The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

The Park Tunnel, Nottingham

ON A LUNCHTIME BREAK recently, and enjoying the slightly short-lived recent summer weather, I spotted a quiet Nottingham landmark, something of a curiosity in the middle of the city that few local people might ever pass by. I decided to re-investigate a city feature which I hadn’t trodden for many a year.

The Park Estate is a smart, historic and characterful residential area, well-known to city residents. It perhaps surprisingly, held an annual tennis tournament that was often used by top players on the professional circuit as a grass court warm-up event, immediately prior to Wimbledon each year.

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The Park Tunnel, Nottingham (south entrance)

The Park Tunnel which leads most inauspiciously from the busy thoroughfare of Derby Road was originally built back in 1855, its purpose to facilitate access via horse-drawn carriage, into the Park Estate. The Estate has a history as a former hunting park for the Duke of Newcastle, the owner of nearby Nottingham Castle, in truth a mansion or palace rather than a castle, replacing the former structure which was burnt to the ground by unruly and unhappy local people. The area became renowned as a popular part of the city for local wealthy luminaries to reside and to this day boasts many fine homes.

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A sober sight: the north entrance sits under the white arch, in 2015, stranded in the car park of nearby local businesses

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Proceeding further, the entrance remains unapparent

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Down the steps and the hidden tunnel comes into view

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Typically carved from the local sandstone, the tunnel boasts extensive brickwork above

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Looking back: the tunnel surround displays signs of erosion of the soft sandstone

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It’s said that the Duke of Newcastle originally ordered for the tunnel to be built with a specification of a gradient of no more than 1 in 14 feet. The grand tunnel however, was constructed to 1 in 12 foot dimensions, thus making it somewhat redundant from the inception of its life due to its unsuitability for horse-drawn carriages. These days, the Park Tunnel is used as pedestrian access to the Park Estate, largely forgotten and hidden from sight at the Derby Road end in the car park of some commercial businesses. Remaining yet another curiosity of the city of Nottingham, which are indeed numerous.

June 13, 2015 - Posted by | Times Gone By | , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Reblogged this on PorchesterBus.

    Comment by PorchesterBus | June 14, 2015

  2. The original castle was in fact sleighted by the army after the Civil War to prevent it being used again as a military installation. The Ducal mansion was built on the site by Newcastle at the end of the C17 and it was this building that was burnt down during the 1831 Reform Act riots, not the original castle. The mansion was then abandoned before being renovated and turned into the first municipal museum outside London.

    Comment by Andy (NCCLols) | July 14, 2015

  3. Thanks for the information.

    Comment by Stuart | July 14, 2015


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