Updated: Jul 8, 2021
The Victorian Nottingham world of architect Watson Fothergill appeared in full colourful glory with Lucy Brouwer explaining and showing why he was such an important influence on the red city. As storyteller, she brought him alive giving us fascinating snippets into his life, his personality, family, apprenticeship, practice, and his recognisable architectural trademarks...his brand.
I could hear and see the hustle and bustle of Nottingham market square and surrounding streets with the clatter of horses hooves pulling carts, trams and carriages on the cobblestones, and Victorian ladies and gentlemen briskly walking and weaving in between wearing elegant attire. Nottingham was a booming town with banks and businesses being built to match its meteoric trading growth. It was the world’s lace market capital with textile manufacturing and engineering utilizing a huge human workforce. Queen Victoria visited in 1843 and Jesse Boot was building his chemist shop and pharmacy empire. In 1896 Nottingham becomes a city and it is Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
The stories that particularly delighted me were about Zebedee Jessop and William Daft, sculptor Benjamin Creswick and his terracotta panels, the architect’s showcase office on George Street, Queen’s Chambers and colonnade and the magnificent Notts Bank head office building on Thurland Street now housing ‘All Saints’ clothing store and ‘Bravissimo’ lingerie shop. Try and spot the monkey peeking out between the chimney support and roof tiles!
My photographer friend Ray Teece who started his Nottingham21 website in 2004 of Nottingham in Photographs - Nottingham in Pictures - has many fine photographs of the Notts Bank building, as well as other Watson Fothergill buildings, so please do take a look. http://www.nottingham21.co.uk/build_nottmbank_thumbnails.htm
The three photographs below are by Ray Teece from above link.
Whilst on the subject of Victorian building and Queen Victoria, Ray and Spanish artist Joe Ganech collaborated, together with Art Culture Tourism, on Joe’s magnificent artwork ‘Queen Victoria Complete’ referenced from Ray’s photograph of the late Queen 1905 statue in the Nottingham Embankment Memorial Gardens and which earlier had moved from the city square in 1953. Please find out more about this fascinating story with NottsTV clip 23 Nov 2017 by clicking on https://www.artculturetourism.co.uk/screen-media-room.html
I only managed to take a few photos myself on this ‘Watson Fothergill Grand Tour’ before my mobile charge ‘died’ halfway through but you can see excellent photos taken by Lucy and Nottingham photographer Lamar Francois on the official website together with all facts, blog reviews and how to book a tour. https://watsonfothergillwalk.com/
Many fine slices of architectural history were served by Lucy, as well as tea and cake by Debbie Bryan where we finished the walk and sat down in welcome comfort in her shop on St Mary’s Gate in Nottingham’s Lace Market. https://debbiebryan.co.uk/
Applause to Watson Fothergill himself and his architecture, and many thanks to our guide Lucy Brouwer.
Remember...please look UP whenever you walk around the streets of red brick Nottingham because you’ll be surprised at how many architectural curiosities, embellishments, stone animals and birds reach out to proudly display themselves!