Updated: May 26
I must really love the places. This was to be my fourth hospital visit within two months. That is, my visit to a fourth hospital within two months. This time my appointment was at Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre and knowing from my only other visit to the place just how long it takes to get there by car in the morning rush hour, let alone how long it takes to then find somewhere to park, I decided to make the journey by train. It's an easy enough trip with the early trains from Matlock being direct, so I decided to let the train take the strain.
With the effect that the current riverbank/anti-flood work taking place in Matlock is having on the traffic flow in the town, leading to some locals renaming the place Gridlock, I decided to board the train at Cromford, and so just before 7am I found myself driving down the Via Gellia to the station. With no rush hour traffic, and no parking problems, I was soon being whisked towards Nottingham by the good people of East Midland Railway.
Despite having lived in the East Midlands for over forty years, if I discount a couple of meetings I attended at the university, my experience of Nottingham is limited to a previous visit to the aforementioned QMC and a singular one to the Olde Trip to Jerusalem with some boozing buddies back in the 1980s. I would use this visit as an opportunity to explore a little.
Appointment over and with the tram having deposited me back at the station well before my train departed I set off to wander about a bit and so sauntered along Carrington Street. On the corner of Canal Street I noticed this building.
It looked so much like a number of others around which once housed hotels that I assumed it once did as well. Back home I started doing a little digging. This old Ordnance Survey map marks an inn on the corner of Canal and Carrington Streets, so I was right. It had been a boozer.
Except that it hadn't and I was wrong. There may very well have been an inn marked on the old map, but the building that stands on that spot today was designed in 1923 by A. N. Bromley and used to house the offices of the Anglo-America Oil Company and an Esso garage, if Graham Woodward is to be believed. (See pages 7 and 8 in his document.) However this Victorian photograph of the intersection does show a pub on the site – the Midland Inn. So I was right after all. Well, sort of!
This earlier image, taken from a glass slide, also shows a second pub on the eastern part of Canal Street, the Lincoln Arms.
And this one, from the early 1920s, shows the Lincoln Arms as a Shipstone's house but the Midland Inn is conspicuous by its absence.
A closer inspection of the original shows workmen with a ladder, so perhaps the photographer has caught the new building in the early stages of its construction.
So, what do we know of the Midland Inn's history? Well, there's no record of its existence in the 1851 census, nor in White's 1853 directory, but it makes an appearance in Wright's similar publication of the following year.
I can't help but wonder if this was built by, or for, the Midland Railway as its station stood a hundred or so yards away on Station Street, just across the canal bridge.
So, if Joseph Hickinbotham was one of its earliest landlords, what about at the other end of its life? Wright's 1914 directory lists brewer Willian Henry Hulme as one of the city's residents who also seems to have an interest in the Midland Inn.
The same publication also records him in the street list.
He's there again at number 26 Carrington Street in their 1916 edition...
...but in the 1920 edition...
...there's no Mr. Hulme. There's no number 26 either. In all likelihood he was its final licensee.
Now, what about the Lincoln Arms?
The earliest reference to it that I've so far come across is in the 1861 census when one Samuel Vickers is a publican in Lincoln Arms on Canal Street.
If the Lincoln Arms didn't appear until a few years after the Midland Inn, it certainly managed to hang around for quite a while longer. It wasn't until the redevelopment of the area in the 1970s that it was flattened to make way for the Broad Marsh car park. That most aesthetically pleasing structure stood for less than half the time of the Lincoln before it too fell to the demolition gang...
...to be replaced by this. An improvement? Time will tell.
Speaking of time. With a little of it left on my hands before my train for Matlock departed from a little further south along Carrington Street, Mr. Google's mapping app informed me that I wasn't a million miles away from the Olde Trip. Perhaps it was time to renew my acquaintance after forty years. It would've be wrong not to, wouldn't it? So I did the right thing.
It was good to see that this is one hostelry that current owners Greene King haven't managed to ruin, so I settled down to while away a little bit of that time in the company of a Rock Mild from Nottingham Brewery. What better way could there be to pass those surplus seconds?
I've only one little moan. WHERE'S THE BEERMATS?
The map extract is copyright and is reproduced with the permission of the
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