The next portion of Nottingham for deliberation will be rather extensive, and includes Waverley Street, Shakespeare Street, and in some degree, Goldsmith Street, as regards their sites, comprising old names, together with what is now known as the Forest, otherwise Nottingham and Basford Lings, and the land for a distance on each side of Waverley Street or its site. With a few other old residents who are still left in the city, I have a full recollection of these places from and after 1835, when practically it was in its old state or condition, but subsequent to that date, the great expansion of Nottingham has taken place, and especially after 1851. In my younger days I have frequently stood on the south-western side of Alfreton Road, and when looking towards Mansfield Road not more than one house could be observed until the eastern side of Sherwood Street was reached, and practically the whole of the space was composed of grass fields with quick-set hedges. This was previous to and also years after the formation of the General Cemetery in that locality, which I remember as occurring in 1836. A number of the thirteen windmills which once stood on or near the top of the Forest could then be seen from that part.

It is questionable whether any allusion can be found to Nottingham Forest until years after the commencement of the 19th century. Sherwood Forest once, from what we are told, consisting of nearly 100,000 acres, dominating all others near, and Bulwell Forest would then be a portion of it. The old name in Nottingham for what is now known as The Forest was "The Lings." In the Records, vol. i., pp. 151-53 (1352) there is an acknowledgement of the right of the mayor and burgesses, etc., by Avery de Sulney, knight, to " common of pasture in the wood and in the lings of Basford."

On pp. 163-65 there is another case, when Robert de Cockfield, knight, in 1356, releases the mayor and burgesses of Nottingham from the payment of six shillings and eightpence annually "for having common of pasture, with all their animals and cattle whatsoever in Basford Wood, and in the lings of the same vill of Basford (which is in the Forest of Sherwood) belonging to me as is more fully contained in the aforesaid writing," and he warrants the common of pasture, and will defend it, to the mayor and burgesses. Therefore the pasture in Basford Wood and Lings, with the ownership, appears to have become vested in the mayor and burgesses of Nottingham.

In the Records, vol. v., p. 41 (1675), respecting property belonging to the town, there is as follows:— "A certain waste called Nottingham lings, otherwise Basford lings, lying and being within the precincts and liberties of the town of Nottingham aforesaid. . . ." In 320 years the lings appear to have become almost indistinguishable regarding Nottingham and Basford. In the same vol., p. 401 (1699) respecting horse races, there is the following, taken from the minutes of the Town Council: "Ordered that the chamberlyns doe pay five pounds towards a plate to be run for vpon Nottingham and Basford Lings at the next horse-race." This proves that the Forest is the new name for the old Nottingham Lings.

While writing this I have near me an old and rare plan of Nottingham, on which the first Nottingham racecourse is set out. It is shown as reaching from Mansfield Road, through where Hyson Green was afterwards built, and then continued to Alfreton Road, not far from Bobbers Mill. When referring to it on p. 76, Deering (1749) says: "The course which formerly was four miles round is at this time but two miles." The distance from one road to the other is, I believe, a mile and a half, and to some extent the horses ran near or on the site of the Boulevard in that part. The course was shaped somewhat similar to a pair of spectacles, having a very large loop at each end, but proportionately perhaps rather longer between the loops.

The part of the ground represented by Basford Lings, though belonging to Nottingham, would, possibly, even afterwards, be in Basford parish, and, therefore, might not be so fully under the control of the mayor and council as the Nottingham Lings. Nottingham Forest, in my remembrance, included a number of acres on the eastern side of Mansfield Road, where the Children's Hospital, St. Andrew's Church, etc., may now be found, and reaching from Red Lane (Redcliffe Road) in varying width near to the top of Mansfield Road (Gallows Hill).

In my remembrance, in a south-westerly direction, and full sixty years since, the Forest reached to Alfreton Road from the end of Forest Road (then entitled Forest Side), northwards until Peveril Street was reached, then for its whole length that street formed the boundary on its eastern side. The houses, etc., on the strip of land between it and facing Alfreton Road, having few others near them, were then in the county, and entitled Aspley Terrace. Peveril Street or its site at that date formed the boundary of the town in that part. From the lower end of that street until the Boulevard at Hyson Green (as since formed) was reached, there were but few houses, and they were chiefly on the western side, near to the site of the Boulevard.

At this part there was a field or gardens between the road at Hyson Green and the Forest, which still reached more westwardly than at present. I have previously referred to the Nottingham and Basford Lings as belonging to the mayor and burgesses of Nottingham, and reaching from Mansfield Road to Alfreton Road, that also being the extent of the first Nottingham racecourse eastward and westward, which was doubtless formed, judging from the Borough Records, at or towards the latter end of the 17th century.

The part now entitled the Forest (east and west) does not, I consider, reach much, if any, more than half the distance comprised in the old one, and I have often wondered when, how, and by whom the great westerly portion of the old Nottingham and Basford Lings was acquired, for there can, I think, be little doubt that several scores of acres of land were alienated in some way during the last two hundred years or thereabouts, from what may be gathered in the Borough Records, old plans, documents, etc., and that the present Nottingham Forest is probably little more than half the size of the old Nottingham and Basford Lings. I have a perfect recollection of the parts being sold next to Forest Road, and Alfreton Road, and to the east of Mansfield Road, yet when we allow for this, there appears to be a great diminution in quantity.

In olden times what is now known (that is, respecting the site) as Waverley Street was termed Ling Dale. Gate in those times implied a road or way, and where Cross Lane or Shakespeare Street is now formed was, in old times, called Lingdale-Gate, or Lyngedalegate, otherwise the "road to Lingdale," and they met near where the western end of Shakespeare Street is now formed. These were roads where vehicles could pass along. There was also a very large field which is occasionally mentioned as Lyngdalefeld, and through which Lingdale no doubt ran for ages. At that period there was a small dale, a mere "dalette," and footpath, known as Wrendale. Under other names, I have a full recollection of all the places just referred to, and the first changes of title appear to have chiefly occurred in the latter part of the 16th or early in the 17th century.

The rare old plan of the town just referred to shows that there was once a bowling alley at the top of Waverley Street (as now termed), at the corner to the right or eastern side, abutting on what is of late known as Forest Road. From this, without doubt, old Lingdale afterwards became Bowling Alley, and Lyngedalefeld Bowling Alley Field, which is so designated on the old plan, and by these names, with other old citizens, I have a perfect recollection of each and both.

Bowling Alley Field was a very large one and unfenced, for a great part, reaching nearly all the way, but specially on the right or east of Bowling Alley, from the western end of Shakespeare Street, as now formed and named, to near the top of the Forest, otherwise "The Lings." Wrendale, in the 16th or early in the 17th century became known as Lark Dale. It was only a footpath, and generally about two yards wide and approximately a quarter of a mile long, between quick-set hedges, and in some parts sunk a yard below them and the fields. In my young days I have walked through it many times, and can still trace some of its old course. Lyngedalegate was afterwards entitled Cross Lane, and in wet seasons I remember that, being unmade, it was almost impassable from mud. A short distance from the site of the bottom gates of the General Cemetery, until the year 1852 or approximately so, there was a depression in the ground, and formerly in rainy seasons a large pool of water accumulated there, which was a fatal spot to many cats and dogs.

In the Nottingham Records, vol. i., p. 435, after alluding to Lingdale, we are told that it was "so called from the ling or heath growing there." This is quite inaccurate, for it grows on poor soil, but that near Ling-dale, otherwise Bowling Alley, and near to Lark Dale, was excellent pasture land, and much good hay was at times gathered from and near to them. The northern end of Lingdale or Bowling Alley, and the north-west end of Larkdale abutted upon the Lings, now entitled Nottingham Forest. See vol. i., p. 435, where the editor is correct.

In my recollection it was mainly an open piece of rough ground, measuring about 125 acres, but 200 years since and more, with Basford Wood and Lings, it would almost undoubtedly, according to the old racecourse and plan, be double that size. What remained until about fifty-six years since, was, before its transformation, to a large extent, a sandy waste, and other portions of it were covered with gorse, coarse grass, etc., very uneven, almost in its natural state, and if ling and heath grew anywhere it would be on the Lings, but not in Lingdale, or road to the Lings.

On p. 435, in reference to Lingdalefeld (otherwise the large Bowling Alley Field, as I and many others knew it), we are informed that it was "no doubt a portion of Lingdale." This is singularly incorrect. Lingdale, or Bowling Alley (mere names with the people for the road only) ran through the large Lingdalefeld, or Bowling Alley Field, so named on the official and other old plans. It was called dale or alley no doubt as being mainly in the lowest part of the ground to the east and west of the large field. In the Records, vol. iii., p. 473, is the following: " The common pasture of the town of Nottingham in the place called ' le Lynges ' . . . . . . .

In Larkdale; see vol. i., p. 435, Lingdale." This is strangely inaccurate, and impossible to put what was so noticeably large into what was, relatively, so diminutive.