The month of May is promising to be a month full of exciting historic events. Take a list at our list below:

Thursday 2nd May: Opening on Thursday 2nd May, an exhibition on ‘Counter Culture’ showcasing how shopping has evolved since 1849 when John Boot opened his Boots store in Goose Gate, Nottingham. The exhibition uses historic artefacts, architecture, and images to explore the changes to the experiences of the high street. As well as the exhibition, which you can see free of charge at the Djanogly Gallery, there are also a number of gallery tours and special related talks, such as ‘The Story of Boots' 17: Selling Cosmetics to the Post-War Teenager’ on Thursday 9th May. Check out the exhibition and the organised talks here.

Saturday 4th May:  An extended version of Palace Theatre’s ‘Besieged (but never beaten) Tour’ will be taking place in Newark. The tour takes a deep dive in the British Civil War and will take you around some of the 17th century sites, including Newark Castle, while discussing the experiences of the war. The tour runs for 2 ½ hours and includes approximately 3 miles of walking. Tickets cost £10 per person. Book your place here.

Saturday 4th- Monday 6th May: A vintage fun fair will be open at Rufford Abbey between Saturday 4th and Monday 6th May. Enjoy traditional rides from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s over the extended bank holiday weekend. Visit the fair information here.

Thursday 9th May: Take a tour around the Nottinghamshire Archives in which you will get the opportunity to view special and unique items from their collections. As part of the tour, you will also get to visit the Conservation Studio and learn about the techniques used to treat and preserve artefacts of different materials. Tickets cost £3 per person. Book your tickets here.

Saturday 11th - Sunday 12th May: To celebrate National Mills Weekend, head over to Green’s Mill and Science Centre to climb the 19th century windmill and learn 200-year-old methods of turning grain into flour. Entry is free. For more event information visit here.

Wednesday 15th May: At Worksop Library, local historian Adrian Gray will be presenting an in depth look at some of the women of Nottinghamshire who have had a significant impact in challenging the man’s world that they were forced to live in. Tickets cost £3 per person. Book your place here.

Thursday 16th May: Join staff at Nottinghamshire Archives to discover the history of mental health care in Nottinghamshire, from the records of the people who experienced it first-hand. Learn about the reasons for admittance as well as how caring for those suffering from mental health has evolved from asylum to hospitals. Tickets cost £5 per person. Book your place here.

Thursday 16th May: Take a fascinating gallery tour of the ‘Dear Sisters’ exhibition with the Nottinghamshire Feminist Archive Group at the Weston Gallery to learn the about the stories of the items on display. The tour is free, but booking is required. Book your place here.

Friday 18th May: Mansfield Central Library will be hosting an amazing Hands on Heritage Day. Visit local and family history stalls, browse the books for sale, explore pop-up museums, and view old Nottinghamshire photographs, maps and more. You can also get hands-on with fun crafts and activities for all the family including a virtual reality coal mine, traditional circus skills, toys from the past, and amazing archaeology. No booking necessary! For the full event information, visit the event page here.

Friday 18th May – Saturday 19th May: Be taken back to World War 2 at Thoresby Park the weekend of the 18th-19th May. You will get the opportunity to experience life in military camps, see how life on the Homefront was and vehicles that would have graced our roads. You can also buy yourself a treat at the Vintage Village or listen to live 40’s music. Entry is free. Weekend camping is available, book your camping place here.

Tuesday 21st May: Join photographer Neil Pledger for a hands-on workshop on heritage photography. You will learn techniques, specifically tailored to architectural and heritage photography, and head into Mansfield Town Centre to practice what you’ve learnt. This workshop is for ages 16+ and tickets cost £5 per person. You must also bring your own camera or phone. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear for the outdoor part of the workshop, taking weather conditions into account. Book your place here.

Thursday 23rd May: Author, and British Museum exhibition curator, Richard Abdy will be hosting a ‘Legion: Life in the Roman Army’ talk to accompany the current exhibition at the British Museum and the recent book of the same title. Hear about stories of everyday aspects of the army in the heyday of the Roman Empire – from life in a tent to the food soldiers consumed – and explains its hierarchy, roles, equipment and place in a vast multi-ethnic society divided between citizens and subjects. Tickets cost £3 per person (free concessions) and takes place at the Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside Arts. Book your place here.

Friday 24th May: At the University of Nottingham Museum, explore fascinating finds from Nottingham’s caves that show everyday people at work and at leisure with exhibition curator Dr Chris King. This event will allow you to get up-close and personal with some finds from the cave and you will also get the opportunity to handle some of them. There will be two identical talks on 24th May and tickets cost £3 per person (free concessions). Book your place here.

Saturday 25th May: Fancy completing a heritage-based escape room? Nottinghamshire Archives will be hosting an exciting opportunity to explore the heritage of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire by solving puzzles and gathering clues around Nottinghamshire Archives. There will be a time limit to complete the challenge that will test your deductive skills, powers of reasoning and teamwork. Tickets cost £5 per person. There will be four timed events on 25th May. Book your place here, just click on your time-preferred ‘Archives Escaped!’ to book.

Tuesday 28th May: At West Bridgford Library, the ‘Footpads, Kings and Highwaymen’ talk given by Ian Morgan will explore the old Great North Road through Nottinghamshire, which saw scenes of horrific battles, was the haunts of highwaymen, and the sites of murder. Tickets cost £3. Book your place here.

Photograph of Newark Castle

Above: Newark Castle

Come join us at Sherwood Pines for a day of learning about the history and archaeology of Sherwood Pines. Archaeologists, historians, researchers, and palaeoenvironmentalists will be there to show what has been found in Sherwood Pines, how the environment has changed throughout history, and how learning about archaeology and history can help promote community and wellbeing.

Date: Sunday April 28th

When: 10am-3pm

Where: Events room at the Sherwood Pines Visitor Centre

There will be a guided archaeology tour of the WWI training trenches that were excavated during our 2023 fieldwork from 1pm-3pm, leaving from the Sherwood Pines visitor centre. The walk will be approximately 4km long and go over rough terrain so please dress accordingly. Spaces are limited so please email our HER Officer Tori at to secure your spot or find out more.

Photograph of an excavation at Sherwood Pines

If you can't make it on Sunday, you can still explore Sherwood Pines' WWI history on the HER. Click here to read more about Clipstone Camp, and here about the trench system. The LiDAR layer on the mapping portal helps shed light on the hidden features within the forest, just click on 'Base Layers' on the maps on the Clipstone Camp and trench system pages. 

You can also read about the project here.

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There are a large amount of exciting historical events happening in the month of April. Why not check them out below?

Until 14th April: A vintage fun fair is currently being held at Wollaton Hall until 14th April. Listen to music from the 50’s and 60’s while riding traditional rides. Check out the event information here.

9th-20 April: Join our amazing Buildings Officer Janine Buckley at Rufford Abbey for the Horse Detective Tours. This up-close look Rufford’s stables in the 17th century will teach you how horses saved the estate from ruin and became famous acting on the Broadway stage as well as engaging in detective work to uncover the lives of famous 19th century racehorses. Tours will be taking place on 9th, 11th, 18th, 19th and 20th; 11am and 2pm each day. Book your free place here.

Saturday 13th April: Drop by the Lakeside Arts for a free workshop where you can make your own stained-glass window, inspired by medieval designs. Check out the event information here.

Monday 15th April: The National Holocaust Centre and Museum will be presenting a talk remembering the 79th Anniversary of the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen by British Troops. Here you will get the chance to learn about a number of artefacts and survivor experiences. Talks will be hosted at 11am and 1pm. Book your place here.

Wednesday 17th April: Head down to Worksop Library at 2pm on Wednesday 17th April to learn about the Dukeries in Bassetlaw. Hear how they came into being, how they were affected by the dissolution and the civil war, plus many other interesting facts. Tickets cost £3. Book your place here.

Photograph of Thoresby Hall

Above: Thoresby Hall. By Philip Wallbank, CC BY-SA 2.0

Tuesday 23rd April: Ever wondered how people were punished in the olden days? Mansfield Central Library is hosting a talk about how society chose to punish their wrong doers, including witches and perjurers. The talk will also tell stories of punishing the dead, a horse and cart, and even a train! Tickets are £3 and will take place at 2pm. Book your place here.

Saturday 27th April: For St George’s day, head to Sherwood Forest for a special Knight School. Enjoy a knightly obstacle course, combat training, blunt archery, among many other activities. Plus, Outlaws will be demonstrating combat techniques and tactics. Book your free place here.

Saturday 27th April: Thoresby Park will be hosting a Militaria valuation day with a Bamford Militaria valuer. The event will be open between 10:30am-3:30pm. No need for booking, just head down! Check out the event information here.

Tuesday 30th April: Local historian Robert Mee will be hosting a talk focusing on the trends of early advertising in 18th and 19th century newspapers at the West Bridgford Library. The talk will be begin at 2pm and tickets cost £3. Book your place here.

Tuesday 30th April: On the 200th anniversary of Lord Byron’s death, join the staff of the Nottingham Archives for a talk exploring the history of Newstead beyond the Byron family. The event starts at 2:15pm and tickets cost £5. Book your place here.

Did you know it was only 30 years ago that the last pit pony finished working in British mines? Their service was over in Nottinghamshire’s pits by the 1970s, but prior to mechanical removal of coal, pit ponies were used in large numbers. By 1913, 70,000 pit ponies and colliery horses were at work in Britain’s mines. This book traces the lives of the pit ponies from the collieries around Sherwood Forest through exploration of their underground stables. Miner2Major, a landscape partnership scheme aimed, with support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to explore and celebrate the built heritage of the Sherwood Forest area including these fascinating stables.

This new publication examines the colliery stables around Sherwood Forest through the twentieth century. Based on archival research, photographic evidence and oral histories, this book examines the stables built to accommodate the huge equine workforce that were hidden underground.

Book Cover of Colliery Stables and the Nottinghamshire Pit Pony

Loan copies are available in all Nottinghamshire libraries. Printed copies will be available free of charge from larger Nottinghamshire libraries while stocks last (at Hucknall, Mansfield, Mansfield Woodhouse, Ollerton, Southwell, West Bridgford and Worksop). Also available at Five Leaves bookshop in Nottingham and ‘The Bookcase’ in Lowdham, Bilsthorpe and Kirkby Heritage Centres. It is also available to download as an e-book here.

Colliery Village Records on the Historic Environment Record (HER):










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Some of our wonderful heritage sites across the county will be hosting special trails and events this coming Easter, so why not check them out below?

Photograph of the Major Oak, Sherwood Forest

Above: The Major Oak at Sherwood Forest. Image by Nilfanion - Wikimedia UK, CC BY-SA 4.0

A 'Small Animals of the Ice Age Easter' trail is currently open at the amazing Creswell Crags. Ten small animals from the Ice Age are hidden around the ancient crags holding secret letters. Use those words to reveal the secret word and you’ll receive a chocolate egg at the end. This event is running until Friday 12th April. Find out more about the trail here.

At Rufford Abbey, the popular 'BIG Easter Egg Hunt' returns this Easter school holidays (Saturday 23rd March – Sunday 14th April) with another charming trail. Find the hidden eggs and win a special prize! Visit the trail information here.

Sherwood Forest will be hosting a lovely fairy-tale themed trail which will lead you to a series of magical locations, across the forest, linked to mystical creatures. This event will run throughout the Easter school holidays (Saturday 30th March to Sunday 14th April). Find out more about the fairy-tale trail here.

Throughout the Easter school holidays (Saturday 30th March to Saturday 13th April), the National Civil War Centre in Newark is putting on some wonderful Easter activities, including a themed trail. These activities will be free for residents of Newark and Sherwood. Visit the event page here.

If you’re looking for something a little different this Easter weekend, Papplewick Pumping Station is hosting a delightful Spring Fair and Model Submarines steam event on Sunday 31st March and Monday 1st April. Book your tickets here or you can buy tickets at the museum on the day.