Thomas Arthur Townsend who was born in Barnsley Yorkshire circa 1882, was one of the first teachers at the new Forest Town School. A mentioned of him in the school log books 29th May 1908 states he was absent from school due to an accident to his bicycle! On the 11th June 1913 he obtained leave of absence in order to be married. His marriage to Dinah Watkinson took place in the district of Belper, Derbyshire.
How long Mr Townsend stayed at Forest Town School is unknown but oral history decrees he did purchase land around Forest Town on the new Sherwood Hall Estate which included land for a nursery, shrubbery and plantation as can be seen on the 1927 plan. This could be accessed from Sherwood Hall Road or Ellesmere Road. He is also known to have sold plots of land for people to build their own properties on.
He was obviously a very experienced nurseryman and at one time specialised in growing primroses and produced special catalogues advertising these, [see our page The Townsend Nursery, Forest Town for more information on this].
In 1931 he has a very extensive nursery selling fruit trees, shrubs and what he refers to as ‘Shelter Trees’. He is also offering to ‘lay out gardens’ and improve old ones. No doubt his services would be in demand as the expansion of houses grew in Forest Town.
In December 1931 his gardening skills warranted an article in the Mansfield Chronicle when he managed to grow Almonds in his Sherwood Hall Nursery which was very unusual at that time. It was felt that it was appropriate to talk of Almonds with the festive season approaching..
Thomas Townsend did not live at the Nursery but at No 14 Little Carter Lane, and considering all he is offering with his Sherwood Hall Nursery it is interesting to note that on the 1939 Register he is still listed as being a teacher.