1977 photo of Fairham Brook.
'Sailors' in 1977 looking north to Keyworth in the distance. © Rob Inglis.

This short article first appeared in the Keyworth News.

My little article in the December issue, appealing for names of the stretches of Fairham Brook where village children used to spend their summers, prompted several telephone calls from long-term residents of the village, all with better memories than mine.

About 200 metres upstream of Sailors, towards Widmerpool, is (or was) Old Hole. The generation before mine, now into their seventies, used to swim in here and sometimes also in Sailors. As far as I can remember “we” – those of us who are now around the half century mark - never ventured that far upstream, restricting ourselves from Sailors down to Wysall Lane.

Just down from Sailors, there used to be a tall exposed face where Kingfishers nested, and this is presumed to be the origin of the name for the neighbouring pool, Kings. One person also volunteered Queens as being nearby. My neighbour tells me an acquaintance calls these Kingswater & Queenswater.

It is now difficult to get to Sailors at the inside of the meander where we usually fished, but it is still readily identifiable from the north side, upstream of the ford in the field above the nature reserve.

Down from Kings, Long Stretch is self-explanatory and was the name given by three respondents but another (I think a little younger than the three) described this as Straight Ways. My poor memory can’t help resolve this but I can, with a little reminder add consistency about the next pool down from this, the more mature respondents called it either Fizzies or Fizzers, whilst my generation are consistent in naming it Civvies. It is clear that the name was corrupted over the course of less than twenty years. This and Kings are the only names that really rang bells in my mind when they were first mentioned.

One more point. My earlier article suggested that we disappeared for the day with a packed lunch! I can categorically deny that I ever wrote that. I’ve lost my original but I think it said something about a bottle of water and a couple of biscuits, and the “packed lunch” was substituted through some unauthorised editing - the thought of it!

Thanks to everyone who called me. I had thought of suggesting a trip down there for us all, by way of nostalgia, but I couldn’t help thinking of “The Last of the Summer Wine” and decided against it!

Neil Pinder

January 2001