History of Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, England

Twentieth Century

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The Victorian expansion of industry and erection of public buildings continued in much of the first half of the twentieth century, except when interrupted by war. Following the union of London and Smith's Banks, the old Smith's Bank building on the corner of Stodman Street and the Market Square (next to the Town Hall) was replaced by that now still in use by National Westminster Bank, which was erected in 1902.

In 1906 the old workhouse was replaced by a larger and slightly more congenial building in Bowbridge Road, now used as a hospital, and Hole's Castle Brewery expanded over the old site.

At the end of World War 1 there was a general movement to build "Homes for Heroes", on the basis that returning soldiers should have something better than old slums to return to. Letchworth Garden City was held up as the best designed town in Europe, and its architect, Barry Parker, was engaged to design a new estate for Newark. Although the council modified his plans to cram in more, smaller, houses to save money, the basic design was implemented between 1920 and 1922 as the Hawtonville Estate.

The clothing, bearings, pumps, agricultural machinery, plus the new sugar refining continued to thrive until after World War 2, although the malting and brewing industries slowly declined as Burton-on-Trent took over the leading role in those industries. During the last 50 years, however, Newark industry has suffered along with much of Britain's manufacturing. The bearings and pump-making factories are much reduced in size, while firms making agricultural machinery, three clothing firms, breweries and a big malting industry (supplying both local and more distant brewers) have all disappeared. The Newark Advertiser (local newspaper) reported on 22nd December 2000 that the bearings factory is the town's largest employer with a workforce of 850 people, but this was about to be reduced by 60. The sugar industry is now also under threat from proposed changes in import rules.

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This page last updated 1st September 2003