Bombs to Butterflies Revisited

Older Ruddingtonians will remember the days before Rushcliffe Country Park – when this sizeable area of the village was used as an Ordnance Storage and Disposal Depot. Our senior citizens will perhaps have even earlier memories – when it housed a bomb-filling factory during the Second World War.

In 2003, a book called ‘Bombs to Butterflies’ was published by The Ruddington History Society and The Friends of Rushcliffe Country Park. It was edited by Margaret Lawson and told the history of the area from wartime up to when it became a Country Park and Business Park. If you haven’t seen it, this book is available to borrow from Ruddington Library – or can read or download a scanned copy via the The Friends of Rushcliffe Country Park website >>HERE<<.

As part of the research for this book, residents were interviewed on tape and asked about their memories of the area, either when living locally or working on the bomb filling site. Local historian, June McConnell, reveals: “Not all the recordings were used in the book and relatives of people interviewed are eager to have the tapes made available to the general public. The tapes need to be digitalised and cleaned so that the recordings will be of good quality and last for years.” June is working with Gavin Walker of the History Society, Jean Gray from the Friends group and Ruddington audio specialists North Point Productions to try to achieve this.

“Jean was the Treasurer at the time of the original project and is still heavily involved, on the ground and with fund raising” explains June. “I transcribed my father’s tape for the project in 2000 at which time Margaret Lawson told me she hoped that the tapes would be made available for everyone to access at the Country Park. Even though a long time has passed, it would be wonderful if this could be achieved. It may well be that people who weren’t interviewed originally have photographs or memories which could be added to the project, too.”

Gavin adds: “My feeling is that the timing is ideal for the Friends to revisit the Bombs to Butterflies project. We are now 20 years on from when it started and a wealth of extra material about the site has become available. As more has been made public, and given that accessing material is easier than ever online, there is an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate the tapes and build upon the foundation set by the original Bombs to Butterflies project. It has also provided a timely opportunity to use up-to-date recording methods to digitise and preserve the deteriorating original tapes, which can become inaudible over time, for future generations to enjoy.”

A few of the existing pictures from the archive can be viewed below.

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The Friends have been chosen to receive funding from The Co-op for this exciting and educational project via their Local Community Fund. If you’re a member of The Co-op, and shop at the Ruddington supermarket, you can choose this project as your cause for 1% of the money you spend there to go towards. This will enable the creation an audio/visual display recounting the memories which can then be installed at the Visitor Centre.

If you can help with any new ‘Bombs to Butterflies’ stories, or old photographs of your own, you’re asked to contact either Jean Gray on 0115 921 4095 or June McConnell on 0115 998 7942.

Education Centre, Country Park

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