sail-header-edge

20th Century Notts: 1979-1981

John Baird
Fri 28 Sep, 2018

Nottingham exits the 1970s by bagging a Nobel Prize and a European Cup. What will the '80s bring?

1979

In a Strange Land by Stanley Middleton (1979)

One of Stanley Middleton’s finest works, In a Strange Land observes the absurdities of life and the weight of death. As in Harris’s Requiem the novel’s hero is both a teacher and a talented man-of-music whose everyday existence is taking its toll. Unfulfilled relationships and unwelcome requests provide the distractions in a life most challenging. Can an achieved ambition be enough to make a life worth living or is it merely an attempt to anchor the fleeting?

He did not ruin Bach; he phrased the rich notes sharp as glass, but he would not hang about. A big work was worth five minutes of his time, and that was all… (from In a Strange Land)

_______________

Godfrey Hounsfield was born near Newark a century ago. As a child he was fascinated by electrical gadgets and farming machinery. “This was all at the expense of my schooling at Magnus Grammar School in Newark,” he said, “where they tried hard to educate me but where I responded only to physics and mathematics with any ease and moderate enthusiasm.”

In 1979 Hounsfield received a Nobel Prize for his development of X-ray computer tomography (CT). This vital work is examined in a book by S. Bates, L. Beckmann, A. Thomas and R. Waltham, entitled Godfrey Hounsfield: Intuitive Genius of CT. It includes many recollections from Hounsfield's family, friends and colleagues.

This week’s video is a look at the life of a rock and roll fan who worked at Nottingham’s Raleigh Factory in 1979.

1980

Personal Copy by Ray Gosling (1980)

Ray Gosling was a man of the people. For years he never left home without his red notebook, ready to record his observations. This need to keep records, along with an encyclopaedic memory, helped Gosling produce the second of his memoirs Personal Copy. The book captured Nottingham as it was in the early ‘60s, a city divided by class and boosted by immigration. Typically, Gosling was politically active at the time, leading the campaign to save and improve the area of St Ann’s.

I was a people’s leader and these are my memories of what happened. (from Personal Copy)

________________

Nottingham Forest completed back-to-back European Cup success in this year, defeating a strong Hamburg SV team in the Madrid final. It followed an incredible turnaround in the club’s history under the leadership of Brian Clough. This remarkable period is captured in the 2003 book Forest Giants: The Story of Nottingham Forest 1975-80 by John McGovern and Rob Jovanovic, with a foreword from Cloughie himself.

1981

Nottingham: A Place of Execution From 1201 To 1928 by Terry Lambley (1981)

This short collection of interesting facts concerns all recorded executions in Nottinghamshire. Terry Lambley has sold over 11,000 copies of the book, no doubt helped by his public appearances on the speakers’ circuit and the publicity he achieved after acquiring a genuine gallows assembled in the back garden of his Wilford home. ‘Gallows Hill’, at the top of Mansfield Road (where it crosses Forest Road), was where many of the executed were hanged, a process that wasn’t always swift in nature. Friends and relatives were known to attach themselves to the dying in order to shorten their agony. It’s said that the phrases ‘pulling one’s leg’ and ‘hangers on’ originated from such action.

_________________

Jimmy Sirrel led Notts County to promotion to Division One. This completed the Magpies transformation from the bottom of the Fourth Division to the top flight in just over a decade. They kicked off the season with a win at reigning league champions – and would-be European Champs - Aston Villa. Sirrel would keep Notts in Division One for three years. Colin Slater, a friend of Sirrel’s and Radio Nottingham’s man at the Lane, includes his own memories of these glory years in his book Tied Up With Notts (2012).

Be in the know. Subscribe to our newsletter

Keep bang up to date with what's new at Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature. Subscribe to our newsletter, and you'll hear all about the latest news, job opportunities and literary events.

subscribe

Search