With the passing of the Enclosure Act for Nottingham in 1845, the Enclosure Commissioners (Secretary Edwin Patchitt) planned the layout of enclosures for the area known as the Clayfield. The whole process took some 20 years and the final award map was produced in 1865, meaning that some of the early information was probably lost.

clayfield
‘A Morning in Nottingham’s Fields, early April 1609. You are standing near the road to Mansfield,
which divides Sand Field and Clay Field.
Behind you is Nottingham and in the distance you can see Mapperley Hills.’ Nottingham Castle Museum.

Before the enclosures this area was between Gallows Hill (where St Andrews Church now stands) and Toad Hill (now St Ann’s Hill, with Belle Vue Reservoir). A map of 1802 shows and enumerates the strip fields. Roughly along the line of Cranmer Street were two parallel strips numbered 212 and 213. Quoting work by our neighbours, Geoff and Mary Ramsell of 24 Mapperley Road*, a survey of the fields carried out in 1844 shows that no 213 was owned by the Burgesses (effectively the Town Council) as a part of the ‘Bridge Estate’ (for the upkeep of Trent Bridge). This may or may not have been the field on which this house now stands: if not, it was a neighbouring field. In 1844 it was rented by John PREW. It measured 1 acre and 4 perches: the top half was down to pasture and the bottom half to hay. The whole area was being cultured, the main crops being hay, vetches, potatoes or pasture.

On 12th May 1848 an auction of building plots was held at the George IV Hotel, George Street (presumably the present George Hotel) – see the appendix. Henry Sollory, plumber, glazier and gas fitter, of Mount Street, purchased 2420 sq yards for £221.16.8d. This would be the two plots shown on the map between Mapperley Road and Villa Road. The plots are now occupied by nos 20 – 24 Mapperley Road, 2-4 Cranmer Street and 19 – 21 Villa Road.

By an indenture dated 3 Nov 1848 Sollory covenanted with the Commissioners that he would, within 18 months, ‘duly form and with proper materials make according to a section and level ….and also for ever thereafter maintain and keep in good and proper repair the half part or 18 feet in width of the said intended road 36 feet wide called Rock Road opposite and adjoining the Eastern side of the piece of land … and … adjoining the southern side … Villa Road.’ He also had to build ‘walls Post Rail and Quick or other permanent fences to the satisfaction of the Commissioners’ … ‘along the whole extent of the Eastern side and Northern and Southern ends’ of the plot except where he (or his heirs or assigns) should within 18 months erect buildings. (Does this mean that he was obliged to erect buildings within 18 months, or is the ‘should’ a subjunctive?)

At the same time John Shrewsbury Haywood, inventor of elastic surgical stockings, bought the plots now occupied by no 6 Cranmer Street, and Cranmer House and Sovereign House.

In Lascelle’s and Hagar’s Directory of 1848, there is no mention of Villa Road, Mapperley Road or Cranmer Street.

The 1851 Census shows that by that year most of the houses in Villa Road had been built and occupied. John Haywood lived at what is presumed to be no 6 Cranmer Street, though his address was given as Villa Road: no street numbers are available.

In 1851 Haywood made a flurry of land deals. The first deals concern what became no. 3 Cranmer Street and no. 27 Elm Avenue, currently combined into ‘Sovereign House’.

On 17 April 1851 Thomas Oliver, a lace manufacturer from Basford, purchased some of the land owned by Haywood for £150: ‘that piece or parcel of land or ground situate lying and being in the Parish of Saint Mary in the Town and County of the Town of Nottingham in a certain place there called the Clayfield and containing in the whole two thousand square yards or thereabouts be the same more or less bounded on or towards the East and North by land now or late of John Shrewsbury Haywood – on or towards the West by Rock road leading from Recreation Walk to Mapperley Road and on or towards the South by the public recreation walk ..’

An abstract of the mortgage (quoting the slightly earlier date of 21 March) makes mention of a ‘New Street or road 36 feet wide set out by the Commissioners to be called Rock Road’ which had yet to be metalled and sewers to be laid. The conditions, as with Henry Sollory, included that he had to maintain the half of Rock Road that adjoined his land, to build walls round the land and within 18 months to build [no more than] two Dwellinghouses – the land could not be used for trade or business.

On 19 May he took out a mortgage for £900 with the Nottingham Permanent Benefit Building Society and building had, it would seem, already begun: the description of the property is the same as above, but continues: ‘– And also of those messuages or dwelling houses and other buildings erected or to be erected thereon ..’ . The house now bears the date 1851 above its southern face.

These details are included as evidence of the fact that though Cranmer Street had been planned and probably laid out, it had not yet been built. The Enclosure Award document (1865) names it as ‘Terrace Road otherwise Cranmer Street’ while the contemporary documents of 1848 and 1851 name it as Rock Road. The Award document also describes Cranmer Street as a public road, while Villa Road is a private road: this is interesting in view of the obligation of landowners to build and maintain both roads.

Meanwhile, Henry Sollory, it would seem, had not built on the land that he had bought three years earlier, despite the conditions mentioned above. On 5th May 1851 he sold it to John S Haywood. On 21st June Haywood sold the half of the land (1210 sq. yards) facing Mapperley Road to Jacob Wilkinson. Presumably on or around the same date, he sold the other half, containing the plot for this house, to John Green (two John Greens are listed in Lascelle’s and Hagar’s Directory of 1848, a butcher and a shopkeeper: this is probably the former.) The enclosure Commissioners awarded the plot on which 10 and 12 Mapperley Road were built to a John Green. If it is the same person it explains the architectural similarity between those houses and this one, especially before they were enlarged between 1861 and 1882.

Three at least of the four buildings** erected on Sollory’s land as well as that built across the road by Thomas Oliver share a curious feature with nos 10 and 12 Mapperley Road. They are pairs of semi detached houses designed to look like detached ‘villas’, and have interlocking plans with crooked party walls. It is believed that this is because the Commissioners had stipulated detached villas, but the builders could make better profits this way. This belief is, however, unconfirmed, and Oliver’s document clearly allows up to two dwelling houses on the land.

Currently there is no evidence of who actually built the houses, how much they cost, who owned them or exactly when the first occupiers moved in.

The House

It is believed that the house was originally built with a symmetrical face to Cranmer Street. The bay windows are probably original features (they appear on Salmon’s 1861 map). Water supply to this block of houses was originally into a cistern in the back yard, from which water was drawn with a tap. The supply may not have flowed continuously. At some date in the later nineteenth century*** a mains water supply was connected. It is assumed that the owner of the house responded to this by building on to the northern side of the house, extending it by about 6 feet, to create a bathroom and toilet upstairs, and enlarging the dining room. This extension is not evident in the 1861 map but does appear on the 1882 Ordnance Survey map. In the cellar, this section has a higher floor level and an RSJ is across the ceiling where the original house wall was. On the ground floor the cornice in the dining room extends through into what are now the utility room and the shower/toilet, and another RSJ runs across the ceiling, supporting the wall on the first floor. This is concealed in a wooden box (now visible in the utility room, but hidden in the dining room behind a matching cornice put in place in the 1980s). On the first floor the small bedroom was divided by a stud wall, and a corridor was created to the lavatory (the original 19th century pan is still there). A bathroom was accessed from the second bedroom. All water appliances are on this side of the house.

Very similar changes were made in 21 Villa Road, the adjoining house, suggesting that they were carried out in tandem. It is probable that at this time the two houses had a common owner, because (a) the alterations had much in common, including the use of iron pillars to support part of the extensions, and the water supply for no 21 comes through the basement of no 4, and (b) they were sold together to George Smith in 1875.

Residents:

c. 1854 – 1875

The Leightons – Stationers, with premises in Lincoln Street
John Leighton, Stationer, 1800 – c.1866
Anne Leighton (wife) b.1799
Marianne, Sarah, Ellen and John
Aunt Jane.

From about 1865 Marianne was head of the household and firm.

The Leightons were probably tenants rather than owners.

After 1875, they moved into Chestnut Grove. John junior’s son John Edward (Teddy) (26/3/1865 – 15/4/1944) became head of the firm, which must have still existed into the 1930s, since it was remembered by an informant in 2006. He was also a footballer, playing for Nottingham Forest 1884-8, Corinthians 1885-9 and England (once) in 1886.

1875 – 1893 (and after)

The Smiths
George Edward Smith, electrical engineer, 1847 – 1907
Charlotte (wife), 1854 – after 1923
Marian (1875 -), Gertrude (1877 – after 1925)
and others.

George Smith bought both 4 Cranmer Street and 21 Villa Road on 3 March 1875. The family lived in 4 Cranmer Street until 1893 or 4, after which they moved to Tavistock Drive and let the house to tenants. On his death on 25 January 1907, 4 Cranmer Street passed to his widow Charlotte, and 21 Villa Road to his daughter Gertrude. Gertrude married Herbert Knight also in 1907, at St Andrews Church. By 1919 they were living in Frome, Somerset.

1894 – c. 1919:

Tenants
1894-6 John/Alfred Plaskett
1898 – Herbert T Radford
1900-1908 – Jane Houldsworth Browne
1912-1915 – Samuel Thumbs (Asphalter and Road contractor) with wife Blanch (Samuel Thumbs had previously lived at 6 Cranmer Street (1885 – c 1894, and then 18 Mapperley Road).
1916 – the Misses Smith

c. 1920 – c.1940

Mrs Sarah Jane Fish, almost certainly the grand-daughter-in-law of Thomas Fish, founder of the building firm, and grandmother of William Fish, head of the firm in 2006 (unfortunately the firm folded in 2007 or 8). At the beginning of Mrs Fish’s residence she was still a tenant: it is not known whether or when she became the owner.

1941

Mrs Burke

1945-1957

Joseph and Eva (or Jean?) Woolrich, and Joan and Eric Chamberlain. By 1956 Mr Chamberlain was the owner of the house (he applied for planning permission to build a garage). After 1949, Mr Woolrich lived without a partner.

1958-69

Donald and Audrey Rowat

1970-73

Rodney and Cynthia Smith

1973-present

Thomas (1942-) and Megan (1946-) Zadik
Daniel (1976-)
Sarah (1979-)

Some notable neighbours

2 Cranmer Street:

  • Before 1861 – after 1885: Arthur Liberty and family: his son, also Arthur, founded Libertys of London. Between 1885 and 1888 they moved to 14 Mapperley Road (Tintagel), where they lived until after 1904.
  • In 1894 Professor Frank Grainger.
  • From the 1970s to 2010 Malcolm Griffiths, theatre director and professor of theatre design at Nottingham Trent University.

By 1881 Fothergill Watson (after 1888 Watson Fothergill) and his wife and seven children were living across Mapperley Road at what was then no 7. They lived there until 1928.

A little further away, at 2 Goldswong Terrace and later further up Mapperley Road lived Ernest and Freda Weekley: Freda (neé Von Richthoven) later married DH Lawrence.

More recently, in 1975-7, Julie Pike was a teenager at 14 Mapperley Road: she is now the novelist Julie Myerson.

Recent Alterations

It is not known whether the garage for which Eric Chamberlain was given planning permission in 1956 was built at the back of the yard. If it was, it was replaced by that built by the Smiths (with some help in the technical design from Pete Dunn, then living at 21 Villa Road) in yellow brick with a red tiled roof opening straight on to the pavement, and still in use in 2008. It is also not known when the front gate opposite the front door was removed: the gate and gateposts (one broken by me) are still in the cellar.

We believe other alterations were made by the Smiths. They altered the bathroom upstairs: originally the toilet and bathroom were separate: the toilet was approached along a corridor created by a stud wall in the back bedroom, and the bathroom through the second front bedroom. The Smiths removed the wall between the toilet and bathroom and built a stud partition (using hardboard) at the other end, creating an en suite washroom for the second bedroom (installing a round window), and making the bath accessible without going through a bedroom. We later replaced the Victorian bathtub, beautiful but with the enamel damaged beyond repair, with another cast iron bath, and also put in a Victorian-styled washbasin and cistern. The handsome continental style lavatory pan has survived all these alterations.

The Smiths divided the dining room at the RSJ (with a stud partition using hardboard), restoring it to its original size, and creating a downstairs bathroom with toilet. For access they created a doorway on to the back step outside the kitchen door. We first enclosed the back step area with a porch so that the bathroom was accessible without going out of doors. Later we entirely rebuilt the partition and bathroom, using plasterboard, replacing the cornice, and dividing the bathroom into a utility room and a small toilet/shower.

The Smiths converted the pantry into an extension of the hall by separating it from the kitchen with a hardboard partition and knocking an arched opening through to the end of the hall. We added a decorative plaster moulding to match those in the sitting room.

We added gas central heating and altered two of the three remaining fireplaces.

When we arrived the front porch was rotten, and we had it removed. Regretting this later for aesthetic and insulation reasons, we had it rebuilt in 1993 as close to the original design as we could remember.

The bay window roofs were a continual problem, often letting in water, and the guttering, though a handsome feature of the house, was rotting and leaky, and easily overflowed, creating damp walls. They were mended on several occasions, but in 2006 they were substantially rebuilt. The original wooden box gutters contained cast iron gutters with lead flashing. The new ones have a total lead lining. The roof was re-slated during the 1980s.

Outside, we redesigned the back yard, paved the back and front yards, removed most of the privet hedge and replaced it first by a fence, and later (in 2000) replacing the whole street boundary on Cranmer Street and Villa Road by a higher brick wall. A pink hawthorn and one of the two enormous lime trees were removed over the years, creating a much pleasanter garden.

Sources

Census 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901

Trade directories:
– Lascelle’s and Hagar’s Directory
– Wright’s
– White’s
– Kelly’s

Electoral registers

Deeds:
21 Villa Road (Alan Dossor)
3 Cranmer Street (Richard Kemp)

Collected information from Mary and Geoff Ramsell, 24 Mapperley Road

Personal information from William Fish

Newspaper – Nottingham Journal 5 May 1848

Inclosure Awards Document 1865

Maps:
– Delin 1802
– Staveley and Wood 1831
– Hawksley
– Salmon 1861
– Inclosure awards map 1865
– Jackson 1861
– Tarbotton 1877
– Ordnance Survey 6” 1882

Appendix.

From Nottingham Journal
5 May 1848

NOTTINGHAM INCLOSURE – FIRST SALE OF LANDS BY ORDER OF THE COMMISSIONERS.

Mr J.M. POTT has the honour to announce that he has been instructed to OFFER for PUBLIC COMPETITION, the FIRST PORTION OF LANDS submitted by the Commissioners to the Public, in execution of the above important Measure.

The selection of the Lots appears to have been made with a view to meet the urgent wants of various classes of Purchasers, and Mr POTT confidently ventures to hope that the long-felt inconvenience arising from the want of Building Land in Nottingham, suitable for the erection of better Dwellings for the Poor, for the purposes of Manufacture, and for the erection of Houses of superior character, will be found to be materially obviated by the varied and extensive sites selected for Sale by the Commissioners.

In pursuance of his instructions, Mr POTT will OFFER by AUCTION, on Friday, the 12th day of May next, at One o’clock in the Afternoon, at the George the Fourth Hotel, in Nottingham, subject to such Conditions of Sale as will be then produced, the following valuable and important LANDS:

ON THE FOREST

LOT…………………………………………………….Square Yards
1. Adjoining the Alfreton Turnpike Road,
and the Forest Road……………………………………… 1,761
2. Adjoining Aspley Terrace Road …………………….………1,210
3. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,210
Lot 1 commands two frontages, and, together with Lots 2 and 3, are beautifully situated.
4. Adjoining Aspley Terrace Road ……………………….……1,210
5. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,210
6. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,210
7. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,210
8. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,210
9. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,210
These Lots are valuable for Building Purposes, having frontages to the proposed large open Recreation Ground, on the East side, with the advantage of a Street on the Western side. To the owners of Aspley Terrace, and the neighbourhood, these Lots are peculiarly advantageous.
10. Adjoining Aspley Terrace Road, and a Public Road leading from Alfreton Road
to Hyson Green ………………………………………………………. 1,210
This Lot has an excellent frontage on the North side, and partially on the West.
11. Adjoining Hyson Green Road, and a Public Road leading from Alfreton Road
to Hyson Green ………………………………………………………. 1,418
This Lot has the advantage of two excellent frontages.
12. Adjoining the Public Recreation Walk, Hyson Green Road, Radford Road, and
Mount Hooton Road ………………………………………………..7 acres
This is a beautifully situated piece of Land, and admirably adapted for the erection of Villa Residences, having the advantage of roads on three sides, and the Public Recreation Walk on the fourth.
sq. yds. 13. Adjoining the Mansfield Turnpike Road ……3,070
This Lot has three frontages, and posses an uninterrupted view of the Race Course, Military Training Ground, Forest, &c.
14. Adjoining the Mansfield Turnpike Road …………………1,645
15. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,420
16. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,321
These Lots are beautifully situated, having frontages to Mansfield Turnpike Road and Sherwood Road.
17. Adjoining the Mansfield Turnpike Road ………………… 1,882 [?]
This Lot posses three excellent frontages, and is peculiarly adapted for Building Purposes.
IN THE CLAY FIELD
18. Adjoining the Mansfield Turnpike Road ………………… 2,247
19. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,321
These Lots are in commanding positions and posses frontages to two important roads.
20. In the Field south of Nightingales’ Cottage ………… 1,210
21. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,210
22. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,210
23. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,210
24. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,210
25. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,210
26. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,210
Lots 20 to 26 are in eligible and elevated situations, with a southern aspect.
27. In the same Field ………………………………………………. 1,210
28. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,210
These are very desirable corner Lots, having frontages to two Roads.
29. Adjoining the Mansfield Turnpike Road and
an occupation Road ……………………………………… 1,321
A very desirable corner Lot, having frontages to two Roads.
30. Adjoining the Mansfield Turnpike Road ………………. 1,302
A very valuable Lot, having a good frontage to the said Road.
31. Adjoining the Mansfield Turnpike Road and the
Public Recreation Walk …………………………………. 1,482
This Lot has a good frontage to the said Road.
The last three Lots are peculiarly adapted for business Premises.
32. North of the Public Recreation Walk leading from the Mansfield Turnpike
Road to Toad Hill ……………………………………………………… 1,824
33. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,778
34. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,713
35. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,636
36. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,536
37. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,440
38. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,331
39. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. 1,202
The Lots from 32 to 39 have beautiful and extensive views over the Vale of Trent, and adjoin the Public Recreation Walk.
40. North of the Public Recreation Walk …………………… 1,180
This Lot, in addition to the above advantages, has an extensive frontage to two proposed Roads.
IN THE SAND FIELD
41. In the Fields adjoining Back Lane Road,
and west of Needle Place ………………………………… 668
42. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. . 830
43. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. . 661
44. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. . 838
45. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. . 649
46. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. . 784
47. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. . 629
48. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. . 762
48. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. . 914
50. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. . 951
51. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. . 931
52. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. . 894
53. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. . 958
54. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. . 887
55. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. . 978
56. Ditto ……………………………………………………………………. . 968
57. Ditto …………………………………………………………………… 1,242
Lots 41, 43, 45, 51, 53 and 55, are desirable for Building purposes, having a good frontage to the Back Lane Road.
Lots 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, and 57, are in an elevated situation. Eighteen feet on the north to the left, to form the half part of an intended Road. The purchasers of these Lots will be required to form and make such half of the intended Road at their own expense.
Three feet on the western side of Lots 47 and 48, and three feet on the eastern side of Lots 49 and 50 to be left to form a portion of an intended road.
Lots 47, 48, 49, 50, and 57, contain, amongst other advantages, that of a double frontage.
Mr. POTT reserves liberty to offer the Lots either in their numerical order, or in such other manner as may be agreed upon at the time of sale.
The above Lots are now staked out; and printed particulars, with lithographed plans annexed, may be obtained fourteen days before the sale, on application to the Auctioneer; at the principal Inns in Derby, Newark, Lincoln, Mansfield, Leicester, and Loughborough; and to Mr PATCHITT, Solicitor, Nottingham, at whose Office further particulars may be obtained. [Nottingham, 23d March, 1848.

FOOTNOTES

* Unfortunately the deeds for 4 Cranmer Street have not been preserved, and so clues have been gleaned from the deeds of no 21 Villa Road, by permission of Alan Dossor, and 3 Cranmer Street, by permission of Richard Kemp, together with a substantial portfolio compiled by the Ramsells.
** The fourth house, now no 19 Villa Road, appears on the 1861 map as a further pair of semi-detached houses, without bay windows. Tarbotton’s 1877 map also shows it divided, but there is no detail. On the 1882 Ordnance Survey map it is a single house with its characteristically asymmetrical bays.
*** Information from Simon Rushby, foreman on the 2007/8 repairs of Belle Vue Reservoir, and other sources, indicates that there are two reservoirs there, the smaller one being built in 1851 and the larger opened on 9 May 1864. One could reasonably speculate that the opening of the second reservoir would mean that a continuous flow was available.

© Tom Zadik