1893: Parliament gives approval for the London extension to the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway,
"The Great Central Railway."
The construction of the Nottingham Victoria Railway Station occupied a side of some 13 acres; it involved the excavation of 600,000 cubic yards of sandstone rock, as well as the demolishing of 1,300 houses, 20 public houses and the Nottingham Union Workhouse.
1895: Union Workhouse, York Street, Nottingham
The above photograph was taken from the corner of Mansfield Road and Woodborough Road. The building was erected in 1840 by the Board of Guardians to replace the workhouses of St. Mary’s and St. Peter’s. It stood on the ground between York Street and Huntingdon Street, and was demolished as part of the Victoria Station development, another workhouse being erected at Bagthorpe (Nottingham City Hospital) to replace it. While the new workhouse was being built, the inmates were accommodated in two factories, which became temporary workhouses. One at the corner of Great Freeman Street and Huntingdon Street, which was once a lace dressing factory., and the other on Leslie Avenue in the Forest Fields Estate .
1/2 Temporary Workhouses: Former dressing factory, Great Freeman Street, Nottingham
2/2: Temporary Workhouse, Leslie Avenue, Forest Fields
Some of the 600,000 cubic yards of earth and rock being excavated.
Whilst looking at other locations to build a workhouse, for example, Woodthorpe Grange, today's Woodthorpe Park and sites at Basford and Mapperley Plains, the Board of Guardians became interested in the undeveloped land belonging to the Nottingham Corporation at Bagthorpe an area amounting to about 64 acres.
It was the site at Bagthorpe that was to see the eventual construction of the new workhouse and infirmary however, as recorded in the minutes of the Nottingham Board of Guardians meetings, it was a construction that so very nearly didn't happen! On 6 March, 1894 letter from Sir Walter Foster the Parliamentary Secretary to the Local Government Board was read out saying:
“On the subject of the proposal to purchase a piece of land near the Smallpox Hospital (Bagthorpe Isolation Hospital) whereupon to erect new workhouse, The Local Government Board could not consent to the purchase, and that the Guardians look for another site."
The vacant land at Bagthorpe was eventually purchased, but not until certain conditions set by the Guardians to the Nottingham Corporation were met, one of those that being no smallpox patients to be treated at the Bagthorpe Isolation Hospital. If these conditions are met, the Guardians will, subject to approval of the Local Government Board, purchase between 50 to 60 acres of land at £200 per acre.
Nottingham Victoria Railway Station in its Heyday
Thompson B1 Locomotive No. 63890 enters Nottingham Victoria from the 1,200 yard Mansfield Road Tunnel and passes Victoria North signal box to take one of the outer roads on the eastern side of the station.
As it Looks Today
The mouth of the capped Mansfield Road tunnel
The capped Mansfield Road tunnel, on the left the extension to the Victoria Shopping Centre car park.