It’s been nine years since the city of Nottingham began an official day of celebration for the Patron Saint of Ireland. This year’s festivities were spread over three days, partly due to the Roman Catholic church decision to alter Saint Patrick’s day to March 15 due to the 17th being a Holy day.
Scheduled was a good-sized parade from the Forest Recreation Ground a mile outside the city. The parade would head it’s way towards a culmination in the city’s Old Market Square forty-five minutes later. Not being in the best of health unfortunately, I decided to avoid the long hours outside following the parade and it’s aftermath of entertainment in the square. This did not stop me from enjoying a very pleasant afternoon and evening in Nottingham however.
The Council House in the Old Market Square was opened up for the celebrations with a dance, licensed bar, and an art exhibition in the foyer. As long as I have lived in this city I have never once been beyond the stately lions that stand guard outside the large imposing building. On that note and after watching an excellent band from County Tyrone on an outdoor stage for a while, I decided to press on inside and have an exploration – along with my camera.
One of my two or three favourite pubs in the city, the others being The Trip To Jerusalem which I sadly rarely get to these days and The Lincolnshire Poacher, a perennial visit. The Bell Inn is another of Nottingham’s ancient public houses, indeed argued as the oldest by some depending on the definition of ‘inn’ or ‘public house’. It is thought that its origins were as the guest house of a Carmelite monastery situated nearby on Beast Market Hill. Timber in the building has been dated back to 1420AD whilst it is thought that the building first became a public house around the mid-1500s’.
‘The Bell’ was renowned as being under the ownership of a certain William Clarke. Clarke who married the owner of the Trent Bridge Inn, a small business then which crucially had a large meadow to the rear of the property. Clarke developed that same meadow into what is now known as Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, an international Test cricket arena of great history and repute. Unsurprisingly the Bell Inn is now classified as a building of special architectural and historic interest.