New café to open on Wollaton Park next week

Nottingham City Council’s latest café project will be officially opened on Monday 23 October.

The building is the last remaining World War Two hut on the site and will be named Wollaton 508 in memory of Parachute Infantry Regiment 508 which was based there. More recently it was the park’s sports pavilion, but has not been in use for many years. The site was developed at a total cost of £123,000 following the conversion into café space, which also includes community rooms and new park toilets.

As with the recently opened Arboretum Café, Nottingham City Council’s heritage sites’ catering team will operate the new café. It will offer similar fayre with sandwiches, cakes, coffees and seasonal treats. The situation of the site next to the play area makes it an ideal venue for families visiting the park and hall.

Cllr Dave Trimble, portfolio holder for Leisure and Culture said “I am so pleased and proud that we have been able to convert another of our buildings for such a great benefit to our visitors and to the local community. This is another wonderful asset for our Green Flag standard park and for Wollaton Hall. I would also like to thank WREN for their support in this project and enabling us to create such a lovely public space.”

£38,000 for this major commercial project has been provided by Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd (WREN)

Cheryl Raynor, WREN’s grant manager for Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire, says: “It’s wonderful to see something we have funded finally open and ready to make such a difference to children in the local area. WREN is always happy to consider grant applications for projects that benefit local communities and this is a great example of what can be achieved.”

For more information about WREN funding contact Cheryl Raynor at cheryl.raynor@wren.org.uk or visit www.wren.org.uk

This project follows the recently opened Arboretum Café.  There are also plans to open a cafe at Colwick Country Park by expanding the adventure centre.

Wollaton Park played an important part in the Second World War from the earliest days in 1939 all the way through to VE Day.

Over the Christmas period of 1944 the prisoner of war camp was established and built to house German prisoners, within huts. At one time 4,000 prisoners were housed there. The public were not allowed to enter Wollaton Park from the Wollaton Road gateway when the camp was occupied, this entrance wasn’t reopened until 1948.

From 1945-8 the northern part of the park was covered with huts, housing German prisoners of war. Most were quickly removed, but four just inside the Wollaton Road entrance survived long enough to be used as changing rooms for school cross-country runners and footballers in the 1960s, and for some time afterwards.

Today, the hut converted to the new cafe is the only hut still standing and has a great link to Park’s war heritage. To commemorate this historic link there will be a timeline memorial to the interior side of the servery opposite the kitchen and bar. It will include historic photos and descriptions at key points, through the building’s rich past.

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