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Nottingham History

Nottingham History The first evidence of life in Nottingham dates back to the Romans when it was known as ‘Tiggou Cobauc’, which means ‘a place of cavy dwellings’.

However, Nottingham’s name as we know it now derives from a later settlement built by the Anglo-Saxons, which was named after landowner Snote, giving us Snottingham. Luckily in the 11th century the Normans invaded the area and decided to get rid of the “S”, leaving us with the name Nottingham.

Nottingham is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as a place of less than 200 inhabitants. By 1300 the population had risen to 3,000, but dipped to around 2,000 in 1400.

In 1068 the Normans built Nottingham Castle [map], which became an important stronghold, defending a major route to the north of England. Most of the buildings in medieval Nottingham were constructed of wood, except stone constructions like the castle and a handful of other important buildings. They also built a number of abbeys and cathedrals, including the famous Newstead Abbey [map].

After being given a Royal Charter in the late 11th century, the town hosted two markets trading leather, wool, cloth and pottery; a large affair on Saturdays and a weekday market at Weekday Cross close to the present day Lace Market.

Over the years Nottingham grew from a thriving agricultural centre, to an area of traditional trades such as tanning, wool-drying and brewing. But it was in the 17th century that the town really became famous when King Charles I cemented the start of the English Civil War by raising his flag in Nottingham.

It was during this period that Nottingham Castle was destroyed, but the city soon recovered and then moved on into the approaching Industrial Revolution.

By the late 1700's thousands of citizens had prosperous employment as framework knitters but poor conditions led to the Luddite riots in 1811, when workers smashed machines in fear that their livelihood was at risk from advances in technology.

During the Victorian era there was a dramatic expansion of the lace industry, and the streets around St Mary's Church were lined with towering lace warehouses, which exported the material all over the world.

Nottingham was made a city in 1897 by Queen Victoria, whose statue can be seen at Victoria Embankment on the north bank of the River Trent. At this time Nottingham also became the centre for several major companies including the Raleigh Cycle Company, Players cigarettes and the Boots Company, which was founded by Jesse Boot, a great benefactor to the city.

Along with lace, the 19th century saw the rapid growth of coal mining in Nottinghamshire, which continued into the 20th century until its swift decline in the 1980s.

Today the population of Nottingham stands at around 286,000, while the city covers 7,470 hectares of land and has six markets, 138 parks and open spaces, and three parliamentary constituencies.


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