Houses and Homes

Most of the oldest properties in the village cluster around the Hall and Church. Many were originally cottages for the workers on the Tollerton Estate and their families and were rented properties. When Mrs Davies was Lady of the Manor she had a curious form of rental which was mixed with discipline. The rent for some cottages was 1 shilling a week but if any of the tenants or their families misconducted themselves the rent was raised. Hence some tenants in the same accommodation were paying 1 shilling and others 2 shillings a week.

Much earlier than this, other residents did much to avoid payment of taxes. Potter (1929) states that some of the windows were bricked up at the house known as Duke’s Cottage since there was a tax on windows. This Act of Parliament was put in to operation in 1697 and repealed in 1851.
The main focus in this chapter is on the older properties in the village and the growth in building that occurred in the first half of the 1900s. Most properties associated with the farms in Tollerton are referred to in the ‘Farms and Farming’ chapter.

‘These houses together with the school room were built for the accommodation and comfort of the labouring classes of Tollerton by Pendock Barry Barry Esq M.A.’

The lower plaque on the archway, which is still clearly readable, marked alterations made to the cottages in 1921 by Alice Burnside. Internal modifications were made to create 3 up and 3 down properties with small yards that had earth closets and coal stores. The schoolroom then became
part of one of the cottages. It is suggested in Potter’s publication (1929) that the building at the east end of these cottages might once have been a bakehouse.

Photograph courtesy of Alan Woodcock

The Lodge
At the junction of Tollerton Lane with Cotgrave Lane is ‘The Lodge’, which was once the northern lodge and gateway to Tollerton Hall. The property was originally built around 1824 and is a Grade II listed building with an ornate archway carrying the coat of arms and large orb finials. Sources suggest that it was designed to match the rebuilding of the Hall in the Gothic style. White’s Directory (1853) makes reference to the ‘new’ buildings saying:

“The new gateway, and the lodge near it, together with the bridge assimilate with the surrounding scenery.”

This lodge was once the gamekeeper’s house and is referred to in some archived material as the ‘Keepers Lodge’. In the 1851 Census the gamekeeper was Thomas Tate so one presumes he might have lived here with his wife Caroline. Thomas and Caroline had moved by 1861 and were in Knaresborough, Yorkshire where Thomas was listed as the gamekeeper to Sir Joseph Radcliffe. According to a newspaper article in 1993, the Lodge was also the post office during the last war when Mrs Annie Foster was the postmistress. Gillian Collins (nee Ball), a former resident who now lives in Canada, also recalls the ‘Gatehouse’ being a post office during the war. The grounds to this property once stretched down to the edge of Tollerton Lane but there is a bungalow to the right on part of this land now.

Old postcard image of ‘The Lodge’ – courtesy of Julian Smith.

Forge Cottages
Further along Tollerton Lane just beyond the junction with Cotgrave Lane are the Forge Cottages, now called ‘Tollgate Lodge’ and ‘The Smithy’. The first photograph below was taken in 1904 and shows a much deeper frontage as this was long before Tollerton Lane was widened. Through the trees to the left one can just see part of ‘The Lodge’.

Forge Cottages Left: 1904; Right: 1974
Both images courtesy of ‘Picture the Past’

The later photograph in 1974 shows many of the same features though there is now a property to the left and many more trees in the foreground which shield some of the original features. Some of the trees to the rear have now gone and ‘The Lodge’ to the left is more visible in the background. From the front of the Forge Cottages there is evidence of the archway where the horses would have been taken through to be shod, though this archway was subsequently filled in. The blacksmith in 1851 was Thomas Burton whose wife was Emma. They had five children at the time all under the age of eight years the youngest of which (Ann) was born in Tollerton. With the Burton family was William Carver aged 51 years who was listed as ‘blacksmith journeyman’. Bill Stevenson lived here between 1954 and 1964 and has informed us that he sold his property to Miss Don who worked at the airfield during WW2. Further down Tollerton Lane in a southerly direction are a number of old properties some of which would have been occupied by residents who worked at Manor Farm or at Tollerton Hall.

165 Tollerton Lane

The old Post Office was once situated here, opposite Bassingfield Farm. It was listed as such in the sale documents of Tollerton Hall Estate in 1928. In the 1911 Census, Mrs Mary Poynton Chambers (nee Musson) is listed as sub post mistress born 1856 in Baltimore, North America. In the household are her two sons, George and William and a daughter called Hilda. Mary was then a widow as her husband, Arthur Chambers, had died in 1898.

Immediately before her marriage to Arthur Chambers in 1881, Mary was the cook to the Welbys at The Rectory. Gerald Cowlishaw of Cotgrave Lane recalls being told that Mrs Chambers had a telephone on a board just inside the front door that villagers had access to. No public telephone kiosks then!

In 1929 an application was made by J D Holbrook for alterations to the P.O. Cottage but no details were given as to what these alterations were. Mary Poynton Chambers died that year.

Beyond the former post office are other cottages where members of the Sweet family lived. Gerty Sweet lived in one of these cottages and Alice Mary Broughton (nee Sweet) another. Both were daughters of Charles Sweet who had been the coachman at Tollerton Hall.

165 Tollerton Lane courtesy of Hazel Salisbury

As children Gerty and Alice, along with their older siblings, Lillian and George Henry and their parents, Charles and Emma Sweet, had lived on the other side of Tollerton Lane at Mill Lane, where there were several properties including the old coach house. There is a delightful photograph in the chapter relating to WW1 of Alice Sweet as a young child standing outside this property. When St Hugh’s College was at Tollerton Hall and the school expanded, the upper school premises were located here. Mill Lane no longer exists and is now home to some commercial units known collectively as The Coach House.

157 Tollerton Lane

This is where the Manor Cottage Cattery is located which was opened as such in 1988 by Sheila and Gerald Cowlishaw. When they moved in they found a well behind the cottage and also soil toilets, the contents of which would have been collected every week. There was also a grain store here –
part of Manor Farm in the past.

Photograph kindly provided by Rita Bembridge of Bentinck Avenue.

This photograph was taken in September 1991 by kind permission of Greta Miles,
the former housekeeper to Mrs Farnsworth of Manor Farm

The previous photograph, taken from the cattery side of Manor Farm, shows where farm equipment used to be stored.

There are now four properties between 157 and 155 Tollerton Lane that used to be outbuildings to Manor Farm and are modern barn conversions. Any evidence of their earlier use is long gone.

Photographs courtesy of Rita Bembridge.

The photograph to the left, taken in 1991, shows the interior of the wash house at Manor Farm, next to the farm kitchen including the white washed brick boiler in the corner.

The Farnsworth family acquired Pork Farms Ltd whilst living here though the business was first established by the Furniss brothers in 1931. From archived materials, it appears the Parr family purchased this business from the Furniss family and then sold it to the Farnsworths.

The above photograph on the right is taken again in 1991, one can see the old pork pie moulds hanging on the wall in the cold store within the house.

This was once the entrance to the farm yard at Manor Farm; cowsheds and wash house now all gone. Many thanks again to Rita Bembridge of Tollerton for sharing these images.

Building in the 1930s and beyond

In the 1930s there was much new building in Tollerton and the village started to expand. Some of the first homes to be built were further down Tollerton Lane, beyond Burnside Grove. The black and white gable fronted properties here were built in 1934 by local builders, Gilbert and Hall Ltd.

These detached houses with three bedrooms and a garage originally sold for £795. Advertising materials at the time said: “If you buy a house in the Tollerton Lane district you experience the cumulating effect on your health of residing in a modern, airy, light and labour saving house with beautiful countryside around you. Your home in these ideal surroundings, away from the dust and turmoil of the city to the calm of your own home and garden, is an ideal worth striving for”.

The literature also played on the fact that the area was served with mains drainage, electricity and Nottingham Corporation water and gas. Electricity was first made available in Tollerton in 1929. In October 1934 a headline in the Nottingham Evening Post read: “Bingham Seeks Power to Borrow £4,000”. This was for a sewage disposal scheme in Tollerton to support the

new housing. Sir Albert Ball offered to contribute £2,000 but some people were not happy about this since the system would not benefit the ‘old’ village. An inquiry was held at the Rectory Room and objections heard from Rev. T Wilson, the Principal of Paton College and some residents of ‘old’ Tollerton, including Mrs Sweet. Paton College, based at Tollerton Hall (see page 38 for more information) objected since it had already installed a sewage system of its own yet would be expected to pay higher rates. Residents of ‘old’ Tollerton and the Rector objected since the system would not include the old village. An interesting statistic appears in this newspaper article – the fact that in 1934 there were 71 houses in Tollerton but only 31 three years prior to this.

Other homes were built in Tollerton by G R Crane and Son. An account written by Bert Crane in 2002 that appeared in the Tollerton Village Newsletter describes the building of homes on Lenton Avenue. Here are just a few brief extracts from this article, which highlight the lack of roads and drainage when they first started to build in this area:

“We found that there was no road but Albert Ball had promised to start road construction in time for us to start building. I remember we had to mow a square in a horse beam field!”
“I remember going to a public meeting to plan a sewerage system and work was started soon after.
The pipes were laid in a tunnel up Lenton Avenue. We had to lay the drain to connect the tunnel in Priory Avenue.”

An application to build further houses and bungalows on Tollerton Lane was made in 1937 by Hedley B Marshall, a Scottish architect who practised in Nottingham. The semi detached homes on Medina Drive sold for £525 in 1938. When Dorothy Singleton gave a talk to the Tollerton Friendship Club in 1991 she mentioned that this road was first known as Honeymoon Lane and the Nursery Avenue, since so many newly married couples came to live here.

Gillian Collins (nee Ball), a former resident, remembers a builder’s yard owned by Gilbert and Hall on Medina Drive when she lived here in the early 1940s. She also recalls that building work stopped during WW2 but resumed again sometime after the war. It must have been in the early 1950s as there was a seven year ban on ordinary house building after the war because of the shortage of building materials and the need to concentrate on bomb damaged cities.

A detached Crane built house on Bentinck Avenue would have sold for around £1,920. According to a publication ‘Tollerton and the New Elizabethan Age’ by Peggy Heason (2002), a former Tollerton resident, there was once a gate across the road at Bentinck Avenue making it a gated development. In the 50s Lenton, Bentinck and Stanstead Avenues had no built roads. Peggy went on to say: “The avenues were made of mud, and the ashes of the residents’ fires, thrown on to them daily in a bid to mend the potholes and dry the swamp. Every spring there were community weeding parties, to rid the avenues of their greenery. Residents of Bentinck Avenue remember walking down to the Melton Road bus stop in their wellies, changing their shoes at the Post Office (leaving their wellies there for the teatime change) and going in to town in elegant court shoes.” Former resident Mike Connelly, who lived on Tollerton Lane in the early 1940s, recently reflected upon the changes in the village since he lived here and said:

“It (the village) is very much larger now than when I lived at Frankly Croft, and so modern! The roadside ditches have been filled and levelled so that the lane is wider, and there are houses where I played in open fields. The gardens I remember have been paved over for vehicles. That’s progress, I guess! “

The rear of Frankly Croft on Tollerton Lane in the early 1940s.
Photograph kindly provided by Mike Connelly, a former resident.

Of course there were other unmade roads in Tollerton up until the mid-1950s; Burnside Grove was once just a cart track. An application to build a road here was submitted in 1946 but Peter Brooker of Tollerton thinks this might have been the section from Lenton Avenue to Bentinck Avenue and the stretch from Bentinck Avenue through to Tollerton Lane was not constructed until the early 1950s. Burnside Grove must surely have been named after the Burnside family who lived at Tollerton Hall. The piece of land behind the garage on Melton Road gave rise to Muir Avenue, named after Frank Muir who owned the garage, and Stella Avenue, named after his wife. The ‘tradition’ of naming lanes and houses after residents was a long established one. A 19th century plan of Tollerton Parish indicates that there was once a Leeson’s Close – Leeson being an old village family name; Kirk Close being another example.

A quick glance through the Nottinghamshire Archive Catalogue reveals that by 1953 Gilbert & Hall Ltd had built 108 properties in Tollerton, including 24 semi-detached homes on Medina Drive. Furthermore by the 1950s, established home owners in Tollerton were having garages, porches and conservatories added to their properties and the building of new homes continued.

It is not possible in the space available here to detail all the new buildings that were erected in Tollerton in those post-war years but for interested residents a search on the Nottinghamshire Archives Worldwide Catalogue at could reveal some interesting facts. Just enter ‘Tollerton’ and an address or house name on the ‘conduct a search’. Do remember however that properties like those on Tollerton Lane were often not known by number but by house name only in those earlier years.

Tollerton Park

Originally this area was part of the airfield and then developed as a Roma/traveller site, where a
shower block, toilets and laundry were installed. One of the old airfield hangars was located here in the past. When the site was first developed as a traveller site a park warden was also installed but he/she did not last long and the residents soon destroyed all the facilities. Peter Brooker recounts that the final straw was when the ‘travellers’ ripped the copper piping out of the toilet block and sold it for scrap!

Accounts in the book ‘Tollerton: An Airfield for Nottingham 1929 to 2007′ suggest that Nottinghamshire County Council was required to provide space for a Roma caravan site as decreed by the Government and decided that a site by the airport would be appropriate. Tollerton and Holme Pierrepont Councils and Rushcliffe Borough Council all registered their objections citing children and dogs straying onto the airfield and smoke from bonfires potentially obscuring pilots’ views; however, they were overruled by the County Council and the issue was referred to the Secretary of State for the Environment who supported the County Council. This decision was challenged by Derek Truman who sought indemnity against the possibility of a Roma child being killed by straying onto the path of an aircraft taking off or landing. No such indemnity was offered and the Roma community moved in, only to be removed after a short stay because of the vandalism. Eventually a group of 12 mobile homes was erected on the site and occupied by people with ‘more conventional life-styles’ and was called Tollerton Park.

An aerial view of Tollerton Park

Ron Grundy Ltd bought this land from the Council in 1981 and over time developed the site for 38 residential park homes. It is an adult only park and pets are only permitted with prior written permission from the owners of the site. The majority of residents living here are semi or fully retired.

Eco-friendly Homes In 2009/10 a group of 5 bungalows were built on Tollerton Lane in response to an identified lack of affordable housing in the village. The homes, developed by the Trent Valley Partnership, were created for people with local connections to the village. All of the homes had lots of additional features to make them carbon neutral, including improved insulation, rain water recycling, recovery ventilation, solar panels for water heating, photo voltaic panels to assist with providing hot water heating and ‘A’ rated condensing boilers as back up for when the sun does not shine!

Farm Conversions

Over the years, the demise of some farms in Tollerton has led to some former farm buildings being developed as homes. Barn or farm building conversions have become rather trendy in recent years. Examples in the village include Chestnut Mews (named after Chestnut Farm) built in 2002 and those built on the Hall Farm land as well as the ones at Manor Farm, which have already been mentioned in this chapter.

There is also a growing trend to totally demolish some established homes in Tollerton and to create new buildings on the land; others have been greatly extended and now it is difficult to perceive what they would have looked like originally.