A Brief History of Nottingham, England.

Nottingham is a city where medieval and industrial histories blend seamlessly. Here’s a comprehensive timeline of its significant events:

  • Pre-Roman Times: Evidence of settlement dates back to pre-Roman times, indicating early human activity in the area. Roman presence is suggested but not conclusively documented.

  • 5th-7th Century: After the Roman withdrawal around 410 AD, the region was part of the Brythonic kingdom of Elmet, a brief but notable historical period before the emergence of new kingdoms.

  • Around 600 AD: The area became part of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia. Initially known as "Tigguo Cobauc," meaning "place of cave dwellings," it was later renamed "Snotingaham" (homestead of Snot's people) by Saxon chieftain Snot, who established his community where the Lace Market now stands.

  • 867: Danish Vikings captured Nottingham, establishing it as one of the Five Burghs of The Danelaw, fortified towns set up for defense against other Viking invaders.

  • Around 920: The first bridge over the River Trent was constructed, a critical infrastructure development for the city.

  • 1086: Nottingham is recorded in the Domesday Book as "Snotingeham" and "Snotingham," indicating its importance in medieval England.

  • 11th Century: Nottingham Castle was constructed on a sandstone outcrop by the River Trent. The castle and the surrounding town developed into a significant English Borough, with the Old Market Square becoming a central hub of activity.

  • 1180: The construction of St Peter's Church began, adding to the city’s growing religious and architectural heritage.

  • 1276: Carmelite friars established a friary on Friar Lane. The friary included a guesthouse, which would later become The Bell Inn, a notable establishment in Nottingham.

  • 1392: The foundation of Plumptre Hospital, Nottingham’s longest-serving charity, marked an important development in the city’s social and charitable infrastructure.

  • 1449: Nottingham was granted county corporate status, allowing it to govern itself with significant autonomy. However, Nottingham Castle and Shire Hall remained detached parishes.

  • August 22, 1642: King Charles I raised the Royal Standard in Nottingham, signaling the start of the English Civil War. Nottingham played a crucial role in the early stages of the conflict.

  • 1688: Smith's Bank, one of the first banks outside London, was established in Market Square, reflecting Nottingham’s growing economic significance.

  • 1783: The Trent Navigation Company was formed to improve navigation on the River Trent, facilitating trade and transportation.

  • 1796: The opening of the Nottingham Canal significantly reduced coal prices, which was a major economic boost for the city.

  • 1821: The Nottingham Gas Light and Coke Company introduced coal gas, marking an important advancement in the city’s infrastructure.

  • 1831: Nottingham became the first city in Britain to install high-pressure constant supply mains water, thanks to engineer Thomas Hawksley and the Trent Waterworks Company. The city also experienced significant riots in 1831, where residents protesting against the Duke of Newcastle's opposition to the Reform Act 1832 set Nottingham Castle on fire.

  • 1839: The Midland Counties Railway opened a service between Nottingham and Derby on June 4, enhancing connectivity and commerce.

  • 1874: Nottingham built its first waste incinerators, known as Destructors, designed by Albert Fryer, to handle increasing waste.

  • 1878: The Nottingham and District Tramways Company Limited began operating horse-drawn tramcars, improving public transportation within the city.

  • 1888: Nottingham was declared a county borough under the Local Government Act 1888, marking a significant step in its administrative development.

  • June 18, 1897: City status was granted to Nottingham during Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, symbolizing its importance and growth.

  • 1899: The Great Central Railway opened Nottingham Victoria railway station, further integrating the city into the national transport network.

  • January 1, 1901: Nottingham Corporation Tramways began operating electric trams, reflecting the city’s modernization efforts.

  • 1927-1929: The Nottingham Council House was rebuilt to designs by Thomas Cecil Howitt, becoming a symbol of civic pride and administrative efficiency.

  • May 8-9, 1941: The Nottingham Blitz during World War II saw extensive bombing by the Luftwaffe, causing widespread destruction and loss of life. The city was heavily damaged, including significant destruction at University College Nottingham.

  • 1933: Nottingham was extended to include Bilborough, Wollaton, parts of Bestwood Park, Colwick, and Beeston, reflecting its growing urban sprawl.

  • 1951: Further expansion included Clifton and Wilford (south of the River Trent), solidifying Nottingham’s status as a major city.

Robin Hood:

  • 14th Century: Robin Hood, a legendary figure of English folklore, is celebrated for his role as a skilled archer who "robbed from the rich to give to the poor." Though his historical existence is debated, the tales of Robin Hood are rooted in medieval English folklore. His stories are set in Sherwood Forest and Nottingham Castle, where he is said to have battled the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham. Today, Nottingham embraces this heritage with landmarks such as the Robin Hood Statue and the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest, believed to be his hideout. The annual Robin Hood Festival further commemorates his legacy, highlighting his enduring impact on literature and culture.


  • 1838: Trent Bridge, established as one of England’s premier cricket grounds, is renowned for hosting Test matches and county games. Its rich cricketing history continues to be celebrated today.

  • 1862: Notts County F.C., one of the world’s oldest professional football clubs, was founded and won the FA Cup in 1894. The club holds a significant place in football history.

  • 1865: Nottingham Forest F.C. was founded and is celebrated for its remarkable achievements under Brian Clough, including winning the English First Division (now the Premier League) in 1978 and 1979 and securing back-to-back European Cup titles.

  • 1946: The Nottingham Panthers, a major team in British ice hockey, were established. They have achieved notable successes, including EIHL championships in the 2010-11 and 2012-13 seasons. The Panthers contribute to Nottingham’s diverse sporting culture.

These events and figures reflect Nottingham’s deep historical roots and its evolution into a vibrant modern city with a strong cultural and sporting heritage.

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