The Magazine of Lenton Local History Society

Abbey Street - Lenton

Gregory Street to Clifton Boulevard - Southside | Clifton Boulevard to Gregory Street - Northside | Lenton Listener Articles | Memories | Map


From Gregory Street to Clifton Boulevard - Southside of the Road

Photograph by Ted Marriott

Photograph by Paul Bexon - Lenton Times Magazine - August 2001

Photograph by Paul Bexon - August 2005

Situated next to the Priory Park is this detached property. The different brickwork in the ground floor portion show where a shop frontage once was to be found. The premises feature in Ted Marriott's reminiscences

Corner of Abbey Street & Priory Street in August 2001.

The Abbey Street frontage of Nazareth House taken in August 2005. The nuns having just vacated the premises, workmen were about to arrive and begin the demolition of the property.

Photograph by Paul Bexon - Lenton Times Magazine Issue No. 4

Photograph by Paul Bexon - Lenton Times Magazine

Photograph courtesy of Brian Howes

In 1990 51 Abbey Street was occupied by George Akins - bookmakers. The wall immediately to its left marks where the River Leen used to flow under the road and past the side of the building in the days before it was redirected into the old bed of the canal.

53 Abbey Street - Smith's Newsagents, with the Johnson Arms Pub on the extreme right - August 2001

53 Abbey Street in 1925. This photograph was rescued from oblivion by Brian Howes who in 1986 came across the original glass plate among many others which had been thrown into a rubbish skip.

Photograph by Paul Bexon - Lenton Listener Magazine - April 1987

Photograph courtesy of Hilda Boosey

David & Brenda Smith outside their shop, 53 Abbey Street in April 1987

55 Abbey Street in the 1930s, with Hilda Holton (daughter of the proprietors) in the foreground

Picture postcard from the early 1900s. Shows Abbey Street Bridge over the canal with The Abbey Tavern on the left. See also Lenton Listener Article - The Johnson Arms

Photograph from Nottingham Local Studies Library

Photograph by Paul Bexon

Photograph from Nottingham Local Studies Library

Early twentieth century view of The Abbey Tavern viewed from the canal.

A close up of the bridge and pub in the previous photograph although now The Abbey Tavern has been replaced by The Johnson Arms and the Queens Medical Centre is now visible in the background. Photograph taken in 1984.

Same view as the photograph above on the previous row but by the 1950s the canal bridge is different and the pub is, of course, The Johnson Arms named after Frank Johnson, the man who had it built in 1912.

Photograph by Paul Bexon August 2005

Photograph by Paul Bexon - Lenton Listener

A 2005 view of the bridge with the River Leen now passing beneath it. An additional section of bridge work was erected in the 1990s as part of the Nottingham cycle route network which uses a section of Abbey Street as well as the old canal towpath shown in the foreground of this photograph.

This view of The Johnson Arms taken in the mid 1960s looks much the same today except it is no longer a 'Shipstone's House'. See also Lenton Listener Article - The Johnson Arms

Inside The Johnson Arms with Alan Johnson, the landlord, serving customers in the mid 1980s.See also Lenton Listener Article - The Johnson Arms

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2003

Photograph by Glenys Randle

Photograph courtesy of Lenton Local History Society

The view of the River Leen in 2003 looking south from the Abbey Street bridge. On the left is the Johnson Arms and on the right the backs of the Cloister Street properties.

Taken from the same vantage point as the previous photograph, this shot taken in 1984 shows the River Leen coming within inches of overflowing and flooding the neighbouring properties.

Bridge House stood at the junction of Abbey Street and Dunkirk Road. It came down in the mid 1970s and the site is now occupied by a block of townhouses.

Photograph by Paul Bexon August 2005

Looking back along Abbey Street with the Primitive Methodist Church on the left and No.1 Branch Shop of the Nottingham Co-op next door. Photograph by J Spree in the 1920s.

Click on the photograph for detailed information

A 2005 view of Parker's Cafe on Abbey Street. Until recently this was a single storey property but after it had been extended on the eastern side a flat has been built above it with access provided by an external staircase situated at the side of the property.

Photograph by Paul Bexon August 2005

Photograph by Paul Bexon August 2005

Photograph by Kevin Chamberlain - July 2014

Dunkirk Fire Station used to be located at the end of Abbey Street as shown in this 2005 photograph. After the new Highfields firestation was completed in 2009 on Hassocks Lane, Beeston the old Beeston firestation and Dunkirk firestation were both closed and in due course the buildings demolished.

This photograph also taken in 2005 shows the rear of the firestation with the training tower positioned centre stage.

Several projected developments for the Dunkirk firestation site came to nothing before it was finally decided to use the site for the new Nottingham University Academy of Science and Technology. Kevin Chamberlain's photograph taken in July 2014 captures the new building just before the builders added the exterior cladding. The school finally opened in September 2014.

From Clifton Boulevard to Gregory Street - Northside of the Road

Photograph courtesy of Dave Saxton

Photograph by David Smith

Photograph by Paul Bexon - 2001

Regulars from the Johnson Arms gather before boarding the coach for an 'outing' in the late 1950s. In the background are part of the premises of Simms, Sons and Cooke while beyond these can be seen some of the Commercial Street/ Spring Close properties.
See also Lenton Listener Article - The Johnson Arms

A petrol station has been part of the Abbey Street scene for at least fifty years. This is how it looked in the 1960s.

The same site as in the previous photograph as it looked in 2001 although little or nothing remains from the original building to help you get your bearings.

Photograph by Paul Bexon 2007

Photograph supplied by Edith Harrison

Photograph by Stephen Zaleski

Petrol stations in Lenton are very much an endangered species - only the one at Sainsburys Castle Marina site is still operational. The Abbey Street one shown in the previous photograph closed and this is how the site looked in May 2004. The premises now [2007] await redevelopment as either office accommodation or student housing.

Harrison's Hairdressers 1936. Left to right - Cecil Harrison, Peggy Renshaw, Elijah Harrison and Clarence Collinson. The premises were pulled down in the early 1980s.

The same property forty five years later. The barbers had already closed and it would not be all that long before the demolition men moved on to the site.

Photograph courtesy of Lenton Local History Society

Photograph by Paul Bexon

Photograph by Paul Bexon

Slightly further along Abbey Street, shot taken in the 1950s. The properties in the foreground have since been demolished as has the building just visible on the extreme right of the shot. See also Lenton Listener Article - Scene in Lenton

This photograph taken in the early 1980s shows the scene after the row of terraced properties had been demolished and a new boundary wall built in their place. Beyond the brick wall lay the building that had once served as a corn mill for the Lenton & Nottingham Co-operative Ltd. but was now used as premises for the Nottingham Co-op's building maintenance department.

Taken at the same time as the previous photograph this shot shows a more modern structure used by the Nottingham Co-op's building maintenance department. All these properties were subsequently demolished and the site incorporated into the staff car park for the Queen's Medical Centre.

Photograph from Stephen Zaleski's Collection

Photograph from Lenton Listener - Issue 27

Photograph from Lenton Listener - Issue 27

12 & 14 Abbey Street in the early 1980s. Number 12 is no longer a cycle shop. The Post Office, as is evident from the photograph below, later turned into a fish and chip shop.

The same batch of 1925 glass slides which featured Smith's Newsagency (see above) also generated this view of the Old Lenton Post Office.

Taken in October 1983 this shows the Post Office shortly after it closed down. See also Lenton Listener Article - Why Old Lenton Lost Its Post Office

Photograph by Paul Bexon - Lenton Listener - Issue 41

Photograph courtesy of Gwen Thornhill nee Lambert

Photograph courtesy of Lenton Local History Society

The property was then converted into a 'chip' shop by Nick Sellers who is shown standing in the doorway of his premises in July 1986.
See also Lenton Listener Article - The Return of the Chippy

Ted Blagdon posing for his photograph in the back of No.8 Abbey Street. Over the wall you can just see empty bottles belonging to Redgate's mineral works based on Leengate. To the left of Ted Blagdon was the entrance to the outside toilet. At this time there was no inside toilet. See Gwen Thornhill's Memories of 8 Abbey Street shown below

4 & 6 Abbey Street taken in the late 1970s shortly before its eventual demolition. In the early 1800s the building had housed a Dame School.

Photograph by Kevin Chamberlain - 2012

Photograph by Kevin Chamberlain - 2012

Taken by Kevin Chamberlain in June 2012 this shows Nos. 14, 12, 10, and 8 Abbey Street, now unoccupied and awaiting the demolition team to arrive and knock them down, as they stood in the way of the new tram system shortly to make its appearance in Lenton.

Kevin also offers us a close-up of Nos.10 and 8 Abbey Street - with the ground floor doors and windows all boarded up to prevent any unauthorised access to the buildings while they wait to be demolished.

Lenton Listener Articles

Articles from 'The Lenton Listener' Magazine

Scene in Lenton - Issue 25 - July to August 1983

Why Old Lenton Lost Its Post Office - Issue 27 - November to December 1983

Harrisons - Combing Through The Past - Issue 36 - October to November 1985

The Return of the Chippy - Issue 41 - August to September 1986

The Smiths of Lenton - Issue 45 - April to May 1987

The Johnson Arms - Issue 48 - October to November 1987


Gwen Thornhill

For many years my grandmother, Eliza Blagden, lived at No 8 Abbey Street. Her husband, George William Blagden (my grandfather) was an upholsterer who died in 1919 leaving my grandmother to bring up eight children. My brother I and were born at this house and lived in one of the front rooms along with my mum (Dora Lambert nee Blagden) and dad for about five years. In the other front room lived the Wesley family, my aunt Maud (nee Blagden) and Arthur Wesley and their sons, John, Charles and Kevin. In the back room lived my grand mother, uncle Ted, Auntie Doris and Auntie Ivy (all born at this address and members of the Blagden family). Further along Abbey Street at No 4 lived my uncle Everard and his wife, Olive, along with their children Grenville, Mick, Bill and Ann. In that house they only had one bedroom which they all shared.

I have many happy memories of these two addresses even though looking back we lived quite frugally. I remember the black iron fire place that provided all our hot water in one of its side ovens. Cooking was done in the other side oven. The fire place was black leaded every week by Uncle Ted and looked immaculate. I remember the big wooden table in the centre of the back room, that was quite big, being scrubbed after each sitting. I remember us Lambert kids going into the pantry and eating the Wesleys malt and codliver oil. Auntie Maud used to moan like hell about it - we obviously couldn't afford to buy such luxuries.

Julia Pearl - Perth, Western Australia

I remember the petrol station next to the canal. During the early '60s, one summers evening, all hell let loose when the canal was on fire. Turned out the petrol scrap' was being deposited in the canal and someone inadvertently dropped a cigarette over the bridge. Whoosh! Up it went. Very exciting for the kids in the area of which I was one.

My family all attended the Abbey Street Chapel with many others in the area. In fact we were all confirmed there in 1968 (ish). Mr Pratt was the Minister and he always told the story of the little red engine (I think I can, I know I can) to the junior congregation.

We also attended Youth Club at Derby Rd Methodist where we were enrolled after Abbey St sadly closed down. Mr and Mrs Pratt used to take the teenagers to parks etc in the summer for an outing. Think we might have even gone on the motorboat at Highfields one week.

The mums were members of Young Wives (not bad for my mum who was in her 50s then) and they got together at each others houses for Tupperware type parties. We had a Sara Coventry jewellery party at our place in Beeston Rd - I've still got the blue pendant! The other women loved coming as mum was a good cook and made great nibblies. Once Abbey St closed Derby Rd Church just wasn't the same and I've seldom attended church since. A small community ruined really.

There was the recreation ground where the Queens Medical is now. There was a wood yard behind and a small dyke nearby. That waterway must have been so polluted because it absolutely STANK if the wind was in the wrong direction. We lived in Warwick St and weren't allowed to cross 'the main road' without an adult so didn't get to the rec very often, but I can smell that dyke as I write!

The caretaker from Dunkirk Primary School used to live in Bridge House during the 1960s. Can't remember his name, but he retired from the school about 1964. Miss Stonehouse, headmistress of the school at the time, gave him an official send off one assembly and a couple of the juniors had to learn the words of gratitude. It was so well-rehearsed I reckon most of us knew the speech word for word.

There was a large apple tree in his garden. One day a friend and I decided to go scrumping and scaled down the fence into his garden. She managed to escape before his wife caught us. I panicked and got into trouble. I still remember the guilt "Tch! Tch! Tch! Look who it is."

Let us know your memories of Abbey Street

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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