Some Notable Tollerton Residents

There have been and still are many notable residents in Tollerton who have shaped the village and made their mark here; sadly all can not be mentioned within this publication. However, some will be known far beyond this immediate community having gained national and indeed international recognition: here are just a few.

Helen Cresswell

Helen was a very well-known children’s author who was born in Kirkby-in-Ashfield but lived towards the top of Cotgrave Lane, Tollerton, near Cotgrave Road, for a number of years. Known to others as Mrs Helen Rowe she came to Tollerton in the early 1960s with her husband, Brian, and later they had a daughter called Caroline, born 1963. A further daughter, Candy, was born after they moved away from Tollerton. During her time in Tollerton, Helen published around 30 books, including 18 novels as well as writing for the BBC. Her initial debut was a very popular children’s book entitled ‘Jumbo Spencer’ but during her lifetime she created at least 100 children’s books and wrote the screenplays for several children’s television series. One of her many popular books was ‘The Piemakers’, which would have been written during her time in Tollerton. The picture here shows her sharing the story of ‘The Piemakers’ with pupils at Tollerton Primary School in 1972.

Left: Helen Cresswell at Tollerton Primary School in 1972                                     

Right Cover of The Piemakers book Courtesy of the Nottingham Post

In the early 70s she moved from Tollerton to Eakring near Southwell, Nottinghamshire where she died in 2005. She was acclaimed as one of the most prolific authors of children’s books.

Peter Taylor

This wonderful ‘story’ has kindly been provided by Wendy Dickinson, Peter Taylor’s daughter.

Peter Taylor, the ‘other half’ of the famous Clough-Taylor footballing partnership that brought unimaginable success to Nottingham Forest, was born and bred in Nottingham. Brought up as one of eight children, his early life was lived in Queen’s Drive in The Meadows and – a goalkeeper – he signed as an amateur for Forest as a young teenager.

Peter Taylor and Brian Clough with the European Cup

His footballing career took him all over the country but his return to his home town in July, 1976, to team up again with his friend and partner, Brian Clough, was to signal the start of a footballing revolution… and the search for a house in the area was on! Estate agents showed Peter and his wife, Lilian, everything from mansions in The Park to country estates with dozens of acres but Peter knew what he was after and he bought a modest two-bedroom bungalow at 116 Cotgrave Lane, Tollerton. Never one for show, it was just what he and his wife wanted – a huge and beautiful garden and only a five-minute dash to the City Ground.

Peter lived at the house throughout all the successful years that followed – winning the First Division title, League Cups and then two European Cups back-to-back. If walls could talk, that house would have a story to tell – many late-night get-togethers with Brian – and the whisky bottle – planning their next assault on the footballing world. Clandestine meetings with players they wanted to sign but weren’t strictly allowed to meet and lots of celebrations.

Perhaps the achievement Peter valued most – and perhaps the most modest – was getting promotion to the First Division in the first season he joined the club. The pair had been apart for almost two years when Brian asked Peter to re-join him at Forest in the summer of 1976. Peter brought his own particular talents to changing the team and his and Brian’s efforts were rewarded with promotion on May 14, 1977. Peter was at home in Tollerton on the day the club was promoted as Forest had finished their games and promotion hung on the result at Bolton, who were at home to Wolves. If Bolton won, they would be promoted. If they lost, Forest were up. The match was on the radio. Wolves scored and there followed a long, long, agonising wait to see if Wolves could hang on. So agonising that Peter – 10 minutes before the end of the match – retired to the end of the long garden and anxiously paced up and down. When he heard the screams of delight from the family he jogged back to the house and a bottle of champagne was cracked open! 116 Cotgrave Lane, Tollerton has many, many happy memories for the Taylor family.

Carol Chell

Over the years many children across the country will have been enthralled by Jemima the rag doll, Big Ted, Little Ted, and Hamble the doll who were characters on ‘Play School’ which was screened on BBC television between April 1964 and March 1988. It was the first children’s programme to be shown in colour on BBC 2 in May 1968.

Carol Chell was a regular on Play School during the 1970s and 80s alongside Johnny Ball and many others. She also presented the pre-school show Chock-A-Bloc in 1981. Carol went on to play Barbara Charlton in Young At Heart at the start of the 1980s and then appeared as Sadie Tomkins in Casualty at the end of that decade.


Carol lived on Lenton Avenue, Tollerton with her mother and grandmother in the late 1940s through to the first half of the 1960s. She and Roger Price, who lived on Burnside Grove, were childhood sweethearts and married at St Peter’s in 1965 where Roger had been a sidesman.

In correspondence from Carol she says “Tollerton was a very special time for us. After university our lives moved to London but our memories of Tollerton are precious, as you can tell, it was a true love affair. Playschool is still a part of my life and we have just celebrated 50 years since its first recording“.

Bernard Hopewell

Many people locally will be familiar with the Hopewell’s furniture store on Huntingdon Street, Nottingham, which is the oldest furniture retailer in the city, initially established by Frank Hopewell in 1885 as a second-hand furniture business. Bernard Hopewell, born 1899, was Frank’s son and during the 1940s and 50s lived at 147 Tollerton Lane. It is said that Bernard was the visionary in transforming the business from a small time furniture store to a company with a reputation that is known far and wide.

Bernard had a great love of music; as a boy he attended the Cathedral Choir School at Lincoln and during the 1950s was the organist at St Peter’s Church.

Others of Stage Fame

Accounts from former Tollerton residents also suggest that Charles West, who once lived on Melton Road, played the male lead in ‘Annie’ at the Theatre Royal. Unfortunately no dates can be confirmed; possibly 1976.

Another name that has emerged is that of Patricia Heyward, British character actress who has appeared in stage productions, films and television. In 1968 at the age of 36, she made her film debut as Juliet’s nurse in Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet and was nominated for a BAFTA Award for best actress in this supporting role in 1969. Patricia Heywood certainly has links to West Bridgford and it is known that she attended St Giles Youth Fellowship where she got involved in drama productions. However, to date, it has not been definitely established that she lived in Tollerton.

In Conclusion

We hope you have enjoyed reading this book and that more recent residents will have gained new insights into the village and events that have shaped this community over time. Equally, we hope that it has rekindled memories amongst established residents that may have faded or been forgotten over the years.

This is certainly not the end but the beginning! Even as we go to press there remain stories not yet told and memories shared that deserve to be recounted more fully.

We recognise that current and former residents may be able to elaborate upon particular events and stories and hope it will encourage everyone to share further memories and information. We are in the process of creating a village history website where additional information and further memories can be held; after all, history is a bit like a moss ball, it grows and grows as it rolls.