a sign of the times

I recently got a bit of encouragement on twitter for my blog post about the lost Nottingham Canal. If anything I only need the slightest provocation to geek-out about local history of lost infrastructure. Whenever I travel anywhere I always keep one eye out for “things-that-don’t-belong-to-our-time” in the built environment.

Junction of Colwick Road and Racecourse Road, just after Colwick Railway Crossing.


One such thing that I’ve been noticing for (probably) about the last 15 years is the “Nottingham Racecourse” sign on Racecourse Road, in Sneinton. No doubt you could speculate, why not have a sign for the Racecourse on Racecourse Road?


I don’t think the sign is especially old, probably from the 50s or 60s. The sign is made of box section metal and wood. The wooden parks are rotting away and will be gone soon and who knows how long the sign will last. Someone has tried to pull the “E” off the end of racecourse and a arrow has lost it’s wooden head. There seems to be wooden holders at the top of the sign where I suppose the next race meet could be advertised? These are in a bad state and will rot away in the next 5 to 10 years I’d have thought.


This sign is utterly unloved and forgotten, it’s neither been painted nor used in the time I’ve lived in Nottingham. Furthermore it seems to be in the wrong place. Way would it be North of the Daleside Road Roundabout? Why doesn’t Colwick Road go to Colwick? It’s these questions which make a mildly interesting puzzle game for me.

Having lived in the city only for about 15 years I’d not know that Daleside Road is fairly new having been built in about 1985. I’d not know that the eastern half of Daleside Road from the Racecourse roundabout follows the course of a removed railway line, and that the racecourse had it’s own station. Evidence of the line is plainly seen west of Racecourse road alongside Bendigo Lane (expect a blog post on Bendigo at a later date) and is an interesting walk/cycle for infrastructure geeks to get into town.

Racecourse Road sign about where the Racecourse Station would have started.


Racecourse Road, of course, used to be the ONLY road to the racecourse, there being no Daleside Road at all. The Racecourse sign would have been just before a railway bridge, about where the roundabout is now and traffic east would have run along Colwick Road, the ghost of which can be seen between Daleside Road and the racecourse, after the dog track. You don’t have to search very hard or look at many old maps to get the answers.


I’m utterly in love with the National Library of Scotland’s OS map overlay onto Bing Maps and would strongly recommend it to any infrastructure geeks as a tool to take out-and-about with you.

I know this sign will be something that many Nottingham reader will have seen and even easily remember it in use. I’d love to hear comments or recollection below filling in the gaps. Thank you and more soon.