Researching Spa Ponds

The Spa Ponds Heritage Project will focus on researching Spa Ponds’ historic context and on recording people’s memories of the site. 

Historic Context

There will be guided research visits to archives, including at libraries and museums, and we will be making use of online resources to help us learn more about the historic context of what is today known as the Spa Ponds Nature Reserve. The project will also include the identification and recording of veteran trees to better understand the history of the site and relevant workshops and talks.


Relevant local history books include:

  • The Local Historian’s Glossary of Words and Terms by Joy Bristow
  • Starting out in Local History by Simon Fowler
  • Local History: A Handbook for Beginners by Philip Riden
  • The History of Mansfield and It’s Environs by William Harrod (1801)
  • Nottinghamshire Past by John Beckett
  • The Making of the English Landscape by W G Hoskins
  • The Making of the British Landscape by Francis Pryor
  • A Palace For Our Kings by James Wright
  • The Domesday Book

Some of the many different sources of information other than books that might be useful when researching the history of Spa Ponds include:

  • Maps (general maps and tithe maps)
  • Manorial documents and estate papers
  • Enclosure awards
  • Newspapers, and journals
  • Publications of business societies and groups
  • Historical directories
  • Legal records of various sorts (e.g. assize courts)
  • Personal diaries
  • Census returns
  • Drawings and photographs
  • Oral histories

Relevant places to visit for access to documents include:

  • County Archives for both Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire
  • The National Archives at Kew in London
  • The Local Studies Libraries in Mansfield Town Centre and Mansfield Woodhouse
  • The Civil War Centre in Newark, and the nearby Resource Centre
  • The Mansfield Museum
  • Nottinghamshire Local Studies Centre

Relevant organisations include:

Oral Histories

Oral histories are stories and memories spoken by people. To help better understand what Spa Ponds (Gara Ponds) means to local people, and to record memories of visiting the site, the Project will include a series of ‘oral history’ interviews.

Further information is available in the following documents:

Research findings

Research findings will be shared both through this website, and as part of Project displays.