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Mock Tudor style Black Bull Inn at Blidworth
Stage 5

The Black Bull

Deeds dating back to 1730 reveal that The Black Bull Inn served the local community as an ale house. Located at the intersection of Main Road and Field Lane (which leads to Blidworth Bottoms), The Black Bull Inn square has in the past served as a staging post for travellers and traders.

During The Napoleonic Wars, the square was used every morning for one hour for farmers to drill their labourers. In 1803, as Napoleon’s army gathered at Boulogne-sur-Mer, Blidworth residents were told that in the event of an invasion they were to assemble at Fountaindale and await instructions.

At the turn of the 20th Century, The Black Bull sold beer produced by Shipstone’s Brewery. This was delivered to the village from Basford, Nottingham, on a flatbed wagon pulled by four horses. 

The Black Bull

The Black Bull Inn in 1905. Behind the woman on the bicycle is Alf Longden’s barber shop, which curiously, also mended boots. Next door was Merryweather’s General Store. 

Whilst the picture above clearly represents a bygone age, a telegraph pole is visible on the other side of the road. This supported two lines into the village. The telegraph arrived in the village in 1899 and was available for public use at The Post Office, which was then located further down the hill on Beck Lane. 

Merryweathers’ shop – now Mulberry Cottage – sold amongst other things home-made ice cream. The house now called Hillside Cottage was used as a Post Office, a grocer’s shop (Springthorpe’s) and later Kirkby-in-Ashfield Co-operative society.

Bus Driver and Conductor with Vintage Bus

Bus driver and conductor take time out at The Black Bull Square.

Vintage picture of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Institute, Blidworth

Blidworth Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Institute, located opposite The Black Bull Inn, 

Soon after the 1914-18 war, the Blidworth Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Institute was built on the North side of The Black Bull Square. The building was clad in corrugated-iron. Inside was a billiard table, facilities for table-skittles and card games, and a bar where soft drinks were available.

In 1921 the Reverend J. Lowndes became Chairman of the venue ‘where men could meet informally and enjoy table-games without having to buy intoxicating drink’. Whist drive card tournaments were held there about once a month with upwards of 20 baize-covered tables. The prizes were displayed beforehand in the window of Miss Thomas’s drapery shop, next door. After the card games, couples danced the Foxtrot, the Waltz, the Veleta, and barn dances, accompanied by piano and violin.

During the early 1930s the institute experienced financial difficulties and the building was given over to religious meetings. In the 1940 it housed a garment factory.. The building was demolished in 1988.

Palings store and The Old Church School in 1949.

Palings grocery store also sold home made confectionary which would have been popular with children at the neighbouring Old Church School. The school was originally established in the vicarage before a purpose-built school (also known as The National School) was constructed in 1846 to accommodate the village’s growing population.

From 1922, the school began accepting children from the new colliery village, with five teachers responsible for teaching around 240 children. Pressure on the school eased in 1927 with the opening of Blidworth County Infants and Junior Schools in the colliery village.

The Bird in Hand Public House.

Located half way between the site of the old school house and St Mary’s Church is the Bird in Hand public house. This country pub has a beer garden providing spectacular views to the south of the village.

The man on the left is looking into Carvell’s shop window, just a short distance from the stone gates to St Mary’s Church.

The man on the left is looking into Carvell’s shop window which displayed sweets, brushes and black lead for fire ranges. On the right, opposite St Mary’s Church is the New Inn and the entrance to the Old Mill Yard which featured a block for tethering horses belonging to church-goers or visitors frequenting the public house.

The entrance to St Mary’s Church is directly ahead on the left.