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The entrance to the Dancing School on Saturdays is at the far right of this photograph, along the footpath which runs between the house and the lawn.
The building is not open to the general public on a Saturday, therefore the main doors are not in use. Only dance school members are permitted to enter the building, except occasionally when another private group uses the building.
The Dancing School has a medium and a small dance studio in the Annex, and has use of the Hall on Saturdays and Tuesdays, as well as other rooms in the building.
The Jill Gregory School of Dancing is an Affilliated Member of Sherwood Community Association CIO and as part of this contract, Jill is a member of the Trustees’ Committee and we take part in, or help at some Centre events.
Woodthorpe House (Sherwood Community Centre) is a Grade II listed building and parts of it are the oldest building in Sherwood. The cottage (left) may be earlier than 1750, as it is older than the adjacent section which is likely to have been built in the 1750’s. There was certainly a building on this site in 1774 and these parts of the building were on the Inclosure Map of 1794. The small dance studio (below left) is in the former stable (seen to the left of the cottage) and the medium studio (below) has taken the place of the yard.
In the early 19th century the house was extended and some floor levels were adjusted. The house became a mansion which was advertised as having 9 bedrooms in 1892. The land belonging to the family who lived here extended as far as the Day Brook (beyond the ring road), to the central reservation of Edwards Lane, the Prison and included land on the other side of Woodthorpe Drive.
Dining Room (now Room 2), Drawing Room (now Room 1) and the Orangerie which stood behind the annex yard in the 1880’s.
This is how it looked in 1977 when the Dancing School moved in.
Woodthorpe House has an interesting history. Whilst research is still being done into the earlier period, we know that various eminent people lived in the house, including several wealthy factory owners, one of whom was also a French Consul , then later, the Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire. The property and land was sold to Sir Charles Seeley in 1896, and with the exception of the house and the land which currently surrounds the building, the remaining land remained in his family’s possession until his sons sold it to Nottingham Corporation for the building of what was one of the first Council estates in Nottingham.
In 1940, the house was requisitioned by the War Office and was Regimental Headquarters for the 172 (M) HAA Regiment, then the 161 (M) HAA Regiment. ATS (Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service) worked in the offices which were on the ground floor of the house, the officers slept in the house, and the soldiers slept in Nissen huts in the grounds. The huts were still in use as part of the Community Centre during the 1950’s. Had it not been for the War, Woodthorpe House would have been demolished to provide building land for houses.
The Army left the house in a neglected state in 1944, and the Council purchased it in 1946. For a while it was used as an annex for Haywood Girls’ School, before being passed to Sherwood Community Association in 1949. Since it’s official opening in 1950, Sherwood Community Centre has provided a wide range of activities for the local community and is possibly the busiest Community Centre in Nottingham. The Hall was built in 1979, to help cater for the Centre’s growing needs. The Coffee Bar and Foyer were added in 1984.
Visit the Sherwood Community Centre website to see what other activities take place here. Or if you found this history of Woodthorpe House interesting, take a look at the exhibition in Christine’s Community Cafe which is open on weekdays and come on a guided tour and see the deep cellars and other parts of the building.
History of Sherwood Community Centre
Woodthorpe House still has some attractive architectural features, such as the neo-