12 March 2014

Nottingham's Rive Gauche

The Wilford Suspension Bridge crosses the River Trent to link West Bridgford and the Meadows area of Nottingham. Although the bridge can be used by pedestrians, this is at the discretion of its private owners, Severn Trent Water. It was built by the Nottingham Corporation Water Department, to a design by architect Arthur Brown, principally to carry a water main to the nearby Wilford Hill reservoir, and opened in 1906.

Adjoining the 1¼ mile long Victoria Embankment, constructed between 1898 and 1901, stands Nottingham's principal war memorial. This, and the associated memorial gardens, was laid out on land donated in 1920 by Nottingham's most famous son, Sir Jesse Boot, he of Boots the Chemist.

Work on the gardens and memorial commenced in 1923. Both opened on 11 November 1927, nine years after Armistice Day. The memorial, designed by the City Engineer of the day, T Wallis Gordon, is truly monumental, a trio of archways flanked by colonnades, all in Portland stone, with a terrace behind that overlooks the gardens.

The Orthodox cross-like ornamental pond has recently been renovated at the expense of a private benefactor. Unfortunately, the statue of Queen Empress Victoria, relocated from the bottom of the city centre's Market Street, is surrounded by an ugly anti-vandal fence.

Nearby stands a beautiful little Moderne bandstand of 1937, which was threatened with demolition by the City Council as part of its flood defence scheme, but is now protected by a Grade II listing.

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