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Meet the Godfreys: This is the family who built the historic Park House in Carlton


Angie Keyworth is the great-grandaughter of John Godfrey, the original owner of Park House in Carlton. Here she shares memories of her family and the time they spent in this historic house..

Park House was built for John and Emma in 1909 by local builder John Lewin who was married to Emma’s sister Ada – surely a case of keep it in the family!

There are several houses in the Carlton area built by John Lewin. 

The architect for the house was W H Higginbottom who had designed other local buildings including libraries, cinemas and war memorials. Like John Godfrey, W H Higginbottom was also a Liberal County Councillor, JP and a Methodist.  

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My interest in the family history research started when I retired and rescued my mother’s family tree research folder from my loft. 

As a child I was totally bemused by the Godfrey clan as they came in vast numbers, a total mystery to me.  As I transferred Mum’s typed information from A4 copy paper to Ancestry UK, I very often said out loud “oh, so that’s who you are!”   

I am related to some cousins twice over, and I am now in touch with or have met several  2nd, 3rd and 4th cousins, some of which have been stepped over or removed several times!

Firstly I shall tell you a little of the family history which enabled John and Emma to build such a grand house.

John and Emma Keywood married in All Hallows church in August 1880. 

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PICTURED: The Godfrey family

Emma also came from a large Carlton family of framework knitters. 

John and Emma’s first child John Harold, known as Harold, born in 1881, was my grandfather.  Harold is fist left on the family photo.  Sadly Harold died in the flu pandemic of 1918 at the early age of 37.  Mum was just eighteen months old. 

John’s parents were John Godfrey and Ann Maria Clay. 

John and Ann Maria married in All Hallows church in 1852 and had 6 children.  Alice, Eliza Anne, John, Emma, Samuel Isaac and Ann Maria. Sadly, Alice died at the age of eleven in 1865.  Ann Maria’s parents were Samuel Clay and Alice Kirk. 

The Clay and Kirk families were also quite large and well known in Carlton.  Samuel Clay was a framework knitter and maintained a number of hand frames on which hosiery was made before the use of machinery.  Samuel was such an expert he was commissioned to make stockings for Queen Victoria.  His daughter embroidered the royal monogram on the stocking tops. 

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In September 1854, Samuel Clay became the first postmaster in Carlton.  His salary was £3 per year and his hours of work 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

In 1857 it was calculated there were about 30 letters delivered weekly. 

What little of Netherfield there was at this time before it became a railway village was part of the Carlton Postal District. 

When Samuel Clay retired from the post office, his daughter Ann Maria and husband John Godfrey took over. 

The first post office in Carlton was at the bottom of Cavendish Road, then Cemetery Road, opposite the ‘new’ post office, which was demolished to make way for new Council Offices and is now flats.  On both of these buildings you can clearly see the Godfrey name.  Gt Grandpa John and his brother Samuel Isaac had the second post office built for their mother, by a Mr Tegerdine of Station Road Carlton. 

John’s brother Samuel Isaac also lived on Burton Road, opposite Park House, which was known as the Godfrey House.  Samuel’s house was built in 1905.  Today flats stand in place of the house.  Samuel didn’t want the old house to be demolished and put a condition on the house that should it be put up for sale after all his children had married or moved out,  the house could not be knocked down until 10 years after purchase.  A property developer bought the house, watched it fall into disrepair for 10 years and then built the flats.  Very, very sad and an absolute eyesore as it deteriorated.

Of course, in 2004 Park House was also demolished. 

I have had Godfrey relatives visiting Gedling  and sadly there is very little property left to show them which belonged to the family, except Holly Bank the first house John and Emma had built on Greenhill Rise. And the cricket field, another story for another day.

To be continued…

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