Find out about some of Nottinghamshire's great local heroes. Discover the life of the man who gave the world ibuprofen, the grandson of Charles Darwin and a fine romantic painter who sadly died at the age of 26.
Dame Laura Knight
Dame Laura Knight (nee Johnson) (1877-1970) attended Nottingham School of Art in 1880. She is best known for her coastal scenes and later her circus paintings. During World War II she served as an official war artist and she also travelled to Nuremberg in 1946 to record the War Criminals’ Trial. Knight was made a Dame in 1929 for her services to art and in 1936 became the first woman to be elected to the Royal Academy.
Dr Stewart Adams
Ibuprofen belongs to the group of medicines know as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. It's been a pharmacy medicine since 1983, yet it was invented by Dr Stewart Adams when he was working as a research scientist for Boots, Nottingham in the late 1950s. He was looking for a drug to reduce inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Instead he found a headache remedy that was more potent than aspirin, with fewer side-effects. Dr Stewart Adams won an OBE for services to science in 1987, and his name is on the ibuprofen patent.
The grandfather of Charles Darwin, Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) was born in Elston near Nottingham. He was one of the leading intellectuals of 18th century England. He was a respected physician, a well known poet, philosopher, botanist, and naturalist.
Henry Bentinck - The Duke of Portland
The peerage title was created in 1716 for Henry Bentinck, who was already Earl of Portland. The 3rd Duke was the most famous as statesman and Prime Minister. The ducal seat was Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire. The fifth Duke was an eccentric recluse, who shunned visitors. He had 15 miles of tunnels dug under the house which housed libraries; a billiard room large enough for twelve full size tables and an enormous subterranean ballroom - all of which remained unused. The dukedom became extinct on the ninth Duke's death, though his distant cousin succeeded him as Earl of Portland.
Liz Blackman MP
Liz Blackman joined the Labour Party when she was 39 and her rise through the political ranks since then has been swift. A former head teacher, she joined Broxtowe Borough Council in 1989. By 1995 she was its deputy leader. Two years later she had been elected MP for Erewash and since then she has campaigned for an inquiry into the licensing of airguns, and fought for more lottery money to be given to the East Midlands.
The creator of the ‘Brompton Stock’, a sweet smelling biennial popular today, was from Worksop in the north of Nottinghamshire. He had a nursery in the town.
Professor Sir Peter Mansfield
Born in Nottingham in 1933, Mansfield dropped out of school aged 15 to work in a printing company and to join the army. Having returned to education, he received his degree in Physics in 1959 and a PhD in 1962. While working in the physics department at the University of Nottingham in the 1970s, he invented the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner now used in every hospital. He shared the 2003 Nobel Prize in Medicine with Paul C Lauterbur of the University of Illinois (Mansfield was Appointed Research Associate at the Physics Department 1962-1964) for his work in magnetic resonance imaging.
Richard Parkes Bonington
Richard Parks Bonington (1802-1828) was a fine arts 'romantic' painter who sadly died at the age of 26. Born in Arnold, he spent his early years in the city of Nottingham. His family relocated to Calais, France when he was 15 and he started painting water colour coastal scenes. The Wallace Collection holds many of his pictures, representing his major areas of interest, ranging from richly costumed historical scenes to views in France and northern Italy. A few paintings are displayed in the Castle Museum and The School of Art in Nottingham has a statue of him in the grounds which was donated by Watson Fothergill.
Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke MP
An MP for Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire since 1970, Kenneth Clarke first developed his interest for politics at seven years old. Born in Nottingham in 1940, he started his working life as a colliery electrician, had a stint as a film projectionist and worked his way to becoming a high profile politician. He became a barrister on the Midland Circuit in 1963 and practised until 1979. During the Conservative party time in office he was Health, Education and Home Office secretary, before becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1993.
Samuel Reynolds Hole
Reverend Samuel Reynolds Hole was a horticulturalist specialising in the care of roses. Born in 1819, he lived in Caunton Manor with his wife Caroline, where he was the local vicar. Hole was the author of the oldest books in the world on rose growing and Tennison dubbed him the "Rose King". He was quoted as saying "He who would have beautiful roses in his garden must have beautiful roses in his heart." When the National Rose Society was founded in 1876, Hole became and remained its president until his death in 1904.
Stella Rimington DCB was the first woman to become Director General of MI5 in 1992. Born in 1935, her early education was at Nottingham High School for Girls. Following university education, her career began part-time for MI5 in New Delhi, India. On her return to the UK she joined the Security Service full time. During her 30 year career at MI5, Stella Rimington worked in all the main fields of the Service’s responsibilities. Rimington pursued a policy of greater openness at MI5, seeking to explain to the public what the Service was and the extent of its responsibilities. She was made a Dame Commander of the Bath (DCB) in the New Year’s Honours 1995/6. She was also awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Law by the Universities of Nottingham and Exeter.
Born in Aslockton, Nottinghamshire, Cranmer (1489-1556) is remembered as the Father of the Church of England. A former Archbishop of Canterbury, he wrote ‘The Book of Common Prayer’ and ordered a Bible to be placed in every place of worship in England. He was burned at the stake at the orders of Queen Mary when she attempted to take England back into the Roman Catholic Church.
Born in 1590 in the small farming community of Austerfield, Yorkshire, Bradford was a principal player in the Pilgrim Fathers story. When he was about 18 years old, Bradford fled England with his mentor William Brewster and the Scrooby Congregation. By 1620, Bradford and his wife Dorothy joined the Mayflower venture to the New World, and in April 1621 he was elected Governor of the Plymouth colony.
Another of the leading Pilgrim Fathers, Brewster (1566 - 1644) was instrumental in establishing the small Separatist church with Richard Clyfton. Fearing persecution and prosecution, Brewster and the others from Nottinghamshire fled the country in autumn 1607. They reached Amsterdam in spring 1608 and moved on to Leiden, Holland in 1609 where Brewster became the church's Elder. In 1620 Brewster and his family also left on the Mayflower to the US.