Attenborough developed from the church along The Strand in the 17th and 18th centuries. Large houses were built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries around the Station. There was further major development during the second half of the 20th century.
In 1642 there were 42 males over the age of 16, in 1851 128 people and today around 2500 villagers.
In 1722, there were stocking makers, framework knitters, farmers, labourers, shoemakers, a throwster (twister of fibres into yarn), a milliner, a coachman, a blacksmith, a serving man, a soldier, a waterman and a pinder (stray animal collector). Farming was important, the ferry over to Barton was operating, there were independent craftsmen and homeworkers supporting the lace and textile trade locally. Today most people commute to business in Nottingham, Long Eaton and Derby.
In the 19th and 20th century during the summer many used the ferry across to Barton to walk, picnic and visit pubs or tea houses. The ferry finished in the early 1960s.
The area between houses and the river provided gravel and in 1966 many disused pits became nature reserves. One is Attenborough Nature Reserve, a 226-hectare (560-acre) Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) visited by wildfowl, wading birds, kingfishers and many others. An award-winning Visitor and Education Centre was opened by Sir David Attenborough in 2005.
The village has at its heart a conservation area with two Grade II listed buildings – Ireton House next to the Grade I listed church and Rose Cottage. A walk around the village provides an opportunity to see many individual Houses and in the 19th and early 20th centuries some of the older existing properties housed workers, brickmakers, a tea room, a post office, a pub called The Bell and a sweet shop. Can you guess which ones?
The village has been flooded many times, was last flooded in November 2000 and in 2012 substantial flood defenses were completed.
The village has a tennis club, three pre-school organisations, a village hall, Bowls Club, Garden Club, Cricket club, Football club, two village greens and St. Mary’s Church.
Richard and Pat Green, David Benton, Angela Clarke, Michael Hammond, Tim Sexton