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Coordinates: 52°55′08″N 1°13′41″W / 52.91891°N 1.22807°W / 52.91891; -1.22807

Beeston Town Hall
Beeston is located in Nottinghamshire

 Beeston shown within Nottinghamshire
Population 21,000 (2001 census)
OS grid reference SK5236
District Broxtowe
Shire county Nottinghamshire
Region East Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district NG9
Dialling code 0115
Police Nottinghamshire
Fire Nottinghamshire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK Parliament Broxtowe
List of places: UK • England • Nottinghamshire

Beeston is a town in Nottinghamshire, England. It is 3 miles (4.8 km) southwest of Nottingham City Centre.

Although typically regarded as a suburb of the City of Nottingham, and officially designated as part of the Nottingham Urban Area, for local government purposes it is in the Borough of Broxtowe. From 1935 until 1974 Beeston was paired with the town of Stapleford (2 km to the West) in Beeston and Stapleford Urban District. Beeston is in the Broxtowe constituency for UK general elections.



Suburban development of the mid-twentieth century means that the built up area of Beeston is now continuous with the former villages of Chilwell to the west and Wollaton to the northeast, although Beeston is still separated from Bramcote to the northwest by the Beeston Fields Golf Course. There are two main areas of the town. North of the railway that runs through the town lies the main part, including the main shopping district. Southwards lies the mixed housing and industrial area of Beeston Rylands. Beeston Rylands was historically more at risk of flooding from the River Trent to the south, and this has meant that property here was less desirable, and led to more modestly sized houses being constructed, originally mostly for rental. The last serious flood was in 1947 and reached far beyond the railway line, most of Queens Road was flooded as was Nether Street. The construction of strengthened flood protection[1] has reduced the flooding threat to Beeston Rylands to a one every fifty year possibility. A £51 million extension to this system designed to reduce incidents to once every hundred years is proposed,[2] but there has been opposition in Attenborough. Property in the Beeston Rylands remains cheaper than comparable houses in Beeston proper.

The eastern edge of Beeston abuts to the main campus of the University of Nottingham. Although most of the University is within the City of Nottingham boundaries, the student self catering flats of Broadgate Park, owned by private company UPP, are partly within the borders of Beeston. Beeston also has a large population of postgraduate students, who tend to prefer its quieter atmosphere to that of the Nottingham areas of Dunkirk and Lenton where many undergraduates live.

North: Wollaton, Bramcote
West: Long Eaton, Stapleford, Derby Beeston East: Nottingham, University of Nottingham, Lenton
South: River Trent, Clifton, Attenborough

Origins of the name Beeston

The earliest recorded name given to the area was Bestune. This is now generally thought to be derived from "bes" = rye grass and "tune" a farmstead settlement. The description of local pasture is still preserved in the name of Beeston Rylands. However there are alternative derivations from "Bedestun" = the farm of Bede or (even less probably) from Saint Bees.

The Beekeeper on Beeston High Road

In the late nineteenth century, a genteel convention was contrived that the town's name derived from bee. This would have also been consistent with the notion of Beeston as a "hive of industry". The bee was adopted as the emblem of the town council. Beehives appear carved in the brick of the town hall exterior, and in 1959 three bees were included in the coat of arms adopted by Beeston and Stapleford Urban District Council.[3] However, as this derivation was known to be dubious, the College of Arms subtly included some long grasses entwined with meadow crocuses in the arms as an alternative visual pun on the more likely origins of the name. The tradition of the bee as symbol continues - the litter bins and other street furniture in the High Road are decorated in black and gold, with a symbol of a bee on each.

There is also a sculpture on the High Road of a man sitting next to a bee hive. Again, this is another reference to the "Bee". The sculpture is popularly known as the "Bee-man", "the man of Beeston", "The Beekeeper" or "Bee King".



In Bestune, at the Conquest, Alfag, Alwine, and UIchel, the Saxons had three manors consisting of three carucates of land assessed, which was taken from them, and given to William Peverel, the lord of Nottingham Castle, who had in his demesne, or chief manor estate, 2 plough teams, there being 17 bond tenants, called villeins, who where unable to leave the estate without the lord's consent, and yet each cultivating, say, 15 acres (61,000 m2) of arable land, and 1 ordinary tenant, called a sochman, who together had 9 plough teams. There were 24 acres (97,000 m2) of meadow, and the annual value of the estate was 30/–.

More recent history

A Beeston Boiler still in use in South Africa

Beeston grew from its village status with its development as a silk weaving centre in the early nineteenth century. The first silk mill was burned down (along with Nottingham Castle) in the Reform Bill riots of 1831. With the decline of the silk industry, many of the former mills moved to light industrial uses in the early twentieth century. Equipment produced by the Beeston Boiler Company is still to be found all around the former British Empire.

Population of Beeston

In 1901 the National Telephone Co., Ltd. established a factory there for making telephone material. This was taken over by the British L.M. Ericsson Manufacturing Co., Ltd., in 1903. Shortly before the transfer, most of the old factory was destroyed by fire, and in the rebuilding it was extended. A new power station was built. In 1906 and 1907 a large new building was erected, chiefly devoted to cabinet work. The old factory building covered an area of 63,000 sq ft (5,900 m2)., and the cabinet factory 70,000 sq ft (6,500 m2)., whilst the power station had an area of 7,000 sq ft (650 m2)., making a total covered space of 140,000 sq ft (13,000 m2). Although most of the factory buildings were low rise, a Paternoster lift still survives in E block at the site.

Under the Plessey name these large premises continued to be a major source of local employment through the 1980s. Plessey became GPT with GEC's involvement. With the various restructurings of the GEC group and its rebranding as Marconi, a large part of the site was sold to Siemens along with the private telephone networks side of the business. GPT sublet a substantial part of the site as a "technology park" when they moved most manufacturing overseas. History has now come full circle as the remainder of the site, used for the public telephone networks side of the businesses, is now occupied by the Swedish Ericsson company, following their take-over of Marconi in early 2006.

The whole site was acquired by HSBC in 2006 for a mixed-use "employment-led" redevelopment, although it is not clear which tenant companies will remain.

The pharmaceutical and retail chemist group Boots has its headquarters on a campus 1 km southeast of Beeston. This site is partly within the boundaries of the City of Nottingham. The grade 1 listed modernist buildings on Boots campus - designed by engineer Owen Williams - are very difficult to see from any public highway.

Between 1880 and the turn of the century, Thomas Humber and his partners were making bicycles and eventually motor-cycles and cars at a large factory at the junction of what is now Queens Road and Humber Road. At its height it employed 2000 although this came to an abrupt end in 1907 when the company moved all operations to Coventry.

Motor manufacture returned to Beeston for a short period in 1987 when The Middlebridge Company set up a small factory on Lilac Grove and produced 77 Scimitar cars. The company went into liquidation in 1990.

Beeston Maltings

Beeston Maltings was in operation until the late 20th century. The buildings are on Dovecote Lane opposite the Victoria Hotel, but as of 2007 are scheduled for demolition to make way for housing.

Other wide-reaching local companies include metalworking lathe manufacturer Myford and the internet firm Webfusion (later Hosteurope and then part of PIPEX Communications).

The Royal Mail's main sorting office for the Nottingham area (postal code NG) is sited on the eastern edge of the town at Padge Road. This main building includes an area (Delivery Office) for handling the local distribution of Beeston mail.



The Nottingham and Derby Road was turnpiked in 1758–1759, and dis-turnpiked in 1870. A branch of the Nottingham and Ashby Turnpike Road, usually called the Sawley branch, went through Beeston. In 1831 an advertisement of the four-horse coach from Nottingham to Birmingham states that the coach calls at Beeston daily at 8.30 a.m., and in the opposite direction at 3.30 p.m.

Today Beeston is close to the A52 road and Junction 25 of the M1 motorway.


The Nottingham Canal from Trent Bridge to Langley Mill, via Nottingham and Lenton had been authorised in 1790 and was completed by 1802. This meant that valuable goods traffic from the Erewash valley could bypass the River Erewash and River Trent. In response, the Beeston Canal was promoted by the Trent Navigation Company under an Act passed in 1794. This was a branch canal from Beeston Cut to Lenton chain where it met the Nottingham Canal. This involved the necessity for the weir at Beeston Rylands to maintain the water level to supply the canal through to Trent Bridge. Originally there was a second lock at Beeston Cut to allow small vessels to enter the Trent below the weir, but this was abandoned c.1940.


Beeston Station in 2004

The Midland Counties Railway from Nottingham to Derby through Beeston was opened on 30 May 1839. This later became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway company and then London Midland Region (British Railways).

Today Beeston has good rail transport links with Beeston station served by East Midlands Trains and Arriva Cross Country.


Frequent bus services operate to Nottingham, East Midlands Airport, Derby, Loughborough and other local towns, operated by Trent Barton and Nottingham City Transport; ample free car parking is available.

Nottingham City Transport

  • 13: Nottingham > Castle Boulevard > University Campus > Beeston.
  • 14: Nottingham > Castle Boulevard > University Boulevard > Beeston > Chilwell.
  • 36: Nottingham > QMC > Beeston > Chilwell.
  • N36: Nottingham > QMC > Beeston > Chilwell.
  • L10: Nottingham > Wollaton > Beeston.
  • L11: Arnold > Top Valley > Bulwell > Basford > Bilborough > Wollaton > Beeston.

Trent Barton

  • Indigo: Nottingham > QMC > University Boulevard > Beeston > Chilwell > Long Eaton > Derby > Sawley > Loughborough.
  • 18: Nottingham > QMC > University Boulevard > Boots > Beeston > Stapleford.
  • 20: Nottingham > QMC > University Boulevard > Boots > Beeston > Ilkeston > Heanor.

Premiere Travel

  • 17: Nottingham > QMC > Beeston > Toton > Stapleford.
  • 63: Beeston > QMC > Clifton > East Leake > Keyworth.


  • 229: Eastwood > Beeston.

Light rail

Proposals have been approved by the Government to build a light rail (tram) line through the town as part of an extension to the Nottingham Express Transit system. A motivation is the traffic jams on local roads during rush hour periods. There has been some opposition to the scheme by local traders and those along the proposed route, who have stated that they fear that during the construction work, business would likely be adversely affected and that the scheme is being imposed without concern for locals.[4] However, a survey in 2004 by Nottingham Express Transit showed strong local support for the scheme.[5]

Built environment

Fine Victorian villas on Dovecote Lane

Beeston has a number of historic buildings, including its manor house and parish church of St. John the Baptist. The church dates from the 11th century but was largely rebuilt in 1843 by Sir George Gilbert Scott. Both are included in a conservation area which extends to include some characterful older houses in West End.

Information on Beeston Parish Church on the Southwell Diocesan History Project website

An act was passed for enclosing lands in the parish of Beeston, and in 1809 the Commissioners stated that the lands amounted to 822 acres (3.33 km2), to be made tithe free, and the ancient enclosed lands and homesteads liable to tithe was £687 2s 29d. They then proceeded to fix the width of the roads. The Nottingham and Derby turnpike road was fixed at fifty feet. Wollaton road, then called Cowgate, was thirty feet. The Inclosure not only altered the appearance of part of the parish from a moor growing poor grass, to cultivated fields with hedges, and thereby increasing the food supply, but it relieved farmers from the annoyance of having to hand over the tenth of their product in kind.

Some lands on or near Bramcote Moor, but in Beeston parish, were enclosed in 1847, by provisional order of the Inclosure Commissioners.

Before the introduction of gas generally in the parish there was a limited supply from the Mill to separate houses. The Church was first lit with gas in 1857. The Public Lighting Act was adopted at a Vestry Meeting on 13 November 1862. The opposition to lamps in the streets was strong, and the effigy of an active promoter of it was carried on an ass round the village and hung on a lamp-post, and but for police interference would have been burned. In 1861 gas was supplied from Nottingham, and for street lamps in 1872. Beeston was connected to the mains water supply in 1876.

Anglo-Scotian Mills on Wollaton Road

The crenellated listed building of the Anglo-Scotian Mills remains on Wollaton Road to the north of the town centre. It is a solitary reminder of the former dominance of silk and lace mills on the local skyline. The buildings have been converted into a series of apartments that are currently for sale by their developer.

A cottage on the north side of Anglo-Scotian Mills was reputed to have the tallest domestic chimney in England. Its length was necessary to reach over the roof of the Mill. Although the cottage has been demolished for several years, the chimney can still be seen attached to the wall of the Mill.

A rare survival is the G H Hurt & Son Shawl Factory, which is occasionally open to the public. Shawls are produced on knitting machines and hand finished in much the same way as they have been for centuries. The factory contains examples of knitting frames from the 17th century.

Lost industrial buildings include the rebuilt silk mill and the looming bulk of the Neville Works mill on the boundary with Chilwell (later occupied by the Myford lathe factory).

The Land Societies

See a Google Map of the Estates

St. John's Grove Estate

Following the enclosure of the land surrounding Beeston in 1809 the area of St. John's Grove was allotted to the vicar of the parish church. In 1878 the land was acquired from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners by the Beeston Land Society, a group of citizens, who divided the land out into 28 plots of between three-quarters and 1-acre (4,000 m2) and set out the wide straight streets. The majority of the houses are of Edwardian and late Victorian origin. The Land Society set conditions for the developers including no public houses, and strict building lines which ensured that properties were set back a consistent distance from the road. The St. John's Grove Estate is now a conservation area.[6]

Imperial Park Estate

Shortly after 1878, the Imperial Park Land Society and it sister organisation Beeston Building Society were founded. Together, they aimed to assist the development and financing of superior housing, centred on what is now Imperial Road, north of Newton Street, adjacent to the St John's Grove development and bounded on the north by North Street. The early model was saving by a group of subscribers and the allocation of funds as they accumulated by the drawing of lots, in turn for each of them to build a house.

Bellevue Park Estate

This initial success was repeated when, in 1881, a syndicate acquired land from George Fellows, of the banking family that had its home at Belle Vue, now Beeston Fields Golf Club. The Belle Vue Land Society was formed to develop this land using similar methods to Imperial Park. The development lay to the north and formed a continuation to Imperial Park. Denison Street formed its northern extreme and Montague Street defined its eastern limit.

Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove, which historically was just outside Beeston parish and part of Chilwell, was originally promoted by the Labourers' Friend Society in the 1840s as plots for cottages with allotments for the labouring poor. This scheme failed and the area now consists mostly of Victorian and Edwardian houses laid out along the parallel Park Road and Grove Avenue and the two short cross streets Cedar Road and North Drive. The area retains a leafy character and the roads remain unkerbed, and has been a conservation area since 2008.[7]

The Estates today

Some areas originally developed by the Land Societies have been spoiled where original plots have been subdivided and more modern properties built in styles not in keeping with some of the original buildings. Many of the properties in the Imperial Park and Bellvue Estates have lost their original elegance with the lowering of chimney stacks, inappropriate replacement of windows and doors with modern PVCu, the loss of hedged fronts to brick walls or fencing, and paving over front gardens for parking.

Other development

Methodist Church on Chilwell Road
Baptist Church on Dovecote Lane, formerly known as John Clifford Baptist Church

A particularly fine Methodist Church was constructed by the architect W.J. Morley of Bradford on Chilwell Road in 1902. Its landmark spire is now visible for miles around since the demolition of several large mill buildings in the 1990s. The front of the building is floodlit at night, contributing to local light pollution.

Rylands was originally a small settlement around Beeston Lock, comprising some tens of houses and two pubs, although the name now refers to all of the area south of the railway line. The Jolly Angler was originally on the river side of the canal, but has since moved. Beeston began to spread south of the railway line in the late 19th century when a few Victorian villas were built near the level crossing by the station. Over the first few decades of the 20th century, several estates were built to house the workers at Ericssons and Boots, both of which had large factory sites also south of the railway line, and these estates joined Beeston and Rylands. Further post-WWII development filled in the gaps, initially with an estate of council houses and flats, and latterly with private houses and bungalows. The last significant development was in 1970 of Meadow Farm, now the four roads of timber-framed semi-detached houses between Beech Avenue and the canal. Since then Beeston Rylands has had only a small amount of infill development.

Hydro electric plant

During 1999, Hyder Industrial Ltd. built the UK’s largest "run-of river" hydro-electric plant at Beeston Rylands Weir. The plant was commissioned on 4 January 2000 and later sold on to United Utilities[8] in 2001. The plant has a design life of twenty years. At the maximum consented flow rate, 60 m3/s of water passes through the pair of turbines. Upstream of the weir and during the salmon migratory period, the plant utilises a bio-acoustic fish-fence—a bubble curtain in which the bubbles contain a sound that the fish do not like.[9] This fish fence steers migrating fish away from the fast-flowing turbine intakes and into the fish ladder, by which the fish can safely negotiate the weir. The power generated supplies enough electricity (1.5 MW[10]–1.66 MW[11]) for two thousand homes, a total of 5.26 GWh annually.

Shopping, restaurants, pubs and cafés

Beeston's main shopping area is situated along the High Road, much of which has been pedestrianised. There are some chain stores in Beeston, but the town is best-known for its selection of high-quality independent stores including specialist east Asian and Mediterranean food shops.

There are also large numbers of takeaways and several restaurants, offering a wide selection of food including Chinese, Thai, and Indian cuisine. Many cafés are to be found around the main shopping centre,

Beeston Square

"The Square"—the centre of Beeston—is a 1960s shopping development, most of which is pedestrianised. A £1.4-million environmental improvement scheme covered pavements and lighting for the non-pedestrianised eastern end of the High Street. Further east Broadgate saw improvements, with a new space at the top entrance to Broadgate Recreation Ground. The works were completed in late 2006.

The shopping centre is cut in two by Wollaton Road which has a very high volume of traffic. The lighting installed at the time of a 1980s refurbishment of the square contributes to local light pollution. A large area south east of the shopping centre has been cleared in preparation for a Tesco superstore, to rival the well established Sainsburys store and the recently built Lidl store on the former willoughby Group dealership site at the enterance to the town. Beeston Fire Station on an adjacent plot has been closed and relocated to a new site on Hassocks Lane.


The Victoria Hotel

Beeston has one of the highest concentrations of pubs-per-person in the United Kingdom,[12] and is known for the variety of its traditional public houses.

The Victoria Hotel, a Victorian railway hotel and pub adjacent to the railway station,[13] has received several local awards, including Nottinghamshire Dining Pub Of The Year – Good Pub Guide 2002, and runner-up for The Times – Pub Of The Year, 2000.[14]

One of the smallest bars in Beeston is the Barrel Wine Bar, which is notable for its friendly atmosphere and strong community feel. It is typical for locals to sit outside this establishment watching the world go by. There is a Wetherspoon's chain pub called The Last Post, situated in the building of the old Royal Mail sorting office.


Beeston is home to England Hockey Premier League team Beeston Hockey Club who play at Highfields Sports Club on University Boulevard.

Until 2006, Beeston was home to Nottingham Rugby Club, which has now sold the land next to the railway line and moved to share the Meadow Lane pitch at the Notts County ground. Nottingham Casuals Rugby Club still play on the rugby pitches at Weirfields near the canal.

Notable people from Beeston


  1. ^ Environment Agency Press Release
  2. ^
  3. ^ Civic Heraldry of England - arms of former Beeston and Stapleford UDC
  4. ^
  5. ^ Haran, Brady (2004-08-17). "Living with your house on the line". BBC News Online. Retrieved 2008-08-07. "The people behind Nottingham's tram system, known as NET, do not share this view. The development manager for phase two of NET, Chris Deas, says the planned routes were carefully selected with help from the public. He says: "We involve the public at every stage and as such have conducted an unprecedented amount of public consultation." Many factors were used to choose the tram routes, including integration with other transport, environmental impact, operational capability and cost benefit."  
  6. ^ St John's Conservation Area description - Broxtowe Borough Council
  7. ^ Cottage Grove Conservation Area description - Broxtowe Borough Council
  8. ^ "Corporate Responsibility Report 04: Energy and climate change". British Land, United Utilities. 2004. Retrieved 2008-08-07. "We have 11 hydro schemes across the UK including Nottinghamshire where we operate the UK’s largest ‘run-of river’ hydro-electric plant on the River Trent at Beeston."  
  9. ^ Bacon, Ian; Davison, Ian (2004-04). "Low Head Hydro Power in the South-East of England – A Review of the Resource and Associated Technical, Environmental and Socio-Economic Issues" (pdf). p. 101–103. Retrieved 2008-08-07. "An 80m long Bio-Acoustic Fish Fence (BAFF) is installed under the boom to guide juvenile fish towards the fish ladder. The BAFF produces a continuous stream of bubbles into which low frequency sound is inserted creating a localised sound curtain operating between 50 and 500Hz. This was the first time a BAFF had been approved by the EA and installed in the UK. The BAFF is only required to be switched on in spring and early summer. Downstream there is an electrical screen installed inside the exit of each draft tube, designed to repel upstream migrating fish from approaching the turbines and guide them towards the fishpass."  
  10. ^ "Viewports on Sustainable Energy in the East Midlands: Appendices" (pdf). East Midlands Regional Assembly. 2003-09-30. p. 49, 79. Retrieved 2008-08-07. "O10 Notts. SK 535 353, Beeston Lock, [River] Trent 1200 [kW] 5.26 [GWh/y] NFFO3; may increase to 1500 kW"  
  11. ^ Mott MacDonald (2003-11). "Renewables Network, Impact Study, Annex 1: Capacity Mapping & Market Scenarios for 2010 and 2020". The Carbon Trust & Department of Trade and Industry. Retrieved 2008-08-07. "Rung One Hydro Projects, Operational [..] Beeston Weir Hydro Scheme, 1.66 [MW], Nottinghamshire, England"  
  12. ^ Tetlow, Daniel (2008-04-28). "Which town has the most pubs for its size?". BBC News Online Magazine/BBC Radio 4 More or Less (radio programme). "Also keen to claim the title are Otley, in West Yorkshire, with 21 pubs for 15,000 people, equalling 714 people per pub; Beeston in Nottinghamshire with 18 pubs for its population of 21,000; and Brighton and Hove, with 278 pubs for 250,000 residents."  
  13. ^ "The Victoria Hotel". Retrieved 2009-08-29.  
  14. ^ "The Victoria Hotel". Retrieved 2009-08-29.  
  15. ^ "Soul legend Edwin Starr dies". BBC News Online. 2003-04-03. Retrieved 2008-08-07. "Starr, who was one of the first artists to be signed to the Motown record label, died at his home near Nottingham, his manager Lilian Kyle said. He had lived for many years in the UK."  

External links

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