A Brief History of Nottingham.

Nottingham is relatively unusual among big manufacturing cities in Britain in having a medieval and pre-industrial past of equal importance to its more recent one. The first evidence of settlement dates from pre-Roman times and it is possible that the Romans also lived in the area.

After the Roman departure at around 410 AD, independent Brythonic kingdoms emerged everywhere in Britain. The Nottinghamshire area was briefly covered by the kingdom of Elmet from late 5th century to the beginning of the 7th century.

In Anglo-Saxon times, around 600 AD, the site formed part of the Kingdom of Mercia, where it was known as "Tigguo Cobauc" meaning "a place of cave dwellings", until falling under the rule of a Saxon chieftain named Snot, whereby it was dubbed "Snotingaham" literally, "the homestead of Snot's people" (Inga = the people of; Ham = homestead). Snot brought together his people in an area where the historic Lace Market in the City can now be found.

Nottingham was captured in 867 by Danish Vikings and later became one of the Five Burghs – or fortified towns – of The Danelaw.

10th century

The first Bridge over the River Trent is thought to have been constructed around 920.

11th century

Nottingham is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book as "Snotingeham" and "Snotingham".

In the 11th century, Nottingham Castle was constructed on a sandstone outcrop by the River Trent. The Anglo-Saxon settlement developed into the English Borough of Nottingham and housed a Town Hall and Courts. A settlement also developed around the castle on the hill opposite and was the French borough supporting the Normans in the Castle. Eventually, the space between was built on as the town grew and the Old Market Square became the focus of Nottingham several centuries later.

12th century

The construction of St Peter's Church, Nottingham started around 1180.

13th century

In 1276 a group of Carmelite friars established a Friary on what is now Friar Lane with lands that included a guesthouse on the site of what is now The Bell Inn.

14th century

Foundation of Plumptre Hospital in 1392, Nottingham's longest serving charity.

15th century

The town became a county corporate in 1449, giving it effective self-government, in the words of the charter, "for eternity". The Castle and Shire Hall were expressly excluded and technically remained as detached Parishes of Nottinghamshire.

17th century

King Charles I of England raised the Royal Standard in Nottingham on 22 August 1642 at the start of the English Civil War.

One of the first banks in England outside London was established around 1688. Smith's Bank was in Market Square.

18th century

The Trent Navigation Company is formed in 1783 to improve navigation on the River Trent from Nottingham to Kingston upon Hull.

The Nottingham Canal opens in 1796. The price of coal in Nottingham is halved.

19th century

Coal gas was introduced in Nottingham by the Nottingham Gas Light and Coke Company in 1821.

Nottingham was the first place in Britain to install high pressure constant supply mains water in 1831. This system was deployed by engineer Thomas Hawksley and the Trent Waterworks Company.

The Midland Counties Railway opened the first railway service between Nottingham and Derby on 4 June 1839.

During the Industrial Revolution, much of Nottingham's prosperity was founded on the textile industry; in particular, Nottingham was an internationally important centre of lace manufacture. However, the rapid and poorly planned growth left Nottingham with the reputation of having the worst slums in the British Empire outside India. Residents of these slums rioted in 1831, in protest against the Duke of Newcastle's opposition to the Reform Act 1832, setting fire to his residence, Nottingham Castle. Businesses in other sectors founded in 19th century Nottingham included the Raleigh Bicycle Company and Boots the Chemist.

Nottingham was one of the boroughs reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, and at that time consisted of the parishes of Nottingham St Mary, Nottingham St Nicholas and Nottingham St Peter. It was expanded in 1877 by adding the parishes of Basford, Brewhouse Yard, Bulwell, Radford, Sneinton, Standard Hill and parts of the parishes of West Bridgford, Carlton, Wilford (North Wilford).

The first incinerators for waste disposal were built in Nottingham by Manlove, Alliott & Co. Ltd. in 1874 to a design patented by Albert Fryer. They were originally known as Destructors.

The first horse drawn tramcars are operated by the Nottingham and District Tramways Company Limited in 1878.

In 1889 Nottingham became a county borough under the Local Government Act 1888. City status was awarded as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria, being signified in a letter from the Prime Minister the Marquess of Salisbury to the Mayor, dated 18 June 1897.

The Great Central Railway opened Nottingham Victoria railway station in 1899.

20th century

Electric trams operated by Nottingham Corporation Tramways begin on 1 January 1901.

Nottingham Council House was rebuilt between 1927 and 1929 to designs by Thomas Cecil Howitt.

World War II

The Nottingham Blitz was Nazi German Luftwaffe bombing on the city of Nottingham on the evenings of 8/9 May 1941 as part of a nationwide campaign to disrupt key industrial production, undermine morale and destroy factories, rail networks and infrastructure. During one air raid alone 140 people had been killed and 4,500 houses had been destroyed. Large areas of Nottingham and West Bridgford had been flattened and University College Nottingham had been damaged.

Economic decline

In common with the UK textile industry as a whole, Nottingham's textile sector fell into headlong decline in the decades following the World War II, as British manufacturers proved unable to compete on price or volume with output of factories in the Far East and South Asia. Very little textile manufacture now takes place in Nottingham, but the City's heyday in this sector endowed it with some fine industrial buildings in the Lace Market district. Many of these have been restored and put to new uses.

Reform

Nottingham was extended in 1933 by adding Bilborough and Wollaton, parts of the parishes of Bestwood Park and Colwick, and a recently developed part of the Beeston urban district. A further boundary extension was granted in 1951 when Clifton and Wilford (south of the River Trent) were incorporated into the city.