Nottingham Arboretum Refreshment Rooms

Photo:Nottingham Arboretum Refreshment Rooms c.1852

Nottingham Arboretum Refreshment Rooms c.1852

One of the main features of the Nottingham Arboretum was the building originally designed as the park’s Refreshment Rooms. Situated on the north side of the park it had commanding views over the Arboretum.

As well as a place for visitors to enjoy afternoon tea and other refreshments, the building was a popular venue for local organisations to hold annual dinners and special events such as dances, concerts and flower shows etc. In June 1851, during discussions about the new Arboretum, the Inclosure Committee reported to Nottingham Town Council that that ‘A Refreshment Rooms (with a residence) in the Arboretum are to cost £1500’.
[See: Nottingham Borough Records ,Volume IX p.85]

In March 1852, regulations concerning the Arboretum Refreshment Rooms were published, they included that no refreshments were to be sold on Sundays, that no smoking would be allowed (This was only agreed by the Council in the face of strong opposition), and that no sprits, malt liquor or wine were to be sold.  

In May1852, William Fearn was appointed as the first person to run the Refreshment Rooms, initially being given a lease to run until 25th March 1853 at a rent of £150 per year. The following year the lease was renewed and the annual rent was reduced to £50.

In November 1853, the Inclosure Committee rejected a proposal to employ Sir Joseph Paxton to enclose the corridors (outer arcades) of the Refreshment Rooms at a cost of £2,500; instead they chose a cheaper option, at a cost estimated to be around £600.

In 1893, when the lease of the Refreshment Rooms was under review, the highest tender came from a company wishing to operate along Temperance principles. There was a heated debate in the Council about whether to choose this, the highest bid, or one from someone offering to continue providing alcoholic refreshments; in the end the Council voted (31 to 19) to retain a licensed premises.

Through the first half of the 20th Century the Arboretum Rooms continued to be a popular venue with the people of Nottingham.

In 1957, Nottingham Corporation decided to relinquish day to day control of the Arboretum Rooms and, once the building had been refurbished, a licence was granted for 14 years to a private licensee at a rent of £100 for the first year, rising to £2,000 in the eighth and subsequent years.   

From then on the building traded as a hotel and restaurant and as a pub. It had several different names: The Arboretum Rooms, The Arboretum pub (‘The pub in the Park’), the Arboretum Hotel and the Arboretum Manor. It was a popular venue for students at Trent Polytechnic (Now Nottingham Trent University).  

The building suffered several fires over the years, including 1965, when the building was severely damaged and had to be almost rebuilt. In 2006, another fire lead to the demolition of the building in December 2006.



This page was added by H W on 03/07/2012.
Comments about this page

This commercial use, and the possibility of renting or selling it, with some land, to the High School was declared illegal, as was the renting it out as a car park, because of its status as land allotted, forever, as recreation ground by the 1845 Inclosure Act, St. Mary's Parish, Nottingham.

By June Perry
On 31/01/2020

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