High Oakham

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'High Oakham' page

a history of???

By Martyn Brown

For anyone interested in the history of the High Oakham Area. In particular information on people who lived in the vicinity, local tales and any old photographs from the late 19th/early 20th centuries onwards.

This page was added on 27/01/2012.
Comments about this page

I do not know where High Oakham begins or ends, and yet as a young child, I walked every day to school and back home along Nottingham Road, or High Oakham Hill, Garth Road, the Top Field, Sheepbridge Lane, and Quarry Lane. It was a fair old walk, especially when it was raining or in the snow. Neither do I know where the name High Oakham originated. I can only think that in the days of Robin Hood when the area was central to Sherwood Forest the area was part of the higher ground above the valley of the river Maun, the hill would have been a track which lead to the river down Sheepbridge. This track would have met up with the main Coach Track that travellers would have taken to Nottingham. I can only assume that being in the forest, the oak trees from Sherwood Forest were used to build a Hamlet for a resting place for weary travellers before continuing their journey to the next stopover, which would have been the wooden oak made hut near to what was then called Fishpool. Travellers on foot would have congregated at the Hut, to travel along in groups, as this part of Sherwood Forest became notorious for hold ups and robberies. In my day, and even today, that part of the old forest, was, and still is known as " Thieves Wood ". I am still learning how to use this computer, to me it is all " Flash Gordon" stuff. Nevertheless, I managed to do a Virtual Vision tour of the High Oakham area. My how it has changed. Where there were fields, there are now houses, and where there was railway, there are now houses. Roebuck Drive was at the side of the school playing fields and had a Forest of Fir trees at the end. It is now full of houses. Past Roebuck there were all fields and farmland on the left, now there is an estate of houses, Houses have popped up everywhere. At the bottom of High Oakham hill is Bleakhills Lane, once again in my day it was known as Harvey's Lane. On the right as you turn into the lane, there was a field where a couple of horses were kept, now there are houses. A little further down the lane on your right was Bleakhills dam , It had a stone wall along the side of it,which was a couple of feet higher than the road. The road was an unmade road. On the left across from the dam was a small swampland wood, and a lovely cottage at the side. The dam always had swans that nested and reared their young, year in, year out. There were always people fishing there whatever time you passed. Further along the lane you came to a five barred gate which crossed the lane, and another old cottage /farm that was surrounded by corn fields, in front and behind. How wonderful it all was, and still, passing in front of the cottage , yet again you came to another five barred gate. the sign said, 'Please Close The Gates'. Continuing along the lane with hedgerows either side,you came to a main road, it was what we used to call the back road to Kirkby. From Sutton Road, this road took you up to Coxmoor, past the large mound that you can still see from miles around. If you crossed the back road, it lead you to the Kings Mill Reservoir, but you also had to cross the Railway crossing to get to the small Kings Mill Hamlet and pub. Alan Curtis

By Alan Curtis
On 01/02/2012

Some suggestions to discover more of the High Oakham area - MAPS to be found in Mansfield Local Studies Library, Nottingham Archives and on the internet - look at various ones to see how the area has built up. DIRECTORIES - can be descriptive of an area - to be found as above for maps. Local History BOOKS on Mansfield - try Mansfield Local Studies Library INTERNET Search the internet under various headings ie - Army Barracks near Mansfield www.rootschat.com/forum/index. CENSUS - look to see if High Oakham is on the Census

By Pauline Marples
On 01/02/2012

I'm particularly interested in any old photos that people may have of the area. I discovered a website connected with the Reed Mill Angling Club, where there are some really good photos of the 'Milk' train as my Dad used to call it passing along the line which looks to me as if it cut under Sheepbridge Lane. Sorry I'm not sure exactly, but I'm only in my 40's and don't remember it myself! However I think the 1930's houses are clearly visible along the lane in the background. My father lived on Hillsway Crescent during the 40's I think, and he mentioned the track running somewhere close to his house. Anyway any old photos of High Oakham Road, Alexander, Waverley, King Edward, Hillsway etc. would be great to see!

By Martyn Brown
On 03/02/2012

You are right Martyn, the railway lines did run under Sheepbridge Lane. After passing through the area we know as Bleakhills, the line split the two dams known as Bleakhills Dam and Reed Mill Dam, continuing under the bridge which passed under Sheepbridge Lane. When the line closed, the first house to be built was right on the land that the rail lines were laid, this being on the Garth Road side of Sheepbridge Lane. I guess that the under tunnel has now been filled and become an embankment for Sheepbridge Lane. Interesting to hear you say Reed Mill Dam, don't hear it called that these days, I did used to go fishing in both dams, Bleakhills and Reed Mill. Of course further up the river Maun, there were the two Hermitage Dams , the first had an island in the middle, the second was an overflow for the first, and had itself overflow gates into the river Maun. The river Maun continued it's way through the Crawler and Robin Hood, and meandered it's way down to Field Mill Dam and Titchfield Park. We always called Titchfield Park the Meadows. Hope this helps. Alan Curtis

By Alan Curtis
On 08/02/2012

Thanks to all the contributors so far, very interesting reading. By the way, I mentioned the 'milk' train in an earlier post. My dad corrected me and said it was actually the 'fish' train! I was also trying to find information on the 1911 census about my house, and noticed that Oakham was spelled Oakum. Does anyone know if this was the case, or whether or not it was actually a mistake?

By Martyn Brown
On 18/02/2012

Please note the comments previously on this page about High Oakham School can now be found on the page 'High Oakham School - Memories'

By Editors
On 02/03/2012

I do remember Mr Bool delivering milk to us every day on Hillsway Crescent, he came with horse and cart and large Churn. We had to leave a jug out for it if not at home and how much to leave, also remember his homemade ice cream, he lived at the bottom of Hillsway.

By Deryck Brown
On 17/09/2013

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