Nottingham - A Day
At The "Coast"
w/e 02 August 2009
All this week's pictures were taken
with a Kodak DX6490
If you draw a line on a map of the UK between the
seaside resorts of Blackpool in Lancashire and Margate in Kent
and another from Yorkshire's Scarborough to Bournemouth in Dorset
they will intersect somewhere near Nottingham which is about
as far away from the sea as you can get in England. The actual
place furthest from the coast is said to be Coton in the Elms
in South Derbyshire. Nowhere is more than 72 miles from the sea
but as in the saying "If Mohammed can't go to the mountain,
let the mountain come to Mohammed" then if Nottingham cannot
go to the coast, then the coast must come to Nottingham.
And that is
precisely what has happened in the Old Market Square (above)
which has been transformed under the promotional slogan of "Life's
A Beach" for the summer season into a seaside resort - even
down to the famous UK weather of overcast skies and frequent
heavy showers! Not that any of that deterred the crowds from
turning up to enjoy the entertainment. Add a little imagination
to the tram lines running along South Parade, a helter skelter
(left) and other fairground rides nearby, and you could almost
be walking along the prom by the Pleasure Beach in Blackpool.
Many of the attractions usually found at Blackpool and many other
seaside resorts have been recreated in the Old Market Square
including a Crazy Golf course.
I remember a waterway in Skegness where powered boats used to
carry holidaymakers around a full scale circuit on the sea front.
I think the Skegness waterway has now ceased to operate but this
miniature version with individual paddle boats was finding great
favour among the youngsters in Nottingham.
There was even a passing nod to donkey rides on the beach with
this substitute that allowed even more youngsters to gallop around
a track in front of the Council House.
And it didn't stop there. An elevated area covered with wooden
planks gave a good impression of a seaside pier where the Beach
Hut was doing a good trade in flame-grilled food to say nothing
of the cartons of chips that were also readily available. I believe
Nottingham Rock was also on sale somewhere.
From the elevated pier where there were plenty of wooden seats
around circular tables, more chairs were visible in the Square.
Not only the "Fabulous Flying Chairs" suspended by
chains from one of those fairground rides but the blue and white
folding deck chairs below.
And most of those deck chairs were on what most people had come
to sample - the beach. Three hundred tons of sand have been deposited
in the Old Market Square and families staked a claim for their
spot to let their children dig, make sand castles and generally
have a good time.
One thing that couldn't be transferred from the coast is the
sea but a large paddling pool proved a good substitute for the
children to splash about in. Many of them were shivering in the
cool temperature but were loathe to come out of the water as
they were enjoying themselves so much. If it had been warmer
I might have been tempted to go for a paddle myself! On second
thoughts, maybe not. So a seaside resort has been condensed into
a few square yards and our "day at the coast" was really
only about an hour in Nottingham's Old Market Square.