The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

Nottingham: A Short Introduction

As I browse around other blogs on the Internet I often enjoy the way in which people pass on experiences, views and knowledge that we all have about various places and destinations that are familiar to us. In that vein I’d like to present a few random thoughts about the city where I live, Nottingham.

Background and a little history
Nottingham was tagged colloquially as The ‘Queen of the Midlands’. The city can lay claim to being a most popular visit for various reasons such as shopping and nightlife these days. The name of Robin Hood undoubtedly draws in a visitor or two also.

The city is basically built on two hills, one which houses the comparatively modern version of Nottingham Castle (actually a Ducal palace as the original was raised to the ground) perched on a high rock. Nottingham’s growth was undoubtedly partly attributable to its situation by the River Trent. Much of the city is built upon a catacomb of caves which still run under the throng of the busy shopping, entertainment and business area, these caves being often burrowed out of the soft sandstone by local people in the middle ages and prior. Still they remain a fascinating visit and can be accessed from the Broad Marsh shopping centre.

The city though having a 450,000 population is relatively very concise and is easy to walk around. Most of the shopping, pubs and restaurants are within a short walk of the large Old Market Square, once spiritual home of the skateboarder, domestic pigeons, winos and asylum seekers. Yes the complexion of Nottingham has changed somewhat in the past few years.

Last year the Square had an £8m refurbishment which levelled and modernised the area. This has received mixed opinions about its aesthetics but has seriously upgraded its usefulness through its practicality. In the past few months an outdoor ice rink, a big wheel and a free music festival have been held there.

Things to pack for a visit to Nottingham and specifically a night out on the town might be an armorlite and a few hand grenades, take your pick. A bullet-proof vest should be worn at the visitors discretion. Actually the gun stuff in the media, whilst true is confined very much to a few tough estates on the edge of the inner city. The main source of potential problems in the city centre are arguably of the traditional lager lout variety. Not a lot worse than other large cities as portrayed in all those harrowing TV documentaries about Nottingham in my humble opinion but then gun and knife crime seem to be reaching epidemic proportions in most cities sadly.

In truth, I could probably write all day about Nottingham but this blog is only meant as a short introduction. If anyone passing this way through cyberland has a question about the old place though (serious or otherwise!) I’d be pleased to attempt to answer. No, I haven’t met Robin Hood.

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June 12, 2008 - Posted by | Ripping Yarns | , ,

10 Comments »

  1. I may be in the minority but I love the new square, Nottingham now has a usuable space in the city centre for markets, concerts etc, a clean open space to sit in at lunchtime, and no buses/traffic to worry about, except the tram. Maybe I’m just a homespun girl, Notingham born and bred.

    Comment by guzzisue | June 12, 2008

  2. I must admit I have been won over. At first the new square looked a little bleak to me but one has to say the events that are happening there are just great. I agree, we now have a much more usable Market Square.

    Comment by Stuart | June 12, 2008

  3. I didn’t know about the cavies of Nottingham. Fascinating. I think there are still areas around Bridgenorth in Shropshire where caves were cut into the sandstone and lived in during the height of the industrial rev.

    Haven’t been to Nottingham for a long time. We had friends who used to live in Beeston and of course when the biggies were little we visited the Robin Hood Centre. Must go there again. Is it still there?
    God bless

    Comment by mum6kids | June 14, 2008

  4. Hi Shell

    The caves have a fascination for me too – even though I have claustrophobia! Luckily the ones you can visit in Nottingham are not particularly restrictive. They are still put to good use in some cases, especially as beer cellars for pubs. The constantly cool-ish temperature is why the city historically gained a reputation for good beer.

    https://stuartfrew.wordpress.com/2007/10/02/the-caves-of-nottingham/

    The Robin Hood Experience is still there (on Maid Marion Way!) Up at Sherwood Forest there was a lottery money bid to develop a new visitor centre and replant much of the lost woodlands of the past. Unfortunately the bid failed.

    Comment by Stuart | June 14, 2008

  5. Well I have to admit I am a fan of the Robin Hood Series which has just finished on TV so will have to wait till next year for the third series. But, I was disappointed to hear that it is not made in England but in Hungary? Er I wonder why?

    But, at least one thing in this version of Robin Hood the men are NOT in tights! A blessing indeed;). heehee!

    In fun

    Marie lol

    Comment by marie | June 17, 2008

  6. I’m a fan of any of the Robin Hood depictions, Marie. I think it’s a great story. My partner complains about Maid Marion wearing (too much) eye make-up in the present series thought!

    I was brought up on the really old series with Richard Green as Robin Hood and still reckon he was the best one. 🙂 Us kids here really DID play with bows and arrows as youngsters!

    I can only imagine that it was cheaper to shoot in Hungary. Seems a shame to be though as there’s still a good piece of the original Sherwood Forest left, some of it right on my doorstep.

    Stu 🙂

    Comment by Stuart | June 17, 2008

  7. I am from Brunei and currently situated in Nottingham for my studies. It was love at first sight!=D I personally think that it’s more fun than loughborough but less busy compared to London – this porridge is juuuust right=D

    Comment by Datul | December 1, 2008

  8. I’m glad you seem so happy in your adopted city, Datul! I’m taking it you’re a student and Nottingham remains more popular than ever for University-goers. I’m an employee of Nottingham Trent Uni myself.

    I actually think you’re right. One of the more attractive aspects of Nottingham is its size. It’s pretty easy to walk around all the bits you might want to during an evening!

    Enjoy your time in The Lace City and thanks for your comment.

    Stu

    Comment by Stuart | December 3, 2008

  9. I’m a native of Nottingham and so I’m a bit biased in my view of it being the centre of the known universe. I love the city but am not above giving it an affectionate cuff round the ear via my keyboard when it needs it.

    Like the curate’s egg (and all big cities), it has its good and bad bits. I think the worst aspect of the bad bit is the way the city centre is taken over on weekend nights by rude, drunken, stupid young people who think that their right to enjoy themselves (which I wouldn’t deny them) also allows them to intimidate other people, vomit and urinate in the street, drop their fast food litter and do everything very loudly.

    But this aspect of the city (and the over-estimated and excessively-reported gun and knife crime) is easily outweighed by Nottingham’s good stuff. Just sit in the Arboretum on a summer Sunday afternoon…

    Comment by Alan-a-dale | April 22, 2009

  10. I think that’s a pretty fair appraisal A-a-D. I too abhor some of the crass behaviour in the city centre on a weekend particularly. I do visit there on Friday evening often to meet friends and still I am staggered by some of the things I see at times. The place really wants clearing up inj more ways than one. The gun and knife crime is an interesting one. I can’t personally comment on the accuracy of the knife crime incidents (which I do feel are a little in the face in recent times) but certainly the gun crime figures into which I did some research on are not compared like-for-like with other similar cities. This gives a skewed view in my opinion. I don’t feel Nottingham is more dangerous than the likes of London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and so on.

    Comment by Stuart | April 23, 2009


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