Until the middle of last century, or possibly a few years later, two or three houses in Barker Gate adjoining each other were covered with thatch; they were not large ones, being but two stories in height, and standing on the north side of the street nearly opposite to the end of Bellar Gate. One has since been pulled down and another building erected in its place, but two, I believe, are still left, though slates were long since substituted for the thatch.

I had for many years supposed that the thatched houses referred to, and about the date mentioned, were the last of the sort in Nottingham, until examining Hine's "Nottingham, its Castle," etc., a number of years after it was published (1876). I found in a footnote on page 11 the following statement:—"The last thatched roof was found in Narrow Marsh, the property of the Rev. Jas. Hine, and taken down about 1854."

I am much more surprised that Mr. T. C. Hine was unaware of the thatched houses in Barker Gate than that I should have no knowledge of the one or more in Narrow Marsh; for when going down Barker Gate the thatched roofs could be easily and plainly seen from the higher ground, but in Narrow Marsh, which is practically level and more contracted, the opportunity for observing thatch on a house roof would be considerably lessened. It appears probable that in each of the cases mentioned the thatch was replaced by slates at nearly the same time. The first tiled roof we find mentioned in the Borough Records in 1397 5 this is full 450 years previous to the date when the last thatched roof disappeared in Nottingham. See vol. i., p. 349.

I desire now to make a few remarks respecting Plumptre Street, or "Plumbtree," as it was frequently but wrongly spelled a century since. It has been mentioned that the last of the name who resided in Nottingham died in February, 1791, and that the street was formed out of their vista. I have no doubt, from what has come to my knowledge, that very shortly after the death of the last Plumptre who lived in the town, the vista or its upper portion was offered for sale, though for some years later there was no direct connection with Bellar Gate, and the opening was termed Plumbtree Street, but it barely reached two-thirds of the distance to Bellar Gate. The large and unique old plan (1800) shows one house only between Plumptree Street and Hollow Stone as being in Stoney Street, but there were no buildings of any kind on the north side of Hollow Stone, and the land above is designated "Plumbtree Paddock."

In Blackner's History of Nottingham (1815) on page 145, in connection with Woolley's alms-houses, the names of James Dale and Robert Booth are introduced, who were churchwardens of St. Mary's in 1809. As a youth I knew the latter well, and remember him when residing in Plumptre Street, where he died in December, 1844, aged eighty years. Going back 100 years or more, the houses and other buildings generally in Nottingham were appreciably smaller than at present. His house, though altered somewhat, still remains; it is about sixty yards down the street on its southern side. On the opposite side, but rather nearer to Stoney Street, is his hosiery warehouse, which, as having been built as a warehouse and in the 18th century, is probably the oldest in Nottingham of the kind. Proportionately it was once considered a large structure, but is dwarfed when compared with modern warehouses near it.

Attention will now be directed to Narrow Marsh. This is an old street, and practically its ancient name has come down to our time ; Parvus Mariscus was its Latin title. The earliest reference to it is probably in the Borough Records, vol. i., page 378, December 26, 1315, when an annual claim for rent of 6s. is transferred to another person. On page 279, 1395, it is entitled Litilmerche, in 1447 Lytall' Merssh' (vol. ii.). It was also Narromerssh, Narrow March, and Narro Marsh.

For a century or two it was for business purposes as prominent as any thoroughfare in Nottingham, and considerably more so than most. Many of the mayors, aldermen, or others connected with the government of the town in former times, lived or were engaged there in business. On page 83, in reference to the year 1667, Deering tells us that there were "47 Tanners Yards" in Narrow Marsh, and on page 95 that then (about 1749) there were but three.

On page 82 he refers to a singular circumstance in relation to the tanyards in Narrow Marsh during a severe attack of plague, "which visited this town in 1667, and made a cruel Desolation in the higher part of Nottingham; for very few died in the lower, especially in a street called the Narrow-Marsh, it was observed that the infection had no power; and that during the whole Time the Plague raged, not one who lived in that Street died of it, which induced many of the richer sort of people to crowd thither, and hire Lodgings at any price; the preservation of the People was attributed to the Effluvia of the Tanners Ouze (for there were 47 Tanyards in that place) besides which they caused Smoak to be made by burning moist Tanners Knobs."

While writing this, I have near and for reference, a plan of Nottingham dated 1670, and also Thoroton's plan of 1677. As regards Narrow Marsh, they are practically alike. The frontage of the roadway is almost filled with houses on each side, but on the south side there are no streets, yards, courts, or alleys, such as may now be found in profusion. Here and there are a few buildings at the back, and also a number of large trees, but there was no Leen Side, or other roadway more south than Narrow Marsh and Broad Marsh; and as regards Canal Street, it was not formed until nearly 120 years later, i.e., about 1796.

On each plan, a portion of the large old Nottingham or Leen Bridge of twenty arches is plainly shown, commencing at Bridge End, afterwards called Plumptre Square, and reaching nearly to the part now termed Island Street. There is full evidence of the sort of business once carried on there from the names of a number of places in Narrow Marsh; my unique plan of the town (1800) gives about seven such names, and some or all are still in use. They are Tanners Hall Court, Vat Yard, possibly Knotted Alley, Knob Alley (Tanners' Knobs), Felt Alley, Glue Court, and Leather Alley.

To a certain extent, Narrow Marsh maintained its social position amongst the streets of the town until the early part of last century. On 29th September, 1795, Alderman Benjamin Hornbuckle, who resided there, was elected Mayor of Nottingham, and again in 1802. At that date, and until the latter half of 1835, there were seven aldermen in the town,—one for each ward,—and by virtue of their office each was a town magistrate (by charter), and it was obligatory for the mayor, until 1834-1835, to be chosen from amongst the aldermen.

During the construction of the Great Central Railway through and near this part of the town, I was a constant visitor, and greatly interested in observing the depth and character of the formation upon which the piers for supporting the viaduct were to rest, but specially these details respecting the one on the southern side and western end of Narrow Marsh, carrying one end of the iron girders which span it. On the northern side, the rocky cliff bounding it and also forming the northern extremity of the Trent valley in that part, is still in various places plainly to be seen, and the pier on that side rests on a rock foundation.

The distance from it to the pier on the opposite or southern side of the street is practically 9½yds., and my curiosity was roused as to what this pier would rest upon. Would it be upon the rock in the same way as the one less than 10yds. away ? Or did the precipitous face of the cliff continue far below the level of the street, and terminate there ? In similar excavations near, they had found a thick bed of gravel, on which at depths generally varying from 12 to 16ft., a quantity of cement concrete was placed, probably 3 or 4ft. thick, and on this the brickwork rests.

For a considerable distance it is proved that the face of the rocky cliff continues below the ground, for the excavation for the pier next to it was carried to a depth of full 30ft. before the proper bed of gravel was reached, and without any sign of rock being near. As was likely in the valley of the Trent, an excavation of that depth necessitated much pumping to keep the water down, and to allow the men to work.

From various other excavations numerous horns, hoofs, &c. of animals were cast out, which confirms history respecting the many tanyards once in that locality. Another circumstance also noticeable in these excavations, which occurred when going southwards, and before reaching the old bed of the Leen was the extreme blackness of the soil to a considerable depth (ten feet or more), and I was decidedly of opinion that much of it would have made excellent manure. I supposed that this might be caused by chemicals, together with the refuse thrown out for many years from the numerous tanpits, &c.