Formerly a hamlet sustained by agriculture and framework knitting, Bestwood village was considerably developed when its coal mine was sunk in 1875 by the Lancaster family, who also opened an iron works next to the colliery in 1881. It was one of the most successful mines in the county and employed 2000 men until closing in 1967. The terraces on Park Road, St. Alban’s Road and The Square were built by the Bestwood Coal and Iron Company to house its workforce, and are now a conservation area. The paternalistic company also built the Hawthorne Primary School as well as it’s own offices on Park Road, whose distinctive pyramidal roofed clock tower can be seen from most points in the village.
Standing in front of the former colliery offices is the war memorial, erected in 1920 to commemorate the men of the village who fell in World War I. Also on Park Road is the Bestwood Hotel, which was previously a welfare institute built in 1896 with donations from the miners themselves and the Duchess of St Albans. St Mark’s Church on School Walk was originally opened in 1887 as a Mission church for miners and their families. The Millennium Window at the church depicts the village community past and present and was unveiled in June 2000.