The Retirees go Abroad – Greg’s Visit to Nottingham – Attenborough Wildlife Reserve, Nottingham Galleries of Justice and D H Lawrence Centre

The next day, Tuesday, was again bright and sunny with a touch of coldness in the air. A good time to go to Attenborough Reserve and Attenborough church. I drove over to the Reserve and we took the path to the church where I showed Greg where we laboured of a Wednesday (sometimes when not travelling) and made our way back to the Wildlife Centre for a cup of coffee followed by a walk through the reserve spotting different birds as we walked.

Refreshed from our walk we travelled into Nottingham city centre and visited the Galleries of Justice. I had been here before also but again the tour had been changed. Into the Courtroom and the court orderly passed on the evidence concerning the recent violent death of a local member of the aristocracy. Greg was called upon to give evidence in the matter and took the stand. After this we all reassembled in the cells below where we met one of the suspects being held for questioning and she showed us around the place – not much had changed it was still dark damp and horrible. We then made our way to the infirmary and heard from the doctor the results of the autopsy and then into the Sherriff’s dungeon where we met an explorer who was also being held in relation to the investigation and she showed us the rest of the cells including the gallows where the convicted person might swing.

We received the remaining witness statements in the streets below the jail concluding the visit to the cells and allowing us to solve the mystery. As we made our way to the street we passed through the prison museum learning about the reformers and the reforms to the prison system throughout England. Solving crime gives you an appetite, so a bite to eat and then across to the castle. We past Robin Hood on our way to the Castle. It is not really a castle and has not been so since the Civil War in 1642 to 1646, when Parliament ordered the demolition of the castle following the beheading of Charles I. The Palace constructed by the Duke of Newcastle was built on the old castle site only to be set alight by rioters following a vote against greater voting rights for all men (women would have a further fight to win). The Palace has been restored and is now a Museum of both art and some folk history and stuff. Still interesting to visit and complete with a stroll through the gardens. Statutes to the great writers of Nottingham – Lord Byron and D H Lawrence greet you at the front door.

We have golf tomorrow so we head home for dinner and a restful night.

The Retirees go Abroad – Rod and Kerry come for a stay

It is Monday and we travel to Nottingham Bus station to pick up Rod and Kerry Hayes. They are on their way to Norway and are visiting for 4 days. As expected they step from the coach and we collect their luggage.

We have planned a tour of Nottingham and like most plans it gets changed. We walk to Upper Pavement into the Pitcher and Piano – a de sanctified church turned into a hotel.  Lunch and a beer is on the menu. The hotel is a great use of a grand building.

Nearby is the Galleries of Justice. This is a museum in the old Town Hall where court rooms and a prison were once housed. In fact hangings were done on the front steps of the building. Inside the first thing confronting you is a gibbet. Hanging from the ceiling is an iron cage in the shape of a person. Once hung the body was placed in the gibbet for public display. On entering the museum you are given a convict number. From there you proceed into the court room with the orderly who tells you about the proceedings in the court circa 1780 and then down the stairs in the dock to the cells.

Inside the cells you find your number which informs you as to the crime you have committed and the sentence that has been passed upon you. In the cells you meet the warder. She would live on the site and work in this airless cell extorting money from the prisoners for food water and other necessities.

We then went through various cells to the Sheriff’s cells and into the exercise yard where a warder barked commands about the exercise you were to take otherwise you met the gallows, solitary confinement in the dark or were thrown into the pit where you were forgotten about unless your family came and paid for your release. But hang on my sentence was transportation. Initially this may have been to the American colonies but after the American War of Independence many prisoners were transported to Australia. So I was shown through a different door from which I was transported to a hulk on the Thames and later to Australia.

I was glad when we found our way out of there. We then strolled through the streets of Nottingham back to our car and home to Long Eaton to prepare for tomorrow.