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Historian Bob Massey releases new book on ‘hero’ architect from Arnold who created some of the borough’s most iconic buildings


Historian and Gedling Eye writer Bob Massey has just released his latest book covering the life and works of one of Nottingham’s most celebrated architects who created some of the borough’s most iconic buildings.

‘The Family of Educators and Architects: Higginbottom Story” was published earlier this week and tells the story of William Higginbottom, who moved to Arnold in infancy and went on to create a number of the buildings we still know and love today.

Mr Massey, who runs history courses in the borough, said the architect was one of his local heroes.

He said: “There is a long-standing joke with the regular students on my local history courses, that no matter what the subject being discussed, it will not be long before I mention one William Herbert Higginbottom or a least one other member of the Higginbottom family.

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PICTURED: Local historian Bob Massey
The cover of Bob Massey’s new book – out now

“I fully admit that William has become a bit of a hero of mine. He and his family are so intertwined within the history of Arnold that it would be almost impossible to teach a course on the history of the town without mentioning them at some point, their impact on Arnold and the surrounding area was so great. Much of this, however, is unknown to many as they were, to a large extent, operating in the background.

“My own interest in W H Higginbottom, in particular, came about while researching for the book on the cinemas and theatres that have existed in Arnold. He designed two of these buildings. I also discovered during my investigations that he designed my own house, so the scene was set so to speak. The more I explore my local towns past, the more the family crops up.

“I therefore felt it was time to write this short history of the Higginbottom family. While doing so it became somewhat obligatory to include some background on their beginnings, and other families including the Swifts and Spencers. This was all in order to understand the era they were living through. It’s impossible to tell this story in isolation.”

William Higginbottom created a number of iconic buildings around the borough that include Calverton Methodist Church, Daybrook Baptist Church, Empress Cinema in Arnold and Park House in Carlton.

He also created the war memorial in Arnot Hill Park, Arnold

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You can Bob Massey’s new book from MSR News in Arnold,  Floralands in Mapperley,  Five Leaves bookshop in Nottingham, The Bookcase in Lowdham or by contacting the author via email at

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