Context 161 - September 2019

12 C O N T E X T 1 6 1 : S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 9 Thursday, 4 July Thursday tours Nottingham’s flood defences Jason Mordan, senior practitioner in historic buildings at Nottinghamshire County Council, guided a group along Trent River’s bank… on bicycles. Yes, because infrastructure definitely can be fun. It must have been a challenge for Mordan to be the first on the line, while narrat- ing, holding a map, and trying to keep everyone together and make his voice audible. He did a fantastic job.We all made it back safe and sound, and the tour was phenomenal. We cycled along a part of the Nottingham Left Bank Scheme which, at a cost of about £45 million and reducing flooding risk to 16,000 homes, is the largest single flood defence scheme ever undertaken by the Environment Agency. The scheme stretches over 17 miles, of which we cycled 10 miles. We hired bikes (with optional helmets) by the train station and headed towards the Memorial Gardens on Victoria embankment, with mid- 20th-century and early-21st-century monu- ments commemorating the fallen during the first world war. On the way we saw some of the historic defence works. Second stop was Canalside Heritage Centre. Located at the southern end of Nottingham’s canal, the centre was built within an 18th-cen- tury workers’ cottage area, becoming a beautiful setting for multiple communal activities. Perhaps The church of St Mary the Virgin, Attenborough, with wetlands of the River Trent in the foreground (Both photos: Seán O’Reilly) Jason Mordan with delegates at the Memorial Gardens on their cycling tour of Nottingham’s flood defences the most eye-catching part is the remaining cot- tage, which has been transformed into a coffee shop with a multi-purpose room and a small museum. The conservation works, in which Mordan took part, merge the new uses with a stripped existing fabric that reveals the build- ing’s history on every wall like an open book. Here we recharged our batteries with ice cream and drinks, while we listened to Stewart Craven, chairman of the Canalside Heritage CentreTrust, give a fully illustrated presentation on how the centre was born and how it now works, emphasising the amazing contribution of