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Highfields Park & Lido - Lenton
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Click on each photograph below to show the enlarged version
A picture postcard probably published in the late 1920s/early 1930s
showing the interior of Highfields Lido.
A Summer's day at Highfields Lido - 1944. The photograph shows the
sundeck, built across the width of the pool in the 1930's.
Taken in August 1946 this photograph shows George Bexon standing beside a pram containing grand-daughter Angela. Behind him is Highfields Lido. Beyond the lido it is apparent that the University has yet to spread into this portion of Highfields Park.
A late 1950s shot of inside Highfields Lido looking towards the south east corner with University Boulevard lying just beyond the tree. Visible to the right of Paul Bexon, then aged about two, is one of the slides situated at the deep end.
A present day view of the site of Highfields Lido. The new building is part of the University's Lakeside Arts Centre, which opened in 1992 and includes teaching facilities with high-spec audio/visual equipment, Visual Resource Centre, student common room, postgraduate study room and café. It also houses the Djanogly Art Gallery which hosts a continuous programme of temporary exhibitions, and studio space for the Artist in Residence and education programme.
Original film of the official opening of the Lido is available from the British Pathe website. You can view thumbnail stills taken from the actual newsreel and download a thumbnail size version of the actual film free of charge by clicking here.
Click on each photograph below to show the enlarged version
Old Lakeside Pavilion
This picture postcard carries a 1928 postmark which suggests that the photograph was probably taken soon after the park first opened to the public.
Clarice Pownall and Ada Mariott pose for their photograph in 1932 beside the lake at Highfields. Behind them on the right is part of the Pavilion and in the far distance on the left is the bell tower of Highfields Lido.
An undated view taken from the south side of the lake with part of the lakeside pavilion shown on the left.
The end wall of the pavilion, just visible in the previous photograph, provides the backdrop for this 1957 shot of local lads gathered at Highfields.
New Lakeside Pavilion
April 2003 photograph of the new D.H. Lawrence Pavilion built by the University to replace the old pavilion erected by Sir Jesse Boot in the 1920s.
The area between the new pavilion and the lake with one of the two 'balcony' areas the only portions of the old building retained in the new development.
The 'balcony' areas as viewed from the lakeside. Photograph taken by Ray Teece in 2007. For other photographs by Ray see his City of Nottingham website
The old retaining wall around the edge of the lake with the new pavilion in the background.
This view of the D.H. Lawrence Pavilion clearly shows the roofline
of the main portion of the building which the architects designed
to resembled the upturned hull of a boat.
This view of the lakeside has largely remained unchanged since the park first opened in the 1920s. Had the photograph been taken a few days later in April 2003 all the various rowing boats and canoes would have been visible in the picture.
A view of the D.H. Lawrence Pavilion in February 2004
Elsewhere in the Park
This particular view looking across the lake towards the Trent Building when it was still University College, Nottingham turns up quite frequently in different publishers' selections of Nottingham picture postcards.
An aerial view looking down on the lake at Highfields with the Trent Building beyond it. Photograph was probably taken in the 1930s.
Down by the lake in a photograph also taken in the 1930s. This location is still popular with those intent on feeding the wildfowl living in this vicinity.
A view looking eastwards across the lake taken in the 1930s. In the far distance the pavilion can just be glimpsed beyond the line of trees.
A 2007 photograph taken by Ray Teece showing the stepping stones situated at the western end of the lake.
A 1987 photograph of the Highfields Park groundsmen. They stand beside the bust of Sir Jesse Boot, erected at the lakeside entrance to the park.
The view looking towards the southern entrance to Highfields Park in April 2003. Beyond the hedge on the left are the croquet lawns while beyond the righthand hedge are the bowling greens.
photograph shows the Highfields Park groundstaff taken in 1930,
not long after the park was created. The men are posing for
their picture at the end of the main entrance to the park, with
the edge of the lake to their right.
The same view as in the previous photograph,but 74 years later. Photograph taken in February 2004.
Highfields Lake January 1963
The view looking across Highfields Lake towards the Trent Building. Nigel Redel, Angela and Paul Bexon (with balaclava) pose for their photograph.
With the lake frozen and the ground covered in snow the wildfowl were largely reliant on laid-on supplies of food - but not from this particular group of individuals.
Having walked on to the western half of the lake the opportunity to engage in a snowball fight became too strong to resist.
The previous scene evidently culminated with Angela having snow rubbed in her face - that's what friends are for!
The ice on the lake was sufficiently thick to permit skating to take place on the western half of the lake. A number of skaters can be seen in background of this photograph.
Having donned her skates Vivien Bexon prepares to set foot on the ice. Alongside her are several others getting ready to skate and this photograph demonstrates that this pursuit was not restricted to just the young.
Lenton Listener Archive
Articles from 'The Lenton Listener' Magazine
Lido - Issue 18 (May - June 1982)
The Story of University Park - Issue 46 (June - July 1987)
The Tottle Brook
One of my boyhood friends was David Palin and his father was the Park Superintendent. David’s Mum, Edith, worked on the boats with George Horton and also did secretarial work in the Park Office. Highfields was our playground; amongst other things we used to use the band stand area as a roller hockey pitch. In 1946 one of the local newspapers took a photograph of us playing there which should be still in their archives. We used roller skates, a tennis ball and walking sticks. This is now the ‘in’ game and I like to think we invented it decades before it eventually became popular. During the War the large grass area in front of the Lido (pronounced Liedo by us unsophisticated locals – Leedo by visiting cousins from London!) was converted to allotment gardens. In August 1953 I started working in the park as a stepping stone on my hoped-for-career in horticulture. I worked for a year on the lakeside side of the park – the ornamental side. That year during the winter the lake froze over and there was public skating. The lights around the lake were restored and illuminated it in the evening. The effects of wartime were still apparent and I don’t think the lights had been on since before the war. The students used to cause us consternation with their end of term activities. Jesse Boot’s bust at the Entrance to the park would irreverently receive a dousing of paint amongst other things.
Although University Park and Wollaton Park are in close physical proximity with each other, until 1957, they were managed by quite separate departments of the City Council, who did little in the way of liaising with one another. Wollaton Park, The Castle, Newstead Abbey plus road verges and housing estates were within the City Estates Department. The other parks such as University Park, Woodthorpe Grange, The Forest, The Arboretum, Embankment etc. etc. were managed by the Parks and Cemeteries Department. The division had come about I think because the Estates maintained those parks which were given or obtained as existing parks or estates and not originally made as public parks. In 1957 Fred Hallowes who had been in the Estates Department was made the new overall Director of Parks and his deputy became Richard Stanion, who had previously been deputy to Mr. Ayres (who had just died) in Parks and Cemeteries.
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