Nottingham - A Day At The "Coast"
w/e 02 August 2009
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

If you draw a line on a map of the UK between the seaside resorts of Blackpool in Lancashire and Margate in Kent and another from Yorkshire's Scarborough to Bournemouth in Dorset they will intersect somewhere near Nottingham which is about as far away from the sea as you can get in England. The actual place furthest from the coast is said to be Coton in the Elms in South Derbyshire. Nowhere is more than 72 miles from the sea but as in the saying "If Mohammed can't go to the mountain, let the mountain come to Mohammed" then if Nottingham cannot go to the coast, then the coast must come to Nottingham.

Old Market Square

South ParadeAnd that is precisely what has happened in the Old Market Square (above) which has been transformed under the promotional slogan of "Life's A Beach" for the summer season into a seaside resort - even down to the famous UK weather of overcast skies and frequent heavy showers! Not that any of that deterred the crowds from turning up to enjoy the entertainment. Add a little imagination to the tram lines running along South Parade, a helter skelter (left) and other fairground rides nearby, and you could almost be walking along the prom by the Pleasure Beach in Blackpool.
Crazy Golf

Many of the attractions usually found at Blackpool and many other seaside resorts have been recreated in the Old Market Square including a Crazy Golf course.

I remember a waterway in Skegness where powered boats used to carry holidaymakers around a full scale circuit on the sea front. I think the Skegness waterway has now ceased to operate but this miniature version with individual paddle boats was finding great favour among the youngsters in Nottingham.

There was even a passing nod to donkey rides on the beach with this substitute that allowed even more youngsters to gallop around a track in front of the Council House.

And it didn't stop there. An elevated area covered with wooden planks gave a good impression of a seaside pier where the Beach Hut was doing a good trade in flame-grilled food to say nothing of the cartons of chips that were also readily available. I believe Nottingham Rock was also on sale somewhere.

From the elevated pier where there were plenty of wooden seats around circular tables, more chairs were visible in the Square. Not only the "Fabulous Flying Chairs" suspended by chains from one of those fairground rides but the blue and white folding deck chairs below.
The Beach

And most of those deck chairs were on what most people had come to sample - the beach. Three hundred tons of sand have been deposited in the Old Market Square and families staked a claim for their spot to let their children dig, make sand castles and generally have a good time.
Paddling Pool

One thing that couldn't be transferred from the coast is the sea but a large paddling pool proved a good substitute for the children to splash about in. Many of them were shivering in the cool temperature but were loathe to come out of the water as they were enjoying themselves so much. If it had been warmer I might have been tempted to go for a paddle myself! On second thoughts, maybe not. So a seaside resort has been condensed into a few square yards and our "day at the coast" was really only about an hour in Nottingham's Old Market Square.

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