Signs and Wonders 10: Answers and questions

Evening Post, 10 Nov 2005

SINCE the first week, this column has had “You know more than us…” printed at its base. And since the first week, you’ve proved it again and again.

Sometimes people at the Post give me a response. After the article on the Dog and Bear pub, one of our librarians remembered seeing an ashtray thrown at a policeman in there. But the best stuff is always from outside the building.

Take the monkey on Fothergill’s bank, featured as the result of a reader’s suggestion. That brought an e-mail from Andrew Henderson of Clifton, explaining it was a mark of respect to the building foreman: “He was an eccentric and used to take his pet monkey to work every day.” (There was a photo of the topping-out ceremony, with foreman and monkey, but Mr Henderson no longer has it.)

Readers have also presented intriguing new mysteries. Keith Buckeridge wrote to point out the collection of marble heads behind the Broadmarsh, at the base of Garner’s Hill, saying they were rescued from the old Milton’s Head hotel. But photos and newspaper clippings from there don’t seem to feature them. Can anyone shed light?

(Another mystery, while I’m at it: the iron “Parish of Standard Hill” markers that start by the castle and extend out around the canal. They’re dated 1869, but that doesn’t seem to correspond to any parish reorganisation. Any ideas?)

Many of you wrote in after last week’s column on war memorials, and some of those letters will turn up in future columns. Two points seemed worth mentioning now, though. One was from Doreen Allison of Radcliffe-on-Trent, who pointed out an unusual feature of her church’s First World War memorial. It lists nine men who died from illness while on active service — an aspect of the war once often overlooked.

The other was from Dave Smith, whose grandfather Arthur Barson escaped German captivity in the Second World War and fled through France and Spain to Gibraltar. While he was doing this, one of the Nottingham papers (there were four then) ran a story on him, headlined “Cinderhill man missing”. We can’t find it, but if any of you have come across it…

Finally, a confession about the very first response this column received.

It was a nice man from Arnold pointing out that the fasces, the axe-and-bundle symbol found on the Shire Hall, also appeared on coins minted in the city. I was so pleased at hearing from a reader, and such a learned one, that I failed to note his name. I’m sorry. And if you call in again, I’ll make sure you receive due credit.