Changes at Bolsover

History is never ending. What is today will soon become yesterday. In this rather picture heavy blog we look at what can only be called drastic changes in just one part of Bolsover town centre – at Sherwood Lodge and its grounds, once Bolsover District Council’s grand, but in parts short-lived, Civic Centre. It’s now the site of Morrison’s supermarket and homeware shop.

1) The much loved and much extended Sherwood Lodge – once the home of Bolsover District Council but now demolished and occupied by Morrison’s supermarket and other shops. The original building is to the left.

When we published our big red book’ on ‘Bolsover and adjoining parishes’ in 2013, we wrote that the former district council offices, based at Sherwood Lodge, just off the town centre, had been vacated a year after the council announced its intention to move in 2011. The scheme developed by the council would see its headquarters move to Clowne, with the former Civic Centre building demolished and replaced by a supermarket.

4)Turning further to the right from our previous March 2022 view, Morrison’s new supermarket building has been built on the site of the far right building on our photograph 2.

The district council did, indeed, move and sold its former building, but not without much controversy. Some locals didn’t want to loose the original Victorian Sherwood Lodge buildings and the grounds, for example.

To make matters worse the supermarket scheme hit problems and the old Sherwood Lodge and its more modern extensions, the largest of which only dated from 1994, became increasingly derelict.

The 1994 building was constructed as a result of Bolsover District Council’s decision, in 1992, to vacate offices it had inherited from Blackwell Rural District Council at local government reorganisation in 1974. Perhaps bizarrely the old rural district offices were situated in Mansfield (presumably as most people in Blackwell would have travelled to that town). Prior to 1994 Bolsover District Council also operated from two premises in Bolsover and one at Shirebrook.

On opening in 1994, the Civic Centre in Bolsover, provided 5,442 sq ft of office space and a suite for members. New local offices were also provided, at the same time, in Clowne, Shirebrook, South Normanton, and Bolsover itself. But the new Civic Centre was to be short-lived.

The building and site were sold to Morrisons, who eventually redeveloped it, but not after it suffered some years of neglect. One of the redevelopment schemes involved retention of the original Sherwood Lodge building, but a serious arson attack in November 2018 probably sealed its fate. The supermarket eventually opened in 2019, with a separate home store opened in a new block of shops, on the site of the Civic Centre building, a year later.

The council offices scheme aside, Sherwood Lodge had an interesting history. It was built in 1897 for Abel Sykes who was a director of the Bolsover Colliery Company. In 1958 it became offices for the old Bolsover Urban District Council. In the 1950s its grounds were the centre of the ‘Bolsover Illuminations’, which we have previously written about.

Bolsover Urban District Council was itself established in late 1894, Like its predecessor (a local board) it met in the Portland CafĂ© in a designated ‘council room’. It moved to Ivan House in 1903, but in 1911 it acquired a former chapel in Cotton Street, moving to Sherwood Lodge in 1948. At this time the county library occupied the former Cotton Street offices. These were taken taken over by the Old Bolsover Town Council after the county council had built a new library in 1976. The town council still occupy these premises.

Perhaps someday someone will write the fuller history of Sherwood Lodge, its grounds and the rise and fall of the Bolsover Civic Centre. Today, anyone visiting the area will be hard-pressed to see any remnants of the former occupant’s central role in Bolsover’s governance.