Saturday, 14 April 2018

Clifton, Wilford and Meadows (i.e. a P.S.)

But first - a sort of puzzle picture!
An explanation follows later.

Back to The Tram

Clifton, Wilford and Meadows sounds like a firm of solicitors in a small market town, but actually refers to three communities that straddle the river Trent in Nottingham. Drive northbound along Main Street in Wilford and, according to Google Streetview, something unexpected happens. It stops and there is a tram in the way.
But keep pressing and guessing the mouse and a Google oddity occurs.
The tram, its tracks and the overhead wires all vanish and a road appears.

It leads to a bridge ...
... with a footpath and a cycle track; but motor vehicles are banned.

Sir Robert Juckes Clifton, 9th Baronet (24 December 1826to 30 May 1869) was an English Liberal Party politician who sat in the House of Commons in two periods between 1861 and 1869.

Clifton was the son of Sir Juckes Granville Juckes-Clifton, 8th Baronet and his second wife Marianne Swinfen, daughter of John Swinfen of Swinfen, Staffordshire. He was educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford. He succeeded his father to the baronetcy in 1852, but had to live for several years in France because of his debts from gambling and horse racing.

In 1870 (the year after Juckes the son died), work started on what became known as Clifton Colliery ...
... confusingly on the opposite side of the river from the villages of Clifton and Wilford. Doubly confusing because the neighbourly industrial edifice was known as Wilford Power Station. It opened in 1925 and was partially fed by coal from next door ...
... and via sidings from the Great Central Railway (top right on the map above) and the Midland Railway (top left). Here, a train is seen crossing the approach to the bridge on the link line between colliery and main lines.
Opposite the power station is Wilford church and, far top right, the mysteriously appearing and disappearing  road leading to the bridge.
Robert Juckes-Clifton was instrumental in getting the colliery going and building that bridge so that he and his chums and a good number of snivelling minion could get across the river to Nottingham and (minions especially) to toil at the coal face.

Colliery and Power Station have long gone

The bridge for pedestrians and vehicles also opened in 1870 and boss-man Bob charged a toll, leading to the nickname "The Halfpenny Bridge". (For those too young to remember the UK's curious currency, the half penny was always referred to as a "hape-knee".)
This list of charges was posted (and still is!) on the toll-house.
In 1969 the Clifton family handed the bridge over to Nottingham Council who, in 1974, deemed the central cast iron spans to be unsafe and closed it completely. It was replaced by a narrow foot and cycle way.
Fortunately the supports for this new deck were wider than necessary ...
... which made the next phase of Juckes-Clifton's bridge a little easier. It was widened (what goes around comes around!) but not for cars. It was to carry the Clifton tram route across the river.
There is a statue to St Robert next to "his" bridge ...
... and you wonder what his "spirit" might make of the five segment trams as they glide silently over the span which he "created".
In passing, an art critic once said of the statue that it had "by far the worst sculpted trousers of any statue in the world".

But there is yet more to tell before we finally leave Clifton, Wilford and Meadows.

And That Ring?

Today is fbb's wedding anniversary; by coincidence Mrs fbb celebrates hers on the same day! This year marks 45 years of wedded bliss and their "Sapphire" celebration. Normally this would not deserve a mention in this blog; that would have to wait for another five years DV.

But a good friend was kind enough to send a card. It was the written message added manually that would make the day amusingly memorable.
The long-term-attached OAPs are being treated to a posh lunchtime nosh by a certain senior bus manager and his family. 

So it will be a more special day than "yer average" wedding anniversary - but without the ring! fbb may be romantic at heart, but not deep in pocket! Shame?

Maybe a ride on an appropriately branded bus?
A day trip to Luton?

To what do the fbb's attribute the stability of their life together? Without a doubt it is the Christian Faith which they have always shared. When you serve a higher authority, many of the troubles of each day seem to be less burdensome. He (with a capital H) holds their hands and provides a divine shoulder to cry on but, more importantly, there is ALWAYS something to praise God for.

A couple of verses from a well-known hymn form a suitable Sapphire motto.

Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

The best priorities are the ideal recipe for 45 years of "nightmare"!!!

 Next C, W & M blog (plus) : Sunday 15th April 

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