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Montpelier Road - Lenton

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Photograph from Dunkirk and Martinmas Fair website

Photograph courtesy of Picture the Past

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 1997

These days only pedestrians and cyclists can access Montpelier Road at the point shown in this photograph taken in 2012. This particular image was originally found on the Dunkirk and Martinmas Fair website.

On the extreme left of this 1950 photograph is part of the caretaker's house attached to Dunkirk Primary School. This house along with Graham's shop, part of which is also visible, was subsequently demolished in the early 1960s to permit the construction of a large roundabout which would ease the flow of traffic accessing the junction at Clifton Boulevard, Abbey Street and Beeston Road. The photograph is taken from the Picture the Past website. Click here for more details.

Taken from the roundabout in 1997 we see the same building as in the previous photograph now without the caretaker's house. The school moved into a new building on Marlborough Street in 1960s and the old school building is now home to the Dunkirk and Old Lenton Community Centre.

Photograph by Paul Bexon - March 2008

Photograph by Geoffrey O. Ogle

Photograph by Paul Bexon - March 2008

A view of the Dunkirk and Old Lenton Community Centre looking back towards the flyover, part of which can be seen in the distance. The old school playground now serves as a car park for those using the community centre.

In addition to the Dunkirk Hotel (see below) local residents seeking to consume alcoholic beverages and have a night out could, until recently, become members of the Dunkirk Social Club. The Club's premises were situated next to the Community Centre.

The Club was originally known as the Dunkirk Young Working Men's Social Club and could trace its roots back to the 1880s when Dunkirk was first laid out. Quite where the premises were originally located has yet to come to light.

Photograph by Geoffrey O. Ogle

Photograph by Geoffrey O. Ogle

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2003

The Club may still have been open for business when this photograph was taken in 2009. If so, then it was in its final days. After the closure of the club the property was acquired by a landlord with a lot of houses in the locality. The building was then demolished and the rear of the site now houses his business premises.

This is the site of the Dunkirk Social Club as it looked in 2014.

On the opposite side of the road to the old Social Club site is No.10 Montpelier Road the current home of W. Coates and Sons. A long established Nottingham firm W. Coates previously had a large rope and twine manufacturing business based in premises on Commercial Street. The location now lies beneath the Queens Medical Centre. Click here to read 'Tied up with Ropes: The Story of W. Coates & Sons' in our Lenton Listener archive.

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2003

Photograph by Simon James

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2008

Lenton Times No.20 also contains an article on W. Coates and Sons. Stewart Coates (seen in our 2003 photograph), is the great grandson of the original founder, continues at the time of writing [2017] to operate the business from this Montpelier Road shop.

In 2017 LeftLion put a video on YouTube about Stewart Coates and his Dunkirk business entitled The Man Who Knows the Ropes. Click here if you would like to see it.

Using a special filter to highlight the colour tones on the building Simon James took this shot of No.10 Montpelier Road in 2008. Click here to see more of Simon's photographs on his Flickr page.

A 2008 view looking along Montpelier Road - the junction with Marlborough Street is just visible on the left.

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2008

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2008

Photograph by Laurence Ellman - 1980

Looking back along this stretch of Montpelier Road in 2008, the junction with Marlborough Street off to the right, the northern side of the road is still made up of its original buildings, erected in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

This shop on the corner of Marlborough Street and Montpelier Road must be the last remaining corner shop in the whole Lenton area which is not located on one of the area's main roads. It means that its sales must all come from those living in the immediate area without being able to attract any passing trade.

This is the same shop as one the shown in the previous photograph. The shot was taken in 1980 by Lawrence Ellman shortly before the premises underwent a major refit and extension at the rear.

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2005

Photograph courtesy of Picture the Past

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2005

For this 2005 photograph, the photographer has moved further down Montpelier Road to its junction with Claude Street and is now looking back towards Clifton Boulevard. On the left the original properties built in the late nineteenth century have been demolished in the 1990s and more modern houses erected in their place.

The properties mentioned in the previous caption which were demolished in 1990s can be seen on the left of this 1973 photograph. It is also shows the shop at the junction with Claude Street features in our next two photographs. The photograph, taken by Reg Baker, comes from the Picture the Past website. Click here to see their original image.

This photograph of the shop/shops was taken in 2005. The rear portion then housed the fish and chip business while the front section was the base for a greengrocery

Photograph by Geoffrey O. Ogle

Photograph by Jack Hall - 1966

Photograph by Jack Hall - 1966

After the fish and chip shop closed the whole building was acquired by the current occupants who run the 'Amazing Thai Café'.

This is the original Dunkirk Hotel built at the corner of the Claude Street and Montpelier Road in the late nineteenth century. The house immediately to the right of the pub was an integral part of the hostelry. Its basement contained the cellar space for the pub and anyone wanting to access the ground floor of the house had to do so via the flight of steps. The photograph was taken by Jack Hall in 1966.

Jack Hall also took this photograph of the interior of the Dunkirk Hotel. The publican serving one of his customers was Ted Wardle and it has been suggested that the customer in foreground may have been Mr Jackson, who then taught at Dunkirk Primary School.

Photograph courtesy of Christine Phillips

Photograph courtesy of Nottingham Post

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2004

Ted Wardle was landlord of the Dunkirk Hotel and later became also a keen amateur painter. In 1987, long after he had left the pub, he produced this painting of his old pub using an old photograph as his starting point.

We have no precise date for this photograph but it was taken at a key point in the history of the pub. In the foreground is the original building but just visible to its rear was its eventual replacement evidently nearing completion.

Here is the replacement as it looked in 2004. Initially the new building retained the same name as its predecessor. However new owners trying to appeal to a student market rebranded it as the Rubber Duck. The Rubber Duck didn't last very long and the pub then became known as the Dunkirk Inn.

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2008

Photograph courtesy of Nottingham Post

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2005

Much the same view as in the previous shot. As it was taken in the winter of 2008 we get to see the full extent of the building and the whole of the forecourt which served as a car park for the pub's patrons.

This photograph from the Nottingham Post in December 2016 accompanied an article explaining why Reg DeSouza (pictured here) had reluctantly decided to close the pub. He bought the pub in 2009 and initially was able to attract enough paying customers to make a go of it. But in the more recent times his loyal customer base had dwindled because many of them moved away from the area or simply popped their clogs. At the time of writing [2017] the DeSouza family still live there but the pub remains shut.

The forecourt of the Dunkirk Inn lies off to the left of this 2005 photograph. In this photograph we focus on another batch of older housing on the east side of Montpelier Road.

Photograph by Geoffrey O. Ogle

Photograph courtesy of Brian Howes

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 1990

Much of the western side of this particular stretch of Montpelier Road remained undeveloped. The land known locally as the 'common' was primarily used as an informal play area by the local children. As this photograph reveals this is longer the case with these houses being erected there in the late 1990s.

No.87 Montpelier Road as it looked in 1925. This photograph was taken off a glass plate found in a skip by Brian Howes in 1983. The full story can be found in Issue No. 4 of Lenton Times.

No.87 Montpelier Road as it looked in 1990. The shop is no more and the property has been converted into a normal house. The shop was originally going to stand at the junction of Montpelier Road and one named 'Ainsworth Street.' Ainsworth Street was never really developed and the land earmarked for housing was given over to a barrel making concern. After the barrel makers finally closed down the land was acquired for a new housing development. The developers chose to name the access road into the development 'Tonnelier Road' rather than Ainsworth Street.

Photograph by Geoffrey O. Ogle

Photograph by Geoffrey O. Ogle

Photograph courtesy of Lenton Local History Society

As with the previous photograph this shop was going to stand at the corner of Montpelier Road and a thoroughfare to be called Crosby Street. Crosby Street was never developed and the developers of the new housing complex preferred to call their access road 'Barrique Road' both French names relating to the business of barrel making.

A stretch of road called 'Roberts Street' was originally planned to cross Montpelier Road at this point but just like the two previous two examples was never actually constructed.

This was Dunkirk House, the farmhouse of Dunkirk Farm as it looked in 1905 while it was still the home of Frank William Johnson, the person who was originally responsible for developing the Dunkirk area. More about Mr Johnson and his various business activities can be found in our Lenton Listener archive.

Photograph by Geoffrey O. Ogle

Photograph by Geoffrey O. Ogle

This 2016 photograph showing the empty commercial premises at the far end of Montpelier Road is roughly the same site as where Dunkirk House had previously stood.

Montpelier Road ends at the railway bridge. On the other side of the bridge is Cavendish Street and only pedestrians and those on bicycles can use this route to access the Dunkirk Industrial Estate and beyond. It is told that during the Second World War an American Army vehicle heading along Abbey Street in the blackout mistook Montpelier Road for Beeston Road (their intended route) and headed down it unaware that Montpelier Road ended in this low railway bridge. The vehicle is said to have ploughed into the bridge leading to the death of at least one of its occupants. However, we have yet to come across documentary evidence that supports this account.

Lenton Listener Articles

Articles from 'The Lenton Listener' Magazine

Tied up with Ropes: The Story of W. Coates & Sons - Issue 24 - May to June 1983

Dunkirk and Mr Johnson - Issue 48 - October to November 1987

The Name's the Game! - Issue 49 - December 1987 to January 1988


Barbara Tomlinson (née Pick)

I was born in 1940 and spent the first thirteen years of my life living at No.22 Montpelier Road, just a stone's throw from Dunkirk Primary School where I undertook my primary education. My father Albert Pick, died from meningitis, when I was just four months old leaving my mother Matilda Pretoria Pick (nee Gillett) with two older daughters, Constance and Joan, and myself. A fourth daughter, Margaret, would be born a few months later as my mother was already pregnant when my father died. My eldest sister, Connie had just been born in 1925 when my parents moved to No.22 Montpelier Road. They had previously being living in digs and the arrival of their first child just added to their problems. My father, Albert Pick, was working as a factory maintenance engineer somewhere in Nottingham and his boss evidently thought a lot of him. So much so that his boss bought the house on Montpelier Road for my parents; of course they paid him rent but they were so glad to have somewhere to call their own. After dad died mum was allowed to carry on renting the house. I think the boss was called something like 'Mr Keightly' - he was a really kind man. We used to go and pay the rent each week at an old Dickensian office on Castle Boulevard where a man called Mr Blackmore took the money from us.

Most of my childhood memories centre around the Dunkirk area. We played out on the street in those days. Friends would knock on the door to ask if you were coming out to play. No one had a television in those days. One source of excitement was the arrival of Ashley's Roundabouts, which used to set up on the 'common' further along Montpelier Road. We would sit on the 'big horses' as we called them as often as our few coppers would allow. Highfields Park was another place we would frequent. The sight of the sun twinkling on the lake, the beautiful scent of the rhodendrons, the bandstand and the green open spaces all gave us much pleasure.

Once a week my mum would take us with her when she went to get our groceries from the Co-op on Abbey Street. We had our 'share number' and points would mount up over the weeks until the time came when we could collect our 'divi'. Money, as you could imagine, was quite tight but if I id have a few pennies to spend it was a real treat to go to Atkin's paper shop further along Montpelier Road and buy a Dandy or Beano comic; an even greater treat was to go in and buy a packet of Smith's crisps.

Another memory I have of the 1940s is my two older sisters, Connie and Joan, going to Nazareth House to collect two old ladies, Lena and Miss Hoffman, and bring them to our house. This usually happened at Christmas time and it was to give them a little outing. It involved wheeling them in two very cumbersome wheel chairs from Priory Street to Montpelier Road and then back again after their visit was over. The two ladies weren't really able to walk more than a few steps unaided and our house was not the easiest to negotiate with just an outside lavatory in the back yard with some awkward steps in and out of the house. We had little to offer them - maybe a piece of cake or something similar but those ladies were still so happy to come.

I have now [2017] lived in Cardiff for nearly fifty years. I married Kenneth Tomlinson at St Paul's Church on Lenton Boulevard in 1959 and soon left Nottingham and moved around the country as a result of my husband's job. The last time I saw Dunkirk was a few years ago when my nephew drove me around the area as a 'trip down memory lane.'

Elizabeth Ann Jones (née Hodges)

The railway runs across the bottom of Montpelier Road at its junction with Harriman's Lane. Young children always seemed to be attracted by the presence of steam trains. Perhaps it has something to do with their wonderful smell. On one occasion my brother, John, and some of his friends were sitting on the bridge 'train spotting'. A train was just going over the bridge when it emitted a huge cloud of steam. Trying to get away from it John jumped over the side of the bridge intending to land on the ledge, duck down and protect himself from the blast of steam. Unfortunately his foot slipped and he landed on the road below. When our mum came home from work there was this bunch of kids waiting for her at the bus stop. The way they retold what had happened made her think he must have been run over by the train. So she was somewhat relieved when she finally learnt that he had merely broken his arm.

Mike Jarvis

I have lived in Perth for 36 years, emigrating in September 1969 as a "£10 Pom" but I used to live at 4 Claude St Dunkirk until I got married in 1965. I can still remember the big Dunkirk Hotel on Montpelier Road which was run by Henry Robinson and his wife, Hannah. We often played cricket on the road near the pub and whenever the ball went into their yard there was always their big St Bernard's dog, called Roger, to negotiate whenever we tried to get our ball back.

I was in Nottingham this time last year and had a quick look at Dunkirk. It was not the same and I could not believe how old it looks but I guess it is only to be expected. Especially as everything here in Perth Western Australia is so new by comparison to the U.K.

Let us know your memories of Montpelier Road

Do you have any historical information or other photographs of this road? If so, email us with the details or write to us.

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