Posted by at 09/04/2015 14:02:53
Reference number: M/24480/A/4
Sydney Race (1875-1960) was the working-class son of a cotton mill engineer. He lived in Nottingham for most of his life, working first as an insurance clerk and then later in the Nottinghamshire Education Department. From an early age he was widely involved in city life. He contributed to local papers and regularly visited many different forms of entertainment from the annual Goose Fair to the regular lectures at the Mechanics’ Institute. Every visit was recorded in meticulous detail in his diary and a series of his diaries, dating from the end of the nineteenth century up to 1952, is now preserved in Nottinghamshire Archives.
Aside from his social activities, the diaries also contain occasional domestic references. In 1893, he captured a fox in the back garden of his house in Sherwood. For a short time he kept it chained in his back garden and attempted to befriend it. When this proved unsuccessful, he took it to Gedling (presumably the nearest part of open country he knew) to release it. His entry for the 22nd May records the trip giving also a small description of the area on which the newly opened Gedling Country Park is now sited and the view down to Gedling Church.
A transcript of the entry reads as follows:
‘At night get the Fox into a box, after some little trouble and then by train to Carlton. Here I am met by a trap from the Kennels and we drive some 3 miles out by Lambley and thro splendid scenery all hills and dales with a pretty church or house here and there to ‘Heymanns Cover’. Here we get the Fox into a bag, then let him into a hole in the ground where are proper dens for foxes. And so good bye to her. I hope she will have a long life. They promise to look well after her and that she will soon have foxes with her.’
The diary comes from a large collection of documents formerly held by the Nottingham Public Library. The catalogue for this collection can be found on our on-line catalogue under the reference 'M'.