|Area: 74.61 km˛|
Nottingham is a city (and county town of Nottinghamshire) in the East Midlands of England. The centre of Nottingham lies on the River Leen and its southern boundary follows the course of the River Trent, which flows from Stoke to the Humber. According to the 2001 census, Nottingham has an estimated city population of 275,100, while the Nottingham Urban Area conurbation (which includes surrounding suburbs outside the city boundary, and neighbouring towns) has a population of 666,358. Nottingham is a member of the English Core Cities Group.
The first evidence of settlement dates from pre-Roman times, and it is clear that the Romans also lived in the area.
An early name for Nottingham was "Tigguo Cobauc" which means "a place of cavy dwellings." Founded by Anglo-Saxon invaders after 600 AD, parts of the settlement have included man-made caves, dug into soft sandstone. The Saxons were led by a chieftain named Snot. Snot brought together his people in an area where the historic Lace Market in the City can now be found. The place was called "Snotingaham" —literally, "the home of Snot's people" (Inga = the people of; Ham = home). As with many place names throughout England, the word has since been modified, to "Nottingham".
Nottingham was later captured by the Danes (Vikings) and in the 9th century became one of the five boroughs (fortified towns) of the Danelaw.
In the 11th century, Nottingham Castle was constructed on a sandstone outcrop by the River Trent. The Anglo-Saxon settlement on the hill now occupied by the Lace Market around St. Mary's Church developed into the English Borough of Nottingham and housed its 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 Market Square became the focus of Nottingham several centuries later.
The town became a county corporate in 1449, giving it effective self-government, in the words of the charter, "for eternity".
Robin Hood memorial statue in Nottingham.The legend of Robin Hood first arose in the Middle Ages. Robin Hood is said to have lived in Sherwood Forest, to the north of the town, with the Sheriff of Nottingham as his greatest enemy. The current Sheriff of Nottingham, Matthew Keyworth, is a largely ceremonious figure with no real jurisdiction. While the legends are almost certainly untrue, particularly in their details, they have had a major impact on Nottingham, with Robin Hood imagery a popular choice for local businesses and many modern tourist attractions exploiting the legend. The Robin Hood Statue in Nottingham is within walking distance from the Old Market Square.
No fewer than three pubs in Nottingham claim the title of England's Oldest Pub. The contenders for the crown are Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem near the castle, The Bell on the Old Market Square, and The Salutation on Maid Marian Way. Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem is supposedly named for its role as a major meeting point for those going on the Crusades in the Middle Ages. However, its claim may be due partly to the questionable date of 1189 painted on the side of the inn. A recent television documentary tested the three claimants and found that, while each has its own evidence, none can claim exclusivity. The Trip, while the oldest building and oldest location, was for most of its early life a brewery and not a public house. The Salutation sits on the oldest recognised public house site, but the current building is comparatively recent. The Bell, although not in such an antiquated location, does boast the oldest public house building. There is also conflicting information available: dendrochronology dating evidence from roof timbers in the Salutation give a date for the building of c.1420 with similar dates for the Bell. Ultimately, the roots of the multiple claims can be traced to various subtleties of definition in terms such as "public house" and "inn".
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). In 1889 Nottingham became a county borough under the Local Government Act 1888. 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
The heart of Nottingham City Centre is the Old Market Square, which is undergoing a major redevelopment during 2006. Most of the main shopping streets surround the square. The Council House, whose disproportionately tall dome can be seen for miles around, is at the top of the square. The inside of the Council House is the Exchange Arcade, a shopping centre. A bohemian quarter of the city known as Hockley has arisen in recent years, situated close to the Lace Market area. Nottingham receives a lot of tourism, mostly because of the legend of Robin Hood, visiting Sherwood forest and Nottingham Castle