BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014
NottinghamNottingham

BBC Homepage
»BBC Local
Nottingham
Things to do
People & Places
Nature
History
Religion & Ethics
Arts and Culture
BBC Introducing
TV & Radio

Sites near Nottingham

Derby
Humberside
Leicester
Lincolnshire
South Yorkshire

Related BBC Sites

England
 

Contact Us


March 2004
Welcome to Hucknall
Harrier sculpture
A sculpture of a harrier... read more to find out why.
On the surface Hucknall's not very notable at all... surely there's something to show for 800 years of history?

Neil Heath

Any life in Hucknall?
SEE ALSO
Welcome to Hucknall : Things to do

Hucknall nightlife
WEB LINKS

Hucknall

Hucknall - Torkard

Hucknall Today
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

FACTS

The Hucknall of today was known as Hucknall Torkard until 1916.

The first mention of Torkard occurs in 1180, when Geoffrey Torcard, gave about 120 acres of land to Newstead Abbey.

Lord Byron was buried at St Mary Magdalene church Hucknall Torkard on 16th July 1824.

In the Domesday Book (A.D 1086) Hucknall's name appears as 'Hochenale'.
PRINT THIS PAGE
View a printable version of this page.
get in contact
Having spent seven years at Holgate school in Hucknall I know more than a little about the town. I can tell you exactly what the Flying Bedstead is, who Ben Caunt was and where Lord Byron is buried - I'll fill you in a little later...

But even with this advantage, finding something to see and do in Hucknall was a challenge.

The Byron cinema and bingo hall.

After getting off the tram there's no signs pointing to a tourism office because there isn't one.

And unless you have bionic eyes you'll struggle to see the sign pointing to Hucknall's town centre.

The first thing you'll see on arriving in Hucknall is a giant Tesco superstore which is actually built on the site of Hucknall's former colliery.

There's an irony here, Hucknall was once a mining town and now, if it is anything, it's the perfect place to buy all of your groceries.

The Byron
When you head towards the High Street you'll spot The Byron Cineplex and Bingo Hall... it's a 1930s building, a little in disrepair, but I'm told it's one of only 15 existing types in Britain.

St Mary Magdelene Church.

It may look a little grotty but when you consider the fate of Bulwell's former equivalent, The Adelphi, you'll appreciate it a lot more.

A few years back The Adelphi was demolished, in its place stands a Kentucky Fried Chicken. Now, which would you rather have: history or Colonel Sanders?

It's £3.50 to see a film at the Byron, nearly half the price of the multiplexes - so worth a visit.

Venturing up Hucknall's High Street you'll notice it has its fair share of chairty shops, banks, take-aways and boozers.

Don't expect to see a Top Man or a Dorothy Perkins - the closest you'll get is Peacocks and Bon Marche.

St Mary Magdelene Church
At the top end of the High Street is the Market Place. There you'll spot Hucknall library and St Mary Magdelene Church.

The entrance to the Byron family crypt. For a bigger picture click here...

The church is most famous for containing the Byron family tomb.

When I entered
the church and asked the vicar if I could visit Byron's tomb, she laughed and said: "well, you can see the plaque". I was disappointed.

The plaque is a sealed entrance to the crypt, last opened by Canon Barber in 1938.

The Canon actually peered into Lord Byron's coffin and saw the poet's embalmed body, Byron even had a smile on his face - I can't help thinking what a great tourist attraction this could be!

But alas, we can't wander into the crypt - I'm not morbid, honest.

The church also has the largest collection of stained glass from the Kempe Studios.

C E Kempe is a key figure in 19th century decorative art and his windows give his own interpretation of medieval stained glass - they're very beautiful.

The Church's graveyard is as fascinating and
peaceful as you'd expect a cemetery to be. The gravestones date back around 200 years and display some wonderfully ornate lettering.

The grave of Ben Caunt
The grave of Ben Caunt. For a bigger picture click here...

One grave in particular, that you'll come across, is that of Ben Caunt. Hucknall man Caunt, was a champion prizefighter who once tried to strangle his great rival, Bendigo, in 1838.

The fighting tradition hasn't really died out - visit Hucknall on a friday night for more details! Only joking...

Missed opportunities

After wandering around the church - other than having a pint - I struggled to find anything to do around the town.

I could have taken a 30 minute stroll out of the town towards the Misk Hills but I wimped out because of the weather.

But, I couldn't help thinking how much potential Hucknall has. Historic things have happened there and there's very little commemorating them.

For example, Hucknall was a mining town but, unless you wander into the tiny visitor centre in St Mary Magdelene's, there's no evidence on show to say it was: there's no statues, no museums, there's not even an information board.

Also, In 1954, Hucknall witnessed the testing of the first Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft - affectionately known as 'The Flying Bedstead'. An evolution of the same technology later formed the Harrier Jump-Jet.

Again, apart from names of pubs, there's nothing to celebrate this achievement. There used to be a statue at Holgate School but it's no longer there.

However, there is a sculpture of a harrier (bird) on a roundabout on the bypass but with no explanation as to what it symbolises, it's pretty useless.

However, Hucknall does have a bustling nightlife and it's that reason why many people would visit the town.

Find out about Hucknall's nightlife >>

Is there life in Hucknall?

Bob Winsor
My name's Bob Winsor, I grew up in Hucknall and left in 1982 when I was 18. I loved my teenage years in Hucknall - listening to the Ramones, skids, Stranglers etc. I sed to hang out at Dave's caff of Watnell Rd being served tea and chips by Mrs M and Evelym whilst Dave and Tony cut hair next door. Kwak KH 250, Z500s all custom painted by Dave Hancock - Where are you now, mate? Never found chips like those in the Market place chippy here in london. I wannav come back (I think!) loved theMiners welfare on a monday night and going out in chromed up miners boots. went to National School anf left in 1980. Just done an MA in legal and political theory, now I've started to think about those greatdays. Might sell up and move back - Is Liby still beautiful - good place to buy a cottage and find a wife!!? Any good nightlife

Ian McMurray
There is no place like home! I moved away from Hucknall in 1997 (Got married to an American). Still live in the USA, but LOVE my trips back home to Hucknall. I get very nostalgic and if you see me walking the streets I'll be the one with the camera! I can't believe I turned into a tourist for my home town!! So did Rolls Royce really bury a Merlin engine below the weeping willow on the Tich?

Dangerous Jonny
(Sorry Editor the first one I'm Dyslexic, no typos here I hope?) Well you can see what people call me and it is true, yet I'm still weary about the place. I went to school there and thought it was rough over ten years ago, I'm in IT now but also a trained soldier and I would never dream of going out there at night without an LSW (light Support Weapon) in case I look at someone's pint and big tank with the hatch welded shut! At least that will still be in the car park when I get back from the pub!!!

sarah louise beasley
if you ask me there is so little life but it is like finding a pin in a hay stack. the only life there is around here is crime. the young children who live here now will probably sit infront opf the news and see and hear about all this murdert and drugs ansd theft that they might think it is all r4ight to do and then become a criminal themselves. i`d get out of here whilst you have the chance. if not tell your kids to be in at a certain time and tell 5them to let you know where they will be. dont let them know criminals.

rachel caine
i think hucknall is going from bad to worse.ive lived here all my life(29 years) and its bad.weve had two murders in the last three weeks and there is countless amounts of other crimminals at work.the town centre is ok if you want charity shops pubs and estate agents but if you need basic things such as shoes or clothes you have to go elsewhere.our children have nowhere to play because everywhere gets vandalised and there is dog mess wherever you walk! the schools are full of kids that bully and do drugs.most people in hucknall are genuine good people but we are getting over run by the minority that seem to be ever multiplying and hell bent on wrecking anything that is good.

Lee
Ron Alcock – so that’s all you’ve got to offer is it? A murder! Why did she do it? Was the poor woman so depressed (because she lived in this cheery little town) that she felt compelled to slaughter someone hence to commit herself to imprisonment instead of having to live in Hucknall all her poor life?

Ron Alcock
Heres a point of history that anyone interested should look into that is: The Murder of Jean Burton, there is a small hill on Portland Road travelling south out of Hucknall towards Bulwell known locally as Jinney Botton's hill, she was reputed to be a very rich spinster that lived in a cottage on Portland road. I'm not totally sure of the date she was murdered but I think it was 1930-1939. So local historians see if you can put her on the map with a little more information than I am able to give, I would be interested to know what turns up, I know that a road has been named after her but nothing else.

daniel lees
i moved from hucknall 1 year ago wish i had styed i do miss it it was a great place loads to do

Gan
There is still a "statue" for the "Flying Bedstead" at the Holgate school it is now located at the front of the Hillcrest building and is made of stainless steel a gift from the apprentices at Rolls Royce.

Ray
I have moved from Croydon to Hucknall and i will not move back. In fact i like it so much i am trying to move closer to the high street. Stop slagging the place of you want to try south london. Yes there is trouble some times in the pubs but this is indicative of society today and it is not as prevalant as in other towns.

Emma
yes there is I moved there a year ago after 6 years of commuting here to seemy partner I love the fact that you can be in the husstle and bustle of a lively little town 1 minute then 5 minutes later you have Misk hills or linby / Papplewick Best place in the world to me I LOVE IT yes there are problems here but there are all over the country!!!! If you dont like it move and let people who appreciate it move in (I would suggest somewere like Coventry to those that moan)

Nigel Brown
I havent been back to Hucknall since i left with my family for Australia in 1969 - but even as a 7 year old, i loved the place. Although it was obviously a lot smaller then, my parents used to take my brother and i to titchfield park and for walks around bulwell all and up to papelwick lido (swimming baths). My family had a history dating back a very long way and all were miners and my father, brother and i were the only family members to ever leave Hucknall. I saw my first movie at the Byron (thunderbirds are go) in about 1963-64 and i went to Beardall Street school. From the comments ive read so far, i agree, there is so much history in Hucknall that should be told, apart from the usual (ben caunt etc). A certain eric coates who wrote the theme for the dam busters, and the nursery rhyme 'teddy bears picnic' also lived in hucknall and lord byrons daughter ada countess of lovelace comiled one of the first computers ( a small calculating machine) back in the early 18oo's. My great great grandfather was also a boxer in hucknall at the same time as ben caunt - but there's not much in the family history on that one unfortunately. I'd love to get back there one day and see where i grew up - sit under the tree at mary magdeline and look up at the clouds - but im not 7 anymore and Hucknall isnt what it once was. Plenty of small towns like hucknall - but in australia have been revived and are now thriving tourist spots - thanks to the locals giving it a go! Come on Hucknall - i know you can do it too!

Theresa
I'd like to thank Paul for his sermon on behalf of the tourism grp, of which I am an alumnus. Currently doing a little guide book for my AS level English Language Coursework, so we can get people in! Of course there is life in Hucknall, and it's getting better all the time, thanks to surveys and stats finding out about what local people want.

matt
yes there is life in hucknall or it would not be there

Ron Alcock
When I lived in Hucknall things were very different to the way they are now, I remember all the slums that were there in my childhood, Brook street, Eastwell Street, Allen Street to name but a few, Ashfield council has done wonders with the place since the pits were closed, the town centre now has trees to improve the air quality, new toilets on the market place but having visited them there are obviously people that dont deserve them having seen the state of the walls and the ever present urine all over the floor, I use a walking stick because of an accident I had in my youth and that floor is always slippy, I try not to use them but sometimes it is inevitable and I am always wary of slipping on the wet floor and ruining my clothes. But on a lighter note ashfield can be proud of the improvements they have made to the dismal ex mining town although they should not stop there, and I aggree with the person who commented on the missing tourist information office Hucknall its surrounding villages has enough interesting people in its past to provide a flourishing tourist industry to bring in extra revenue for the district and should look into other things besides Lord Byron who for most of his life lived just about as far away from Hucknall as he could. What about Eric Coates the composer who lived at the top of Duke Street, Ben Caunt the bare knuckle fighter, D,H Lawrence the writer of Lady Chatterly's Lover among other things. I was also one of the last boys who worked down the Hucknall No1 pit with a poney called Silver, other ponies in the stable were: Dandy,Fly,Blackie,Admiral and another grey that I dont recall the name of, these ponies were well cared for by the lads in charge of them who often shared thier food with them, (sometimes involuntary) they could get a bit cheeky but so long as there was some left for us we didn't mind sharing. So where is the mining museum?? it needs to be set up before the people that can tell the story first hand no longer exist, I am now 60 so there aint that long left now before its too late to tell this story first hand.

Kaz
I'm just glad I escaped from Hucknall why I had the chance - I dont think that I could have spent the whole of my life livin there. There is nothing to do and the pubs are just a laugh. Every night nearly there has been a fight when Ive been out... Need I say anymore

Gillian
Hucknall is a place which will grow on you,if you give it a chance!I do feel that the shopping has gone down hill(not Misk)!There are too many banks and charity shops. What happened to the clothes shops? Shoe shops are not as good as they were.The market would have been better in the old Co-op building or under cover. Litter is a problem, school children and adults alike just drop their litter.If the Council would make it easier for shops to rent properties in the town centre it would boost the town. Boarded up shops are an eyesore and put people off coming in.Better toilet facilities would help too.When the Council do try to put entertainment on people moan. One major gripe I have is, when will the council/shops sort out the guttering? Grass grows up there which blocks them and its like Niagra Falls when it rains!

r c hughes
hucknall has such a large heritage to play in the history of nottinghamshire not being born from hucknall but moving here four years ago from nottingham, i find the town to have a great sense of community, values, and pride but alas like many other ex-pit towns it is struggling to come to terms with adaptation in the modern world. However i think that the town and surronding countryside{if its not built on} has lots to offer many different persuasions of people from other areas. I like living in huckner and feel proud to be part of its heritage.

Peter Nathan
Ahhhhh just surfing the web and remembering my childhood in Hucknall, Beardall st secondary (still cant spell) I havent been back for the last 35 years but good to see the Byron is still alive!

Exiled from Hucknall
Cause the' is! It's reet me duck, as the saying goes.

Tony Mawbey
Don't knock Hucknall I spend 50 weeks of the year in London so its nice to get 2 weeks of peace and quiet. see you at the end of July.

Paul Dale
OOH, Hucknall HAS got a Tourism Information point, it's in the Library on the Market Place. We created it out of nothing. Anyways, there are a group of people who are swimming against the tide of apathy currently washing over the town- As acting Chairman of the Hucknall Tourism and Regeneration group I see the hopes and aspirations of the dedicated and persistent few, and am filled with hope that in the not too distant future both visitor and resident should have access to a wide range of aspects of Hucknall's rich heritage.Tourists should have information about the town and surrounding districts and our children will be given opportunities to study all of this and shape the future.We are always looking for forward thinking people, so get in touch- don't just sit there slagging off your town, GET INVOLVED!! Contact me via pauldodo@ntlworld.com or talk to the library volunteers- Sermon over!

laura
yes cos it has lds of shops and things to do

sam
its home and i love it!

Emma
Yes Hucknall has got life as i go up misk hills every day with my dogs

Steve
Hucknall's got an INCREDIBLY frustrating town road system..it really is a PAIN. Avoid at all costs unless you're going for a night on the "razzle" (use a TRAM!).

Neil
It may be a little run down but when you live half a world away it's still home, and there's still not a better chippy than the market chippy.

Eileen Hendrex
Dont put Hucknall down, its just another town, just like any other in the UK, some good some bad! Hucknall is no worse than any other - sure it's no metropolis - what do you expect when you have a council that sits on there Ass al day!

jez
get yourself into the chequers for the best pint in Nottinghamshire.

Simon Gregg
You forgot to mention the snooker hall!!!

Rich
All week I'd planned to take my 6 year daughter to Hucknall for her first ride on the new trams. We were really excited. The idea was to have a good look around when we got there, find all the interesting places to go & generally have a good time. The result? Well, we managed to find Safeway along the high street and we bought some grapes. Then it was back on the tram. Conclusion, don't make the same mistake as we did. Stay on the tram.

Richard
You miserable sods...

John
No.. Just despair, regret and tenderness.

John
No there isn't. Run for the (misk) hills before it's too late.

Joanne
Yes there is but unfortunaley if you have a young family theres nowhere to go in the day time.

Pete
Its best function is for food shopping... apart from taht it's just where I live, there's more life outside Hucknall...


Is there life in Hucknall?

Your name:


Comment:

Top | Features Index | Home
Also in this section
Features
Wicked summer out gallery

Xylophone Man memorial

Jamcams Weather forecast - today and tomorrow News in brief
Meet the team - the webmasters Contact Us
BBC Nottingham website
London Road
Nottingham, NG2 4UU
(+44) 0115 955 0500
nottingham@bbc.co.uk



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy