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New Inn 1960

The New Inn, 1960. 

Stage 7

Traders on Main Street

There was an Inn located across from St Mary’s Church for more than 700 years. To the right of the building a pathway led to the yard around the Old Tower Mill. Presumably, this is the area where Frank Whitworth likely bowled his cricket ball at the sails of the windmill.

Originally called The Blue Ball, in 1771 a friendly society was established there with the aim of benefiting customers and the local community. Several subscription-based ‘sickness clubs’ were established in the county at this time, the pooled cash acting as a safety net for the family of workers who fell ill. One of the first acts of the Blue Ball co-operative was to purchase a cheese from Nottingham Goose Fair and make it available to villagers, thus establishing the Blue Ball Club as the first co-operative society in England. 

The name of the inn was later changed to The Crispin Arms’ – likely, a reference to St Crispin’s Day 1415, when archers from Blidworth were involved in the Battle of Agincourt in a victory against the French, which was notable for its use of the longbow.

When the Inn was rebuilt around 280 years ago, it was renamed The New Inn’.

The New Inn, 1968.

The New Inn closed in 1968, its licence transferring to The Jolly Friar that once stood on the edge of colliery village where Dale Lane becomes Baulker Lane, heading towards Farnsfield and the Rufford Road (A614).


Vintage picture of The Methodist Chapel as it appeared between 1837 – 1932.

Cavernous cellars beneath the buildings on the right were used as an armoury during the time of the Napoleonic wars. It is claimed that Maid Marion lived in the site over the cellars.

In the centre is the Methodist Chapel as it looked between 1837 and 1932. The light coloured buildings in the chapel yard were used to store iron for the Blacksmith, linseed cake for cattle, chains, rakes, scythes and other implements.

Between 1870 – 1925, the house on the right with the board above the door was used by Brodies, Springthorpes and the Kirkby-in-Ashfield Co-operatve Society.

Merryweather’s General Store was on the further side of the adjoining yard entrance.

Vintage picture of children playing on Main Street, near White Lion Square.

Travelling down Main Street past from the Black Bull Square, the bend in the road and the buildings form a distinctive layout that is recognisable today.

Children playing and hens running freely in the old photograph suggests that there was very little traffic on Main Street at this time.

The cottages beyond the village Post Office on the left housed knitting frames. Opposite is Heath House and next door the White Lion Public House.


Left to Right: Lily Harris, Mabel Chandler, Grace Shopland, and Eunice Clarke (bottom of the steps) at the Post Office on Main Street in the 1920s.

The Post Office that had earlier been transferred to Beck Lane, moved onto Main Street. Len Harris was the Postmaster here, and his wife Lily ran the adjacent newsagents and grocery shop. The building on the right was used as a garage for a motorbike and sidecar used by Len to collect newspapers from Rainworth Railway Station. The Post Office operated from this location until the 1920’s when the building of the colliery village was complete, and the Post Office moved again to Mansfield Road.

Vintage picture of the saddlers, near White Lion Square.

The saddlers shop on the right, indicated by the horse-collars hanging either side of the doorway, was needed to equip farm horses and for pit ponies working underground at Rufford colliery.

The signage of The White Lion public house can be seen. Next door was Jerry Bradbury’s butcher’s shop and for a brief period up until 1910 it was also the site of another public house called The Red Lion.