Community Groups and Recreation

Over the years, the village has sustained a range of recreational activities, community groups and annual events with something for all age groups. There has been a rambling club, folk dancing, barn dances, the luncheon club, a youth group, mother and toddler group and a babysitting circle to name just a few. Space will not allow a detailed description of all but here are some brief details about some of the long-standing groups.

Tollerton Women’s Institute

One of the longest surviving groups was the Tollerton WI which was founded in 1936 by Mrs F Clarke and closed in November 2006. Nationally the Women’s Institute was formed in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Evidence suggests there may have been a combined Plumtree and Tollerton WI prior to 1936. Back in the late 1920s they held demonstrations of how to prepare packed dinners, the making of parchment lamp shades and stool weaving. Tollerton WI held their monthly meetings initially at the Rectory Room and then later at the Methodist Hall, where they had a wide ranging programme of talks and activities.

“When Tollerton Women’s Institute celebrated its 25th birthday a large number of members and guests from Edwalton, Plumtree and Gamston enjoyed an excellent meal of cold meats, salad, mince pies, cakes, trifle and, of course, a beautifully made birthday cake iced in white and silver, which had been made this year by Mrs Baggaley, a long-standing member and mother of the new president, Mrs P Taylor. The cake was cut by the two remaining founder members, Mrs A Chambers and Mrs P A Anderson.

“A special guest was Mrs V Ferriday who is still a member of the Institute but has been prevented from attending for some years owing to ill health. Mrs Ferriday is well known to many members in the county for her talks on many subjects and for her competent judging of preserves, etc., at produce shows.”

An Extract from Nottinghamshire Press – 27 January 1962

A rather grainy newspaper photograph of Tollerton WI in 1962 celebrating their 25th anniversary.

Mrs F W Anderson on the left, president, Mrs Peggy Taylor, centre and Mrs A M Chambers on the right

The WI’s annual programme always included visits to places of interest. For instance, in May 1949 members visited Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds and in 1956 went to the Josiah Wedgwood factory in Staffordshire. Later in 1985 they visited Tollerton WI in Yorkshire and the following year a return visit was made. Over the years members of Tollerton WI kept a scrapbook relating to their activities and this is now held at the Nottinghamshire Archive.

Tollerton WI in 1956 on a visit to Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Ltd in Staffordshire Courtesy of Barbara Storrie

When Joyce Blackburn was the president in the 1980s, they held annual summer garden parties at Hall Farm and continued to gather at The Charde restaurant to celebrate key anniversaries. As the president in 1987 reported in a village newsletter it’s “not all about jam and Jerusalem” and encouraged members to take part in activities such as darts and whist.

During WW2 the WI met in the afternoon instead of the evening because of the blackout. They also started a knitting circle and created balaclava helmets, socks, scarves and sweaters for the troops. Furthermore, they assisted at the W.V.S. canteen at the Rectory Rooms and took over the distribution of ration books in Tollerton.

Tollerton WI eventually closed at the end of 2006 with its final AGM in November that year. Their president, Margery Hall, explained that this was due to a lack of funding and being unable to raise a new committee and added “this is just one more casualty of the changing lifestyle of today“.

Annual Village Events

For a number of years there was an annual garden party held at Tollerton Rectory and an annual fete at St Hugh’s College. In May 1995, the village celebrated ‘V.E. Day 50 years on’ with a procession of decorated floats from Stanstead Avenue to the Open Space. With races for the children, a tug-of-war, food, dancing, music and countless competitions, there was plenty for everyone to participate in. During the evening there was a disco and supper dance at Tollerton Primary School.

The following year (1996) a village event was established at the school with fancy dress, craft stalls, a teddy bears’ picnic and evening entertainment. Funds raised on this occasion were donated to the Rainbows Hospice. In 1997 the village had a ‘Street Fair’ at the junction of Stanstead Avenue and Burnside Grove and this was the start of the annual Village Event as it is now. By 2007 the event was staged at the Open Space, Tollerton and that year Worzel came to Tollerton with the first ‘Tollerton
Scarecrow Trail’ held in conjunction with the Village Event. The winner of the ‘best’ scarecrow received the ‘Michael O’Leary Award’ following Michael’s death that year; a man who gave so much to this community.

1995: ‘V.E. Day 50 Years On’ Courtesy of Peter Brooker

The community has sustained the ‘Village Event’ for so many years thanks to many volunteers and has provided much fun for residents, both young and old.

The Village Event in 2013

Roclaveston Players

This drama group was formed in 1974 to encourage interest in drama within the village and to provide play readings, periodic meetings and the public performance of plays. The name derived from one of the old names for Tollerton (Troclaveston) which was mis-translated by Thoroton in ‘The History of Nottinghamshire’. The group was affiliated to and formed part of the St Peter’s Fellowship. Through to 1986 the players presented two full length plays each year in the Rectory Room and then productions moved to Tollerton Primary School where the stage was bigger and the seating capacity greater.

By 1986 the group commenced its thirteenth season and had a membership of twenty; the Chairman then was Vernon Birkinshaw and the secretary was Anna Barrett. Many of the productions were directed by Reg Bungay who was a founder member of the group. In 1986 the group performed Noel Coward’s ‘Blithe Spirit’ and in 1988 there was ‘Abigail’s Party’. In 1992 the group changed its name to the ‘Tollerton Drama Group’ with performances such as Arnold Bennett’s ‘Habeas Corpus’ in 1994 and ‘Sylvia’s Wedding’ in 1999. It is amazing how many excellent productions they put on, much to the enjoyment of the villagers but, unfortunately, the group disbanded in 2003.

Tollerton Dance Club and Swing into Shape

Former resident, Peggy Heason, established the dance club in 1953 and weekly sessions were held at the Burnside Hall in Plumtree. She taught ballroom dancing to Victor Sylvestor records through to 1958 when the club developed into a youth club that was very popular with the local teenagers. Carol Chell, a former resident, recalls going to these dancing classes with her partner Roger Price but says “we never did manage the foxtrot as rock and roll took over!”

Tollerton Dancing Club: Courtesy of Penny Tuttey, daughter of Peggy Heason

Peggy then provided ‘Swing into Shape’ sessions from 1958 at the Rectory Room. In a Tollerton publication it suggests that this was “born out of a huddle of women, lead by Peggy Heason, around the boiler in the Rectory Room. Swing devotees had to be sure to be out of the building by 9pm or risk the wrath of the Scottish dancers“. In another account it states “It was very spartan with a rough wooden floor which she had to cover with strips of lino for the women to exercise on“. Eventually they moved the classes to Tollerton Primary School.

Cubs, Scouts, Brownies and Guides – early beginnings

Sometime during WW2, Mr Grist of Tollerton Lane formed a Scout Group in the village. Dorothy Singleton, former Tollerton resident, recalled in 1991 that “one of the lads was a scouter but then serving with Sherwood Foresters took the troop meetings in Mr Grist’s garage. Tollerton was then in the West Bridgford Association”.

She went on to say “By now (post war) South East Notts Boys Scouts Association came in to being, it being a split of the West Bridgford Association, and it is or was the largest rural area in the country. Mr Grist became our first D.C. He was an excellent D.C. as he was indeed an excellent businessman“.

A further reference from Dorothy yields clues about the beginning of the cubs and guides …. “Mr Grist persuaded me to become ADC Cubs, which office l was privileged to hold for 22 years, and in the meantime Guide Company and Brownies were started in Tollerton, Mrs Stirland being Brown Owl for 31 years”.

It would appear that the first Tollerton Brownie Pack started in 1948 and early meetings were held at the Home Guard Hut near Burnside Hall in Plumtree but then transferred to the Scout Hut in the Rectory Grounds once this was built. When Iris Stirland stepped down Hilary Newbold took over the pack around 1978.

Tollerton Brownies with Brown Owl, Iris Stirland, in about 1953: Courtesy of Alison May

By 1987 the 1st Tollerton Brownies pack was full to capacity so Alison May set up the 2nd Tollerton Brownies.

Memories from the late Peggy Heason relating to the early 1950s state that “the Brownies and Guides were under the leadership of Iris Stirland and Joan Court”. The Cubs and Scouts were lead by a number of people including – Haywood Mowl, Don Horsburgh, Skip Alex Aitken and his son Graham, Barry Maltby, Charlie Freeman and Don Bentley, the local bobby.

Tollerton Cubs on parade at Southwell about 1948: Courtesy of Alison May

Tennis Club

The earliest references to a tennis club can be found in a talk given by Dorothy Singleton in 1991 to the Tollerton Friendship Club in which she reflected upon earlier times. In her notes she said “We also formed a Tennis Club, of which l was secretary and a founder member, and we used two of the hard courts at Paton College, and the Sadler’s Cottage for our club room where we had delicious teas”.

The reference to the Paton College suggests that this was in the late 1930s or early 40s.

Around 1952 Joyce Blackburn and Muriel Hawkins decided it would be good if a tennis club could be re-established and approached Rev. Wilson to see if the Rectory grounds could be used for this purpose. Jim Blackburn and Alan Robertson volunteered to cut the grass, mark out the court and helped with the net. Events such as jumble sales, beetle drives and coffee mornings were held to raise money to pay for a new net and balls, and to pay for the rent. Two summers of fun were had amongst the 20 members and then the club moved to land off Cotgrave Lane, where a court was made on a disused chicken run and a chicken hut was converted in to a ‘pavilion’. Annual subscription for a playing member was £1 and half that for a non-playing member.

In correspondence maintained by the late Jim Blackburn, there is reference to Joyce, his wife, organising a tennis tournament that was well supported. On that occasion Mrs Robertson and Brian Brain won the doubles and Mrs Cooper the singles. Unfortunately this particular record gives no exact date.

Numbers increased and around 1960 it was necessary to move the court to another site so St Hugh’s College was approached who thankfully agreed. A piece of land just beyond the stream on Cotgrave Lane to the left of the college gate was prepared to provide two tennis courts and a new hut was acquired to store equipment. Family picnics were held and much enjoyable play but eventually the number of members declined and finally in 1965 the tennis club closed and the area became just a field again.


Interestingly, when Thomas Duke poisoned his wife in 1878 the police found supporting evidence in a box marked ‘Tollerton Cricket Club’ so one presumes there was a cricket club around that time. Sadly those trial records give no clues as to where and when the cricket took place. However, extracts compiled by Ken Bloor of Plumtree about the history of Plumtree Cricket Club for a forthcoming bi- centennial publication provide countless references to a Tollerton cricket team possibly as early as 1815.

Here is one brief extract from 1829, with thanks to Ken Bloor for sharing this and the subsequent information:

It was reported on the 10th July 1829 in the Nottingham Review, that on Monday week a well contested match of cricket was played at Tollerton between 10 of that place and a like number from Plumtree which terminated in favour of Tollerton with 4 wickets to go down“.

The Tollerton side included: W. Murden, Jnr, J. Thurman, T. Thurman, W. Thurman, W. Dyson, W. Holmes, W. Murden, R. Smith, J. Chatfield, J. Lewin. Many well established Tollerton names here.

A further extract from 1902 said:

On 12th July 1902 there was a well contested game between Tollerton and the Plumtree Club, at Tollerton, resulting in the victory of the visitors who scored 75 runs against 64 by the home eleven“. Matches continued through to 1945. Comprehensive correspondence and fixture listings held by the late Jim Blackburn and shared by his daughter, Barbara Storrie, show that cricket was played on land off Cotgrave Lane in the 1950s. It was all very officially handled with accounts and minutes; below is their headed paper:

Headed Paper of the Cricket Club Courtesy of Pat Boot and Barbara Storrie

Peggy Heason recorded in her memories of the village during those years “The cricket club built their hut by the river and played on the bumpy land, reputed to be a Saxon burial site, that put a spin on the ball that could have won us the Ashes!”

Well they might not have won the Ashes but there were many competent Tollerton players who gave neighbouring village teams a good thrashing!

In 1985 the village newsletter mentions that Richard Hadlee, the famous New Zealand cricketer, lived in Tollerton during the cricket season that year and some Tollerton residents have suggested that the Broad family, of Chris and Stuart Broad fame, once lived in Tollerton.

Camera Club

This club was inaugurated in 1962 and met originally in the Rectory Room. Regular monthly slide/print competitions were held and talks on a variety of subjects. Even the most novice photographer with their instamatic camera was encouraged to join! In the 1980s and early 90s Roy Smith shared hints and tips for successful shots in the club’s monthly piece in the village newsletters though by the 90s all manner of UV filters and lenses were also mentioned. By the mid-90s Alan Woodcock had taken on this role and continued to share advice.

We now have the Rushcliffe Photographic Society, formed around 1978, that moved to its present location at the Parish Rooms in 2007 and holds weekly meetings, exhibitions and practical sessions. In 2014 the photographic society helped one of its members, Reg Hale of Tollerton, celebrate his 100th Birthday, making him the oldest active member of a photographic society in the East Midlands.

Nottingham Model Aero Club

Courtesy of Mike Chapman and the Nottingham Model Aero Club

Courtesy of Mike Chapman and the Nottingham Model Aero Club

Whilst some Tollerton residents were displaying their prowess on the pitch or court and some were focusing down their lenses, others were budding aeronauts. The photograph shows members of the Nottingham Model Aero Club gathered at their first meeting at Tollerton Airfield in September 1937.

Tollerton Village Newsletter

For over 32 years Tollerton residents have been kept well informed about village events and activities through the excellent monthly newsletter. Each month, information about village groups and their forthcoming or past activities has been shared and when looking back across all copies it is amazing to see what a wide range of activities has been provided over the years. The Tollerton Village Newsletter is itself a living history and a comprehensive record of life in Tollerton since 1983. Indeed with the inclusion of stories written by former residents, the newsletter offers fascinating insights into village life long before the 1980s since some contributions referred to events and happenings in the 30s and 40s.

The format and presentation of the newsletter has also evolved over time. Early editions in the 1980s were a mere four pages with no advertising and just the occasional line drawing. Now there are 50+ pages every month packed with information and illustrations. What a great job all the village newsletter editors have done for so many years.