Thursday 2 June 2011


Welcome to Mansfield! I don't know why we're here, or when (though there is a sixties feel to things, I think you'll agree).

A trip to the Nat West first - same font and logo and everything, although what we're all looking at is the old lady in the foreground hanging a gold lame-suited Elvis pose in the middle of the road. Two of her colleagues trek back and forth across the junction a little further up like baddies in an old computer game: traffic calming measures, sixties style. To the right of the picture a woman seems to have perched her white-breeched infant on one of those trolleys that grocers use at the market. As an aside, I think this picture has the most old ladies in it than anything else ever posted here - a between channels record!

This is Mansfield Market, with the Bentinck Memorial in the background. Looks imposing, with lots of neo-Gothic fronds and frills but it looks like it's missing something. Well you'd be right to think that - as a memorial to Lord George Bentinck, fourth son of the Duke of Portland, you'd expect there to be a statue of him in the middle wouldn't you? Fortunately the burghers of Manfield saw sense and didn't stump up enough money for the statue (probably thinking, quite reasonably) that the Duke of Portland's son's estate should have possessed the means to whittle one themselves.

Anyway, he isn't there, although mum and daughter are. She gazes wistfully at the Agfhan coat and the tightly be-jeaned arse of the clothes stall proprietor. On the cusp of womanhood she is symbolically turning away from twin-set mum, as if to say 'Yes I am here, I am young and this whole status quo has to change'. Mum has seen some pegs on the next store along. Come along Cecilia, she seems to be saying, look at the pegs. There will be a swift backward glance, and then back to the Hillman Imp. What could have been, if only I were younger ...

That's what I think anyway. Best thing in this photograph? Well, it could be the lonely, kerb-poking Asian gentleman, keenly missing the country of his birth and yet determined that Mansfield, his new home, will be the making of himself and his family - a man apart, but not out of place. Or it could be the Michael Kitchen / Tom Jones crossover stood next to the old boy with the flat hat. Long leather coat, wide leg trousers and shell-toe trainers! The merry-go-round is sadly not in colour but it seems to have attracted a fair crowd of female spectators, despite being situated next to the bins.

That's enough sociological discourse in Mansfield. Time to press on with the rest of the backlog...


  1. yay, thanks for featuring Mansfield!

    I'm originaly from just next door in Sutton in Ashfield and can safely say that this photo could have been taken much later than you think, as Mansfield has never been quick on the fashion uptake...

  2. It was a left-field choice, but I'm glad it paid off! I like to think that Afghan coat is still hanging there, moth-eaten and unsold.

  3. The mum and daughter photo is me with my mum! I`d say very early 70`s. -and I`m jane-not Cecelia! And we had a Rover 2000, not a Hillman Imp-but all the other bits are accurate-it was so uncool to be shopping with mum.

  4. Hi Jane, thanks for commenting! If you'd like the photo, send me an email and I'll bob it along.

  5. Is this Sadie Osbournes Hippy chic clothes stall? Are there any more photos of this fab stall that I loved looking at as a kid in the 1960s and 70s