Poets Corner.

I was born in an area known as Poets Corner in the second half of the 1940s, older Mansfield people will know where I’m refering to, for the younger ones its just off Ladybrook Lane at the Rosemary Street end. If you’ve not guessed how it got that name all the streets are named after poets, Milton, Burns, Browning etc.

I mentioned this because there is very little on the Ladybrook area on this site, at least if there is I’ve not found it, only the bit about the church.

I can remember the Ladybrook running between Oakdale Road and Bancroft Lane before it was piped from when I was about 4 or 5yrs old but it wasn’t long before building work started and the brook hidden for ever. People of my generation and older who were around when Ladybrook Estate was being built refered to it as the New Estate, I still call it that now. In later years we sledged on Skylark Hill, thats what we called the hill where St Mary’s church now stands but when it was built it stopped us sledging on the Bancroft Lane side but there was still a good hill on the other side, we had lots of fun there for many winters. I often wonder how my childhood pals are, I left Mansfield in 1973, I hope they are still around and doing ok.

We did quite well for shops too, a fish and chip shop on the corner of Milton Street and Ladybrook Lane, a butchers shop belonging to Mr & Mrs Savage on the corner of Burns Street and Ladybrook Lane, a barbers on the corner of Browning Street, and a general shop on the corner of Ladybrook Lane and Rosemary Street, I think it belonged to someone named Burton this was always known as Bottom shop. Turn right onto Rosemary Street there was aother fish and chip shop called Leesons on the corner of Kipling Street, if I remember rightly Mr Leeson’s main job was an engine driver he was probably based at Mansfield engine sheds. A little further on was the Co-op they always had a couple of ginger cats, probably to keep the mice down, then a bit further turn right up Byron (another poet) Street and there was Rowlands shop, another general store we always called this one Top shop. At the corner of Byron Street and Milton Street was another general shop but I can’t recall what that one was called, and opposite that was the Co-op laundry, I remember my mother and for that matter most other people taking large heavy stuff like blankets there to be laundered, don’t forget not many people had washing machines in those days, all in all quite a nice little community everybody knew everybody else and looked out for each other.

About half way up Burns Street there’s a factory at that time  it belonged to Fair Brothers they made shoe stiffeners for the shoe making industry and that was one of our playgrounds after they were closed at night, if you were a skinny kid you could squeeze under the gate. In the factory yard there was a single storey building with a flat concrete roof, it was built as an air raid shelter in the war for the employees but after the war the roof was used to store bales of waste  that was left over after the shoe components had been punched out of big sheets of leather. We built dens with the bales it was a great adventure playground and if any of the factory staff turned up unexpectedly there were plenty of places to hide but if you were seen nobody seemed to bother. The Health and Safety people would go mad if it happened today.

At the bottom of Burns Street (Ladybrook Lane end) was a school playing field that was fenced before the war you could see where the railings had been cut off and taken for the war effort we used to take a short cut across on our way to Broomhill Junior School. One morning it must have been 1955 or 56 I was going to school with my friend Royce it was very foggy, in those days it was real fog, well half fog and half soot no Clean Air Act then, you couldn’t see a thing and on our first attempt to get to Newtontown (the junction of Westfield Lane and Broomhill Lane) we ended up back where we started. Being intrepid little fellows we set off again and eventually arrived at school I was wearing a light coloured cardigan, it was filthy covered in smuts not to mention what we had breathed into our lungs but you don’t care when your a kid, we thought it was good fun.

Sometimes in the summer when the school day ended a gang of us would go and play in Sills old quarry on Chesterfield Road near Pheasant Hill it would have been about 1957 or 58 because I left Broomhill in the summer of 58 its filled in now I think a D.I.Y shop has been built on it. When we came out of school we’d cross Broomhill Lane and go down an unmade road more or less opposite school which took us to the top of Albion Street then down onto Chesterfield Road to the quarry probably about ten or so minutes walk. There was still a bit of work being done at the quarry I can remember seeing some big stone cutting saws in a barn type building but quite often there was nobody about but if anyone turned up you got chased out of the place. The water in the bottom looked very deep, there were plenty of tadpoles and newts, you could turn stones over if they wern’t too heavy and there would always be a few lizards run for cover from underneath that you’d disturbed. Pity about all the wildlife that was lost when it was filled in but they didn’t worry about thing like that in those days.

Another route we took to Broomhill School was an unmade lane opposite Milton Street locals had two names for it either Pig Alley or Tuckers Lane. On one side were allotment gardens where some of the tenants kept pigs thats the side where the houses now stand. I remember some of the allotment tenants there was Mr Harvey, Mr Hill whose son Michael was a playmate of mine sadly he died in a road accident in his late teens, and Mr Wakefield who everyone called Tucker, how he got this nickname I dont know but its nice that the lane is named after him, he was a local character and a refreshing change from naming it after an ex councillor. On the other side of Tuckers Lane was a long narrow field where Mr Wakefield and Mr Hill kept one or two horses, this is now incorporated into the current piece of land which probably belongs to the council.

One memory that has stayed with me since the late 1950s is of Michael Hill and myself taking his dads horse and cart and driving it from Tuckers Lane then left onto Devon Drive, it wasn’t surfaced at that time, and left onto George Street to Kirks joinery workshop to get sacks of wood shavings to use as bedding for his dads pigs. I dont recall how many times a week we did this probably a couple but we filled about fifteen or twenty sacks each time we went. We filled the sacks in the workshop where the machines spat the shavings out, I would be 10 and Michael would have been 11 only kids and all that dangerous woodworking machinery, planers, circular saws, and cross cut saws running only inches away, I’m lucky to still have all my fingers but you don’t see the dangers when your young and the Health and Safety Executive was thirty years in the future.






Comments about this page

  • Amazing to hear everyone’s stories! It would be interesting to know if anybody knew a Brian Moore or Susan Carr? They lived on Byron Street in 70/80s till the newer estate at the top of Ladybrook was built, (next to the piggy), not quite sure what number it was but the house was on the middle of the street. Its crazy to hear how Ladybrook was before the construction of the new estate, which is where I grew up. I always use to play up on Skylark and sledge down St. Mary’s Church hill and play football with my mates on Tuckers Field.

    By Connor Moore (14/09/2021)
  • Hi. I have been reading with interest the comments about Poets Corner which my son has forwarded to me from the UK. I bought the fish and chip shop referred to at the corner of Ladybrook Lane & Milton St in 1968, from a person known as Sheila. My wife and I were quite young at that time and knew nothing about the fish and chip business, but we spruced the place up and through a lot of hard work turned it into quite a nice business.
    The bottom shop referred to was run by Ken & Ann at that time. Tuckers Lane I believe connected Ladybrook Lane to Westfield Lane alongside the perimeter of the playing field.
    Thanks, what a lovely nostalgic trip down memory lane. Michael.

    By Mike Fowler (25/10/2020)
  • Some really interesting reading on this page and I would love to know how Newton

    Town got it’s name

    By stephen coupe (08/04/2018)
  • Hi Terry, I don’t recall the stone house opposite our house, just the big double gates with the RL Jones logo, later they bricked it all up but then later (after we left) opened it up again.

    It was a lovely street at one time, I don’t know what its like now. The lane behind the house that led up to Bancroft Lane we used as a football pitch if we didn’t go down to the big field at the bottom of Milton Street.

    We played out till dark in those days, summer or winter, great days!

    Paul Robinson

    By Paul Robinson (12/02/2018)
  • Hi Terry,

    I remember Claude and Myrtle Barrows) I now live in my childhood home across the road! Your parents knew mine.

    best wishes 


    By Chris James (13/01/2018)
  • Hi Peter, such wonderful memories, thanks for sharing them. I lived at 36 Layton Avenue with my older brother Geoffrey and my parents until 1952, when we moved house to where Bancroft Lane and Brookland Avenue meet. My mother was a district nurse and was fairly well known because of that. I remember you, Wendy, from Noel Street. Did you live at Bilsthorpe when you married? There used to be an air raid shelter built at the top of Byron Street, on the road itself, but was demolished about 1946. I was 5 then. Do you remember Stuart and Malcolm Caddy, Wendy. They lived opposite you on Noel Street at No. 2. We also used to watch the pop being bottled at R.L.Jones, where the lorries would drive down into a sunken bay, so that their beds were at ground level for easy loading.

    Where the R.L.Jones lorries used to come out opposite your house Paul, was a stone cottage. I believe it had been a farm house from before all the houses were built. Mr and Mrs Murfin lived in it about 1944, and near to your house was Dr Lauders surgery.

    The shop on the corner of Layton Avenue and Byron Street was owned by Townrow’s in the early 1940’s and then Peggy Stevenson and her husband took over.

    I used to play with Edward Norcross who lived next to the laundry on Layton Avenue. We used to watch the men as they laid the pipes to culvert the Ladybrook, often taking our beach spades and digging with them as they dug the trench out, then lowered a pipe in to it’s place.

    We played all up Ladybrook Lane before the houses were built, and my Dad had an allotment above George Street, after the old red brick houses that front onto Ladybrook Lane. A stone gate post is still to be seen at the entrance of what was the allotment avenue, next to the old houses. Further up the lane was Egglestone’s plant nursery. He lived on poets corner, I believe.

    Do you remember Askew’s dairy Paul which was on Ladybrook Lane facing the playing field? They used to tether their horses on the playing field after they had delivered the day’s milk. The building, was next to the wooden hairdressers, and it was later the Co-op funeral service.

    I also used to play with Roger Ferneyhough, who lived with his sister Hilary and their parents at 62 Layton Avenue. We used to go through their back gate onto an unmade road and onto the fields which are now part of the Bancroft Lane estate, and walk past the stone houses, now long gone that were called Botany, and to the shop on the corner of Goldsmith Street where the shop keeper used to sell ice cream through a side window. very close to this shop, and opposite the Botany houses was a farm, the buildings are still there and have been converted to homes. I remember seeing cows in a stall that is now a home.

    Such happy carefree days.

    By Terry Barrows (14/08/2017)
  • Hello Peter Bowler.  This has been so lovely to read all these comments about the place I used to live as a child.  I think you used to play with my brothers, Peter and Robert Revill – we lived at No 11 Ladybrook Lane.  

    By Lynn Carter (nee Revill) (11/08/2017)
  • Hello John Macwilliamson, Mrs Glasby taught me when I was at Broomhill I was in the juniors from 1952 to 1954 it would be nice to see the pictures. As for the Premier Works it was actually on Burns St. that’s where the main entrance is, the end you see on Milton St. is the back it was originally Fair Brothers they made components for shoes like the stiffener at the back of the shoe to keep it rigid and other components for the footwear industry I believe they had another works at Heanor. After Fair Bros sold it probably due to cheap imported shoes one or two various companies have used it.


    By Peter Bowler (26/12/2016)
  • Hi everyone it has been wonderful to read people’s memories of this part of Mansfield, my parents rented number 5 on Davy Road between August 1956 & August 1958. I went to Broomhill School & was so sad to learn of it’s demolition a few years ago. I am curious to know what the Premier Works in Milton Street made in the 1950s but can find no information on line. 

    I have some old photographs of staff & pupils of Broomhill school taken circa 1954-56 they were gifted to me by Mr Glasby husband of one of the Broomhill teachers & I recall being in her class.

    By John Macwillson (13/12/2016)
  • Hi Michelle Toft I remember you and Dawn Spencer, I used to live in the terraced houses at the bottom of George Street, I think we went to Broomhill together.

    By Christine Huntington Nee Kelly (13/10/2016)
  • Hi, I used to live on Noël Street until I married in 1966. The road became a dead end when the factory closed and made a great place to play. I remember all the things spoken about, I would go down Burns Street, and across the rec to go to Broomhill. My Mother worked at Vallences which was the place photos were developed on Milton Street. I often wondered why Noël Street was part of the poets corner though. Lovely memories!

    By Wendy Smith nee Bowley (03/05/2016)
  • Hi Peter, The field when we played in the 60’s was a wire mesh fence which was easy to get through, the rest of the field on Ladybrook Ln and Westfield Ln was iron railings. We played football every night either on that field or at the Co-op laundry and sometimes at the garages between Stanton Place and Bancroft Ln, wherever we could get a game going we played. Was Oakdale Rd the unmade road between Ladybrook Ln and Bancroft Ln as my memory of Mansfield is fading as l left in 1975 although my mum still lived there until she died so l used to visit often but not so often now but still think of the old town and some of my happiest memories there. We used to get up to mischief now and again as all lads did but mostly playing football, walking to Hardwick, building dames on Quarry Ln and playing up Berryhill sand quarry or Bleakhills, our days when not at school were filled with adventure, l loved it and believe the lads l palled about with had a very happy childhood.

    By Paul Robinson (27/06/2015)
  • Hello Paul my mates and myself played on that football field in the 1950s it wasn’t fenced then, the iron railings that were there before the Second World War had been taken for the war effort and not replaced until the late 50s. I can recall a band stand somewhere near the top of the field on the left hand side looking from Ladybrook Lane but the roof had been removed perhaps for the cast iron columns most likely at the same time as the original railings during WW2.           Sometime in the 1950s new pipes were were laid in Ladybrook Lane it was quite a big job, I don’t remember if it was for the sewage or a new culvert for the Ladybrook steam but the pipes were stored on the field and we had a lot of fun playing on them, they were about 4 or 5 foot diameter, no health and safety in those days!      I can also remember the Ladybrook being an open stream that wasn’t piped until it somewhere near Oakdale Road and at that time the land between Oakdale Road and Bancroft Lane was open land and we played on there too.


    By Peter Bowler (28/05/2015)
  • Hi Steve, I cant remember if I called for you to go to Broomhill school or St Johns.

    Pity about the football field, these were used for loads of games being played when we were kids, we used to get our favourite football team kit on!

    I only come back to UK about once or twice a year and try to get over to Mansfield to have a look at the old town, it has certainly changed over the last 40 years.

    By Paul Robinson (24/05/2015)
  • Yes thats right Paul I lived on Corporation St, and I still live in Mansfield. Don’t know if you have seen the Football field we used to play on now. There is only about half of it left…..a hostel has been built on the top half of it…..the hours of fun we had on there. 

    By Steve Betts (19/05/2015)
  • Hi Steve, yes l remember, it was a film developers and it was like match of the day in our imaginary world, great times we had as kids. l think you lived on Corporation street near the RL Jones pop factory. Do you still live in Mansfield?

    By Paul Robinson (01/05/2015)
  • Hello Paul, do you remember m? I can remember all the things you wrote about. In the school holidays we would play football from the early morning until it got dark. Do you remember us going up the Alley on Milton St. I think it belonged to the laundry, and running out and onto the playing field pretending we were running out of the tunnel at a football ground. So many good memories of that time.

    By Steve Betts (29/04/2015)
  • Lovely to hear about the good old days when we were young! I was born  at Langham Place in 1956 and went to Broomhill Infants then moved to Ethel Wainwright Junior  QUEGGS later on. I  live in Chesterfield now – in Newbold! Such a shame `progress` took over in my old town, never the same from mid 70`s onwards when I moved away I visit the cemetery as my late sister  Maxine is sadly now there, but seeing what has been done is very upsetting.

    By Michelle Toft (nee Neale)



    By Michelle Toft (nee Neale) (13/02/2015)
  • Hi Paul,

    Great to hear from you after all these years. I now live in Walton, Chesterfield so not too far away from you. Perhaps we could meet up one day for a pint and catch up. Would be good to talk of old times and what has happened to us since then. Happy new year

    By Richard (11/01/2015)
  • Hi Richard, yes we went to Broomhill and St Johns together, pals with Peter Jefferson and Les Norman, every night playing football on the field at the bottom of Ladybrook lane or at the old Co-op laundry at top of Byron st, great times indeed. I have been living and working in Asia for last 14 years but often think about the happy times we spent as kids, no computers in them days to keep us in, out in rain or shine, l dont think the kids today have the fun we had.

    By Paul Robinson (02/11/2014)
  • Hi Paul,

    I also went to school with you in Mansfield and lived on Layton Avenue. Great times.

    By Richard Plumb (17/09/2014)
  • Hello Peter Zakarian-Ball, have you seen the Broomhill Junior School photograph in the education section I put it on there about a year ago, it’s class 2A2, your dad’s on it. P/S, How is your dad I’ve not seen him since the early 1970s.

    By Peter Bower (07/03/2014)
  • Peter Bowler… Royce is my Dad!

    By Peter Zakarian-Ball (02/03/2014)
  • Hi Peter, I remembered the pop factory name at the bottom of Noel Street was R L Jones, their lorries used to come out opposite our house on Layton Ave. Later they bricked up the old wooden gates and the wall had a pattern of brick that I used to climb up as a kid and onto the roof, it must have been 30 foot high! I do remember the beer pumps on the beer off counter as I used to go with my mum some nights as she would get a pint in an old bottle, probably the bottle was the pop I had the night before. My parents in the mid 60’s had the Nags Head in town for a few years so again at 9 or 10 years old I would roam around the town till 7 or 8pm, it never seemed unsafe. Some of my school friends would come down and we would explore Stokes Castings at the bottom of Union Street that had closed, again you would think this highly dangerous but to us kids it was an adventure.

    By Paul Robinson (09/02/2013)
  • Regarding the shooting on Wood Street I knew the lad that did it, he shot the shopkeeper with a humane killer stolen from a vets car, we called at the fish shop on Wood Street the night it happened, the two women that worked there were very upset as the shop was almost opposite their shop.

    By Fred Newton (26/01/2013)
  • Hello again Paul, the butchers at the top of Wood Street was the Co-op Butchers and on the other corner of Wood Street was a Marsdens Grocers they were a smaller set up than the Co-op. I think they sold out to the group that became Fine Fare. I remember the Post Office, but don’t remember the name of the people who kept it but the off licence (the beer off to locals) was kept by Mr & Mrs Espley, when they retired the Allfrees took it over. When it was kept by the Espleys there were two beer pumps on the counter, people used to take a jug or a large bottle to be filled with bitter or mild beer. I was too young to know about mild and bitter in those days being about seven or eight but I knew it was beer that came out off the pumps, wether the Allfrees carried on with this I don’t remember. The Off Licence further down the street belonged to a Mr & Mrs Pollard I think it was on the corner of Lindley Street, one of the beers they sold was Milk Maid stout I remember that because my parents always had a few bottles of it at Christmas, they sold mainly Warwick Ales. You are right there was a robbery at that one, and sadly Mr Pollard was shot and killed, I seem to recall the culprits were apprehended at Pleasley the same night or the next, day. I’d be fifteen or sixteen when it when happened 1963 or 64. On the piece of land you refered to that was cleared to build the council offices was a building used as a youth club I can’t recall anything else but the engineering works was Hodgkinsons Precision Engineers, this later became Hermitage Engineering. The old church at the Chesterfield Road end was the Congregational Church, a beautiful building designed by the famous Nottingham architect Watson Fothergill, one of only two in Mansfield designed by him, the other one is Cattle Market House which is still standing (I hope theres a preservation order on it). It is now a restaurant called Lambs at the Market, I’ve eaten there, very good, but thats on the other side of town near Titchfield Park.

    By Peter Bowler. (15/01/2013)
  • Hi Peter, you are right, it was Byron Street that the Methodist Chapel was on the corner with Rosemary Street, strange after living there all that time I got the streets mixed up. I do remember Tennison Street as my sister had a boyfriend who lived there, it was an unmade road in those days, dont know if it still is. Do you remember the Springfield Hotel a little further up Layton Avenue on the opposite side of the road? On Rosemary Street I remember the old Co-op but not the ginger cats, top of Wood Street was a butchers shop and further down was a post office, another butchers (I think) and then a off licence run by Fred and Margaret Allfree (think I got the name right) and there was another off licence further down that was held up at gunpoint in the mid 60’s, caused quite a stir. Before the council offices, between St John Street and Wood Street do you know what was on that site, I remember going down Wood street when I was very young but can’t remember what was there. I can remember the old church at the bottom of wood street, an engineering works, another coop store, a barbers shop, in fact wood street had just about everything you would need, from a home, shops, beer off and factories!

    By Paul Robinson (14/01/2013)
  • I remember all the streets Peter talks about as I lived on Layton Avenue from the early 1960 until I left Mansfield in 1975. I used to go to Broomhill School so walked up, what we called Piggy Lane (Tuckers lane I never heard of it) every morning. A girl who used to be in my class (1965-67) was Irene Cooper and her dad had the chip shop in Kipling Street then. The Barbers shop on Ladybrook lane was just a wooden hut and the old women who was the barber just shaved your head whatever you requested! There used to be the Sunecta pop factory at the bottom of Noel Street and we used to beg the girls working on the line to give us a bottle of pop, they mostly told us to clear off but occasionally they would oblige. We used to play football every night on either the field at the botton of Milton Street or used the large double doors of the Coop Laundry as our goals. There was also a church at the bottom of Burns Street that was knocked down in the late 60’s. I used to be a paperboy for Mr Carlton on Rosemary street, and if you didn’t turn up for work he would come to the house and continually press the door bell till he got the whole house up. I remember Rolands shop and the shop on the corner of Layton Avenue and Burns Street had a few owners, Mrs Glue, The Norman’s, I used to pal around with their son Les, the Lomas’s had it next and then I remember a women called Mavis who had it, we just called it by the name of the owner. We had a great time as kids roaming far and wide, the older you got the further you could venture, we used to explore Stokes Castings at the bottom of Union Street or venture all the way to Morey Bridge on the way to Hardwick or hunt frogs at the Bleakhills, we went miles and would be gone all day, we didn’t have money but we had a good time! Thanks for the story - Peter.

    By Paul Robinson (09/01/2013)
  • Hello Paul, you must be a bit younger than me I left school in 1962, I retired four months ago. With you living in Layton Ave. you must remember the short cul de sac near the Rosemary Street end, Tennison St. and a bit further along Rosemary St., Chaucer St. I’ve always wondered why they weren’t in Poets Corner. I think you’ll find the church you referred to as being on Burns St. was the Methodist Chapel at the end of Byron St. I was a paper boy at the shop that became Caultons, when I was there it was owned by a Mr.+Mrs. Dawes, I left there in 1962 when I left school but I remember Mr.+Mrs Caulton taking it over and I knew the Caulton family very well from way before they had the shop, I went to school with their son John who was one of my best friends, I tried to contact him a few years ago without any success I’d like to meet up with him if he’s still around. I remember Mrs Glew and her son David, he was at Broomhill School when I was there I rather think they went to keep George St. Club after they left the shop. We used to walk to Moorhaigh Bridge too, I cycle that way quite often now and its still the same after all these years, the only thing that’s changed is the boundary stone on the bridge that marks the boundary between Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, it looks like a vehicle has hit it and smashed it in half. Your right about the money but most people were in the same boat in those days but we certainly had plenty of enjoyment and I’m glad you enjoyed my story.



    By Peter Bowler. (09/01/2013)
  • To answer your question Pauline, yes we did.

    By alan curtis (07/01/2013)
  • How strange it is when you read something that takes your mind back many years, and often to childhood memories. Ladybrook Estate was built after the war to house over 14,000 families, after there was what was described as a baby boom. Anyone born in the late 1940’s and through the 1950’s fitted into that category. Much thought had gone into the planning of the Estate, for it had shops, pubs, a school, a church, a precinct and it’s own bus route and terminus. The Estate in the beginning Stretched from Skegby Lane, as far as Westfield Lane, Chesterfield Road Recreation Ground, running close to Sutton Road and expanding the full length of Brick Kiln Lane. It replaced many allotments and the fields known to us as Botany, an area that as youngsters we used to play football with one of the old leather case balls. Coats were placed at each end for the goal posts. The Ladybrook stream ran along the bottom of the hill that lead you to the Chesterfield Road Rec, (jumped it many a time ). The Rec. as it was known then, used to house the circus and fairs, that used to frequent our town. Before the estate was built it was all open fields, we used to go sledging on Brick Kiln Lane, if you stood at the top of the hill on Brick Kiln Lane, one could see for miles, the far side of the lane was the best for sledging. We could always more or less guarantee snow in Mansfield. Thank you Peter for reminding me about the poets street names. we had friends who lived on Byron St. and Milton St. You mentioned Kipling, funny what came straight to my mind was part of the verse he wrote, ‘And a Doe leapt up, and a Doe leapt up. From the pond in the wood where the wild deer sup.’ I wonder how many will remember where that comes from. [did you learn it ast school? Ed.]

    By alan curtis (06/01/2013)

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