework knitting business grew and reached a peak with ome 87 knitters in 27 workshops being recorded in various village houses. As large knitting factories were built elsewhere this trade radually fell away by the end of the century.

It was fortunate that about this same time the local farmers during their ploughing were uncovering gypsum rock which, when collected and sold, could supplement their meagre incomes. However it was not until the ate 1800s that, after some ownership changes and consolidation, 3 separate drift mines were dug into the hills on the outskirts of the village.  It should be mentioned here that similar situations arose in the adjacent villages of Barton, Thrumpton, Kingston and East Leake where their drift ines headed into these same hills from the opposite direction. Production of gypsum products rose rapidly with Gotham mines upplying at one stage one third of the country’s requirements. At their peak some 400,000 tons of rock and plaster products were being espatched annually. The round-the-clock noise from the crushing machines and the combined smoke and dust from the three mills were a constant reminder of their presence.  The effects of this industry on the village were considerable. There was an influx of labour from other areas and ancillary trades developed, e.g. brickworks, soap works, blacksmiths, carters, wheelwrights, saddlers, bag makers, etc. To cater for the coal required for the mills’ boilers and the amount of gypsum being sold, a railway branch line from the main line at Ruddington was introduced in 1900. Many attempts to persuade the railway company to include passenger traffic were rejected.  However with the improvements in lorry traffic and rationalisation of the railway system the branch line was eventually closed in 1965.  As a direct result of the above, house building for the workers gathered momentum following World War I, specifically creating Leake Road including Ridgeway and also houses on the north side of the Nottingham Road. These significant additions required changes to street names and some houses being renumbered. Inside the village many thatched cottages were either pulled down or their roofs retiled (only one now remains). Immediately prior to World War II some 16 Council houses were built on Moor Lane, and then following World War II a succession of council houses were built on Wodehouse Avenue (65), and Bidwell Crescent (24). Subsequently, private estate houses were built on Kegworth Road (55), Curzon Street (88), Grasmere Gardens (10), St. Andrew Close (17), Foredrift Close (5), Monks Lane (6), Home Farm (5) and more recently Chapel Close (5). Regular planning applications by developers to build further estates on the outskirts of the village, thus violating the green belt status, have so far not been approved.

Other post World War II businesses which thrived during this period included the glove factory, Joywully knitwear, the South Notts Bus Company and various lorry companies. There were many shops and sometimes two on each street. At one time there were 5 businesses selling petrol to a rapidly increasing number of car owners. The four public houses together with the Royal British Legion have always benefited from visitors wishing to hear about the Tales of Gotham folklore stories, and still continue to be well patronised.  However with the rundown of the 3 gypsum mines due to the underground rock being exhausted (2 closed in 1960 and the final one in 1990) together with the shut down of the knitwear factories, the occupations of the residents changed permanently. The villagers were forced to commute to work places further afield, eg the Nottingham East Midlands Airport, the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, and various workplaces in towns where they could also do their shopping in supermarkets. As a result many village shops and all petrol outlets were closed down. Meantime the lorry traffic through the village, mainly to and from the M1 motorway, continued to increase and eventually after significant lobbying a new bypass road was built in 1996.

During these past 200 years there have been links between the religious establishments and the schooling of the growing number of children in the village. The church built in the centre of the village in 1180 continues to this day. A village school was built and paid for by Earl Howe in 1829. This establishment continued until 1879 when it was replaced by the Board School on Kegworth Road to accommodate 200 pupils. The two main chapels, one Methodist and one Wesleyan were built around the 1870s to satisfy the particular religious needs of the knitting and mining families. Both these chapels extended their buildings to provide additional educational teachings at weekends. However, with the decline of the Methodist movement in the village, the chapel on Meadow End has now been converted to a private dwelling, whilst the Wesleyan Chapel on Nottingham Road has been demolished to provide the new Chapel Close Estate. Members of the non-conformist chapels now hold their services in the church and discussions are presently in progress to consider complete amalgamation.

In 1956 Gotham children over 11 years of age together with those of surrounding villages were moved to Harry Carlton Comprehensive in East Leake to complete their education. Later, in 1965, Gotham School size was increased by the construction of prefabricated buildings on the opposite side of the road to the main school to cater for infants from Barton, Thrumpton and Kingston schools which were closing. Plans to replace the existing two part school with a new building are about to come to fruition.

The village has always had a strong community spirit no doubt due to the original mining culture plus the need for all wise fools to stick together. The St Lawrence Football Club, the cricket club, the Temperance Band, all started before 1900, and are well documented.  The generosity of mine owners Derbyshire and Sheppard in donating eleven acres of land to the village for a Memorial Hall and recreation ground in 1921 continues to be appreciated. Bowls, tennis, playground equipment, and more recently a sports complex have been added and are envied by outsiders. Today there are some twenty active organisations covering a wide variety of interests. Included on the ground are the village library and health facilities which link with the County and Borough organisations.

Gotham people are proud of their village and long may they continue to be so.