332 Spring Lane – Mapperley Plains

There’s been a lot of interest about a dilapidated house at 332 Spring Lane on Mapperley Plains. Various social media sites shared photographs of the property. Whilst the property itself is actually quite modest and fairly typical of the area, it is the story behind how it became so overgrown that attracted the attention.

When the overgrown garden was cleared, the house became visible from the road.

It was an impressive and atmospheric sight.

The property was sold by auction in June 2023. It had a guide price of £250k but was sold for £455k. Here’s what the listing by Auction Estates said in June 2023:

A rare opportunity to acquire a dilapidated freehold 3 bedroom house within an overgrown site of about 1 acre. 

Located on Spring Lane with views from the garden once cleared over the Lambley Dumble (a picturesque valley).

An Exciting Opportunity.

Rare to the Market

What Will Become Of It?

The new owners now have a decision on what to do with it.

There were a variety of opinions on local social media sites, ranging from how it was allowed to get in that state to what will become of it. That it should be renovated.

Facebook blog Abandoned Beauties even managed to share some images of the interior.

At the time of writing this, it appears that it will be demolished and possibly three properties built on the land.

Who Lived There?

Here’s what someone posted: 

Hi there I had the pleasure of exploring the grounds and the house as it went up for auction. The gentleman that lived alone there for years, was a book binder, also kept bees and made honey. The house was truly like walking back in time, with coal fires and oil lanterns still hanging in rooms. The house was sadly in very much disrepair, with trees growing through the upper floor , through to the loft. However he lived there until recently, when he sadly passed away. They had auctioneers come in and take and sell antiques. He was a very well to do gentleman in his time, who wore very expensive suits and shoes tailored for him in London ❤️ hope this helps ❤️

Once the name of this gentleman was revealed, more information was readily available.

His name was David Kemp and he was a member of the Nottinghamshire Beekeepers Association

David Kemp – Inspirational Man

It is clear that he was a truly well-known, well liked and inspirational man. Here’s what the Beekeepers Association said about him.

David Kemp was born in December 1937 in the Nottinghamshire mining village of Rainworth. He kept bees from an early age, encouraged by the caretaker of the local primary school. Leaving school aged 15, he started working for the Forestry Commission. Each morning, he was collected from Rainworth in a canvas covered truck and taken to the workplace for the day, along with other foresters. 

Royal Air Force then Gamekeeper 

Three years later, David went into the RAF to do his National Service. He was based at RAF Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire as part of the catering squadron. He often joked in later life that there was nothing like 2 or 3 dustbins full of potatoes to peel straight after breakfast to focus the mind for the day. 

Following his National Service, David returned to Nottinghamshire and worked as the gamekeeper on the Welbeck Estate near Worksop, working for the Duke of Portland. This began a life-long connection with gamekeeping and also an interest in firearms. 

In 1964 David applied to become an apiary assistant at Buckfast Abbey, working with a renowned beekeeper named Brother Adam. He was successful and started on a standard agricultural workers wage. David was involved in all aspects of the work of the bee department, including queen rearing and working at the famous Sherberton mating station on Dartmoor. 

In 1974 David left Buckfast Abbey, having decided to move closer to home, and became a Seasonal Bee Inspector. He covered Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, working out of the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) at Chalfont Drive in Nottingham. In the winter months he worked on Hill Farm Subsidy Payments, serving many farmers in the less favourable areas in Derbyshire. 

When MAFF set up the system of Bee Inspection Regions in the early 1990s David applied for and was appointed Regional Bee Inspector for the Midlands Region. He covered Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire with a team of Seasonal Bee Inspectors. 

He was well known for his involvement in the training and education part of the Bee Inspectorate. His slide shows of his time at Buckfast Abbey were famous and toured far and wide. David’s time saw him involved in many major disease outbreaks and the original varroa searches when it first arrived in the UK. 

Bees, Guns and Antiques

Following his retirement in 2008, he divided his time between his interest in bees, firearms and antiques. He kept involved with beekeeping as a member of the Nottinghamshire Beekeepers Associates, and had a wide circle of friends. 

David passed away peacefully in early 2022, at his brother’s home at Whitwell in Derbyshire. 

His funeral was held at Babworth Crematorium on Tuesday, 1 March 2022. 

The End Of An Era – Obituary

Here’s a sample of the many tributes to David, on their website: 

On David’s retirement, Stuart Ching, the then editor of the newsletter, wrote: 

Few people have made more impact on beekeeping in the region and nationally than David. No-one went to David for advice and came away without a solution to their problem. He is passionate about bees and the people who keep them. We are very proud to say that David is one of us – a long-time, and now a life-time member of the Nottinghamshire Association.

David was known and respected all over the beekeeping world. He appeared on BBC Radio 4 in a programme called The Bee Inspector, in which he tells of his work with bees during a complete year. He also features in a book by Steve Donohoe called Interviews with Beekeepers available through his website The Walrus And The Honey Bee.

  1. Mat

    That 1 acre garden was razed to the ground without a wildlife survey, despite bats and badgers (protected species) having been observed there. What a crying shame.

  2. Steven Searcy

    My family knew David for many years he often came to my mum and dad’s antique shop on woodborough Road mapperley he always stayed to have a cuppa and sometimes his tea with them, I used to love listening to his stories about the monks he worked with and his tales of chatsworth and Belvoir Castle also his travels around the country, he was a lovely man, thank you for the memories

  3. simon croson

    David was a wonderful person and an amazing inspiration to those who were lucky enough to know him and gain his trust. His wide ranging interests were only matched by the way in which he pursued each, it was such a shame to discover how he lived his latter years but he was always immaculately turned out and always sounded happy and contented when in conversation, he is sadly missed but will never bee forgotten- RIP David

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