St Ann's Stories - created by and for the people of St Ann's Nottingham (UK)

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ST ANN’S STORIES Created by and for the people of St Ann’s Nottingham.

ST ANN’S STORIES This newspaper has been created by and for the people of St Ann’s Nottingham. In February 2020 The Renewal Trust reached out to St Ann’s encouraging past and current residents to contribute to a one off newspaper that would celebrate the strength, diversity and true spirit of this community. This newspaper includes powerful stories, photographs, articles, letters, poems and memories all donated from current and past residents sent in via email and during creative writing drop in sessions at St Ann’s Valley Library and The ACNA Centre led by Panya Banjoko, the well-known Nottingham writer, storyteller and performance poet.

Would you like to donate a story? You can still share your stories and images or anything else about St Ann’s by emailing and we will add this to the Renewal Trust website. The Renewal Trust is a local charity working with communities in St Ann’s, Sneinton and Mapperley. Over the last two years, The Renewal Trust has been running a community-led arts and culture programme called ‘Place’ - funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. St Ann’s Stories is a Place project.

Thanks to:

All the wonderful people who contributed to this newspaper The Afro Caribbean National Artistic Centre, Nottingham (ACNA) Sue Sanderson, Operations Manager (South) Culture & Libraries Nottingham St Ann’s Valley Centre Library St Ann’s Well Road Pre Demolition (1970) facebook group


Panya Banjoko

Project Manager

Bo Olawoye Freelance Creative Engagement Curator

Renewal Trust

Cherry Underwood Stephanie Robertson Sarah Roach Laura Savage

Design and print

Terry Summerfield at Scruff Design Print by Newspaper club


The Chase Community lunch club activities. Photo by Ethel Anderson

The people of St Ann’s Lyn Gilzean and Lee Arbouin among more phenomenal women who fought for space. Richard Hawthorne and Maxine Crocett, holding hands to bring people together. Jon Collins negotiating places for people to meet. George Powe, George Leigh and many more brave soldiers fighting for justice. And in the hut, in the chase were many workers helping to bring change. Pitman Browne, writing about the riot and escaping the ghetto, and the women of ACNA with straight backs and strong shoulders who keep the door of the centre open. Ethel and Burnett Anderson community activists, lobbying for services and rights, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Chase Community Lunch Club Youth Group. Image by Ethel Anderson

Dear St Ann’s Thanks for the years of accommodating me and for the experiences, I ha ve gained like helping me to volunteer and find my voice. Now I am able to say what needs to be sa id. And thank you for the people who have supporte d me through the years for without them I couldn’t have achieved all that I love. Thank you also for accept ing people like me, who are different, and be ing open to the less fortunate. The provisions and services you provide are life changing and your health centre keeps me in check. I have enjoyed walking around your allotments and sampling yo ur fruit and veg. I wish your gates were still open , as this was a place of sanctuary for me. Your accessibility to publi c services and being the heart of the city centre makes it easy to live and breathe. Yours faithfully Ethel Anderson

MY CHILDHOOD BY JEAN TAYLOR A trip back in my childhood….I see my sisters Mum and Dad I recall the downstairs of our house…and the memories I have The fire grate was leaded black…red and old were glowing embers We all had similar houses….I hope some of you remember Upon the shelf were candlesticks…..and a mirror shining bright A fan light above the door..stained glass paper coloured light The larder where the food was stored…a cold slab for the meat A bread bin, a cheese box…. groceries to last the week The coalhouse in the scullery…large sink with enamel drainer Table, kettle, teapot, tea cady and a strainer A boiler and a dolly tub…brass ponch and a mangle Mum would feed the washing through…I would turn the handle Filling the pans from the….cold tap at the sink If grandma was here now….. what would she think? The toilet just across the yard….and newspaper on a nail The tin bath hung up…a bowl and water pail Scrubbing steps and window sills…. patterned lino floors It was hard work in those days…to do the family chores Our black and white telly….our cabinet and piano A few old memories….I don’t want to let go I’m happy with life…and the things of today But it doesn’t hurt to let our memory stray They called our house….A St Ann’s slum But it was Home and I loved it….with my Sisters, Dad and Mum

My sister Sue aged 3 and me as a baby 1951. Jean Taylor

When memories go back to when I was young Norland Road is where I lived – life was so much fun Monday school at 9am my friends would call for me It was also washday and bubble and squeak for tea Tuesday it was swimming, the long walk over the Blue bell Hill Victoria Baths for half an hour get dry quick, don’t catch a chill Wednesday it was PE, we’d go to Northampton Street All the kids in knickers and vests, some in plimsolls’ or bare feet Thursday it was a play centre in the big school hall Mr and Mrs Carnelly helped, they were so kind to us all Friday after school, I so happy as the weekend nears I go to pay the paper bill, first stop Mr and Mrs Ayres Then to the Beer-off, Mr and Mrs Cooke New owners came but the Cooke name stuck Across the road to Bombay Street Leave a list of weekly treats Saturday morning pictures, Cavo was the best Then up St Ann’s Well Road for dinner and a rest Then 2pm we’d walk to town or catch a number 40 bus Central Market just to browse, out with friends for a couple of hours Sunday visit Grandmas, then home for dinner Afternoon it was church, don’t be a sinner In the summer it was Castle and Trent Bridge No cold drinks at home, no ice cream, No Fridge! No central heating, times were hard Our tin bath was hung on the wall in the yard Don’t call our house a St Ann’s slum It was home and I loved it with my sisters, Dad and Mum

Mum and dad Mavis and Earnest Morley. Jean Taylor

SIDNEY WELLS My story is of my attending St Ann’s board school from 1950 to 1956. My father was the Regimental Sergeant Major Thomas Wells of the West Yorkshire and North Staffordshire regiments. He was posted to India in the 1930s where he met and married my mother Elvira Lawrence in Calcutta. The Lawrence family was very wealthy and my Grandmother Lawrence raised nine children whilst operating three businesses in Calcutta, one of which was the largest and most successful, as I know of, the Lawrence Funeral home. There were five children of the marriage, Albert, Paddy, Ronnie, my sister Norma and myself, Sidney, of which I am the youngest and last surviving. My father served in the horrific Burma Campaign, W.W.ll, to defend India from the Japanese invasion. When India gained its Independence in 1947 the British occupation ended and in 1948 we sailed to England to live with my Father’s parents at 4 Reform Terrace Westminster St. St Ann’s. In 1950 my parents enrolled me into the St Ann’s Junior school or “Board School”. I excelled at sports and won the school trophy two years in a row. (I have attached a picture of my trophy wins, I am the short one with two cups on the right looking at the photo, graciously sent to me by my cousin Christine Wells.) My brothers Paddy and Ronnie won the school cup previously to myself. In 1956 with the support and encouragement of Miss Brown, “Pop” Galloway and Headmaster Mr. Salt, I sat the 11+ exam and won a scholarship to High Pavement Grammar School for Boys, where again I excelled at sports in Boxing (champion five years) Athletics (held the record for the 100 yards sprint) Rugby, cricket and swimming. In 1967 I emigrated to Ontario, Canada where I have lived for the past 50+ years but I still have a strong attachment to my roots in St Ann’s. I visited St. Ann’s last May 2019 and enjoyed a reunion with my cousin Christine, schoolmates Angie Miles, Fran Lakin and my childhood friends Bruce Lakin the Nottingham Poet, and Paul Lakin of Reform Terrace.

ST ANN’S BY SOOTY St Ann’s stands for resilience Together we overcome A blend of many cultures Not individuals but the sum Never overlook us So sure we can surprise Nottingham’s Eastern Gateway Good day, come step inside


Kenneth Wagstaff 1944 before he went to fight in Holland never to return to St Ann’s

Kenneth Wagstaff aged 10

Harry Wagstaff survives WW1 when two of his brothers were killed in Belgium. Kenneth Wagstaff of St Ann’s

Top of Westminster Street

Bottom of Westminster Street, where all of the Wagstaff family lived.

VICTORY DAY. Kenneth Wagstaff scribed on the wall on what was Westminster Street

TO BE FORGOTTEN BY SOOTY “They count as quite forgot; They are as men who have existed not; Theirs is a loss past loss of fitful breath; It is the second death.”

Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States, with it’s precursor created in 1926, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week” At the time of Negro History Week’s launch, Woodson contended that the teaching of black history was essential to ensure the physical and intellectual survival of the race within broader society: “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated. The American Indian left no continuous record. He did not appreciate the value of tradition; and where is he today? The Hebrew keenly appreciated the value of tradition, as is attested by the Bible itself. In spite of worldwide persecution, therefore, he is a great factor in our civilization.”

Negro History Week was met with enthusiastic

Month, during the celebration of the United

response; it prompted the creation of Black

States Bicentennial. He urged Americans to

history clubs, an increase in interest among

“seize the opportunity to honour the too-often

teachers, and interest from progressive whites.

neglected accomplishments of Black Americans

Negro History Week grew in popularity

in every area of endeavour throughout our

throughout the following decades, with mayors


across the United States endorsing it as a holiday.

In the United Kingdom, Black History Month was first celebrated in 1987. It was organised through

Black History Month, in it’s modern form, was

the leadership of Ghanaian analyst Akyaaba

first proposed by black educators and the

Addai-Sebo. In Nottingham we celebrate Black

Black United Students at Kent State University

History month in October, but do we celebrate

in February 1969. The first celebration of Black

Nottingham’s Black History? If you visit St Mary’s

History Month took place at Kent State one year

Church, located on High Pavement, in the heart

later, from January 2, 1970 to February 28, 1970.

of the cities historic Lace Market district, you will

Six years later, Black History Month was being

find a marble plaque on the North Wall that is a

celebrated all across America in educational

memorial to James Still.

institutions, centres of Black culture and community centres, both great and small, when President Gerald Ford recognized Black History

THE PLAQUE READS: Sacred to the Memory Of LIEUTENANT JAMES STILL; R.N. Who in the 22nd. year of his age, fell a victim to the ravages of the Yellow Fever, on Board His Majesty’s Ship, THE PHEASANT, while stationed off SIERRA LEONE, on the 12th of October 1821. For four successive years he had been employed in the fatal service of enforcing obedience to that sacred Law, which, to the honour of his Country and in the spirit of Christian Love forbade the Traffick in Human Blood. That he possessed the best feelings of the heart was manifested in his unwearied watchfulness over those whose aid he was in sickness and who, withering like the blighted shoots of Spring, left their blessings upon him: That he was endued with the spirit of Enterprise was proved by the testimony of those who had witnessed his skill, and admired his gallantry: That he was characterized by suavity of temper and prepossessing manners was apparent from that regard, excited in every breast, which held him forth as an Ornament of Social Life. How beloved a Son! How endeared a Brother! How esteemed a friend is evidenced in the poignant grief of his sorrowing Family, in the unfeigned regret of many who cherish the remembrance of his worth, and in the heartfelt

Tribute of him who dedicates this tablet to the Memory of his Virtues. Lieutenant James Still R.N was not an atypical man, Nottingham has always been a progressive city & a city of second chances, so when the Slave Trade Act 1807, officially An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, was finally passed it was not unsurprising that a Free man community sprung up just outside the city limits, in the area of Beacon Hill. That community of former slaves, their friends & their families, played a productive part in the ensuing years of Nottingham’s turbulent history, for indeed the 19th century in Nottingham was a turbulent time, a time of riots & reform, a time of hunger, poverty & the struggle for social justice. The political movement of that era had strong roots in the abolitionist movement, & had strong allies in the freed men that had once suffered the injustice of slavery. Many of the freed slaves of that era found domestic work through the Servants’ Register Office in Chandlers Lane, an employment

agency founded by another freed slave, George Africanus, others found employment at the foundries at the back of what is now Victoria Park, just off Bath Street & Beacon Hill. The free man community flourished & indeed, during the famines of the 19th Century, as people lay hungry & dying in Nottingham’s great market square, the residents of the community marched up High Pavement to bring food, alms & relief to the suffering of our city. To me this is a moment of Black History that should be enthusiastically celebrated in our city, a moment where Black & White came together, a moment where lives were saved, where we were all brothers, a time where we fought side by side for social justice & to improve conditions for everyone, yet there is no plaque where that freed man community once stood, there is no celebration of the relief those residents brought, & beyond George Africanus just about every black face from that period in our history has been erased. I was brought up on this history, because this is part of my own family history. I have forebears who were slaves, I have forebears who lived in that settlement, I have forebears who marched along High Pavement, to feed the poor & needy, but every year Black History month rolls around & I have no opportunity to celebrate them, beyond the personal tribute that I make in my heart.

I love this city, this city is my home, it is a home of freedom, of liberty, a city that fights against social injustice, a city that is often overlooked by the elites of Westminster, but does not let that fact phase it, instead choosing to strive to overcome. This is a city of rebels, of renegades, a self made city with a history to be proud of, it is a multicultural city, & a city that has always been a melting pot, a city with open arms, that welcomes all. I just wish some would honour that a little more & maybe by sharing this personal history, maybe just maybe, it might open a few eyes & get us to do just that. Black History is a wonderful concept, but it fails until it truly honours all of Black History. Six years from now it will be the 100th anniversary of Negro History Week, maybe it’s time to fulfil it’s purpose. Maybe now those who fought against slavery can be truly honoured, & maybe those that suffered as slaves can be rightly remembered, & thanked for their productive participation in shaping this cities wonderful history, instead of being forgotten.

“They count as quite forgot; They are as men who have existed not;Theirs is a loss past loss of fitful breath; It is the second death.”

STONEBRIDGE CITY FARM 41 YEARS & STILL GOING STRONG A key question for charities is: “Are you still relevant today?” It would seem that the answer at Stonebridge City Farm is very much “Yes!” Originally set up by local people for the benefit of local families and 41 years after the first lease was signed, Stonebridge City Farm is still a free to enter visitor centre that encourages inner city families to keep contact with the natural environment and farm life. As well as welcoming over 40,000 visitors a year, the charity is also an education centre, working with many local schools and colleges and a support centre to nearly 150 volunteers, twothirds of whom have a learning disability or a mental health challenge.

The farm had a magnificent response to last year’s appeal for urgent funds, with over 1500 local people, schools, colleges, businesses and community groups donating, which would suggest it is as popular as ever. There aren’t many inner-city areas with a farm on their doorstep, so, if you haven’t been recently, why not pop down – entrance is free (although donations are very welcome)! There’s something for everyone with a wonderful range of large and small animals, beautiful gardens, new play area, a café and a shop. Heather Slater, Fundraising and Marketing Manager

TONY MILLER (79) BORN 1941 I started a St. Ann’s Facebook site nearly

I felt that there should be an opportunity to

eight years ago, late December 2012,

tell the true story of St. Ann’s prior to the

Facebook was a totally new experience

City Councils demolition and redevelopment

for me. I was getting so fed up by the way

programme. During the late 1960’s and early

Nottingham especially St. Ann’s was being

1970’s, when it was just called St. Ann’s Well

covered by the local and national press

Road, more than 30,000 people were rehoused.

including Radio & TV....”Nottingham Gun

This was despite having a superb and vibrant

City”...”Shottingham”...”St. Ann’s murder,

community, it was a safe place to live, good

drugs, stabbings, no go area , totally unsafe

schools, numerous shops, businesses and

etc. etc”. It made me cringe and I personally

manufacturers, churches and libraries.

felt insulted, it was all one sided.

In addition, there were lots of people developing and helping young people in the community, groups such as Boy’s Brigade, Life Boy’s, Cub’s, Guides, Youth clubs, Football Clubs.

And so it began…and with the help of my son Nicholas.

“Dad, here you go again, banging on about the good old day’s in St. Ann’s how it used to be”…” can I tell people? “ Dad...”Why not Dad start a Facebook Group site with some of your old mates”. So that’s exactly what I did, three mates, my oldest and closest pals, from the age of four (1945) from Infant and Junior School (Board School & The 6th Boy’s Brigade). ”Hi boy’s what do you remember about St. Ann’s before it was all knocked down in 1970, have you got any, pics stories, memories?” Then, very quickly, it grew. Members joined who were born in the area, played, went to school and grew up in St. Ann’s. Believe me, every single person has a story to tell. Some are amazing, life changing and highly motivational. After six months, I realised I needed someone to help me manage the site. I noticed that our Mavis Baker, who was living in sunny Perth, Western Australia, also shared a passion about the old St. Ann’s. Although she only used to live about 200 yards away (47 bus terminal) from where we lived (facing The Board School), I never knew her then. She was a bit younger than myself and a girl. I sent her a message “Mavis can you help me develop the St. Ann’s FB site and become a joint administrator?“ That was in early 2012 with just 70 odd site members. Thank goodness she said YES! She accepted the terms and conditions of the job: no pay, long hours and no holidays, and the rest is history. We now have over 2000 members scattered across the globe, all of them with strong connections to St. Ann’s (Pre. 1970). I am greatly encouraged with what we are doing as a site. It is a super historical site, great for young people

to look back at what life was like growing up in the 1940’s,’50’ and 60’s, following WW2 stories, photo’s and memories. Our site continues to grow and develop. Torvill and Dean TV Documentry, Jaward Khalig’s famous boxing club on Woodbrough Road, along with Chantelle Stefanovic and the superb “Full Effect programme in St. Ann’s” are all helping by trying to put a more positive spin on St. Ann’s and its community. My personal motivation for starting the site was telling folks all about what St. Ann’s was like as a community before 1970. I am hoping it will help put a more credible, focussed and positive spin on St. Ann’s and its community for the future, particularly for the young people of St. Ann’s.

Lived at Edwin St. 1941-46 284 St Ann’s Well Rd. 1947-1964 Ball St 1965-6 Colborn St. 1966-69

AT ACNA BY A VISITOR TO THE CENTRE I’ve been coming to ACNA for forty odd years from the first time it was opened. I used to sell the tote for the centre, it’s like my second home. Anything that happened in the community you’d hear about it here, You know, funerals, things like that. I remember when five of us got caught in a fire one night, some guys came to buy drinks we didn’t serve them we knew they wanted to make trouble they went away and came back with a petrol can. They didn’t know we were in the building, we were waiting for a lift home I heard someone moving about in the kitchen as we were about to leave, they had emptied the can in the kitchen and lit it. We could have burned, by the time I got home it was on the news the African Caribbean centre was on fire. They almost burnt down the place.

East of the City magazine. Photo by Kevin Searcey

KEVIN SEARCEY About 20 years ago I was involved with the magazine East of the City with Collin Haynes. Between us, we produced several issues from start to finish for about 4 years. I have fond memories of these times and as I was out of work at the time after a serious accident, this project helped me rebuild my selfesteem and confidence, and I learned new skills. Since then I have run my own business in Mapperly on Woodborough Road called Bettabytz Computers and have survived successfully for 15 years. In the last few years, I have taken up writing and shared my life stories in the hope that it can help others going through a bad time. My most recent is called “learning to live” from the book “SPEAKING FROM OUR HEARTS 3”. My parting words never give up on yourself and don’t be afraid to take them first steps, It will come believe in yourself. Thank you to the Renewal Trust.

I COME FROM BY SARA I come from Nottingham, Hyson Green from shops, birds, people, houses, and loads more. I come from a fabulous house on Acourt Street I come from a house where I love to watch Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly. I come from school From education and learning lots I come from St Ann’s and an old fabulous house of tidy things. From a basketball pitch, from playing basketball from blue, pink, rose gold, black, white and grey. I come from a beautiful world, a beautiful world, a beautiful world.

Pippin Close street party, celebrating 50 years of Mickey Mouse 1978. Photo’s by Gillian Morris The community worked together to raise money and organise the street party. They also wrote to Disney World and who sent posters for the event. Gillian made a lot of the costumes, badges and bunting for the day.

Pippin Close street party, celebrating 50 years of Mickey Mouse 1978. Photo’s by Gillian Morris

SUSAN DAWN My mum and dad were married for over 60 years; this is the story of how they met. Mum was born on at 73 north Sherwood Street Nottingham and dad was born at Headon Terrace Meadows. Mums family moved to 50 Abbotsford Street St Ann’s when she was about 3 years old. Mum used to go ballroom dancing down at the Victoria Dance Hall (Lacarno) bottom St Ann’s Well Rd. One night (Dad who also liked ballroom dancing) was on the balcony and mum had on a low necked dress, well at the time dad was eating peanuts, and seeing mum with her low necked dress on tried to see if he could get any peanuts to go down her neckline, well I think it must have been love at first site as they were married for 60 years plus. At the time mam was a seamstress she made her own wedding dress and Vail, in the years after first married she made lots of wedding dresses for family but the one that she took most pride in was making her daughters wedding dress and veil.. They were married at St Ann’s Church 1st August 1936.

THE PUB BY PETER VASSELL When I came to England in the 1960s you couldn’t get a house to live in, those days were tough, the living conditions weren’t good. When we were going out we walked in pairs or twos or fours. In St Ann’s there was a pub nearby the Church, It was the Dame Magnus Church. I would usually go to the pub and meet friends, work colleagues, you know, you could walk in and see someone you hadn’t seen for years You always saw someone you knew there we’d have a drink and then if you wanted to find out about any parties that’s where you’d hear about them. there were parties in the Chase. I was around 30 years old when I used to go to the pub, now I’m 84.

Ray signed my book. When he wasn’t well I spent time chatting to him at QMC. Jean Taylor

WHEN I JOINED THE FACEBOOK GROUP: ST ANN’S WELL ROAD PRE DEMOLITION (1970) BY JEAN TAYLOR I couldn’t believe what I saw……Places I’d forgotten came to life once more The Parks, Police Station, Trotts, Ayres, Ted Bullocks, Flow Woods, all the laughs Central Market, Cavo and Empress, more shops and Slipper Baths BLIMEY, they’ve all had a mention Like the Brownies, Guides, Cubs and Scouts All these lovely memories, we keep on bringing them out Mr Salt, Mrs Hayes….if they saw this site they would be amazed OH… The houses have gone, the Schools have gone And the Churches where we prayed Sycamore and Coppice Rec. Remember how we played? Scrumping up the Allotments, swigging water from a tap Goose Fair, Bonfire Night?? Collecting rubbish, remember that!! We didn’t have loads of money, it don’t buy Happiness they say We had manners, caring and kindness, Drilled into us day after day Friends and Neighbours, Our Community spirit, money couldn’t buy St Ann’s Well Road will always live on This site won’t let it die So THANKS for all the memories, there seems to be plenty We were All so blessed to have lived, or live in dear old SENTY!


St Ann’s Nottingham