sticking my pole

A walk along Popham St, Maltmill Ln and Cliff Rd.

I recently learned that an area near where I live in Nottingham will be razed to make way for a new Central Nottingham college. There is nothing especially special about the area and it wont really be missed by anyone having been through a lot of change over the last couple of hundred years anyway. You can see the area very clearly in this picture from about the 1960s or 70s (I dunno) which was listed by Bubblewrap on Nottstalgia

Formally the route of the Great Central Railway which used to follow the route of the Nottingham Express Transit NET from Weekday Cross tunnel (now behind the Nottingham Contemporary Gallery) and over Nottingham Midland Station into the Meadows also had an adjoining bit of railway coming from the east on a black brick viaduct of which only a few arches remain. Same as above but from the other side.

This bit of railway (I think) came from High Level station (white building now gone) that used to be (until the Hickings building on Queens Rd was revamped) the Hooters restaurant and before that an antique shop. It was pulled down about 10 years ago. The railway extended over London Rd, somehow going in line or over the canal and must have crossed canal street somewhere between the old school buildings and Trent St (probably somewhere to the east of the job centre). Either way I don’t remember it.

The buildings in my pictures are only of interest to old picture and map geeks like me. For years now I’ve always had one eye on any empty or to let buildings because of my constant urge to find bigger premises for the Nottingham Hackspace. This means any derelict, empty or disused looking building within a 2 mile radius of town catches my eye.

I imagine the reason that this bit of railway viaduct wasn’t pulled down with the rest is because of the businesses in the arches below. They probably provided the land owner with an income and pulling down the viaduct would have cost more money than it was worth and would be a needless disruption to the garages below.

Having had a bit of a walk around the site earlier in the year I was aware that at least one of the garages is still in use at that time though all of the building looked long past best.  This area formally known as narrow marsh had been a nasty slum cleared in the 1930s and later loosing its church to a Luftwaffe bomb in 1942s Nottingham Bltz.

Most interesting of all the building (in my opinion) is the works at the end of Popham St that backs onto a substation on Cliff Rd. On it’s roof are two rusting iron cube shaped frames and I’d often wondered what these had been used for. You can see them clearly from the tram or from Middle Hill (as you come past the tram line after the Nottingham Contemporary). I was looking at some old pictures of this area and found out that these frames had held some huge hoppers which had fed something into the works below. The hoppers had been removed leaving only the frames behind. Old Middle Hill. Another old picture of the building’s cubes here and here.

Knowing it wouldn’t be many years before these building were swept away forever I thought I might add to the historical archive by taking a few picture. I took my Go Pro HD Hero 2 camera with me and used it mounted on a 14 ft pole I found in a skip. Though I’m a little disappointed with the height pictures, the pole add an advantage I’d not thought of before. When photographing derelict building with broken windows and all sorts of holes in the walls, you can put the pole and camera places you couldn’t possibly reach yourself. I was very pleased with the results.

I enjoy looking at old pictures so much I actually envy future generations their ability to look back on Google Street view. Imagine how amazing it’d be to stroll down the streets of your childhood, now changed forever. The Google Street View archives in the future are going to be very popular I’d think with both serious and amateur historians.