- This article is about the English city. For others, see Nottingham (disambiguation).
Nottingham is a city located in the East Midlands of England. Nottingham lies on the River Trent, which flows from Stoke-on-Trent to the Humber—the only major English river to flow north. Nottingham's boundaries are tightly drawn and exclude the suburbs of Hucknall, Arnold, Carlton, West Bridgford, Tollerton, Ruddington, Beeston, Long Eaton, Stapleford, and Ilkeston, some of which are actually in Derbyshire.
The 2001 census recorded a population of 270,300 in Nottingham itself, with around 613,723 people living in the surrounding conurbation. It is the biggest metropolitan area of the East Midlands, the de facto regional capital and the 2nd biggest city in the east midlands, after Leicester. Nottingham is commonly referred to as the Queen of the Midlands (Birmingham being the capital), so is thought to be the second most important city in the Midlands as a whole. Nottingham was the traditional county town of Nottinghamshire but since April 1, 1998 has been a unitary authority.
Nottingham is famous for its involvement in lace-making, its association with the legendary outlaw Robin Hood, and the supposedly exceptional beauty of its young women. Perhaps not unrelatedly, Nottingham is also nationally famous for the high ratio of females to males, given at various times as between 3:1 to 6:1. In 2001, however, the official ratio was published as 1.015:1.
The heart of the city is the Old Market Square (the market moved in the 1920s), the largest such surviving in Europe. Most of the main shopping streets are around the square. The council house, whose dome can be seen for miles around, is at the top of the square. There are plans to redevelop (http://www.oldmarketsquare.org.uk) the square and the final design will be selected in Spring 2005, with construction to begin in the summer.
Nottingham is one of England's 8 core citys.
Founded as a Saxon settlement, Nottingham was later captured by the Danes (Vikings) and in the 9th century became one of the five boroughs (fortified towns) of the Danelaw. From its earliest beginnings, parts of the settlement have included man-made caves, dug into soft sandstone. During this period the settlement went by various names including Tigguo Cobauc ("House of Caves") and Snottingaham (from the Anglo-Saxon for "Snot's people", Snot being a local chieftain). The populace are grateful that the S became lost in the course of history.
In the 11th century a castle was constructed on a sandstone outcrop by the River Trent and a town grew around the castle. The cave network was substantially expanded and became home to a large proportion of the poorer populace, particularly those involved in the tanning industry. The caves were gradually abandoned in the 18th and 19th centuries, but came into use again as air raid shelters during World War II. A section of the cave network under the Broadmarsh shopping centre is now open as a tourist attraction, and some parts are still used as pub cellars.
Another section of the caves, under the castle, is still in regular use as the indoor rifle range of Nottingham Rifle Club. Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Inn, partly built into the cave system below the castle and named for its role as a major meeting point for those going on the Crusades in the Middle Ages, lays claim to being the oldest pub in Britain. However, this is due mainly to the spurious date of 1189 painted on the side of the Inn, and the building itself only dates from the 16th or 17th century; the caves themselves may date to the 11th century and could have been the site of the brewhouse for the castle. Two other Nottingham pubs—Ye Olde Salutation Inn and the Bell Inn—both lay claim to being the oldest in Nottingham. Dendrochronology dating evidence from roof timbers in the Salutation give a date for the building of c.1420 with similar dates for the Bell. The roots of the multiple claims can be traced to various subtleties of definition in terms such as "public house" and "inn".
A tram passes the Council House in Market Square
The legend of Robin Hood first arose in the Middle Ages. Robin Hood is said to have lived in Sherwood Forest, to the north of the city, with the Sheriff of Nottingham as his greatest enemy. While the legends are almost certainly untrue, particularly in their details, they have had a major impact on Nottingham, with Robin Hood imagery a popular choice for local businesses and many modern tourist attractions exploiting the legend.
The English Civil War began in Nottingham in 1642, when King Charles I raised his standard upon Nottingham Castle. The original castle was demolished by the victorious Parliamentarians in 1651. The castle mansion was built for the Duke of Newcastle on this site, but was gutted in 1831 during riots over the Reform Bill, the then occupant being a known opponent of extending the franchise. In 1878 it was reopened as an art museum.
A major industry in the 19th century was lace-making, with Nottingham lace becoming famous. While some lace-making still goes on in the city, it is no longer of much economic significance. Also in the 19th century, the Nottingham Park Estate was built, on the castle's former deer park.
Famous people born in or near Nottingham include William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, the author D.H. Lawrence and the fashion designer Paul Smith. The poet Lord Byron resided at Newstead Abbey and is buried at nearby Hucknall.
Nottingham is home to the headquarters of Boots the Chemists, founded in the city by John Boot in 1849 and substantially expanded by his son Jesse Boot. Other large current employers include the credit reference agency Experian, the energy company Powergen and the tobacco company John Player. Until recently a major industry was bicycle making, the city being the birthplace of Raleigh Cycles in 1886. However, the company's factory on Triumph Road, famous as the location for the filming of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, was demolished in Summer 2003. Other major industries in the city include engineering, textiles, knitwear and electronics.
Culture and sport
A view of the Nottingham skyline
Nottingham has two main theatres, the Nottingham Playhouse and the Theatre Royal (which also houses the Royal Concert Hall). There are also several art galleries which often receive national attention, particularly the castle museum and the Angel Row gallery (attached to the main library). Both of the city's universities also put on a wide range of plays, concerts, and other events throughout term time.
The annual Goose Fair is always popular. More generally, the city is regarded as having a good nightlife, with many clubs and bars in the centre of town that are popular amongst both the local and student communities.
The city is home to two football teams; Nottingham Forest, who play in the Football League Championship, and who under their most famous manager, the late Brian Clough, won the European Cup twice, and Notts County of Football League Two, the oldest Football League team in the UK, having been founded in 1862 (a year before the establishment of the league itself). The Trent Bridge cricket ground, home of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, is frequently a venue for international Test matches.
Also in the city is the National Ice Centre, a large ice skating rink; the city's links to ice skating can be traced back to arguably its most famous children of recent times, Olympic ice dancing champions Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. The city also has a rugby club, and a large tennis centre, where the annual Samsung Open is held in the weeks immediately prior to Wimbledon.
The National Ice Centre doubles as Nottingham Arena. Mainstream and popular bands play in the arena on tour. There is also a small award-winning "rock" club called Rock City where less popular rock bands play.
Nottingham won the Britain in Bloom competition, in the Large City category, in 1997, 2001 and 2003. It also won the Entente Florale Gold Award in 1998.
Popular tourist attractions in Nottingham include Nottingham Castle, the Galleries of Justice, and the Tales of Robin Hood on Maid Marian Way, as well as the City's ancient pubs.
Nottingham has been rated as the fifth best place to shop in the UK after London, Glasgow, Birmingham and Leeds. There are four main shopping centres in Nottingham: Victoria Centre, Broadmarsh shopping centre, Exchange Arcade and the Flying Horse Walk, once a famous hotel. The Bridlesmith Gate area has extensive designer shops, and is also the home of the original Paul Smith boutique. At least five major department stores also operate in Nottingham: House of Fraser, John Lewis, Debenhams, Alders and Marks & Spencer. John Lewis was until recently called Jessops, even though owned by John Lewis since 1933. It changed its name in 2002 after a refurbishment.
The University of Nottingham and Highfields Park
Nottingham is home to two universities: the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University. The University of Nottingham's teaching hospital, Queen's Medical Centre, is the largest hospital in the UK. Other notable educational institutions include the further education college New College Nottingham, Nottingham High School and Nottingham High School for Girls.
The Nottingham School of Fashion is a fashion school respected around the country and produced the designer Paul Smith.
Nottingham is close to the M1 motorway and is also well served by train services from Nottingham station to London, Birmingham and the north. The nearby Nottingham East Midlands Airport, served by low-cost international airlines, makes the city easily accessible from other parts of the world. Internally, the city is well-served by buses and a tram system known as Nottingham Express Transit has recently been installed, running from Hucknall in the north to the railway station. Planned future lines will create a substantial tram network across the city and its suburbs.
Nottingham is located at 52°58'00" North, 01°10'00" West (52.9667,-1.1667)1.
- Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change
- Xylophone Man (famous busker in Nottingham)