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  1. Friday 6th September 1991

This year HASSRALE is holding its special event in Nottingham, described as a city of Lace, Legend and Literature. There is certainly plenty to see belonging to both past and present and we shall be endeavouring to provide a varied itinerary throughout our day's stay in the city.

The coach should arrive in Nottingham for 11am and will drop us at the coach-park in Wilford Street. This will give us approximately 8 hours to explore the city and return to the same spot to embark on the journey back to London.

Since people are likely to be in need of a drop or two of refreshment after the coach trip, it would seem appropriate to visit the establishment directly opposite the coach park. This is just across the road and is ...

1.The Navigation - Wilford Street. [11.45]
Banks's Mild, Bitter.

The pub is built with its front overlooking the road, but the side overlooks the Nottingham Canal. This is best viewed from the seats and tables along the towpath outside the pub, where landlubbers can see the antics of the waterborne fraternity struggling with the intricacies of lock navigation. Inside the pub has a number of seats on a raised gallery at the pool table end, with more accommodation nearer the bar which also serves snacks. We shall not dally here as there is much to see of a more historic nature. Leave to the left up Wilton Street and at the top junction cross over Castle Boulevard and carry on to the left. Take the next right into Castle Road and you will already be gaining a suspicion of how the road gained its name! However somewhere equally famous beckons as up the road a short distance on the left is ...

2. Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Inn - Castle Road [12.45]
Kimberley Best Bitter, Classic; Marstons Pedigree.

Named after the crusaders who used to pop in en route to the airport before going off to the Holy Land to holy things such as slaughtering Moors. Another claimant to being the oldest pub in England, however apparently in 1189 a pub existed on this site and apart from closing at inopportune times (beware it shuts at 3pm for the afternoon) it is still open. Needless to say it is a great tourist trap. There are a number of benches and tables outside and also a little tree-covered area, but all predictably are brimming with people. Inside the pub appears a lot smaller than I remember it being in 1971. This may be due to my somewhat impaired recall (they used to sell Ruddles County then), more due to the closing of the upstairs bar areas. What remains is a pleasant 2 bar, 3 room environment with unfortunately no evidence of the pub being hewn into local sandstone cliffs. The outside garden/patio also sports loos masquerading as bicycle sheds. The bars themselves are convivial, flag-floored, busy but not overcrowded. The pub is handy for the Brewyard museum, details of which will come under the "sight-seeing section" later on. Continue on up the hill past the Lace Centre (also see later). On the left is th somewhat controversial statue of Robin Hood, which portrays the legendary hero as a dwarfish character whose pose suggests that he should be adorning a BT telephone box. Further up on the right opposite the Castle is ...

3. The Old Castle - Castle Road [1.45]
ABC Bitter; Ansells Bitter, Tetley Bitter and Burton.

A popular pub in the local Fothergill-Watson style, with loads of tables and chairs, bare floorboards etc. Most of the clientele were outside, but they had to drink out of plastic glasses (Mothercare mugs?). The place has leaded glass (not plastic) depicting scenes involving scenes from the legendary hero (see above). Even if wet there should be plenty of room inside.

N.B This could also form a base point from which people may want to go sight-seeing. Details later.

From here turn left just down the hill then left again until the main road, Maid Marian Way (a somewhat unromantic dual- carriageway). Cross at the pedestrian lights avoiding The Salutation (a Whitbread pub, but it does do good food, whoops!), then just around the corner on the right is:-

4. The Royal Children - Canal Gate [14.30]
Home Mild, Bitter.

Large-ish multi-bar pub. Lounge area is split into 3, also has a public bar. Walls covered with paintings of Royal offspring. Traditional furnishings and layout i.e. Tudor beams etc. Has bell pushes strategically placed around the walls, originally to summon the bar staff, but no longer effective (the bells, not the bar staff). Not at all busy, plenty of seating and also boasts chilli or plain poppadoms. Exit from here to the left past the Old Salutation, but turn sharp left again up Maid Marian's Way. Now traverse the underpass to negotiate the roundabout, the intention is to keep right i.e. straight ahead. Just up on the right, turn right along St. James Street. This goes downhill (predictably) for 100 yards then on the right is:-

5. The News House - St. James Street [15.15]
Home Bitter and Mild (on electric pump).

A somewhat basic establishment, comprising two completely different style bars. The public bar is a somewhat rock-type under-18s area, but the saloon/lounge bar is a quiet rather more staid place with no loud music and room for about 30 people seated or standing. Apparently serves baps made with dripping instead of butter. Note that to obtain service in the lounge bar, attract the staff's intention by ringing the bell on the bar. (Habituees of Amsterdam's bars may need some persuasion since this normally signifies one's intention to buy drinks for everyone present!) Emerge from here then turn right and follow the road down to the left. This is still St James St, but a pedestrian precinct so watch out for cars. At the junction with Chapel Street turn left and just up on the left underneath the large bell pub-sign is:-

6. The Bell Inn - 18 Angel Row [16.00]
Bass Bitter; Jennings Bitter; Eldridge Pope Royal Oak; Marston's Pedigree; Theakston's XB, Old Peculier.

A splendid ancient establishment comprising 4 completely separate bars (note that the XB is only in the back bar). The front bar is the most popular mainly because people don't find the other bars. The back bar is the most capacious, plenty of seats and the most "traditional", also noticeably cooler, but this may not be a pre-requisite on the day! A good base from which to visit the shops and also to view the Council House (Town Hall).

At this point people have a choice to either head off through the Lace Market area towards the Grand Central or omit this (still go down Middle Hill) to the Fellows Morton & Clayton Ltd. Because of this suggested leaving times will no longer be given, suffice it to say that everybody must make their way back to the coach park by the allotted time of departure, currently 7 p.m., but check!

7. The Grand Central - Gt. Northern Close, off London Rd
Theakston XB, Old Peculier.

Built into the premises of the old LMS railway station, the line no longer runs. The original viaduct can be reached from the side of the pub and the old platform is still visible. The place is somewhat inundated with old railway memorabilia such as seating in railway carriages. It is a large pub with plenty of tables sorry, compartments. May be busy later in the day, but likely to be well after we've gone. I would suggest a return along Station Street and some people may wish to call in on the right at:-

8. The Granby - Station Street
Home Mild, Bitter (on electric pump).

A 2 bar pub right by the station as well as a hotel. Has a reasonable public bar which can get fairly busy, but again later on. The lounge bar is small and friendly and serves as the hotel bar for the residents. Nice and airy, worthwhile if stuck for a pub near the Queen's Hotel, but that's another story. N.B. If we suspect that pubs 10 & 11 may be closed we could include the hotel. Turning right at the end by the station will lead one up Carrington St to Canal Street where the route will meet up with the one from The Old Bell. On the south side of the street is:-

9. The Fellows Morton and Clayton Ltd - Canal Street
ABC Bitter; Samuel Fellows Bitter (OG 1039), Matthew Clayton Best Bitter (OG 1048).

Although it is a "home-brew" pub, it appears to have some affiliation to Whitbread. It is open throughout the day and is situated alongside the Canal Museum which is similarly open and does not charge entry. The brews were all quite potable (yes, probably portable as well!). The inside of the establishment is woody and quite dark, but not gloomy. Capacious single bar with sandwiches etc., but probably not all afternoon. Outside there are a number of picnic style seats and also the "privvies" (toilets). Access to the brewhouse can be found suspiciously near to the above-mentioned devices. This brewhouse is responsible for the Samuel Fellows/Matthew Clayton beers. There is a viewing window, but no conducted tours, unfortunately; however the premises house only a micro-brewery so there is not a great deal to see. Exit from here and retrace one's steps along Canal St and attempt to visit on the left (depending on the evening opening times) either one of the following ...

10. The Narrowboat - Canal Street
Shipstone's Bitter; Tetley Bitter.

Perpetually featured in the Good Beer Guide. Popular "J"-shaped bar straddling two rooms, also sports a snooker room. Obviously a popular haunt judging by the numbers, but the clientele seem to move on regularly. People in the back bar are served through a hatch, if you are that hungry. Note the knee-level mirrors disguisd as portholes. Alternatively (fingers crossed) just a little further along is ...

11. The Canal Tavern - Canal Street
Taylor's Landlord; Ansell's Mild; Tetley Bitter; Theakston's Old Peculier.

Although this looks a little modern i.e. like a wine-bar it has a good range of beers, some of which are guest beers so don't rely on the same ales, but anticipate a reasonable selection. Very amenable juke-box i.e. many plays for a pound. Plenty of seating, a trifle pricey, but different.

If we stick to this itinerary then we should be on time to round the corner into Wilford Street and the Coach Park (or the Navigation again if circumstances dictate!)

John Wright
2nd September 1991


No doubt some of you will wish to take the opportunity to break off from the suggested itinerary and have a look at some of the sights. The Lace Market area is unfortunately a shadow of its former self although the buildings are still standing as an impressive monument to the industry that made the city famous. These can be seen en route to the Grand Central as mentioned above.

The other main area is Castle Road and some of you may wish to use the Old Castle (open all day) as a base from which to investigate the environs.

A. Right by the Old Castle is Nottingham Castle itself. This impressive building is situated in attractive gardens which also house a bandstand. Entrance to the castle and gardens is free (except Sundays, don't dally too long). After negotiating the climb, the perimeter to the castle affords good views over the city and the cricket and football grounds are easily visible. The museum is extensive and would certainly take half a day to explore on its own. Entrance to this is free, but there is an additional charge to go down Mortimer's Hole and to the caves.

B. For those that wish to indulge in a more concentrated session of sight-seeing, there may be the opportunity to travel on the City Tour. This costs £4-50 and takes just under 1 hour. I'm not sure how often it runs on weekdays, but the Sunday departures were at 5 minutes past each hour. Note that as it is only a minibus places may be sparce.

C. Just further down Castle Road on the left is The Lace Centre where a wide range of examples of the intricate Nottingham Lace can be purchased (or just admired of course).

D. Further still down Castle Gate is the Costume and Textile Museum, which contains a number of items of historical interest including illustrative tapestries of events.

E. Lastly in the vicinity if one continues past the Trip to Jerusalem Inn itself, the entrance to the Brewhouse Yard Museum is encountered. This is set in its own attractive little old English garden and is open until 5 p.m. Inside there is a collection of Nottingham memorabilia set out through two houses knocked together. Almost by the exit off the last room is access to the brewery cellars which include exhibits relating to local brewers.

The Canal Museum has already been mentioned (see pub 9). Other places of interest can be identified from the main map and the coach parking map. How much can be crammed in (or forced down) depends on the allowed duration of our stay, we will have a better idea after the outgoing journey.

Have an enjoyable visit. DON'T MISS THE RETURN COACH

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