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Historical Nottinghamshire

Nottingham’s Caves

Nottingham has a network of over 400 caves running beneath its streets. Many of these are hidden below private homes and shops, however, there are a few places where you can get a glimpse of what lies beneath.

Visit the Castle and explore its dungeons carved from the rock emerging at the Museum of Nottingham Life at Brewhouse Yard (pictured bottom left) to discover more about how people in the city used to live.

Exceptional Ice Age Art

Head north from the Castle and along Park Terrace to discover access to a vast tunnel that connects The Park with Derby Road. Dug from the rock to allow horse drawn carriages access to the city it was never used because the incline proved to be too steep.

For quite a different subterranean experience go to Creswell Crags in the North of the county. Not only is it home to Robin Hood Cave, a fabled hideout for the outlaw, but also the location of Britain’s only examples of Ice Age cave art.

Civil War

In the 17th century the county played a pivotal role in the English Civil War.

Nottingham was a Parliamentarian stronghold and the Castle was where Charles I raised his standard, which marked the start of the war. Colonel John Hutchinson later destroyed a lot of the medieval castle to stop it from being used by the Royalists again.

Today a Georgian mansion stands in the grounds and only the original castle’s gatehouse, dungeons and part of the defensive walls remain following a torching of the building in 1831.

Newark Castle is the site of a famed battle between Royalists and Parliamentarians. Located at a key river crossing it is also here that Charles I was surrendered to the Scots, bringing an end to the war.

A Seat of Power

During the Civil War a law was passed to allow Parliament to convene in Nottingham. It remains the only city in the UK outside of London where Parliament can be legally held.

Dukes & Pilgrims

Head to the North of the county and you’ll find an area known as the Dukeries due to the grand 18th Century country estates that can be found there. These were the homes of Dukes made wealthy by the coal reserves found on their land.

Today Clumber Park, Thoresby Hall and Welbeck still retain much of their grandeur and are great places to enjoy a country walk or indulge in arts and crafts.

Bassetlaw in the North of Nottinghamshire is where many of the Pilgrim Fathers that founded America originated.  In 1607many left to start a new life in Holland, 13 years later they sailed to the ‘New World’ and into the history books aboard The Mayflower.

The Lace Revolution

Nottingham’s fortunes were made by the lace industry that sprung up in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. The money that it brought in transformed the city leaving a lasting legacy on the streets and in the architecture.

The Lace Market - This area of Nottingham is characterised by the large Victorian buildings that once housed the lace mills.

The Park - North of the city centre, in the shadow of Castle Rock, is an area where the wealthy mill owners made home.  Still a well-to-do area, The Park boasts the largest working network of gaslight streetlighting in Europe.

Papplewick Pumping Station - Just nine miles from Nottingham this water pumping station was built to serve the growing city. Restored to full working order, it is a grand monument to Victorian engineering.

Ruddington Framework Knitters Museum - A fascinating look at some of the machines that revolutionised the clothing industry in action.

Great Central Railway - Travel back to the steam age in style on a train at this Ruddington based railway museum.

Museum of Nottingham Life at Brewhouse Yard - Have a look at how people in the city have lived over the past 200 years, from Victorian times and through two world wars.

Nottingham Industrial Museum - See this exceptional collection of working steam engines get fired up on the last Sunday of every month.

Genuine Nottingham Lace - Nottingham Lace is still produced today and is available to buy from the Nottingham tourism centre and Debbie Bryan’s Studio and Shop in the city or alternatively buy on-line.

Literary Legends

The people, city and countryside of Nottinghamshire have inspired many great writers…

Lord Byron - The infamous writer, poet and traveller spent his early years in Nottinghamshire. Newstead Abbey was his family home until he had to sell it to pay off debts.

D H Lawrence - The controversial author of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, along with many other classic novels, was born and bred in Nottinghamshire.  His hometown of Eastwood has a museum and a festival every September to celebrate his work.

J M Barrie - In the 1880s Peter Pan’s creator worked as a journalist on the Nottingham Journal.

Graham Greene - The author of classic novels The Third Man and Brighton Rock worked for the Nottingham Journal in the 1920s.

Alan Sillitoe - One of the ‘Angry Young Men’ of British literature in the 1960s the Nottingham-born writer captured working class life in the city with his book Saturday Night, Sunday Morning.



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