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Welcome to the Ferry Crossing Waypoint on Wilford's Heritage Trail.

Below you will find information, audio recordings and photographs in addition to that on the physical Heritage Trail information panel. 
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The Ferry Crossing gained royal approval in the 14th century from King Edward III to facilitate a safe crossing point across the River Trent at Wilford, with tolls going to the upkeep of the older Trent Bridge further downstream. The original ferry consisted of a primitive chain stretching across the river attached to either bank carrying up to 15 passengers and traditionally operated by the landlord of the nearby inn. Due to the hazardous nature of the river and the primitive safety of the raft, multiple tragedies happened at the crossing. One tragedy took place in 1784 when 11 passengers were swept overboard. Only five were eventually rescued. Following an Act of Parliament in 1862, a temporary wooden bridge was erected. The ferry’s final crossing was in 1864.

The brick and cast iron Toll Bridge was completed in 1870 after seven years of construction overseen by Sir Robert Clifton, the last Baronet of Clifton, to help transport workers and goods to the new Clifton Colliery. Sadly, Sir Robert did not live long enough to see either the colliery go into full production or the opening of the bridge. He died of typhoid at the age of 43 on 30th May 1869. A tall statue depicting Sir Robert, unveiled when the bridge was opened to traffic on 16th June 1870, stands on the north side of the river. The new bridge was opened by Lady Clifton in 1870, shortly before the new Trent Bridge.


The bridge continue to be owned and operated by the Clifton family until 1969 when its ownership was transferred to Nottingham City Council. The central span of the bridge was found to be in poor condition by its new owners and was closed to traffic in 1974.


In 1981 the central span was replaced by a narrower foot steel and concrete bridge supporting a footpath and cycleway. A further widening and reinforcing of the central span in 2012 allowed for the new NET Tramline from Nottingham to Clifton to travel across the bridge and alongside the village. 

Sights of Interest

Points of Interest

The Ferry Inn:

The Ferry Inn began as medieval farmhouses, with a number of strong beams from a broken-up British warship. It was converted into a place of refreshment possibly known at the time as the White House, with the introduction of the ferry service in the 14th century. By 1770, the inn had become a famous establishment in Nottingham, initially due to the 18th-century fashion for coffee houses. The Carver family ran the ferry from 1777 for almost a century. The Wilford Coffee House and Tea Gardens later became known as the Punch Bowl, a name it retained until around 1860 when it was changed to the Ferry House. By now it had become one of the best-patronised ‘resorts’ in all of Nottingham. Wilford had become known for its fine cherries and an annual cherry-eating party always took place in the first week of July with excursions to Clifton Grove. Local river shrimp, gingerbread and nuts were also on the menu. During the 1940s the landlord was Albert Iremonger who was a famous goalkeeper for England. In 1982 the Inn was exorcised to rid it of poltergeists alleged to be the source of strange disturbances.

Wilford Police Station and the Iremonger Family:

Wilford Police Station was on Main Street (now Main Road) opposite the Ferry Inn pub. It is now a private house. In 1885 it was manned by Sgt. James Iremonger who was also a drill instructor for the County Police. Sgt. James was born in Botley, Hampshire and occupied the station with his wife Naomi, aged 37, and his three sons: James (Jim) was born in 1876, Albert in 1884 and Harold in 1894. James and Albert were the best-known goalkeeping brothers to come out of Nottingham and also played regularly for Nottinghamshire Cricket Club. James Iremonger played for Nottingham Forest FC over 301 times and later internationally, winning three international caps. He also played cricket for Nottinghamshire later over 330 times at Trent Bridge and away. After his retirement, he coached at Trent Bridge and was a major influence on the careers of young bowlers Harold Larwood and Bill Voce.  Albert Iremonger first played for Notts County FC with a long-time unbeaten goalkeeping playing in 222 consecutive League and Cup games and made 601 appearances overall. Notts County made him their first honorary vice president in 1952. It is also believed Iremonger was the tallest player in the league at the time, measuring 6 ft 5in. Albert also guested for Forest and played cricket for Nottinghamshire but not nearly as much as his older brother. After retirement, Albert scouted for Notts County and later became pub landlord at the Ferry Inn.  Harold Iremonger was the third sibling, also playing for Forest but for only 11 times before the Great War. He served in the Footballer's Battalion during the Great War - the 17th (Service) Battalion, Middlesex Regiment; a Pals battalion formed mostly of professional footballers enlisting together.  Albert Harvey Iremonger, known as Harvey,, born in 1916 the only child of Albert and Margaret Iremonger, was a Sergeant-Pilot in the RAF during the Second World War. He was tragically killed in a flying accident on the 14th of July 1943, aged 27, leaving a young widow Mary and is interred in the graveyard extension of St Wilfrid's Church. He died 13 years before his father.

Nottingham Moderns RFC:

The club was formed in 1956 by a group of Nottingham school leavers. After twenty years of playing on rented grounds around the city, the club finally settled on the flood plains in front of the Ferry Inn in 1975. In the same year, they became the first club from Nottinghamshire to win the Three Counties Cup (Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire & Lincolnshire). In 1979 the clubhouse was built, and subsequently extended in 1981, thanks to the leadership and support of Arthur Luff, then Club President and former international referee. However, the greatest individual achievement from one of the Moderns' players did not come on the rugby pitch. In 1975, Doug Scott, a founder member of the club, was the first Briton to reach the top of the world via the South-West face.

St Patrick's Primary School:

The school which was formerly located on London Road, in the Lower Marsh area, opened in 1875 alongside the recently erected St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church. It was closed around 1962/3 as part of a road improvement scheme. The new St Patrick’s School was built in 1963, on its new site on Coronation Avenue. The original school came equipped with an apiary in addition to adjoining rented properties for the grounds staff. The honeycomb of hexagonal units was intended to enclose the maximum space within the costly perimeter walls and produce a clustering effect.  The design won an award at the time for its ingenuity and innovation.  The trees along Coronation Avenue, opposite St Patrick's Primar School, were planted by a Mr. Webster at the time of King George the Fifth's Coronation in 1911.



Oral History

Oral History

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Without National Lottery Heritage funding, our Heritage Project would not have gone ahead – and without the players there would be no funding – so we would all like to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who supports us in this way!

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