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West Hallam

George Donald Walker



George Donald Walker, born 1902, photo taken by the West Hallam signal box.
He lived in Ilkeston at the time and he also spent some time working at the Ilkeston Railway Station.

June 1982

Straws Bridge

SB Page
Straws Bridge, Parish Magazine, June 1982



Above, Two photographs of Moor's/Straw's Bridge and the Nutbrook Canal.
Photograph (1) taken from Canal Tow Path.
Photograph (2) taken from Road side. The large house was occupied by Samuel Straw (Overseer and Agent for the Nutbrook Canal).
My thanks to Roger Wood for these 2 photographs and information


The Friends of Straw’s Bridge

Extracts from their website


Straw's Bridge was a bridge over the Nutbrook Canal (opened 1794) on the road from West Hallam to Ilkeston (now the A609). It was originally known as Moor's Bridge. After the opening of the canal an overseer's house was built next to the canal on the right hand side of the road (heading for Ilkeston). In 1844 a man called Samuel Straw was employed as overseer and he moved into the house. He was paid 18 shillings per week and the house was rent-free. From that time the bridge came to be called Straw's

Nutbrook Canal 1913

The original canal bridge was demolished in the 1930's and replaced with a new level bridge over the abandoned canal.The old bridge was deemed dangerous for the increasing traffic, including buses. On the opposite side of the road to the house was a limehouse. This was presumably for storage as there were lime kilns next to the canal just north of Straw's Bridge. Both the overseer's house and the limehouse were demolished. Just below Straw's Bridge and the overseer's house there was a 'sidecut' known as Hunloke's Arm, named after Sir Henry Hunloke, one of the original founders of the canal. He owned land and mines in West Hallam and this short section of canal was for transporting his coal. Hunloke's arm was filled in but you can see the line across the fields towards Thacker Barn.


This photograph shows part of the excavations at Straw's Bridge in the 1980's, when it was an opencast site.


What WasThere Before the Ponds?

The area which is now the Straw's Bridge open space includes the site of the old West Hallam Sewage Works. In the 1970's and 1980's open cast mining was carried out. The company concerned got into financial difficulties and although they had pledged to restore the site they were unable to do so. Erewash Borough Council took it on and began restoration and development of the site as a wildlife habitat and local amenity. Since then it has become increasingly popular among both locals and visitors from further afield. While this is a good thing it means that there is a risk of conflict between the needs of visitors on the one hand and the wildlife and its habitat on the other. This is one reason behind the formation of the Friends of Straw's Bridge. Who are the Friends of Straws Bridge? The Friends of Straw's Bridge, a group of people who take an interest in promoting, developing and improving the site for both visitors and wildlife, was formed in 2010. We raise funds, hold regular meetings and organise activities and events at Straw's Bridge throughout the year. We have installed a wheelchair accessible picnic table, floating islands, a tern raft and bird and bat boxes. Our activities include annual butterfly and bat walks. The site has been designated a Local Nature Reserve and has gained the prestigious Green Flag award every year since 2015.

Sincere thanks to Jeff Wynch ( March 2019)


1913   Up to about this time a large part of West Hallam was owned by the NEWDIGATE ESTATE.  At this time they sold off all of the land

The straw’s Bridge site was sold to WILLIAM JACKSON MARSHALL (Land Registry 1)

1936 or 1942   WILLIAM JACKSON MARSHALL now deceased. The land sold by MARSHAL AND ROBERT MARSHALL to GEORGE WILLIAM SPENDLOVE. (Land Registry 2) partly illegible

1962   Permission granted by Erewash Borough Council (?) for “JonGary” Kennels

1977   Kennels taken over by ANNA? MARSHALL

1981   January. EBC grants permission for construction of fishing ponds and an amenity area at Straws Bridge, but refuses permission for opencasting to remove coal from 3 coal seams.  (APPLICANT J P SMITH, MAIN ST. HORSLEY WOODHOUSE)

1982   May. This opencasting approved on appeal. (ERE/381/24)
Agate acquired the working rights .

1983   December. Agate starts. The 12 months allowed for the scheme had actually started in June 1983 i.e. should be finished by June 1984.

27/07/1984   The above work would not be completed by the due date and Agate submitted a planning application to DCC to extend the time:

12/08/85   Application ERE/885/41 (Document A) Application to extend area of extraction.
The whole SB site to be restored including ponds no later than 31 May 1986.

25/10/1985  Part of kennels property leased to Agate for opencasting. 

13 July 1989   Agate Group Plc changes its name and is now incorporated under the name of James Warren Holdings Plc (Document F)

1990 June   DOCUMENT D Straws Bridge put up for sale. 17 acres freehold with planning consent for fishing lakes development (after restoration). By Weatherall, Green and Smith acting for the receivers of James Warren Holdings Plc.

The land is substantially restored towards the agreed after use of fishing lakes

1990 Straws Bridge site purchased by EBC for £35k

08/05/1992 Transfer of title to EBC (Doc H) for £35k

(Thanks to J Wynch for this document)

Extracts from A Corner of Derbyshire 1994

4 Farms


 Taken from the West Hallam and Mapperley Church & Community Magazine
March 2006


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